Ad Astra

I was a Lighting artist in MPC on this space epic movie. I worked on this movie for over seven months. I was responsible for editing light rigs, matching cg doubles to plate, lighting cg creatures, fx and environment, look development, optimization, problem solving and worked on over 30 shots.

It is one of my favorite shots in the movie and also one of the most challenging one. The effects was not the most difficult part of this shot. We had the lighting direction and light rig approved quite early. But after a few weeks, the director and the supervisor wanted to have a rolling specular light effects on the ship to show its travel in space. I experimented with different light set up, including animating specular area lights and even animating the gobos. We ended up with the rolling specular effects that the director really liked.

It is in the same sequence as the shot above. It is also a challenging shot because of the rolling specular effects that the supervisor and director wanted. I ended up adding multiple area lights and area lights with only specular contribution. The background was very well done by the environment team by matte painting it.

It is a really fun shot to work on. It is in the same sequence as above as well. I am a really big fan of space and sci fi movies and moon landing is always a big thing in those movies. There are actually not a lot of references in moon landing except the Apollo landing. I watched the Apollo footages and many different space movies for references and I think we nailed it in this movie. The lighting direction and rig was approved quite early on but they are still not satisfy with the shadow play on the lunar shuttle. I ended up cheating the shadows with an animated area light to let the compositors to play with the shadow. The background was also very well done by the environment team

It is one of the first sequences that we worked on. I set up the IBL of this sequence. This sequence was a couple of shots in the moon space shuttle base. Most of the backgrounds are from the plate that is why the IBL is very important to integrate the space ship in the sequence. I cleaned up all the physical lights in the hdri and export them as area lights for the lighter to set up the light rig. These few shots were handed to another lighters and it was done very well.

This sequence only consists of three shots and I worked on all of them. I basically set up the whole sequence. It was the first few clear shots of the Cepheus (the space ship). The supervisor wanted to have a general feeling that Cepheus is a huge space ship and also some light travel when it is moving in the space gantry. I placed lights on the gantry and cheated some lights underneath it to show the light travel on the ship. The background and the gantry are done by the environment team and they used the lights I created.

This shot took me a long time to finish because of the effects. It took me quite a while to match the houdini render and also render it without noise. I was quite happy with the result.

This shot made it to the Cinefx. The tricky part of this shot is the high light on the solarpanels. It took me a while to achieve what the director and supervisor wanted.

It is also one of my favorite shot. I was handed over with this shot about half way through the production. I mostly focused on how to get the rolling specular on the solar panel because it is one of the shots in the movie that showed most of the solar panel. We tested a lot of different techniques and light rigs and even in look development of the solar panels. I think we are pretty pleased with the outcome of this shot.

I did a visor replacement in this shot and its a small sequence that MPC worked on.

It is one of my Mars shot in this project and it is mostly effects driven. The most work I have done in this shot is to make sure the effects rendered from Katana matches the renders in Houdini and also make the renders look pretty and noise-free.

It is a wide angle shot of Mars. It is mostly done by the environment team. I did the renders of the cepheus and the gantry.

In the beginning of our production, I did a HDRI cleanup for this sequence. I was starstruck when I see Hoyte Van Hoytema, the amazing cinematographer in the HDRI image. I am a huge fans of his work in Interstellar and Dunkirk but I had to clean him up in the image. It was an honor to work on a film he worked on. And for this shot, it was particularly challenging because we had to match the plate and integrate the cg elements seamlessly. The renders were particularly noisy and I spent most of my time trying to get a clean render.

It is probably my favorite shot in the show. It is quite a long shot and it required a lot of work on how to make the shot looks realistic and pretty at the same time. A lot of extra lights were added in this shot to bring up the specular highlights of the ship and especially the ladder Brad was trying to hold. I spent a really long time and long nights on this shot. At one of the dailies, I heard it from the supervisors that the director thought they shot this shot with Brad and realized it that it is actually full CG. I think that is the greatest compliment you can give to a CG artist and I am very proud of this shot.

It is the next shot from the shot above. It is a challenging one too because we can see a lot of solar panel. We went back and through with the light treatment on the solar panel and we ended up with something we are happy about.

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