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VFX behind ‘The Last of Us’ Series – Discussed by VFX Supervisor

“The Last of Us” is a popular video game turned hit series that has captivated audiences with its stunning visual effects and animations. VFX supervisors Simon Jung and Dennis Yoo were the masterminds behind the show’s impressive visuals, producing seamless animations and effects that bring the game’s world to life.

 

One of the most impressive animations in the series was during the epic final scene in the fifth episode upon revealing the Bloater. Jung shared the details of producing the monsters and recreating the prosthetics, stating, “We created a whole army of Infected and used the Clickers that we built in the Bostonian as a base to build more variants of that. So, we had gender variants and ethnicity and different Cordyceps growth and all of that for our clickers. And then we did the same thing. We had scans for the Infected, so we did the same thing for them. We gave him different wardrobes and different skin tones and all of that. So, that helped us bulk all of that out.”

 

Jung and Yoo’s attention to detail allowed them to create a diverse army of Infected that added to the realism of the show’s world. The Bloater, another impressive animation, was initially a prosthetic, and the team made changes to its proportions to make it appear larger than life. Jung shared that they took a similar approach to the Bloater as they did with the other creatures, “if we are going to go a digital route with him, then we might as well, similar to some of the other creatures, we might as well change proportions around a little bit, like make the legs look a little bit stronger.”

 

While the Infected army and the Bloater are two of the most impressive animations in the show, it’s the attention to detail in every scene that makes it truly beautiful. Lighting played a crucial role in the show’s visual appeal, and Jung shared the process of making these lights, stating, “We’ve stayed pretty true to the on-set lighting. The main light source for these shots was the burning building. They had a burning building on set and that was illuminating the scene. They had massive lightbox obviously on top as well and had flickering fire lights that they placed to beauty light specific beats around the cul-de-sac where Ellie steps, the clickers for example, or the Infected that are pulling the kids from another car.”

 

The team generally stayed true to the lighting that they had initially, with a few instances when they tweaked the lighting a little to make the action more visible. “There are a few occasions where, for example, where Perry gets his head ripped off by the bloater, the child clicker. In some of those cases, we tweaked the lighting a little bit to make the action a little bit more visible. But it was only very subtle changes or deviations from the on-set lighting. We stayed very accurate to it,” said Jung.

 

Jung and Yoo’s work on “The Last of Us” is a testament to their skill and attention to detail. The show’s animation and visual effects add depth to the world of the game and elevate it to the next level. While it may seem like magic on the screen, it’s a long and arduous process to produce each scene. From scanning and creating prosthetics to tweaking lighting and making subtle changes to improve visibility, every detail counts in producing stunning visual effects for the show.

 

The VFX supervisors’ work on “The Last of Us” is not only impressive, but it’s also an inspiration to those who aspire to create stunning visual effects for films, shows, and video games.

 

Watch the trailer here

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