MPC brings out the big guns for Independence Day: Resurgence

MPC has created more than 200 VFX shots for Independence Day: Resurgence, including the action-packed opening sequence on the Moon.

Lead by VFX Supervisor Sue Rowe, CG Supervisor Chris Downs and 2D Supervisor Sean Konrad, MPC worked closely with Production VFX Supervisor Volker Engel on Roland Emmerich’s follow up to the 1996 blockbuster Independence Day

Using recovered alien technology, the nations of Earth have collaborated on an immense defence strategy to protect the planet. But nothing can prepare for the aliens’ advanced and unprecedented force.

Moon-based modelling

The lunar scene begins with the arrival of a new weapon to the Earth Space Defence Station, and finishes with the alien mother ship destroying most of the moon on its way to Earth.

MPC built the moon, which includes two main lunar environments, the Sea of Tranquility and the Van de Graff Crater. For this work, the team researched Nasa photography, and used production concept art and Hubble references for views from the Moon to Earth.

The team studied the properties of the moon’s surface to ensure the simulations were geologically representative. This also helped make the destruction of the organic surfaces look photo-real.

The IDR production team supplied concepts of the cannon on the Moon Base, and MPC built the 300m tower in high detail.

The studio also added hundreds of other assets to the surface including smaller buildings, CG lunar vehicles including the Moon tug, moon buggies and fighter Jets.

Digital doubles of David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) and Jake Morrison (Liam Hemsworth) were also created, as well as smaller details such as lunar dust particles, flashing landing lights, tire tracks and footprints, which were added to the powdery surface.

As the heroes investigate an alien crash site the gigantic Mother Ship appears, ploughing into the moon’s surface creating a meteor storm of debris and lunar soil heading straight for them.

Live action plates were shot in a studio against blue screen, with partial set builds for the lunar surface. The actors were on wires to simulate the differences in gravity. As the destruction starts we switch to full CG digi-doubles of the characters in their space suits, created using detailed scans and photographs of the actors.

Ultimately the Moon Cannon proves no defence against the huge alien cannon and the Mothership’s Beam demolishes the Moon base with its green laser, synonymous with the first movie. MPC’s FX team used Real flow and Houdini to recreate the iconic green beam.

MPC’s final shot is a full CG shot of the Mother ship detonating eight orbital defence satellites in one enormous blast.

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See more great work by MPC on Fired By Design 

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