Under the direction of Creative Director/VFX Supervisor John Bair and Executive Producer Vivian Connolly, the Phosphene visual-effects team completed effects work and adapted the 20th Century Fox logo for “The Fault in Our Stars,” a romantic comedy-drama, starring Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Laura Dern, Sam Trammell, Nat Wolff, and Willem Dafoe.
Directed by Josh Boone (“Stuck in Love”), from a screenplay by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber based on John Green’s number-one bestselling novel of the same name, the film was released by Fox in The Netherlands and Australia on June 5, 2014, and in the United States on June 6, 2014.
“The Fault in Our Stars” centers on Hazel and Gus — two extraordinary teenagers who share an acerbic wit, a disdain for the conventional, and a love that sweeps them — and us – on an unforgettable journey. Their relationship is all the more miraculous, given that they met and fell in love at a cancer support group. “The Fault in Our Stars” explores the funny, thrilling and tragic business of being alive and in love.
At several key points in the film Hazel lies in the grass and stares up at the starry night sky, created by Phosphene. The very first time we see the night sky is during the 20th Century Fox logo animation. Phosphene was assigned the task of tying the iconic logo with the theme of the film. “We came to Phosphene with the idea of incorporating the starry sky motif into the Fox logo. Phosphene did an amazing job of bringing the night sky to life in a way that really helps launch the story,” explained Josh Boone.
Phosphene’s primary visual effects work included the compositing of a prosthetic leg and stump for Gus. “From my first meeting with Josh, he and I talked about how real and naturalistic we wanted Gus’s leg to look. Phosphene was my first call. We decided early on to stay away from CG and to use the combination of an amputee double and a 2D approach.
Phosphene’s Lead Digital Artist Aaron Raff explained their process. “In order to replace the leg, we used camera projections and proxy geometry in NukeX to project the shape and textures of an amputee body double’s leg into the plate of Gus’s limb. Using this method, we were able to show Gus’s amputation in shots with dynamic camera moves, as well as in shots where the actor moved freely, shifting his position.”
Phosphene Effects Producer Ariela Rotenberg added, “It was an incredible opportunity to be a part of translating this beautiful book into film. Throughout the process, we took extreme care to remain true to the thematic and emotional tone of the story, particularly for our work on Gus’s leg, which is such an important plot point. We were very lucky that Josh Boone and his team came to us with such a specific and grounded vision, which allowed us to really focus on helping tell the story of these incredibly vivid characters.”
In addition to Bair, Connolly, Rotenberg and Raff, the Phosphene creative team included Visual Effects Producer Rebecca Dunn, Compositing Supervisor Scott Winston, and Digital Artists Tonya Smay, Luciano DiGeronimo, Tim van Horn and Tim Bowman.
Representing 20th Century Fox Studios were Director Josh Boone, VFX Supervisor Jake Braver, and Producer Wyck Godfrey.
Phosphene utilized NukeX and PCs running Windows 7 64 bit in the execution of this project.
Technicolor-PostWorks (Los Angeles, CA) was responsible for the digital intermediate and lab processing.
Phosphene is a New York-based independent design and visual effects house led by founders/co-owners John Bair and Vivian Connolly.
In 2010, Bair and Connolly launched Phosphene with visual effects for Barry Levinson’s “You Don’t Know Jack,” Phillip Noyce’s “Salt,” George Nolfi’s “The Adjustment Bureau,” Jodie Foster’s “The Beaver” and Brad Anderson’s “Vanishing on 7th Street.” Phosphene went on to design and execute elaborate CG environments for Brett Ratner’s action-comedy “Tower Heist,” Stephen Daldry’s two-time Academy Award nominated “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” and Jason Reitman’s “Young Adult.”
In 2012, Phosphene was a VFX partner on “The Bourne Legacy,” 2013 Golden Globe nominee “Hope Springs,” and Stephen Frears’ “Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight” before teaming up with director Sebastián Cordero to create over three hundred shots for the acclaimed science fiction thriller “Europa Report.”
In 2013, Phosphene partnered with Bill Condon and Dreamworks on “The Fifth Estate“ as well as with Alfonso Cuarón on the Warner Bros./NBC pilot “Believe.” In addition, Phosphene was a visual effects partner on Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine,” Ben Stiller’s “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” and John Turturro’s “Fading Gigolo.”
Phosphene received a Visual Effects Society Award and an Emmy nomination for their work on “Boardwalk Empire.” And in addition to their Emmy-nominated work for Todd Haynes’ HBO miniseries “Mildred Pierce,” Phosphene was the VFX partner on all four seasons of “Treme,” NBC’s “30 Rock,” ABC’s “Pan Am,” CBS’s “Blue Bloods” and FX’s “The Americans.” Phosphene recently wrapped up Cary Fukunaga’s “True Detective” and Ryan Murphy’s “The Normal Heart” for HBO. In a departure from their television and film work, Phosphene designed and animated a six-minute projection for the Broadway production of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.”
Phosphene is currently working on Bennett Miller’s “Foxcatcher,” Steven Soderbergh’s “The Knick,” and Tom McCarthy’s “The Cobbler.”