After Glendyn Ivin’s Penguin Bloom, The adaptation of Bradley Trevor Greive and Cameron Bloom’s novel starring Naomi Watts, Andrew Lincoln and Jacki Weaver, reached the top spot in the aussie box office in recent weeks, ALT.VFX released a VFX breakdown of the work the company delivered for the film.
A Made Up Stories production, the film was released in cinemas in January 2021 by Roadshow Films here in Australia, and on Netflix worldwide (selected territories). The film follows Watts as Sam Bloom, a young Sydney woman who breaks her back after a balcony railing snaps and she falls head-first six metres onto concrete whilst holidaying with her family in Thailand in 2013.
After being diagnosed as a paraplegic, Bloom slipped into depression and hopelessness. Bloom’s son Noah finds a frail, injured magpie chick in their garden. By caring for the little bird, which the family named Penguin, for her black and white plumage, Bloom regained her strength and confidence.
The character of Penguin was a perfect combination of live-action, puppeteering and CG working in unison to achieve a seamless performance for every scene.
With over 200 vfx shots in the film, Alt’s work included a number of CG magpie shots for each stage of Penguin’s life (fledgling, adolescent & adult) all with their own model, texture and groom variants.
Alt’s VFX Supervisor Jason Hawkins, commented: “Working with Glendyn and the Made Up Stories team on Penguin was the most fulfilling project I’ve ever done. It’s not often that you connect with something on so many levels. Emotionally, aesthetically, and technically, this one ticked all the boxes – and it involved an amazingly collaborative team from pre-production all the way through to delivery in the midst of a global pandemic.”
“I loved the way Alt whole heartedly embraced Penguin Bloom. Their approach to building our CGI magpies and creating the sequences throughout the film was so wonderful to be a part of. But for me it was more than just their technical ability. It’s their creative energy and collaborative spirit that really sets them apart. Jay and the team at Alt took real pride and ownership of what they created, and you can see and feel this in the work on screen,” said Penguin Bloom Director, Glendyn Ivin. “We’re all incredibly proud of the work that the team has done here at Alt. For all the feathering, lighting and comp work, special mention has to be given to our head of animation, Chris Rentoul, and our animation team. The nuance and movement of Penguin’s performance is what allows our shots to sit in amongst the rest so naturally. Without that movement, the emotion and connection to the audience would be lost”