How the 2017 Oscar-winning VFX of The Jungle Book were created


Digital Arts

The Jungle Book picked up the coveted Oscar for Best Visual Effects at last night's ceremony in Hollywood. Here we go behind-the-scenes on how those VFX were created, including VFX breakdown videos. We also look at the VFX of the other nominees including Kubo and the Two Strings and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and more.

VFX Oscar Nominee: The Jungle Book

Following its wins at the VES Awards 2017 and the BAFTAs, the kinda-live-action, sorta-remake that's equal parts the Disney musical and Rudyard Kipling's novel picked up the VFX Oscar.

The Jungle Book had the most unusual VFX process of any of the nominees, as it was shot entirely against a bluescreen with a single actor, Neel Sethi as Mowgli. All of the animals and environments were created in CG, with Sethi composited in.

MPC was the film's lead visual effects company.

"This is a very proud day for me and my crew at MPC," said MPC VFX supervisor Adam Valdez at the awards ceremony. "I speak for everyone when I say how grateful we are for this honour from the Academy. Taking part in making a great film is a rare gift. Being recognised for our craft is deeply gratifying.”

MPC created 224 individual animals for the film across 54 species - including Baloo the bear (voiced by Bill Murray), Mowgli’s wolf family (including Giancarlo Esposito and Lupita Nyong'o), Bagheera the panther (Ben Kingsley), Kaa the python (Scarlett Johansson), and the tiger Shere Khan (Idris Elba). 

Valdez said on the night “This is a very proud day for me and my crew at MPC.  I speak for everyone who was lucky enough to work with Jon Favreau and the great team at Disney when I say how grateful we are for this honor from the Academy.  Taking part in making a great film is a rare gift.  Being recognized for our craft is deeply gratifying.”

Below is a VFX breakdown video created by MPC to show its work on the film.

The video also goes behind-the-scenes on The Jungle Book's VFX.

VFX Oscars 2017 nominees

The Jungle Book beat the four films on the VFX Oscar shortlist: Deepwater Horizon, Doctor Strange, Kubo and the Two Strings and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. These five were culled from a list of 10 announced in mid-December - which themselves were chosen from a full long-list of 20 that debuted earlier than month. Yes, it's convoluted.

Films that didn’t make it from the longlist included Arrival, The BFG, Captain America: Civil War and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

VFX Oscar Nominee: Kubo and the Two Strings 

Computer-generated stop motion by Laika

Trailer

Kubo and Two Strings Featurette: Creating the VFX Masterpiece

The video explains how the Garden of Eyes, the origami boat, the stormy boat and the stormy seas were created. 

VFX Oscar Nominee: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

VFX by ILM, Hybride Technologies, Jellyfish Pictures, Ghost VFX, Whiskytree, Atomic Fction, ScanlineVFX, Raynault VFX and Virtuos.

Trailer

ILM model supervisor Russell Paul explains the rebuilding of classic ships and vehicles - taking the original ship models and enhancing them in digital form - in this video. 

Read the full VFX blog on how ILM’s special ops team studied the studios old school modelling work for A New Hope, and enhanced it using CG techniques.

In this video, ILM explain how they created droid K-2SO.

This video shows how the expressive K-2SO, performed on set by actor Alan Tudyk, was captured for CG animated by ILM.

VFX Oscar Nominee: Deepwater Horizon 

VFX by Hydride Technologies, IIoura and ILM. 

Trailer

VFX Oscar Nominee: Doctor Strange

VFX by Crafty Apes, Exceptional Minds, Framestore, ILM, Lola VFX, Luma Pictures, Method Studios, Perception and RISE VFX.

Trailer

Below are the VFX films that didn't make it past the official list of 20.

Arrival

VFX by Oblique FX, Rodeo FX, Hybride Technologies, Folks, Alchemy 24, Framestore, Raynault VFX and MELS. 

Trailer

Oblique VFX Breakdown

Oblique worked on the spaceship and helicopters, tanks and soldiers and environments.

Rodeo FX Breakdown

Rodeo worked on the aircraft, spaceship and spacesuits. 

The BFG 

VFX by Artem, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Weta Digital and The Third Floor.

Trailer

Captain America: Civil War

VFX by ILM, Base FX, Virtous, Method Studios, Trixter Film, RISE, Double Negative, Lima Pictures, Lola VFX, Cinesite, Cantina, Sarofsky, Animal Logic, Crafty Apes, Image Engine Design, Technicolor VFX, Capital T and Exceptional Minds.

Trailer

VFX breakdown by Cinesite

For Cinesite’s third collaboration with Marvel, the team worked on environments, CG Quinjet shots and character animation for The Black Panther among other CG replacement work.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

VFX by Framestore, Image Engine Design, Method Studios, MPC and Rodeo FX.

Read our breakdown of how Framestore, MPC & Rodeo FX created the fantastic beasts of JK Rowling’s new film. 

Trailer

Framestore VFX Breakdown

Framestore helped with the early stages of driving the creative process, creating animation tests for the previsualisation stages, as well as recreated Newt’s leather suitcase, the Niffler, Gnarlak the Gangster Goblin, Pickett the Bowtruckle and the huge Erumpet.

Cinesite VFX Breakdown

Cinesite worked on the preparation of dinner in the Goldstein apartment, the suitcase that Newt uses to transition into different worlds and various CG environments of Manhatten.

We can't embed the reel but watch it here to see how they bring the magic to the table. 

Passengers

VFX by MPC and Instinctual VFX. 

Trailer

This may not be an official VFX breakdown, but these funny moments with Chris Pratt should make you laugh.

Here is a compilation of stills provided by MPC, who created the look of Deep Space, building the Avalon space-cruiser and the zero gravity water sequence.

VFX Oscar 2016

Last year, as well as Leonardo DiCaprio receiving his first Oscar, Ex Machina won the Best VFX Film Oscar for both London-based firms Double Negative and Milk’s work on artificially intelligent robot Ava, played by Alicia Vikander. Watch the VFX breakdown for Ex Machina below. Check out last year's nominees VFX breakdowns.

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