SEPTEMBER 2006 PRESS RELEASE
Fusion CI Studios continues to make leading-edge strides in Hollywood’s highly competitive world of visual effects. When the action film, The Guardian (starring Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher) is released on Friday, September 29th, movie goers will see daring sea rescues amidst heaving seas with Coast Guard helicopters crashing and ships floundering through giant ocean waves, spewing ocean-spray high into stormy skies. What they won’t see is that most of that water came from Vancouver…..well, virtually.
What started as a ‘trickle’ in Poseidon has become a virtual tidal wave with The Guardian. Mark Stasiuk, co-founder of Vancouver’s Fusion CI Studios, supervised a fluid fx team at CIS Hollywood to create the computer-generated wall of water in Poseidon that crashed through the ship’s corridor sweeping Jacinda Barrett away in one fell swoosh! In The Guardian, Stasiuk heads-up a fluid fx team at principle vfx studio, Flash Film Works (Hollywood), to create dozens of challenging fluid fx shots that transformed real ocean surface shots into stormy action on the high seas. The result has been spectacular, realistic-looking computer generated effects.
Using off-the-shelf software (RealFlow 4) by Spanish software company Next Limit Technologies, Stasiuk and his fluid fx team at Flash Film Works created outstandingly stormy ocean waves, boat bow sprays and boat wakes, enhancing reality exponentially. Some of the shots of cargo ships plowing through huge ocean waves are entirely CGI (computer generated imagery).
The greatest accomplishment of all, for visual effects technology, is that this triumph was achieved using software available to anyone! The difference between most of the virtual water shots in Poseidon and the virtual water in The Guardian, is that major studios with deep pockets like ILM spent years with a team of Stanford scientists creating their own in-house software to generate the wave that capsized Poseidon, or the water that crashed through the windows in the dining hall -- quite an achievement for ILM, but one that does not benefit anyone else in the vfx world.
But Next Limit is revolutionizing fluid fx. Now is that any accomplished visual effects studio can use this off-the-shelf software to create amazingly realistic fluid fx….. with Fusion’s scientific expertise of course! Stasiuk’s PhD in fluid dynamics no doubt helps him recreate the physical movements of water and his physics acumen allows him to devise customized formulas to make the software do practically anything he wants. And it is this custom scripting that has made RealFlow the high-end production tool it is today.
In a unique international business relationship, Vancouver’s Stasiuk worked in r&d with the Spanish software developer Next Limit while using RealFlow in commercials and features like Poseidon and The Guardian. The feedback from these productions accelerated the development of the software into an easily accessible, high-end production tool. “The developments in the software during the past year have been phenomenal. Certainly RealFlow 4 has helped level the playing field in fluid fx.” says Stasiuk.
“Real-looking fluid fx are still among the most difficult and most sought after computer generated effect,” says Stasiuk. “VFX studios can work for months and months trying to develop their own in-house fluid solution and still not achieve realistic looking fluid fx. RealFlow provides an excellent foundation to then quickly build what you want, by adding customized scripting. The results can be phenomenal. Just look at what we’ve done on The Guardian!”
Amidst a ‘sea’ of Hollywood vfx companies now settling in Vancouver, it’s great to see home-grown Vancouver talent as a world leader in some of the most difficult visual effects to create – fluid fx. Co-founded by Mark Stasiuk and Lauren Millar, fluid fx studio, Fusion CIS (Computer Imagery Studios) is based in Vancouver with a studio in LA.