Life of Pi (2012)

Life of Pi (2012)


Advanced photorealistic animal CGI

Life of Pi
Original Poster

4K HDR video

CGI making of video


1) Actor Suraj Sharma was never in the boat with a live tiger or other animal. Most of the tiger shots were very high-tech CGI. Only a few scenes, like the tiger swimming in the water, included a real tiger. 

2) Director Ang Lee stated that water was a major inspiration behind making the film in stereoscopic 3-D: "I thought this was a pretty impossible movie to make technically. It's so expensive for what it is. You sort of have to disguise a philosophical book as an adventure story. I thought of 3-D half a year before 'Avatar' was on the screen. I thought water, with its transparency and reflection, the way it comes out to you in 3-D, would create a new theatrical experience and maybe the audience or the studio would open up their minds a little bit to accept something different."

3) The R&H VFX (Visual Effects) Supervisor Bill Westenhofer said that discussions of the project began with Ang Lee in August 2009. Westenhofer noted that Lee "knew we had done the lion in the first "Narnia" movie. He asked, "Does a digital character look more or less real in 3D?, We looked at each other and thought that was a pretty good question." He also stated that during these meetings, Lee said, "I look forward to making art with you." This was really for me one of the most rewarding things I've worked on and the first chance to really combine art with VFX. Every shot was artistic exploration, to make the ocean a character and make it interesting we had to strive to make it as visually stunning as possible."

4) Rhythm & Hues spent a year on research and development, "building upon its already vast knowledge of CG animation" to develop the tiger. The British Film Institute's Sight & Sound magazine suggested that, "Life of Pi can be seen as the film Rhythm & Hues has been building up to all these years, by taking things they learned from each production from Cats & Dogs to Yogi Bear, integrating their animals in different situations and environments, pushing them to do more, and understanding how all of this can succeed both visually and dramatically." Artist Abdul Rahman in the Malaysian branch underscored the global nature of the effects process, saying that "the special thing about Life of Pi is that it was the first time we did something called remote rendering, where we engaged our cloud infrastructure in Taiwan called CAVE (Cloud Animation and Visual Effects)."