#FeatureFriday: A comprehensive VFX breakdown for ‘The Predator’

Fox, the studio has unfastened its science fiction horror thriller movie- The Predator. The movie whose humour may break the monotony of the movie franchise but, the VFX of the movie may have amazed the fans.

The film stars Boyd Holbrook, Trevante Rhodes, Jacob Tremblay, Keegan-Michael Key, Olivia Munn, Thomas Jane, Alfie Allen, and Sterling K. Brown and follows a group of PTSD-afflicted soldiers who must fight off an invading pair of Predators.

Considering the fact that, there are a lot of sci-fi horror-thriller movies of the same genre available in 2018, therefore, to break the monotony,The Predator family transformed the power of universe’s most deadly hunters as much stronger, smarter and deadlier than before, and have genetically upgraded themselves with DNA from other species with the unadulterated use of the technology.

The film centers on a crashed Predator ship which is witnessed by an American sniper on assignment named McKenna (Boyd Holbrook). While able to recover artifacts from the crashed ships escape pod, McKenna also sees his team brutally taken out by the pilot and soon finds himself targeted by a secret organisation due to his knowledge of the otherworldly guest.

At the same time, a biologist named Casey (Olivia Munn), is brought to a secret locale where she gets an up-close encounter with the ship’s pilot in captivity and learns that a government organisation has been tracking the visitors and that their visits have increased in recent years. McKenna is ushered off to a bus full of unhinged soldiers who are to be locked away due to their numerous issues. Equivocating his superiors; McKenna has mailed the recovered technology to his son who thanks to being on the Autism Spectrum, is able to figure out aspects of the tech which he believes to be a game.

This all leads to a series of brutal encounters as an enhanced predator arrives and with two of the deadly creatures on the loose, the unhinged soldiers are largely the best hope humanity has of surviving what is to come.

The VFX of the movie played a vital role, MPC Film VFX supervisors Richard Little and Arundi Asregadoo, created 500 shots for The Predator. The majority of the work required hero animation for the Upgraded Predator and additional work included The Predator Dogs, FX effects and a CG swamp environment. Other jaw-dropping VFX shots used by MPC are as here under: >MPC Film’s Character Lab department modeled, sculpted, textured and upgraded The Predator Dogs to a high level of detail. This allowed the director to have the flexibility to view close-ups, if needed. Technical animation applied movement to the muscle system and added the flowing motion to the dreadlocks on all of the film’s hero alien characters, an integral part of The Predator’s aesthetic in the franchise. 64 other assets were created, ranging from stones and sticks for the swamp floor, to grenades, a grenade launcher and bombs. >MPC’s artists also worked on the scene where the upgraded dogs sent out to hunt The Predator. The sequence was shot on a blue screen stage and on location. The Digital Environments team built a 360-degree baseball field matching the location shoot, from reference photography. Creating simple geometry and re-projecting the textures helped create a realistic environment. >Once the Upgrade tracks down the ‘fugitive’ Predator the fight begins. To create the scene MPC used a mixture of the live action Predator, inter-cut with its full CG Predator. The battle culminates with the Upgrade ripping the head and spine away from the body of the fugitive. This shot was a big challenge for the FX and Tech Animation team who also added green Predator blood into the mix to amplify the gore factor. >In the hunt scene, our band of misfit heroes traps the Upgrade and set the ultimate hunter alight. This sequence was technically challenging for the animation, lighting and FX team who worked very closely to create a convincing Upgrade, appearing on fire. >For the final battle, MPC Film’s digital environments artists created a full CG swamp where the Upgrade’s ship crash-lands. The team was tasked with matching the set and creating a 360-degree CG set extension with FX water. A big challenge was how to ensure the Upgraded Predator interacted realistically with the actors and set. The team worked hard to make the upgraded Predator fit seamlessly into this environment.

Writer and director Shane Black returned to the Predator franchise and jump-started the franchise in The Predator. Earlier he played Hawkins in the classic original film after that he went on to discover success on the other side of the camera with hits like Iron Man 3, The Nice Guys and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.

Though the plot of the movie as per the Predator fans is kind of cluttered, but the film stood high as most awaited sequel among fans. There is a lot of humour in the film which reportedly broke the monotony and came as fresh for The Predator audiences. But the brutality of the actions, the graphics, and the VFX has maintained the level of expectations from the series.

Also, the last third of the film was reshot and stitched later, therefore, one can discriminate how parts seem to be a bit out of symmetry compared to the earlier parts of the film. Especially, in the appearance of some of the characters’ look altered during the film which clearly indicates the segments were not shot at the same time.

The upgraded VFX of The Predator has excelled in showing its own unique and fresh identity while staying true and familiar to the roots of the franchise. As we all know old is gold, therefore, it is expected that nothing will ever top the timeless original that surpassed everything from the visceral and practical brilliant invention. Whereas no doubt with the comeback of the director along with his verbal wit The Predator has got back its quintessence and the VFX has really amazed the Predator fans. As The Predator does give fans some interesting characters and plenty of laughs to go with, the action and is a worthy entry into the series as long as you are willing to overlook the issues and enjoy the ride.