The brash James T. Kirk tries to live up to his father’s legacy with Mr. Spock keeping him in check as a vengeful, time-traveling Romulan creates black holes to destroy the Federation one planet at a time.

As always, ILM was sensitive to the director’s particular vision. In this case (keeping the spirit of the original Star Trek series), much of Director J.J. Abrams’ focus was on the story’s characters and realism. In fact, ILM developed animation tools to replicate Abrams’ style of photography on the set. Animators even applied camera shake by use of a small rotational-motion-capture sensor on a tripod at their workstations.

The black-hole sequence was one of several in the film that combined various visual effects techniques: CG space, elements shot on partial sets at Paramount Studios, and extensive digital-set extensions. On top of the imagery of the black hole itself, the ILM team built layer upon layer of detail into the shots, including the Vulcan planetary destruction which required extensive use of ILM’s simulation software.

There’s a huge history to the Star Trek franchise that people are very connected to, and ILM’s team of artists tried to match the style and color palette of the old show for the final shot of the Enterprise flying off into warp.

J.J. Abrams
ILM Visual Effects Supervisor
Roger Guyett, Russell Earl
ILM Animation Director
Paul Kavanagh
ILM Visual Effects Art Director
Alex Jaeger, Yanick Dusseault
ILM Visual Effects Producer
Jill Brooks, Jeff Olson