‘The Jungle Book’ Images Reveal Astonishing VFX Transformations
Although it’s grouped in with Disney’s recent slate of live-action remakes, The Jungle Book is made up almost entirely of CGI, with young Neel Sethi’s Mowgli serving as the only substantial “live-action” element. The studio has released a new series of photos that showcase the insane amount of work that went into the film’s impressive visual effects, and it might make you do a double-take.
If you sit through the end credits of The Jungle Book, you’ll notice a massive list of VFX artists who worked on Jon Favreau’s film. The artists of MPC were responsible for creating, well, everything — animals, landscapes, water sources, and every tiny piece of greenery. You can see the amazing before and after shots in the viewer above, which showcase a “basic” shot of Mowgli in the jungle, as well as the river scene with Baloo. I say “basic” because, as you can see, there was nothing basic about creating such a simple scene.
Before they set out to accomplish the difficult task of building an entire environment from the ground up, MPC first had to build their own wealth of resources. From Disney:
MPC’s artists took more than 100,000 photographs of real locations in the Indian jungle, and built a massive library of reference material that was then used to build all the storied locations to the finest of real-world detail. The results are trees, plants, moss, bark, rock and water that the audience feels they can reach out and touch. Each scene is handcrafted plant by plant, detailed down to thousands of scattered broken leaves, and vines that grow across the landscape.
As for that river scene, Disney says this was one of the more difficult sequences to master because it involved so many individually challenging elements:
The lazy river sequence was one of the most complicated in the movie, with CG environments, water FX, fur, character animation and the live action Mowgli all needing to blend together with complex interaction between CG and live action elements.
Neel’s performance was shot in an outdoor pool, MPC’s artists then painstakingly replaced the entire environment to sit him into the lazy river scene atop the hand-animated Baloo. Contributing to 80% of the frame 100% of the time, the jungle itself is the single biggest creation in the movie.
Even more crazy are the VFX statistics for The Jungle Book: MPC created 54 unique species of animal, with 224 unique animals in total. It took an average of 19 hours to render a single frame, with about 30 million render hours altogether — which is approximately 3,400 years. Yes, years. And they did it all through one machine. That’s just incredible.
And the hard work really paid off, as The Jungle Book has proven a massive hit at the box office, with Disney and Jon Favreau already developing a sequel.