For the 14th consecutive year, NVIDIA technologies were used in every Academy Award nominee for Best Visual Effects.
Five nominees have been announced for the 94th Academy Awards, which will be held on Sunday, March 27:
- Free Guy
- No Time to Die
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
- Spider-Man: No Way Home
For decades, NVIDIA has pushed the boundaries of computer graphics, enabling forward-thinking studios and their incredibly talented artists to create award-winning visual effects in films.
The latest technologies, enabled by NVIDIA RTX, enable artists to push their creativity and craftsmanship to new levels of realism, bringing breathtaking visuals to the big screen.
Realistic Dystopian Worlds
Dune’s stunning, futuristic visuals, which range from flying spacecraft to giant sandworms, were created by Academy Award-winning studio DNEG.
DNEG contributed 28 sequences and nearly 1,200 visual effects (VFX) shots to the science fiction film, with each intricate element designed to bring director Denis Villeneuve’s vision to life. To accomplish this, the studio collaborated with remote artists via virtual workstations powered by NVIDIA RTX.
DNEG was the first studio to scale NVIDIA’s virtual GPU technology. Now, as the studio looks to the future of connected, collaborative workflows, DNEG continues its pioneering efforts with NVIDIA Omniverse Enterprise.
“Each show we receive is unique, and NVIDIA RTX with vGPU enables us to scale memory and performance characteristics up or down to meet the needs of our artists,” said Daire Byrne, DNEG’s global head of systems.
With the latest James Bond film, No Time to Die, DNEG earned a second Academy Award nomination. Since 1979’s Moonraker, this is the first Bond film to receive an Academy Award nomination for visual effects.
DNEG provided over 500 visual effects shots for the film’s action-packed scenes, explosions, and massive environments. Its team drew everything from a glider and a sinking ship to the island headquarters and thrilling car chases using detailed references and scans.
Modeling out of Virtual Universes
Digital Domain, a three-time Academy Award winner, received two visual effects nominations this year for Free Guy and Spider-Man: No Way Home.
Its team created nearly 350 visual effects shots for Free Guy, ranging from digital doubles to entire computer-generated cities. Additionally, Free Guy was one of the first feature films to incorporate Digital Domain’s Charlatan face-swapping tool.
Charlatan replaces a character’s face with a hand-created facial model and then uses AI to blend it with the original performance. When working with digital doubles, this results in significantly more realistic results. Digital Domain also contributed to the visuals for “Free City,” the film’s game environment.
Digital Domain recreated 2.5 square miles of New York City digitally for Spider-Man: No Way Home, one of the studio’s largest computer graphics environments to date.
A dramatic fight sequence takes place on a bridge, with visuals and computer graphics elements depicting various people, vehicles, and weather conditions.
Additionally, Digital Domain used a digital double for Doc Ock, a role that actor Alfred Molina originated 18 years ago in Spider-Man 2.
Realistic 3D Characters
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, another of Disney’s most recent Marvel films, featured magical visuals from Weta Digital.
Weta worked on 300 shots and visual effects sequences for the film, which included an epic dragon battle, realistic water simulations, and the titular magical rings. Creating the breathtaking sequences with the Great Protector, a wingless dragon, and the Dweller-in-Darkness, a creature comprised of 128 million polygons, was one of Weta’s challenges.
Weta developed custom rigs to emphasize each creature’s massive size and weight. Additionally, the team developed a new AI system to assist with the facial performances of Shang-father Chi’s and the main antagonist, Xu Wenwu’s, digital double.