Led by MPC VFX Supervisor Bob Winter who worked closely with director Jake Kasden and overall VFX Supervisor Jerome Chen, MPC’s VFX team completing 160 shots for Jumanji.
The team’s work involved creating jungle animals including Jaguars, an Elephant, Black Mambas and a swarm of insects and varmint; digital doubles for Spencer, Martha and Fridge and CG environments for the film's thrilling finale.
For the jaguars, on set stunt men dressed in black interacted with the actors by jumping on them and knocking them over. They also used stuffed big cat plushes to give the actors the right eye line. Using reference photography of jaguars MPC’s team then crafted the cats from bone to whisker, and replaced the stuntmen.
For a scene where Fridge rides in on an elephant, MPC were given plate shots of actor Kevin Hart riding a specially rigged all terrain vehicle. The vehicle was then removed in post and MPC’s team added their full CG elephant which was created based on reference photography and video of African elephants.
MPC’s brief was to make the jungle creatures look realistic, and although the team had a great deal of experience creating photo-real creatures, each animal had its own challenges. The most significant challenge was how to rig and animate a den of more than one thousand Black Mambas. MPC VFX Supervisor Bob Winter said “we knew we couldn’t keyframe animate that many snakes, and our crowd tools weren’t created for the unique challenges of dealing with entangled creatures with a snake’s anatomy.” The team’s solution was to divide the den into smaller groups they called ‘pods.’ MPC’s animators were then able to use keyframe animation to create the complex motion and interaction of the snakes within each pod, which was then fed that into a crowd system to add variation and higher level swarm behavior.
In the film’s final act Spencer rides a dirt bike up a huge 200ft jaguar statue in the jungle. To create this scene, the head of the statue was built practically for Duane Johnson to climb, with a green screen background. MPC were given a lidar scan of the head and then built the rest of the statue and background environments in CG. In the final movie, the motorcylist riding up the statue is real, however the environment is full CG. The rider was shot riding up a steep terrain in California, and then rotoscoped and added to the rocky statue environment built by MPC.
In addition to the animal and environment work, MPC’s FX team created the Jumanji curse effects shown at the beginning and end of the movie. This included transitioning Van Pelt from a human to a swarm of insects and varment and the green energy effects surrounds the Jewel.
Sony Pictures Entertainment