Graphics Masters: Building A Realistic Digital Universe – A Case Study on ‘Gravity’

We wanted to surrender to the environment of space, but we couldn’t go there so the only way of doing it was through all of these technologies. – Emmanuel Lubezki

To celebrate the work of the professionals and inspire a new generation of artists and filmmakers, we’ve partnered with HP to bring you a series of articles showcasing the extraordinary imagery being created for today’s films, broadcast TV and commercials.

Today, we have a case study on the 2013 blockbuster Gravity. The film wowed audiences and landed seven Oscars, including Best Director for Alfonso Cuarón, Best Cinematographer for Emmanuel Lubezki and Best Visual Effects for Timothy Webber’s team at Framestore.

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Gravity in numbers

  • 2,217 unique CG models were built for the film
  • Total lines of Arnold Renderer shader code: 71,178
  • Framestore coordinators took over 2,100,000 words of notes during production – that’s four copies of War and Peace
  • To render the whole show on a single-processor laptop, Framestore would have needed to start around the dawn of Egyptian civilization
  • Total number of computer generated stars in our star field: 30,741,312
  • Thirteen shots are longer than one minute in length – in total they make up 68% of the movie
  • Around 80% of the film is computer generated

Read the full article here to find out how the award winning team used long takes, specialised lighting and digital effects to create their incredible zero gravity universe.