The film tells the tale of World War II’s Tuskegee Airmen and features scenes with hundreds of CG airplanes. The project marks the directorial debut of Anthony Hemingway, and stars Terrence Howard, Cuba Gooding Jr., Nate Parker and David Oyelowo.
Pixomondo was awarded the project in late August of 2010 by Industrial Light & Magic, which supervised all of the visual effects work. Pixomondo spread the work across their network of facilities allocating shots based on artists’ strengths and studio resources. Pixomondo VFX supervisors Bjørn Mayer and Boris Schmidt oversaw the project internally.
The Los Angeles facility completed 328 shots, including the destroyer sequence, the digital construction of a 1944-era Pentagon, as well as clouds, airplane shaders, cockpits and plane rigging.
Mayer and Schmidt developed set-ups for the remaining shots completed by the studio before sending them to other Pixomondo facilities to maintain a cohesive look. Stuttgart completed 88 shots, including many of the aerial bomber sequences and airplane crashes that appear towards the end of the film. Most of the matchmove and rotoscoping work was done at Pixomondo Beijing, along with the majority of the cockpit shots, about 80 in total. Pixomondo Shanghai contributed 25 shots, mostly of the airfield when the pilots are going to or coming out of planes. The train crash sequence was created by the team in Berlin.