Sunday, November 6, 2011

I Am Legend's Urban Jungle

The final result is what you see in "I Am Legend," a virus hits in 2009, affecting everyone but Will Smith's character. By 2012, New York City is filled with monsters at night and empty during the day. Because people have not inhabited NYC for 3 years, the city is left desolate with crumbling buildings, cracked roads, and an overgrowth in plant life.

To create the look of the depopulated Manhattan proved to be difficult and expensive, taking $40 million of the film's $150 million budget. A visual-effects team had to digitally remove each sign of life from shots, erasing people and darkening windows. Here’s how they constructed the opening scene, in which Smith hunts a deer in Times Square:

Photo 1: photo lasers mapped real buildings to within an inch, creating gray structures. 
Photo 2: the crew took thousands of digital photos, using them to add detail, while animators put in 3-D objects.
Photo 3: The final result.
Photo 4: As for the TKTS booth in the last photo, a hybrid of set design and CGI, it was based on plans for the unfinished renovation.

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