Today in VFX History: The Impact of Resident Evil: Afterlife on the VFX Industry

Today in VFX History: The Impact of Resident Evil: Afterlife on the VFX Industry

September 10, 2023
David Lugo

Learn how Rodeo FX's work Resident Evil: Afterlife set new standards in the VFX industry.

Released on September 10th, 2010, Resident Evil: Afterlife is celebrating its 13th anniversary today. This film wasn't just another installment in a popular franchise; it was a game-changer for the VFX industry. In this article we’ll explore how Rodeo FX's work in Resident Evil: Afterlife helped set new standards for VFX and 3D compositing.

3D Technology in Resident Evil: Afterlife

Resident Evil: Afterlife was a pioneer in the use of 3D technology, especially in its action sequences. Inspired by the "bullet time" technique, the film helped popularize the use of 3D in genres beyond just family and animated films, extending it to action and horror. This was a watershed moment that opened up a world of possibilities for VFX artists.

How Rodeo FX Created Resident Evil

The VFX studio Rodeo FX was the wizard behind the curtain for this one. They created the destroyed L.A. environment that we see throughout the film. From aerial shots of a plane flying over the Hollywood sign to the arrival of the giant Axe-man zombie at the prison, these sequences were nothing short of breath-taking.

Behind Post-Apocalyptic L.A.

Creating a post-apocalyptic L.A. was no small feat. The team started with a low-res layout of the city, then moved on to detailed modeling of skyscrapers and other structures. Once that was set, matte painters took over, adding the kind of destruction and decay that would make any VFX artist's heart sing. They broke off sides of buildings, added burn marks, and aged roads—basically, they turned L.A. into a VFX canvas.

The Plane Sequence

One of the standout sequences involved a plane flying among destroyed buildings. This required meticulous planning and execution. The team match-moved the principal photography plate and recreated it entirely in 3D. The attention to detail was staggering, from the inner structures of the buildings to the textures used for destruction.

The Challenge of Stereoscopy

Stereoscopy added another layer of complexity to the project. Stereoscopy is a technique for creating or enhancing the illusion of depth in an image by presenting two slightly offset images separately to the left and right eye of the viewer. The film was shot digitally with three different stereo rigs, each requiring different color profiles. This was a challenge, but also an opportunity to push the boundaries of what was possible in stereoscopic filmmaking.

Resident Evil: Afterlife - Takeaways for Beginner VFX Artists

  • Master the Basics: Before you can create a scene like a devastated city, you need to understand the fundamentals of 3D modeling and matte painting.
  • Attention to Detail: The devil is in the details, especially in sequences that require high levels of realism.
  • Stay Updated: New tools and techniques are being developed all the time. Make sure you're up-to-date to take advantage of these.

The Legacy of Resident Evil: Afterlife in the VFX Industry

Resident Evil: Afterlife was a milestone in the VFX industry. From its groundbreaking use of 3D technology to its intricate sequences, it set a new standard for what was possible in VFX.

Read a full interview on the film with the lead compositor at Rodeo FX.

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