Tag Archives: Cinema

ILM’s Behind the Magic of Kong: Skull Island

Kong: Skull Island roared into theaters this past spring bringing an updated-yet-retro take on the famous movie monster. Besides being an action-packed genre romp, Kong featured some beautiful visual effects from Industrial Light and Magic using our Academy-award winning SpeedTree Cinema modeler.

ILM’s latest Behind the Magic video is a compelling breakdown of the hazy Vietnam-tinged VFX work created by their San Francisco and Vancouver team.  It features deconstructions of the Island’s South Asian jungle environment created with SpeedTree as well as stunning environment work, explosions, water simulations, and incredibly hyper-real gorilla fur.

Industrial Light and Magic, one of our first major VFX customers, has used SpeedTree extensively since first adopting it for James Cameron’s Avatar in 2009. As their environment supervisor whose team recently completed work on Star Wars: The Force Awakens said:

“Anytime a tree moves, we created it in SpeedTree so we could animate it,”

Check out the breakdown reels below and keep an eye out for more SpeedTrees the next time you’re at the movies.



SpeedTree at Siggraph 2016


SpeedTree is at SIGGRAPH this year in booth #346 in Anaheim, California to showcase our Emmy and Sci/Tech Academy Award winning technology. SpeedTree has been featured in some of the biggest movies of the past year including Star Wars, The Jungle book, and Captain America: Civil War.  Trees will also be taking the the Dancing Trees session as MPC presents paper about their use of SpeedTree and Fabric engine in the making of the Jungle Book and we can’t wait to see some behind the scenes SpeedTree action.

The worlds of games and VFX are ever growing closer and we look forward to seeing SpeedTree showing up along that blurry cutting edge in engines like Unity and Unreal Engine. If you are curious about SpeedTree, stop by booth #346 to get an exclusive look at the thrilling places SpeedTree is heading towards. As always keep on eye on our Twitter for upcoming announcements!

SpeedTree in Action in Jurassic World:

VFX Fridays: Dancing With SpeedTrees

Straightface Studio and the Pacific Northwest Ballet

Sometimes SpeedTree shows up in where you least expect, such as a performance of the Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” by the Pacific Northwest Ballet. Straightface Studio livened up the overture by creating an animated intro to set the stage (pun intended) for the performance.

We were honored to be asked by the Pacific Northwest Ballet to create an opening video for the new version of The Nutcracker by George Balanchine featuring original designs by ‘Olivia’ illustrator Ian Falconer.
The animation is played live during Tchaikovsky’s Overture to open the show and takes you through an 1880’s New England forest, a small town, and finally arrives at the Stahlbaum house where you join up with some unexpected little visitors.

Be sure to check out more of Straightface Studios work at their site.

Josh Johnson of VFX Daily and “Looking Glass” by Derek Lam

We’ve seen Josh Johnson’s SpeedTree work in indie films such as One & Two and in the above video, he uses SpeedTree Studio to add multiple animated vines to match the stationary vines that were already in place in the last two shots (Spoiler Alert).  We often talk about SpeedTree when it shows up in huge films, but this is a great example of how the right tool can make a difference in a smaller project.  SpeedTree Studio doesn’t offer animated growth so Josh used C4D to create the effect. All compositing was done in NUKE along with some flower petals rendered with Arnold.

Check out more Josh Johnsons impressive work at www.vfxdaily.com  as well as his SIGGRAPH 2015 talk on his work in indie films.

Learn more about SpeedTree studio or go to Store.SpeedTree.com to try an evaluation today!

San Andreas shakes things up with SpeedTree


San Andreas centers around the eponymous California faultline and the earthquakes triggered by a massive tectonic shift.  What follows the earthquake and its aftershocks is wide-spread destruction, tsunamis, falling skyscrapers, Dwayne Johnson using various land/air/sea vehicles to rescue his family, and of course a veritable boatload of technology to bringing it to life on the screen. Technology including the Academy Award-winning tech: SpeedTree Cinema.

Image Engine put together a breakdown of one of the major VFX shots in the film. Check out the video below and read more about how they achieved photo-realism through technology for this pivotal scene.


SpeedTree in The Avengers: Age of Ultron


Often times the best use of SpeedTree in VFX is the one where you aren’t quite sure if it was used at all.  Sure there are dramatic cases like “Noah“, but you may have seen several tv shows and movies already this year and not even noticed the SpeedTrees.  That being said, when you go see “The Avengers: Age of Ultron” this weekend (which you should) keep an eye peeled.  We received word from Industrial Light and Magic that SpeedTree was used extensively in a certain scene taking place in a dense forest.

As movie fans, we’ve been fortunate to be a part of some of the biggest movies of the past few years as well as being honored with an Academy Award.  So far, this year is shaping up to be even busier for SpeedTree in theatres. As the summer blockbuster season kicks off, expect to see a lot more movies coming out that take advantage of SpeedTree to create the spectacular scenes that capture audiences imagination.

Learn more about SpeedTree for Cinema