Star Trek Into Darkness

[Paramount Pictures]

2013 Academy Award® nominee for Best Achievement in Visual Effects

Returning to the Star Trek series once again, ILM served as the lead visual effects house on Into Darkness.

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Director: J.J. Abrams
ILM Visual Effects Supervisor: Roger Guyett
ILM Visual Effects Co-Supervisor: Pat Tubach
ILM Associate Visual Effects Supervisor: Patrick Roos
ILM Animation Director: Paul Kavanagh
ILM Visual Effects Art Director: Yanick Dusseault
ILM Visual Effects Producer: Luke O'Byrne, Stuart McAra
ILM Studios: San Francisco, Singapore

Case Study

Star Trek Into Darkness

Release Date: May 16, 2013

Tasked with creating planets, indigenous people, space battles, futuristic cities,  Starfleet headquarters and of course the storied Enterprise, ILM's prime directive was to honor the live action aesthetic.

The ILM team designed the city of San Francisco in 2259 with a mix of urban planning and architectural theory, and then created a fully 3D model of the city that could be used in both the early scenes occurring around Starfleet Headquarters and the final, explosive sequence that would wreak havoc on the city.

In one of the final major sequences in the film the massive U.S.S. Vengeance comes hurtling out of the space on a collision course with Starfleet Headquarters.

When the ship crashes into the city it had to make many types of shapes, bending and twisting, and there was a lot simulation work done by our creature-development department. There are shots where there are maybe 50 or 60 simulated elements. This amounts to a very large sum of data, with files around 2 Gbs before the models had been painted.

The final product of their efforts was an epic, intense sequence that spanned only a short period in the film, but had a lasting effect on both the futuristic version of San Francisco and ILM’s approach to handling these types of sequences in future projects. After all, when it comes to disaster scenes, the more epic the destruction, the greater the testament to the creative talents of the team involved.