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Have you ever fantasized about sculpting 10 billion polygons by hand? Probably not! In fact, it's likely that you didn't even think it was possible, but it's exactly what the artists working on Immortals accomplished.

Have you ever wondered about how to take the extreme levels of detail that can be sculpted in a ZBrush creature, yet have it move realistically on-screen in a special effects shot? The Thing had "horrifically beautiful" creatures and it was up to the artists to make them work in a way that was believable.

Image Engine was behind the special effects to make both of these scenarios a reality. In our interview with them, we see how ZBrush was a "must have" tool for both the environments in Immortals and for the creatures of The Thing. It is our pleasure to bring this double feature to you today!

Tell us a bit about Image Engine and its history.

Image Engine provides world-class visual effects for feature films. The company is based in Vancouver, BC and was formed back in 1995 to provide high-end visual effects for television. After accumulating numerous Emmy, Gemini and Visual Effects Society nominations and awards, Image Engine went on to seize the growing opportunities in feature film visual effects work. Its first feature film project was “Slither”, and since then the company has worked on high-profile productions including the Academy Award®-nominated “District 9”; “2012”; The Twilight Saga: Eclipse/Breaking Dawn Part 1”; “Immortals”; “The Thing” and “Battleship”.

Image Engine is considered to be highly specialized in creature/character work and digital environments. The company is currently working on “R.I.P.D.” (Universal Pictures, 2013) and Neill Blomkamp’s upcoming second feature “Elysium” (Media Rights Capital and Sony Pictures Entertainment, 2013), amongst others.

How long have you been using ZBrush in your projects? How many ZBrush artists do you have?

We started using ZBrush many years ago, back when we were working on TV projects including Stargate SG-1. Whilst it was used for many of our first feature film projects, including Slither, Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium and Incredible Hulk, District 9 was the first major show to exploit ZBrush’s potential.

We have seven licenses running currently, which means about 10 artists.

What are some of your previous works where ZBrush was used that we might recognize?

Incredible Hulk
District 9
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
The Thing


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