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Design Studio Assignment 2012

Posted: April 17, 2012 in Uncategorized


Luma Pictures is a full service visual effects company; that is they don’t work predominantly on one type of effect but cover a broad range of areas. The company was founded 2002 by two men, Payam Shohadai and Jonathan Betuel, and is based in Santa Monica, California. The company’s film effects work debuted in 2003 with 65 visual effects shots Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle. Since then Luma has done visual effects work for several blockbuster films such as Thor, for which Luma provided around 300 visual effects shots, the Underworld series, Resident Evil: Extinction, Captain America, X-men Origins and No Country for Old Men. The studio generally works with other studios, distributing work over several specialized groups. However they did take the role as lead VFX provider for the film Underworld: Evolution, which is one of the largest pictures Luma has worked on. Most recently the company has done 106 visual effects shots for the film Underworld, Awakening. Luma is a company with several departments that work on various visual effects such as: CG characters and photo-realistic creature effects, water and environments, various character transformations, matte paintings and atmospheric effects.

Luma Pictures most commonly associates with a mixture of Horror, Action and Adventure films, with a few exceptions, such as The Dictator. All of the films that Luma has been involved in are quite intense visually, with a high number of special effects as well as basic color correcting and green screen work. All of their work is based around the movies and video industry, and is generally aimed at an older audience. Currently Luma is involved with visual effects work on several films including GI Joe: Retaliation, The Avengers, Prometheus and The Dictator. Along with their film work, Luma has also been involved with visual effects for several advertisements for Nissan, Toyota, Nike and Cadburys.

Luma Pictures uses a wide range of editing software, programs including Nuke digital compositing, Massive simulating software, Maya 3D, Realflow water effects, Pixologic painting software and Houdini 3D animation tools among others. Along with this software, Luma uses several different forms of hardware, such as predominately Mac. computers, motion capture equipment and stages and green screen stages.

The most recognisable post-production effect done by Luma is their work on lycan transformations in the Underworld series. This work draws from older films such as American Werewolf in London, The Wolfman and the like, while altering the atmosphere and nature of the transformations to produce a much tamer, controlled end result. As well as this Luma has produced several well-made creature effects for the movies The Cave and Battle Los Angeles, creating creatures and environments that act with and react realistically to the real actors in the films, Character effects on Thor and Underworld, including the creation of computer generated characters,  editing them into scenes. As well as this Luma have done some work on altering the appearance of the pre-existing characters in X-men First Class, and water effects and environments for the films City of Ember and Primeval. Luma has also worked on Storm and lighting effects for Thor and made fully computer generated environments for the film Nutcracker: The Untold Story. In addition to these effects, Luma Pictures has done several 3D colour matting and environment lighting effect for films like True Grit and some composition work on The Book of Eli.

I believe that Luma’s work has been so well received is that they appear to fit into the environment and it is not obvious that they are post-production effects. Because of this believability the audience’s immersion isn’t broken in the film, as with some others, and they accept the effects as the reality. The character transformations used in Underworld have become somewhat of a more modern benchmark for werewolf transformation, taking over from the slightly out-dated effects of older movies. The unique nature of the creatures animated by Luma, including the way they interact actors, has boosted the credentials of Luma, as the effects were very well received by the audience. Because of the large amount of positive feedback for their effects Luma continues to work on some large scale effects for their current projects.

Their work is all well done and has a very atmospheric and realistic feel; there are no elements that appear to be out of place in their web reel, and all the effects done are well connected with the world around them; such as the Lycan in Underworld or the large mechanical ‘Destroyer’ in Thor. The colour, environments and character work done by Luma Pictures all work together in film and the end result is generally visually appealing. I would eventually, whether this year or later on, be able to recreate some of the effects done by Luma, such as the character transformations and effects and the Colour and environment effects.



Luma Pictures Website. Accessed 29/03/2012


Luma Pictures Page on Wikipedia. Accessed 29/03/2012


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Posted: February 13, 2011 in Uncategorized

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