VFX Prime Focus creates hi end VFX CG for Jaan-e-man -

Prime Focus creates hi end VFX CG for Jaan-e-man

Salman Khan starrer Jaan-e-man may still be testing its luck at the box office, but it already has made its mark in the Indian CG and VFX space. Produced by Sajid Nadiadwalla and directed by Shirish Kunder the film features a staggering 60 minutes of VFX/CG created by Prime Focus. The CG/VFX highlights include a teaser of the movie which features a completely CG rendition of New York City, Anupam Kher’s Midget character as well as Outer Space and the solar system.

nullWork on VFX for Jaan-e-man started nearly a year ago at Prime Focus with the director Shirish Kunder and producer Saajid Nadiadwala involving the studio, even before the shoot began. Initially a core tem of 10 people from Prime Focus got involved with the film and a total of 60 artists got onto the Jaan-e-man project once the CG production work began at the studio.

Speaking to Animation Xpress.com Merzin Tavaria, Creative Director, Prime Focus shared, “The challenge in this was to make the audience question ‘Where are the VFX?’ The most difficult part of doing visual effects is to make sure they don’t stand out. They should be seamless and invisible and should never take away from the film itself. I think we have managed it in this film. This was mainly possible with the clear trust and vision of the director Shirish Kunder and the complete faith and support of the producer Saajid Nadiadwala. The director gave us full creative freedom and never questioned our judgement and always gave positive inputs. The machines that we finally used were Intel Woodcrest processor based machines, without which it would have been really tough.”

“The best and the most difficult part about this film was that we were attempting something never done before on the Indian screen. We have not had a film showing space in such length and clarity. The teaser also was a first of its kind where a complete CG city had been attempted” he added.

PRIME FOCUS has shared with Animation Xpress.com a break up of the main sequences for which VFX was created along with work in progress and final composite images….

a) Teaser featuring New York City: Shirish had a concept for the teaser to show something totally different. He wanted the camera to travel through the New York skyline where it would start with the three main leads, pull out, travel through New York City and end again on the three characters. This involved, first storyboarding the entire sequence, dong a pre-visualization to lock the camera movement, concept art to show the final look, and then the shoot. The first and the last shots were shot on a green screen stage with the Milo Motion Control. Very early into the production the need for photorealistic textures and matte paintings was understood, for the purpose of which high resolution textures were created from various research photographs. These were then applied to the 3D building models of the CG city. This task proved very difficult as the duration of the sequence was 30 seconds and due to the high resolution textures, the time taken to process these frames in 3D was a lot which took a long time to complete this.

b) Leg removal: Anupam Kher is one of the main characters in the film and plays the role of a midget. The sequences in which he was present consisted of nearly 20 minutes of the process of leg removal. This was quite tricky because his actions were not restricted in any way and he even dances in the song sequences in the movie. These were the shots that were being worked on till the last date.

c) Space: The film opens with the titles forming on the moons surface. The camera pulls out to show a spacecraft after which it goes inside and where we see two astronauts dancing. This was a complete 3D sequence with only the interiors of the spacecraft being shot on a set and even there all the screens were computer generated and tracked in. The main shot of the camera traveling from outside the spacecraft in space to inside was one seamless shot. This was achieved by using the Prime Focus Motion Control rig. This rig is a computer controlled and gives the flexibility of shooting on location and then taking the data from the Milo Motion Control computer and using it to generate a 3D camera in our 3D softwares. This helps in getting the same camera movement for the 3D spacecraft that is generated later. This sequence is repeated at the end of the film. Both these sequences took a total of three months with 10 artists working on it.

The director has used visual transitions in various scenes to aid the narrative. One such sequence is where Salman Khan is talking on the phone in a phone both in New York and suddenly the camera moves and the background changes to Anupam Kher’s office in India. Multiple passes were shot of Salman, Anupam with lights changing in the background and the like. This sequence really difficult to execute and work on this went on for over two months. This was tricky because at the compositing stage a lot of reflections and lighting treatments had to be done to make the transition seamless. The other issue was that the main New York plate had not been shot with a Motion Control so it was very difficult to get the two movements to sync. Similar to this there are other motion control sequences where the shots are used to go to flashback or show passage of time.