Matt Damon holds an enormous yellow rose bloom


Filmmaker Alexander Payne (Sideways) puts climate change, mobility and immigration under the microscope in his feature film, Downsizing. Starring Matt Damon, the film sees scientists discover a method for shrinking people to pocket-size as part of a grand design to limit humanity’s footprint and save the world. Soon, a thriving parallel ‘small’ economy has evolved, complete with lifestyle choices and luxury communities. Framestore was thrilled to be part of the challenge to create this miniature world.

Visual Effects Supervisor

VFX Supervisor Stephane Nazé led the work with a team of 40 artists in Framestore’s Montréal facility, contributing to over 110 shots of VFX work in post production. ‘Alexander and Jamie (E. Price, Production VFX Supervisor) were clear from the very beginning that any effects had to be “transparent”’, explains Nazé. ‘They were there to support the story, but secondary to the acting.’

actor christopher waltz as dusan mirkovic standing in a living room pointing as a vase that has a giant yellow rose bud in it

Framestore’s main challenge was to work within the length of the shots; at an average of 400 frames per shot. The work included building the external environment of ‘Leisureland’, the miniature world Paul (Matt Damon) moves to, as seen from Dusan’s (Christoph Waltz) apartment. The team crafted CG boats, which had to react with the water in the marina whilst keeping to the sense of scale needed to make the miniature world believable. ‘We ran a lot of tests to define the scale and reaction of the water,’ explains Nazé. ‘The difficulty was finding the correct adjustment between the movement and the frequency of the water, so that we didn’t break the balance between those two worlds: the human and the miniature.’ The team decided to replace the water shot at the marina on location with CG water, to art direct the waves and then add the 2D details of crowd and vehicles in Leisureland. ‘Most of our shots were based in the evening light’, says Nazé, ‘so it helped to find compositing solutions.’

side view of actor christopher waltz as dusan mirkovic and actor matt damn as paul safranek standing in front of a green screen
actor christopher waltz as dusan mirkovic and actor matt damon as paul safranek standing by a balcony in front of a marina full of boats and ships as a city twinkles in the background during nighttime

The team was also required to build a large CG rose, which the characters hold and carry. A real rose was scanned to capture the intricate detail of the petals. The lighting team had to ‘art direct’ most of the shots to achieve the look of the ‘perfect’ rose. ‘The goal was to catch the maximum of iridescence’, explains Nazé. ‘We boosted it in part, for example by adding more light shining in from the back.’

animation process of actor matt damon as paul safranek holding a giant rose bud
actor matt damon as paul safranek holding a giant yellow rose bud as he is walking down a building hallway

Downsizing’s storyline brought a unique but fun visual challenge to the VFX team, especially when working with such an acclaimed storyteller as Payne. ‘The best thing about the project was being able to collaborate with the client’, adds Nazé. ‘The post production on a film is always a big adventure, but our client was very supportive and as a result, the work came out great.’


Alexander Payne
VFX Supervisor (Client)
James E. Price
VFX Supervisor
VFX Producer
Sebastien Racine