Working alongside director Rupert Sanders and VFX Supervisors Guillaume Rocheron, John Dykstra, and MPC Film, MPC Design helped bring this legendary manga world to life.
MPC Design’s involvement on Ghost in the shell varied vastly from visualizing the world’s interface technology, virtual set dressing and the complex hologram deconstruction of the Major and Kuze.
The main challenge was to create a futuristic portrayal of the world that was technically advanced but still felt authentic within the low-fi aesthetic of the film. A set of bespoke tools were designed specifically to meet the unique requirements of the project and close to 40 artists worked over a period of 6 months.
Narrative-based design that pushes the boundaries of physical space is evident throughout MPC Design’s key visual motifs in Ghost in the Shell.
Narrative-based design that pushes the boundaries of physical space is evident throughout MPC Design’s key visual motifs in Ghost in the Shell:
MPC Design’s imagining of the holo‐conference room (the red room) set the aesthetic for the entire show. The challenge was to create a futuristic display system for crime‐scene files and data that looked technically advanced, but still felt authentic.
To visualise the room – and the way characters interact with and manipulate that space – MPC Design referenced the original films. The also sourced other material including recent developments in ultrasound and lidar scanners and pulsed laser lights used to create high-res maps. This material helped the designers to create a ‘toolset’ allowing each character to be built from thousands of tiny dots.
In the world of Ghost, hologlobes are multi‐disciplined pieces of tech; used as we would a laptop. MPC Design adapted them stylistically for different uses in the movie, from home to security. In one key scene the leader of Section 9 (Ghost’s counter‐terrorist organisation) watches a live feed from a crime scene starring Scarlett Johansson. MPC Design’s team of artists brought the live feed of data to life beautifully, with tight integration of CG and live action. This is where MPC Design’s expertise truly comes into its own.
Greg McKneally, MPC Design VFX Supervisor says: “The sequence involves a complex camera move sweeping through a largely CG hotel environment that shows its guests as data, resolving into detail wherever Major’s [Johansson] attention focuses. Techniques we developed for the holo-conference room were drawn on and extended here essentially manipulating MPC’s bespoke tech to tie the aesthetic cleanly together.”
MPC Design’s take on the critical disintegration motif took Rupert’s creative vision to the next level. The team was required to design an effect for the most sophisticated and solid looking holograms, who are often indistinguishable from reality. Used for all central characters including Kuze and Major, disintegration is central to the film’s design‐led narrative; and was teased in the official film trailer.
Taking visual inspiration from voxels, the artists created a method to disintegrate holograms vertically. Six major scenes used this effect, requiring pinpoint ‘choreography’ – testament to the artists’ extraordinary design talent.
Guillaume Rocheron, John Dykstra
Ryan Jefferson Hays
Greg McKneally, Marcus Dryden
Stefano Salvini, Goutham Hampankatta
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