How The Mandalorian was shot on a virtual stage using the Unreal Engine

Until I bumped into the first video below on YouTube this morning, I had no idea that a lot of The Mandalorian was shot on a virtual set using the Unreal Engine.

Over 50 percent of The Mandalorian Season 1 was filmed using this ground-breaking new methodology, eliminating the need for location shoots entirely. Instead, actors in The Mandalorian performed in an immersive and massive 20’ high by 270-degree semicircular LED video wall and ceiling with a 75’-diameter performance space, where the practical set pieces were combined with digital extensions on the screens. Digital 3D environments created by ILM played back interactively on the LED walls, edited in real-time during the shoot, which allowed for pixel-accurate tracking and perspective-correct 3D imagery rendered at high resolution via systems powered by NVIDIA GPUs. The environments were lit and rendered from the perspective of the camera to provide parallax in real-time, as if the camera were really capturing the physical environment with accurate interactive light on the actors and practical sets, giving showrunner Jon Favreau, executive producer and director Dave Filoni, visual effects supervisor Richard Bluff, and cinematographers Greig Frazier and Barry Baz Idoine, and the episodic directors the ability to make concrete creative choices for visual effects-driven work during photography and achieve real-time in-camera composites on set.

Here is an article about it on the Unreal Engine's website.

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Watch and rewatch this optical illusion to figure out how it's done

"Twisting reality, one video at a time," VFX artist Kevin Lustgarten regularly churns out amazing optical illusions like this one for our visual pleasure. Read the rest

The art of compositing explained in the coolest way possible

Roy Peker created this fantastic explainer about VFX and digital compositing. Read the rest

Mind-blowing conceptual animation: Prayer.9

https://vimeo.com/186118588

Pierre Michel-Estival created this fabulous short film Prayer.9 "Your subconscious is not an intimate possession anymore." Read the rest

116 years of stop-motion animation in 3 minutes

Vugar Efendi takes viewers through a delightful survey of stop-motion animation from 1900 to today. How many of the 39 films featured can you name? Read the rest

Pixar's Renderman released for free

Pixar has released its Renderman imaging software to the public free to download. This version is identical to the software it uses on it's own films, which was invented in-house, and is used today by major film and video game studios for animation and visual effects. This free license is for non-commercial use only, which includes show reels and student films.

Free Non-Commercial RenderMan can be used for research, education, evaluation, plug-in development, and any personal projects that do not generate commercial profits. Free Non-Commercial RenderMan is also fully featured, without watermark, time limits, or other user limitations.

Pixar is also launching a Renderman Community Site to share knowledge and assets, showcase work, and support all the new users bound to take advantage of this unique opportunity.

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