WETA Digital

WETA goes on a Rampage

Rampage, the new action adventure creature feature starring the world’s most recognisable practical effect (Dwayne Johnson), also stars 3 spectacular VFX creations – a giant ape, wolf and alligator.

Recently ArtofVFX sat down to talk to Weta’s VFX Supervisor Erik Winquist about Weta’s work on the show and how they collaborated with their US-based director and overall VFX Supervisor.



From the interview:


How did you and Weta Digital get involved on this show?

The filmmakers had a project which featured a gorilla who communicates through sign language and has a relationship with Dwayne Johnson’s character that is quite central to the story. The gorilla needed to have a believable on-screen presence for the audience to buy into the film at all, and the obvious approach was to use performance capture. He also becomes monstrous in size by the end of the movie. Between KING KONG and the three recent instalments of the PLANET OF THE APES franchise, as well as THE JUNGLE BOOK, we’ve created several digital primates that positioned us very well for the project. In fact, we were still in the middle of post-production on WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES when this project came to us.



What was your feeling to work with director Brad Peyton and VFX Supervisor Colin Strause?

I met with Brad a few times during principal photography to review our work-in-progress creature builds with him and Colin, but once the shoot was wrapped and we were into post-production, Brad’s time was very much focused on his edit and our reviews were with Colin and his team. By the end, we were having cineSync reviews sometimes twice a day to talk about new submissions and go over Brad’s notes on the previous day’s work.



How did you organize the work with your VFX Producer?

We had just over 650 shots to deliver for this show, almost all of it complex creature work with a fair amount of FX in the mix. So, we split the show into two teams internally to tackle the work efficiently. VFX Supervisors Stephen Unterfranz and Thrain Shadbolt headed up those two teams. Stephen’s team focused their efforts on the Willis Tower collapse and the final showdown in Federal Plaza, which was a full-CG environment, and Thrain’s team looked after all the sequences preceding that, which was quite a broad range of work. That included George before and during his rapid growth, the scene with Ralph in the woods of Wyoming, all the vignettes of Ralph and Lizzie making their way towards Chicago, the interior shots in the cargo plane with George, and the monsters rampaging through the city until they reach the Willis Tower.


The rest of the article goes into substantial detail about how the creatures were designed and the tools used to create them. Check out ArtofVFX to access the full interview!