Dneg Grows Jungle Cruise's Tree of Life
August 26, 2021

Dneg Grows Jungle Cruise's Tree of Life

Visual effects & animation studio Dneg completed extensive and intricate VFX for Disney’s new feature film Jungle Cruise

Led by VFX supervisor Christopher Downs, the studio’s work encompassed large parts of the third act, totaling 385 shots. The company’s artists in Montréal, Vancouver and Mumbai all contributed to the project. 

Downs and his team were responsible for the complex build-out of the massive Tree of Life and the cavern and moon roof that surrounded it. The Tree of Life also served as a focal point for the rendered city and the temple complex, as it comes to life and then dies off throughout the film’s climax.

The tree is highly sought-after, as it is believed that its petals have healing power that could change the face of medicine. Philanthropist Dr. Lily Houghton (Emily Blunt) goes in search of the tree, with supported on her adventure down the Amazon by skipper Captain Frank Wolff (Dwayne Johnson). 

Dneg’s VFX highlights included the important plot point of the continual draining of the river, which previously filled the cavern. This meant the water simulations had to interact with the cavern’s geometry. Hero simulations were also needed for the close-to-camera interaction with the tree branches.

“I’m extremely pleased with the outcome of the work we’ve developed for Jungle Cruise,” says Downs. “It is always refreshing to tackle a new project that requires us to think outside of the box and push the boundaries of creative VFX.

“Given the dynamic nature of the final act, with action taking place in and around the Tree of Life asset, one of our challenges in Jungle Cruise was ensuring that the components were built so that a camera could be placed anywhere within the cavern and the visuals would still look compelling. This required an enormous amount of computing power and artwork, and the team did a brilliant job at developing techniques to only capture the geometry and elements necessary for the shots to come to life.”