LAFAYETTE, LA — Pixel Magic created visual effects for the new film by director Angelo Pizzo,
My All American.
Based on a true story, the emotional sport drama is about the journey of Freddie Steinmark, a former University of Texas defensive back, who faces the toughest challenge of his life after leading his team to a national championship season. Pixel Magic completed over 400 visual effects shots for the film — 300 of which involved CG crowds. Nearly 150 shots helped establish the stadiums from the period in time.
According to Raymond McIntyre Jr., VFX supervisor on the movie, "Production wanted the ability to move the camera all the time. This eliminated the traditional approach of locked off cameras and tiling practical people in different spots in the stadium, hence the need for CGI crowds."
He adds, "Production shot with six cameras, so we saw nearly every direction in every shot, reducing the effectiveness of using green screen. As a result, nearly every shot had to be rotoscoped. A full digital crowd was mixed with extras shot on green screen and composited with the few extras available on set. Shooting HDRI's on set allowed for realistic and accurate lighting for all the digital crowd and stadium shots. This is the real advantage of CG crowds, an exact match of lighting. When using green screen people, you cannot light people on green screen to match all of the lighting scenarios that occur on-set."
CG people of various shapes and sizes, and their clothing were created in Maya. "We used our in-house motion capture system to generate animation cycles of people clapping, cheering, sitting and standing," notes Victor DiMichina, Pixel's production supervisor. "The CG crowds were randomized using Golaem inside of Maya and rendered in VRay. These CG elements were then composited with the live action game plates in After Effects and Nuke".
Many shots required the addition of a CG football stadium to be created. For the University of Texas Stadium, the entire stadium was created digitally to match its look from 1969. Additionally, Pixel Magic created four full CG period 1960s college football stadiums. Pixel Magic completed 90 percent of all the visual effects work at its facility in Louisiana, which generated a tax incentive for production.
The studio is currently working on LBJ, directed by Rob Reiner.