BUF: “Life of Pi” VFX Breakdown

With the VFX controversy still swirling around “Life of Pi,” it’s often tough to remember R&H was not the only studio working on the film. Veteran Paris VFX house BUF contributed the tiger’s hallucinogenic fauna-filled journey to the sea floor.

“To satisfy the request for the transition from the body of the sperm whale to the whale’s form comprised of animals, we explored many avenues with Ang. We had tests where the skin was tearing apart, which we felt gave it an organic feeling. Although these tests were visually interesting, they were not part of the final version. In the end Ang was happiest with the skin simply shrinking and fading away.

“The Sperm whale is composed of a hippopotamus, a rhinoceros, two crocodiles, a giraffe, a baby elephant, a zebra, a lioness, two foxes, a bear, a boar, and a leopard. The squid is composed of two sharks, three tunas, a dorado fish, a turtle, a gulper fish, a manta ray and two jellyfish.

“Dynamics were applied on the animal’s fur and skin to visually recreate the sense of floating in the underwater environment.”

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