Lead by MPC Vancouver VFX supervisor Seth Maury and VFX producer Laura Schultz, MPC has completed 250 visual effects shots for the next movie in the Ben Stiller-led franchise, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb. MPC’s production VFX supervisor Erik Nash worked with Maury and Schultz and the MPC team to create a range of CG characters, digi-doubles, set extensions and environments.
Among the scene-stealing CG characters populating the combined soundstage- and location-shot comedy are a triceratops skeleton, CG Kakiemon elephants, Balinese dancers, an Egyptian cat, centaurs, a replica of the colossal lion statue that is in the Great Court, Ganymede the Eagle, painted stone hippos, a flock of bronze herons, a pair of lamassu, a Mayan frog, colorful metallic peacocks, Shiva, a flock of steel doves, a pair of marble dogs, jade terrapins, and a terracotta figure of Winged Victory. A digi-double of Dexter the Monkey rides a CG Tiger and performs an aerial silk dance routine. All the characters join the human cast in a wild dance party, the final sequence MPC completed.
Some of the CG characters were built from direct reference of statues in the Great Court at London’s British Museum, where a portion of principal photography took place. MPC artists altered the scale and texture of details and objects and its lighting team added ambient light to museum rooms and lit characters in the scenes. Stages at Mammoth Studios, Burnaby, B.C., also stood in for several rooms at the British Museum and for all of the interiors at the Natural History Museum in New York.
The scenes involving the new triceratops character, companion pieces to those involving the T-Rex character in the first two movies, required a similar attention to aged and worn textures but also the playful, lumbering dog-like animated movement that typified the earlier character.