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Blackmagic Design - Muse VFX Fusion Studio - Y: el ultimo hombre

Fusion Studio, a solution developed by Blackmagic Design, has been used by Muse VFX to create the visual effects and animations for the TV drama Y: The Last Man.

Based on the hit comic book series, Y: The Last Man chronicles the aftermath of a cataclysm that wipes out all mammals with a Y chromosome, except for a single man and his pet monkey. The survivors will try to recover what was lost and build something better. The show stars Diane Lane, Ashley Romans, Ben Schnetzer and Amber Tamblyn, among others, and is available on Hulu’s FX platform.

Blackmagic Design’s Fusion Studio was the solution used to generate some key elements of the post-apocalyptic world in which the plot unfolds, such as photorealistic explosions, computerized vehicles and objects, masked compositions and virtual extensions of the studios. John Gross, co-founder of Muse VFX, elaborates: “We used Fusion Studio for some pretty big VFX in the show, such as explosions, helicopter crashes and set extensions, as well as some more invisible VFX, such as split screens and blue screen composites.”

Blackmagic Design - Muse VFX Fusion Studio - Y: el ultimo hombre

Key scenes

The Muse VFX team highlighted some of the key moments where they have made the most of Fusion Studio. Fred Pienkos, co-founder and special effects supervisor, highlights the scenes set in the Pentagon: “Production dressed a section of the Pentagon hallways during filming, and then we used Fusion Studio to extend the halls, track camera moves, key and rotoscope blue screens, and add lit and rendered CG hallway extensions.”

Another key moment was a bomb explosion in a house. Since no effects had been filmed, the team used LIDAR measurements and photographic references to recreate the visual effects sequence. In order to achieve this, a large number of layers had to be used to integrate the house explosion with the environment, which included several trees and bushes, some of which had to be replaced by digitally generated plants.

Pienkos provides further clues: “Camera tracking, rotoscoping, digital pyro, digital debris and digital foliage were all composited together using Fusion Studio, including a simulation blowing out a nearby car’s windows as a result of the detonation. Our goal throughout the show was to make the explosions and effects as realistic as possible. Similarly, we created a crash sequence that began with a helicopter precariously hanging off the side of a building, and then breaking loose and falling to the ground. Fusion Studio did a fabulous job of integrating CG into live action and making the VFX look photoreal.”

Footage generated in 5K

According to Muse VFX, the workflow on Y: The Last Man is closer to that of film than that usually seen on television: “We’ve found that the quality gap between television, streaming and film work has all but closed. Television now requires the level of detail and craftsmanship that has been traditionally reserved for film. Shot with anamorphic lenses at 5K, the show’s stylized look and high resolution give it more of a film look and feel”, says Pienkos.

Having delivered the entire season, the Muse VFX team is pleased to have chosen the Blackmagic Design solution. Gross, while noting that the project “wasn’t necessarily easy,” also says that “our team rose to the occasion, and with the help of tools like Fusion Studio, we had a lot of fun doing it.” For his part, Pienkos openly praises the software: “Fusion Studio is the backbone of our compositing pipeline, and we used it exclusively for all our work on Y: The Last Man. Fusion Studio enables artists to be creative and flexible in how they approach a shot, sequence or solution. From prep, degraining, rotoscoping, keying, tracking and particle fx to final composite, Fusion Studio ticks all the boxes. Its quality, speed and efficiency made it a great tool for this show.”

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For • 16 Nov, 2021
• Section: Postpro