New York-based Phosphene recently delivered visual effects work and adapted the 20th Century Fox logo for The Fault in Our Stars, a romantic comedy-drama, starring Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Laura Dern, Sam Trammell, Nat Wolff and Willem Dafoe. The film centers on Hazel and Gus, two teenagers that meet and fall in love at a cancer support group.
At several key points in the film Hazel lies in the grass and stares up at the starry night sky, created by Phosphene. The very first time we see the night sky is during the 20th Century Fox logo animation. Phosphene was assigned the task of tying the iconic logo with the theme of the film. “We came to Phosphene with the idea of incorporating the starry sky motif into the Fox logo. Phosphene did an amazing job of bringing the night sky to life in a way that really helps launch the story,” explained director Josh Boone.
Phosphene’s primary visual effects work included the compositing of a prosthetic leg and stump for Gus. “From my first meeting with Josh, he and I talked about how real and naturalistic we wanted Gus’s leg to look. Phosphene was my first call,” explained VFX supervisor Jake Braver. “We decided early on to stay away from CG and to use the combination of an amputee double and a 2D approach. Phosphene did an amazing job of seamlessly integrating the prosthetic leg and selling the illusion that Gus had lost his leg to cancer.”
“In order to replace the leg, we used camera projections and proxy geometry in NukeX to project the shape and textures of an amputee body double’s leg into the plate of Gus’s limb,” explained Phosphene’s lead digital artist Aaron Raff. “Using this method, we were able to show Gus’s amputation in shots with dynamic camera moves, as well as in shots where the actor moved freely, shifting his position.”
Phosphene effects producer Ariela Rotenberg added, “Throughout the process, we took extreme care to remain true to the thematic and emotional tone of the story, particularly for our work on Gus’s leg, which is such an important plot point. We were very lucky that Josh Boone and his team came to us with such a specific and grounded vision, which allowed us to really focus on helping tell the story of these incredibly vivid characters.”
Phosphene used NukeX and PCs running 64-bit Windows 7 for compositing. Technicolor-PostWorks was responsible for the digital intermediate and lab processing.