Visual Effects Breakdown, High-Res Screen Shots

Posted December 17, 2010 11:30 am by Glumpuddle

FXGuide has a lengthy article breaking down how some of the most complicated effects shots in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader were achieved. The article also includes some fantastic high-res screenshots from the film.

Framestore, MPC, Cinesite, The Senate and The Mill worked on 1400 visual effects shots for the film. Here are some clips:

Aslan:

“On the last show we had been asked to go for a golden fantasy lion but this time we went with more of a real lion,” recalled Fawkner. “So we changed his colour palette to be a more realistic lion colour. And we introduced a darker mane.”

Dufflepuds:

“These creatures are very active and jumpy so to get the best result we would have really had to have gone fully 3D,” said Fawkner. “But 16 fully 3D characters each with a different haircut and clothes was just a huge amount of work. So it was decided to go with a CG leg and trouser approach.

Reepicheep:

“We saturated his colour a little, gave him slightly bushier eyebrows and some extra ear hair and made his whiskers a little more wirery just to give him a sense of age. He’s also a little more pot-bellied than he was in the last film.”

Sea Serpent:

“The end composition everybody picked was the most far out design that we had,” said Valdez. “I think everyone reacted to the concept art that had all these crazy spines.”

White Witch:

To create the White Witch, Cinesite took greenscreen photography of actress Tilda Swinton and digitally massaged her into a more ethereal being. Artists generated a 3D model of Swinton’s head and animated it in Maya.

Opening Shot:

“We modelled the buildings in Maya using thousands of bracketed photos we had taken. It also happened coincidentally that the tower itself had a lion head repeated around the sides of it.”

The article also talks about the picture in the bedroom, DragonEustace, the never-crashing wave, the Dawn Treader herself, the mist, Narrowhaven, Coriakin’s map, Ramandu’s daughter, and the water nymphs. Read it the entire article here.

90 Comments For This Story

  • Daniel James says:

    That’s pretty cool! I would love to work on something like that. Or else be a faun in one of the next movies. Haha.

  • glumPuddle says:

    The Dufflepuds looked pretty good, overall. One of the rare moments in the film where I felt like something from the book had come to life. I geeked out while I was watching them jump around.

    • Not Of This World says:

      Well, at least you enjoyed that part! Sorry you didn’t like the movie, glumPuddle πŸ™

    • Samuel the Magnificent says:

      How is that the only part? We got the sea serpent (although in the book it wasn’t on dark island, but still we got it), we got the magical gold water, Eustace being a dragon, the storm, the end scene (lilies, big wave, Aslan’s lines), Magician’s mansion, etc. Really we got everything from the book, just more.

      • Not Of This World says:

        Well said, Samuel πŸ™‚

      • Mayor Wilkins says:

        Have to respectfully disagree. πŸ˜‰
        They could put her in every movie and it would only give me more reason to go.
        When I saw the first trailer for "VDT," I thought, "OK this looks kind of lame…" and then The White Witch came on and I HAD to see it! I love Tilda Swinton, and I think there are many movie Narnia fans who probably consider her one of the major draws. There is no such thing as over-exposure with Tilda. Ha ha.

        A number of people on here say that her role in "VDT" didn’t add anything to the movie. Again, I have to respectfully disagree. Her final moments in the film were, in my own humble opinion, full of tension and suspense. If Edmund gave in to her temptation, the ship would likely have been destroyed. And I loved the way she looked down at the sword when it glowed blue. It was like they were actually defeating something. She gave The Green Mist a face and a voice. I thought it was just as good a scene as the one in "Prince Caspian" and dare I say even better because it added an extra spice to the climax. It could possibly be one of my favorite moments in the picture if not THE favorite.

      • Mayor Wilkins says:

        Oh no! I posted this comment in the wrong spot.
        So sorry.

    • Scrubbers says:

      GlumPuddle

      I came up with something that will torture you even more so than my comments and opinions. The only thing worse than if they make the White Witch and the Lady of the Green Kirtle the same person in the Silver Chair is if they make the Lady of the Green Kirtle the White Witch’s daughter. She holds seances to her displeased mother throughout the film, until she resurrects her in the climax as she is being killed by Rilian. The White Witch than becomes an even larger Serpent.

      See? Things can always get worse.

      • High Queene Shelly Belly says:

        please, don’t give them any ideas…LOL

      • Duffleglum says:

        haha yeah right, this is one time I would like the producers to NOT read our comments!

      • Mayor Wilkins says:

        I thought the effects were totally cool. πŸ˜‰
        I was impressed chiefly by Dragon Eustace and the very ugly sea serpent. Definitely something that you’d find at the end of the world, no? πŸ˜‰ And surely, transferring the sea serpent to Dark Island wasn’t that bad. They made it into an agent of evil, but it wasn’t the worst change. In the book, the thing was a dumb animal. In the film, it seemed to be driven by an evil force… I liked that idea.

        I also liked The White Witch’s effects. They seemed to take the "Prince Caspian" effects and go that extra mile with them in this film. Also of note were how GREEN they made her eyes. Very captivating in my own opinion. πŸ˜‰

      • Trufflehunter says:

        I would never see a Narnia movie again if this happened! That would be CRAZY! haha

      • Mayor Wilkins says:

        They accentuated the green eyes of the White Witch so much in the final moments of the scene that it would be near impossible not to consider some connection with the Green Lady. I believe that Jadis becomes her rather than them being related.

        On the other hand, maybe the Green Mist has no connection to the Green Lady and Jadis was simply a representation of whatever evil force it was.

      • ChristProclamer says:

        That is exactly what I’m expecting will happen. The very green turn of events in VoDT, and the persistent reappearance of the WW makes it impossible for her not to return in SC. I’d rather her be LoGK’s mother or mentor than LoGK herself; I’m afraid that this here is our best-case scenario.

      • MinotaurforAslan says:

        "Things can always be worse" is not a valid argument to negate a screw-up by the filmmakers. If the filmmakers screwed up, they shouldn’t have done so and to say that at least they didn’t screw up more is pointless. They screwed up, period.

      • Scrubbers says:

        You misunderstand me. I am no by any means excusing the atrocities the filmmakers have committed. My point is when I saw Prince Caspian, I did not think things could get worse than a romance between Susan and Caspian. Evidently, I was wrong. Now, I am inclined to think nothing could get worse than Dawn Treader as a whole. Then I proved myself wrong again when I had this thought.

      • Mayor Wilkins says:

        I’m about 75-80% sure The White Witch will be The Green Lady. The way she told Edmund, "Come with me…I’ll let you rule…" It just sounded like something she would tell Caspian’s son when she intends to make him into some sort of puppet ruler in "The Silver Chair." Just my opinion. I might be completely wrong.

      • Queen Elizabeth says:

        Hey, we were all freaking out when we heard about all the changes to VDT, and it all turned out GREAT! (in my opinion) and if they want to make the White Witch the Lady of the Green Kirdle, it will just be continuing the "legacy" of Jadis. I like how they kind of make her the universal "baddie" in all of the films.

      • Mayor Wilkins says:

        Agreed. I’ve always considered Jadis the "king villain" of the series anyway.
        I’ve always thought that her demonic spirit was the seed of evil forever planted in Narnia. So I’m glad the filmmakers have kind of agreed with me on that angle. πŸ˜‰

        Symbolically, Jadis = Satan
        So does the devil ever give up? No.
        He’ll tempt man until the end of time. Why should Jadis be any different?
        And "Whoever heard of a witch who really died? You can always get them back."
        Rings true, doesn’t it? πŸ˜‰

        The whole "She is DEAD" argument does not make sense to me, guys. Nor does it hold any water. Sorry. Aslan killed her. Aslan removed her from the realm of the living. She can no longer physically attack anyone. She must rely on the temptation of man. Much like Satan must rely on temptation.

        A spirit is immortal. Physically, she is dead, but I’m surprised that a number of fans don’t seem to (or maybe refuse to) grasp the idea of the immortal spirit. It’s Narnia, people. Anything’s possible in a magical land. Some people even believe in the idea of the immortal soul in this world. Surely that would hold true in Narnia also. Especially in the case of someone with intensely dark power at her disposal. And lets not forget about the silver apple. Maybe "Live forever" really means "Live forever" in one form or another.

        I think making her the main villain of "Silver Chair" would be a natural progression. She has tried to come back into the world 2 times now. It’s about time she was successful. Anyway, most of the time, the Green Lady is beneath the earth–in the underworld–That’s where Jadis should be, right?

      • Queen Elizabeth says:

        Well said. Making Jadis the universal Narnian villian would tie all of the films together with a common point.

      • High Queene Shelly Belly says:

        I did not have Jadis fatique like a lot of people here did, but my first gut reaction to seeing her in VDT was -"ugh, again?" like, I was not scared, just bored to see her face again. I think putting her in the 3rd film was a big mistake if they intended to use her in SC. they could have maybe just used her voice in edmund’s mind but i think it will REALLY feel stale to have her show up again, esp. if they want her for MN. PRODUCERS TAKE NOTE- SHE IS JUST NOT SPECIAL ANYMORE -SHE’S OVEREXPOSED—–

    • Edmund's Queen says:

      No offense, glumPuddle, but if the dufflepuds were the only thing that had you "geeking out" you must be pretty darn nit-picky. I thought most everything was excellent, but I’m also one of thos half-full glass people. BTW, I love your user name.

    • Embrace says:

      ThatΒ΄s a nice surprise since I remember that you thought that they looked kind of fake when you saw them in the trailer.

    • NARNIER says:

      Wow, Gymfan was right.

    • Rilian says:

      I liked the dufflepuds standing on top of one another. That was great.

  • Not Of This World says:

    I really like the effects on VDT

    • Edmund's Queen says:

      OMG, me too! They are so flippin’ awesome! I especially love the sea serpent! And I love how Edmund is like, "Oh, no. I’m so sorry," after he imagines the serpent on the dark island. I was thinking "Oh, Ed, you’ve done it again! But I’m still madly in love with you!"

  • Starlily says:

    Wow, I don’t understand all the technical lingo, but this is still pretty cool. Maybe VDT’s special effects weren’t the best of the best, but in the end I think they did a good job, especially with the lower budget. And you never realize how much work goes into everything in the movie until you read an article like this! I had no idea some of those shots had CGI in the background.

    I really like the shot of Dragon Eustace and Reepicheep smiling at each other. The CGI is great and it looks like a cute scene. πŸ™‚

    Oh, and even though the Sea Serpent isn’t what I imagined, I still can’t wait to see it in the movie. I hope to be creeped out by it, like I was in the BBC version. πŸ˜€

  • Adamant says:

    I don’t get why they changed Aslan’s colors. After all, he is a golden lion with a golden mane. He doesn’t need to be more like a realistic lion.

  • Puddleglum says:

    Have to admit the effects were stunning. If I can raise any argument is that it was a bit "over the top" when it came to the serpent. Didn’t need all the spines, and such to make it threatening.

  • yeswelovenarnia says:

    Wow the effects are sooo cool!!! and that pic on the top…Its funny to think there was a tree behind Eustace on Dragon Island:) I absolutely LOVED the Dufflepuds!! Soo hilarious and awesome!

  • Lewis Tolkien says:

    β€œWe saturated his colour a little, gave him slightly bushier eyebrows and some extra ear hair and made his whiskers a little more wirery just to give him a sense of age. He’s also a little more pot-bellied than he was in the last film.”

    That’s great, but I have to admit I didn’t notice the difference. I loved how realistic they made Reep though. I also love that they were able to make the sea serpent original looking, and the Dufflepuds were excellent (just not onscreen long enough).

    • McGunn says:

      I think it’s good that you didn’t notice. The best changes they could have made to something as good as Reepecheep in PC are the sutle ones, the ones which you don’t see.

      I love the idea of the pot-belly:) Will look for it, but hopefully I’ll be so amazed by the movie that I won’t remember I said that.

  • Tribunal says:

    Yeah, definitely noticed the darker mane on Aslan.

  • Hwin says:

    Wow, that’s quite interesting! I think the effects were really good, especially Reepicheep, the dragon, and best of all, the dufflepuds!!! The sea serpent was quite mind boggling, I must say.

    I thought that the way Aslan appeared in the previous movies was wonderful, and I was a little disappointed in the changes they made however slight they may have been. Over all, I think they did a really good job with the visual effects even with the tight budget they had.

  • FriendOfNarnia2 says:

    The fact that they were able to make this film look so good with 50 million dollars, gives me hope that they will be able to make a lower budget film of The Silver Chair that still looks good.

  • Pepper Darcy says:

    OOOH! I thought the CGI was *so* much better in this one. It felt like it was ‘real’ from our world vs. the ‘fantasy’ look in the river god in PC. Some of it looked so ‘fantasy’ that it stood out visually and you could tell it was CG. Here, Aslan looked SO realy I felt as if he really existed! I could just about touch him! πŸ™‚ Way to go! The CG was as good as LotR!

    • Mayor Wilkins says:

      I think it was fantasy from out point of view. But it looked real for Narnia. If you understand the difference. πŸ˜‰
      These effects made Narnia look like it really existed. Like there really were dragons and sea serpents and a talking lion. I remember when the serpent spreads its cobra-like hood that my eyes kind of widened a bit. I mean, that moment was so utterly frightening, I thought to myself, "Boy, that really is a nightmare come to life."

      Aslan did look a bit more real as well. There was something slightly off about his look in "Caspian." But it’s nice to see that they are able to play with the design here and there.

      I think what they were aiming for in "Prince Caspian" was maybe, just maybe, making the fantasy elements stand out more so that they could be contrasted with the hard, somewhat identical appearance of the Telmarine army. As if to say, "Look how mystical Aslan looks in comparison to these faceless, almost mechanical soldiers."

      Sorry, kind of feel like I’m rambling on. But hopefully, my points still comes across. πŸ˜‰

      Oh, and the pictures are really sweet! πŸ˜€ Love the one of the sea serpent. But no Tilda! πŸ™ That’s such a pity. I would love to have gotten a hi-rez one of Green Mist Tilda. She looked fantastic.

  • Dancinginrain says:

    Wow thats really cool! I think that they did real good on the effects in the movie.

  • DamselJillPole says:

    That’s awesome what computers can do these days! I had to do something like that in my final cut pro course two semesters ago. That’s really neat!

  • Queen Elizabeth says:

    The effects were fantastic! I love the bright colors. Except the first glimps of the green mist was not realistic at all. And why didn’t they make it the Black mist? That would have been a lot more intimidating.

    • Samuel the Magnificent says:

      Because they are probably planning on linking it to the Lady of the Green Kirtle in the Silver Chair.

      • Queen Elizabeth says:

        They destroy the mist is VDT, so how could it be related to SC. It would have been destroyed for a very long time since SC is like 20-30 years later. (In Narnia times)

      • Edmund's Queen says:

        I wouldn’t be so sure, Queen Elizabeth; you know how evil always seems to manage to worm its way back into to Narnia. I think Samuel could be on to something…;)

      • Queen Elizabeth says:

        True they did kill the White Witch how man time now? Three lol

      • Reepicheep says:

        The Sliver Chair is actually set 50 years after Dawn Treader.

      • Mayor Wilkins says:

        Symbolically, especially in earlier times, the color green has long been associated with evil and The Devil. In my own humble opinion, I prefer green to black any day. Black has been overused FAR TOO MUCH when depicting evil. The smoke mixed with the pulsating green on Dark Island was actually quite eerie looking. Furthermore, possible connections to The Green Lady cannot be ignored. While the Green Mist is destroyed, I believe the idea is it will later reincarnate itself in physical form as the LOTGK. πŸ˜‰

        They have not killed the White Witch three times. They have killed her once. What we see in the following films is her spirit. She is not physically alive–yet πŸ˜› LOTGK = White Witch reborn. Count on it. πŸ˜‰

      • Queen Elizabeth says:

        I thought the green was cheesy and childish. It didn’t have the creepy eerie feel like I was hoping for, I got that out of the sea monster.

    • High Queene Shelly Belly says:

      I hope they use ben again instead of some new actor and just age him

  • Aslan's Meadow says:

    I was shocked that the opening scene wasn’t an actual town…weird.

  • Louloudi the Centaur says:

    I thought the effects were awesome.

  • Narnian Meerkat says:

    I thought Reepicheep looked fatter. . . haha. . .:)

  • greenbird37 says:

    I thought the effect were excellent and very well done….love the dufflepuds, they were awesome!

  • stateofgreen says:

    LOL at them giving Reep a pot-belly. Wow amazing blue screen for the valley of treasures.

    • Edmund's Queen says:

      Okay guys I just had this crazy idea, and some of you will probably hate me because this isn’t in the books. What if Reep had a son? And then he goes to help find Rilian in SC? And then he dies tragically and goes on to Aslan’s country to be with his heroic father? LOL I’m so crazy.

  • stateofgreen says:

    At least we’d get more Reep cuteness, but it wouldn’t fit SC. There really isn’t a proper Reep and Eustace reunion in Last Battle.

  • Fredriksam says:

    i really liked the Eustace dragon. He was so extremly wicked cool. What if you turned into a dragon. What to do?

  • ChristProclamer says:

    Great article, and good work.

    I loved a lot of the VFX in this film. Aslan’s darker mane looked so beautiful, so real, as compared the the high-fantasy goldilocks lion shown in PC. I hope they keep him this way.

  • Amelia says:

    What a cool article! I love reading about how filmmakers do what they do. πŸ˜€

  • elton says:

    this is very cool

  • Narnian at Heart says:

    awsome! and by the wway im changing my name to Reepicheeps Archer

  • Reepicheeps Archer says:

    πŸ˜‰

  • caspianwoman says:

    I loved it i just
    BEN BARNES WAS AWSOME WHAT A KING

  • Queen Elizabeth says:

    I was most impressed by the landscapes at Narrohaven and Rammandu’s island. And when the sea monster split open and guts fly at your face followed by spiky little arms, that was unexpected. And a little creepy.

  • son of adam says:

    Matthew Vaughn, director of Stardust and Kick-ass should direct the next Narnia movies!

    Stardust budget – 70mil
    Kick-ass budget – 30mil

  • Reepicheep says:

    I never knew that the mountain Eustace was walking behind in that shot was CG!

  • sachin says:

    AMERICAN VISUAL EFFECTS SUPERVISOR JIM RYFIEL(DONE VISUAL EFFECTS FOR ALL LOTR FILMS) HAS GIVEN AND DIRECTED ALL THESE BIG SEPCIAL VISUAL EFFECTS SCENE IN Narnia Voyage Of dawn Treader

    and

    NO NOT IDIOT Matthew vaughan But ANDREW ADAMSON MUST DIRECT ALL NEXT NARNIA FILMS.

  • sachin says:

    SORRY IT’S JIM RYGIEL

  • Queen Elizabeth says:

    PLEASE COME BACK ANDREW ADAMSON!!!! I love the midieval Narnian feel from the first 2 and I didn’t feel it in VDT. Please come back and work your magic, cause silver chair actually takes place in Narnia for the most part.

    • Queen Elizabeth says:

      He seemed to have more fun and goof around and relate more to the kids than Micheal Apted. They may have contributed to the new Narnian feel.

    • Annabeth says:

      I totally agree with you. The main reason I didn’t enjoy VDT as much as I had hoped was because i felt that Apted didn’t meet my expectations. i felt like Adamson focused more on the artistic side of Narnia (having Harry Gregson-Williams as composer, the scenery, the script, etc.) and Apted focused more on keeping things more British.

  • Moviecynic says:

    I have a question for our UK friends. The movie is doing well in Mexico, Spain, Russia, South Korea, and France among others – but it is falling like a rock in the UK.

    What happened? Didn’t the first film even beat Harry Potter that year? I can’t imagine why the UK hasn’t sold at least two or three times as many tickets yet.

    I LOVED this film. One of my favorite ever. Sure it could have been better but I am so glad it was made.

    Let’s hope we get to see The Silver Chair!

  • Queen Elizabeth says:

    Yea I knew the town was CGI. They could have made that a little more realistic looking. Like the upclose of the tower in the first shot, yea that looked like a coloring page. Not very good for the first thing you see. And I liked how they put the title right in the town.

  • CEP Paul T says:

    Definitely love this article at FXGuide!

  • Jake says:

    Why the heck are they putting naiads in VDT??? Aren’t the aquatic people living in the ocean near the world’s end Sea People(not merpeople)???? Naiads live in rivers and streams! Not oceans! Ocean dwelling nymphs are nereids and oceanids!! And they give them fish tails??!!! Naiads and Mermaids are two different things!! I should’ve been th one behind these films!