Epic battle shots always need E atmosphere. Be it clumps of dust kicked up from the feet of enemy soldiers, plumes of smoke from crashed starships, misty elements dressed in to silhouette the shape of mountains or general battleground haze, the right amount of atmosphere brings life to a shot.
At Weta Digital, the compositing department traditionally dresses shots with smoke, dust, fire and other elements. If specific interaction is required between elements, the FX department simulates the unique events for rendering by the lighting department. However, with fluid simulation tools like Eddy being integrated into Nuke, some of these more straightforward interaction tasks are now handled by comp, allowing more time for FX artists to work on hero simulations.
Having a varied library of 2D elements is an essential tool for adding scale and detail to shots, which used to be quite an investment. Many elements that were shot for The Lord Of The Rings trilogy and King Kong are still in use by the comp team to this day.
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