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News post: GVFX: bringing B5LR to life


<font size="+1">GVFX: bringing B5LR to life</font>
<font size="3">There's stunning effects coming our way, thanks to GVFX</font>

With Netter Digital, creator of the special effects for B5 and Crusade, now out of business, Toronto- and Vancouver-based GVFX were up to the challenge.

With the telemovie filming underway, it was time to consider the visual effects of the telemovie. JMS and GVFX senior visual effects supervisor Mark Savela discussed design concepts for "To Live and Die in Starlight". JMS approved GVFX Vancouver concept artist Chris Wren's detailed sketches and 2D and 3D artists in the Toronto studio set to work.

GVFX 2D compositors and 3D artists have worked to create feature film quality effects including a crystalline city and explosive mines that propel through space. Approximately eighty shots make up battle sequences and an additional eleven shots portray the tail of a comet. GVFX also worked on a 'character transformation' effect that sees Malcolm Bridges take on the appearance of G'Kar, and enriched the 'jump point' as seen in B5 and Crusade.

Emmy-nominated GVFX compositor Sean Stranxxx created star fields and nebulas for the galaxy using Hubble telescope images as reference for the most realistic look of the telemovie.

3D artist Kyle Yoneda created icy rock masses that break and collide giving the effect of flying inside the tail of a comet. Kyle says, "There is very little reference for imagery of comets up close, if any." For the comet, he worked with particle systems. Using an 'Emitter' he shot grains of sand that look like gas or steam to control the textured geography. Kyle utilized 'Volume Shaders' to texture the inside of an object rather than the surface. 'Paint Effects' is a Maya tool that allowed Kyle to paint in 3D space. Describing effects the tool generated, Kyle says, "Paint strokes in 3D turn into plasma-like bands of energy."

Low-resolution models were created to map out geography and assist the GVFX crew with timing and movement of 3D elements within the galaxy. Mark Savela points out, "Looking at the sequence from one side you can say, I want a camera right there." Once the desired camera angles are worked out, the high-resolution models are imported into the 3D world.

Miriam Sirois (Sarah Cantrell) was able to prepare for certain sequences by viewing low-resolution animatics created by the GVFX team. Assisted by visual effects co-ordinator Sarah McMurdo, Savela supervised on-set production in Vancouver over May and June where Miriam Sirois was filmed in an exciting flying sequence. A new effect called the 'Holotable', a holographic communication system, was also introduced into the telefilm.

B5LR.com is keeping you informed about the new telemovie, and the people and companies involved. We'll have more on GVFX's fantastic work soon, but for now be sure to check out our previous news items: Chris Wren speaks to B5LR.com, Mark Savela speaks to B5LR.com, and the original news item about GVFX.
Great news post, very interesting.... thanks.

Marc Cosgrove

"From chaos, order came. As was inevitable." -Summoning light
Its good to see these people know what they are doing.If Scifi and JMS are pleased then so am I

"When it is time, come to this place, call our name, we will be here" -Walkers of Sigma957

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