Stunning War for the Planet of the Apes VFX Reel Captures Incredible Scope of Work

Planet of the Apes was a groundbreaking cinematic experience in 1968 and continues to be the vehicle for the most advanced filmmaking techniques today. The level of detail in War for the Planet of the Apes is absolutely mesmerizing. The actors’ performances have been fully translated into multiple species of ape characters. VFX Supervisor Joe Letteri once gave us a deep dive into the process of turning and actor into an ape. Yet, that was only one of the amazing digital triumphs the VFX team contributed to the film. Weta Digital, the design team for War for the Planet of the Apes just released a stunning video encompassing the vast scope of their work on the film.

In addition to translating performances into ape characters, Weta also added ape extras to scenes. The team couldn’t just slap some fur on their actors. Each hair on the character had to believably interact with the environment including mud, snow, and combat.

Other enhancements included additional smoke and flames during explosions. No detail was spared, large or small. In the climactic battle scene, the field was digitally drawn three-dimensionally at length. The result is incredibly realistic.

One of the most impressive contributions was the landscape. Real world scans were translated into sets including the cave where Caesar’s tribe lived. The entire forestry was digitally ‘grown’ to imitate 80-year-old trees. The artists even accounted for interactions between the trees as they compete for life and the effect heavy snow would have on their branches.

The VFX also had to fuse with the film’s cinematography. Locations were recorded in 360 degrees to capture light sources. They were then able to control the way that light interacted with the digital characters so that it match the sets. This is really incredible stuff that we cannot really wrap our minds around, but we have a much greater appreciation for the work seeing it all side by side. Although Caesar may have lost the final fight, his contributions to cinematic excellence will endure.

Featured Image: Twentieth Century Fox’s ‘War for the Planet of the Apes.’


Kelle Long

Kelle has written about film and TV for The Credits since 2016. Follow her on Twitter @molaitdc for interviews with really cool film and TV artists and only occasional outbursts about Broadway, tennis, and country music. Please no talking or texting during the movie. Unless it is a musical, then sing along loudly.

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