Animation World Network-Pixels


VFX supervisor Marten Larsson discusses how Digital Domain turned arcade characters Donkey Kong, Centipede and PacMan into Earthly invaders in Columbia Pictures’ new action comedy.

Video game icons conjured up by a hostile alien race go beyond the arcade to wreak havoc upon the Earth. In order to make the premise of Columbia Pictures’ Pixels a cinematic reality, Matthew Butler, overall visual effects supervisor for the action-comedy, teamed with his colleagues at Digital Domain. One of the biggest challenges they faced was that key characters Donkey Kong, Centipede and PacMac had to appear as if they were present in the real world. “Everything was pixelated so all of the characters are made out of these boxes that change per frame,” states Digital Domain VFX supervisor Marten Larsson. “We were creating 3D versions of these iconic 2D characters that are moving in a staccato way. We had to make Donkey Kong move in a physically plausible way so you ended up with these poses that are not necessarily iconic from the game. Trying to retain the look of Donkey Kong and Centipede through all of that was a challenge. We spent a lot of time integrating them into the environments. For example, PacMan is casting light on all of the cars, buildings, and streets in order to sit him in the scene.”


It’s Game On for ‘Pixels’ at Digital Domain