Our full-service Virtual Art Department (VAD) is staffed with ILM’s legendary artists who work hand in hand with filmmakers and their virtual production teams to design the environments and sets for the show. While predominantly used for StageCraft work, the ILM VAD can also be a great asset to any production that wants experienced visual-effects trained artists to help design elements of their production in a facile and inexpensive medium.

For StageCraft projects, ILM VAD artists work in the Unreal Engine to help design and assess what will be practical and what will be digital in terms of set builds. They capture physical sets and locations, virtually scout computer-generated and digital locations, and develop preliminary environments that the DP can pre-light. All of this leverages the benefits of VR and a production-hardened distributed workflow. Additionally, these ILM VAD assets can serve as the foundation for content creation for the volume work.

ILM’s VAD collaborates with previs artists as well as the visual effects team, allowing the filmmakers to plan every aspect of the production – down to the smallest detail – so there are no surprises on the day of the shoot. This immersive planning is a great communication and diagnostic tool, but in no way limits the serendipity on set.

The ILM VAD Supervisor works closely with department heads involved in the creative decision making process and also manages the deliveries to departments downstream to ensure that Production’s priorities are met.

After working with the ILM VAD to design environments prior to a shoot, filmmakers have said that they felt that their first day on set felt so familiar, it was, “like they were doing a re-shoot”, despite never having set foot on the physical set before.

“The VAD  is equal parts artistry and technology with a solid foundation in filmmaking. Our goal is to help filmmakers achieve their vision without compromise while providing a blueprint for all departments to work from so we’re all moving in lockstep.

– Landis Fields
Virtual Production Visualization Supervisor