War is raging for the latest "Planet of the Apes” installment aided by an army of Weta Digital Sequence VFX artists – Supervisor Luke Millar leads the surge...
Completing the prequel trilogy featuring Caesar and a colony of genetically modified apes is War for the Planet of the Apes. Overseeing the cross-country journey of the simian leader from the ape village to the prison camp run by the fanatic Colonel (Woody Harrelson) was Weta Digital Sequence VFX Supervisor Luke Millar who encountered several environmental issues along the way.
"Within that whole travelling section are 20 different sequences with it starting in the woods, they move on to a little village on the cliff-side, and then progress to the mountains and into the snow environment,” explains Weta Digital Sequence VFX Supervisor Luke Millar. "A lot of the stuff we were dealing with was all shot on location which is awesome because it gave us a grounded reality in which to place and integrate the characters. We got incredibly good lighting information from those shoots and it made the whole process a lot more straightforward because you have all of the pieces of the puzzle that you need right off the bat.”
A version of a motion capture suit was created for the apes. "When they photographed these scenes Andy Serkis is wearing a grey mocap suit sitting on horse,” remarks Luke Millar. "We could switch off the fur of the apes and turn on this other look that gave them human Caucasian skin with a grey stunt suit; it provided us with a visual apple to apple comparison having Andy and Caesar on horses wearing the same costume.” Replacing a human horseback rider with an ape is never easy because of anatomical differences. "There was a huge amount of paint out involved. You have to adjust the stirrups positions, how they sit on the horse and how the weight is distributed.”