Under the direction of Jonathan Levine, best known for 50/50, Warm Bodies blends elements of horror, teen angst, humor and the power of love, all with the help of visual effects facility LOOK Effects. Over a period of approximately 10 months, LOOK’s Vancouver facility opened its door, built a team of about 45, structured a character animation and visual effects pipeline and produced around 350 shots. Their work included extensive character animation on “the Boneys,” an evolved form of zombie that plague humanity, and the creation of a fully-digital city in which the action takes place.
Working with the director and his creative team, LOOK had extensive input into the look, feel and movement of these extreme undead. The VFX team began with a motion capture approach and shifted to primarily using good, old-fashioned keyframe animation. Combined with the work or the modeling, texture and lighting team, the result is a photo-realistic army of skeleton monsters who terrorize the film’s heroes in a series of hand-to-hand battles and generally menacing encounters.
The digital city that LOOK designed is featured in a fully-CG fly through, linking up practical plates shot on location in Montreal. In order to avoid locating the story there, however, the digital city had to shift towards the generic so as not to be instantly recognizable. Beyond the fully-CG shot, LOOK also created a CG wall that surrounds the city in a number of shots, protecting its denizens from the zombie hordes.
LOOK’s work allowed Levine to believably tell this sometimes gruesome, sometimes funny, but always heart-felt tale that would not have been possible without visual effects.