Rebel Moon: Part 2 -- The Scargiver

Rebel Moon — Part 2: The Scargiver

After the successful collaboration on Part One, Framestore rejoined Zack Snyder for the next chapter of his epic space opera, Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver. The team skillfully executed a wide array of VFX over 64 shots, tackling the intricate details of Nemesis’ mechanical hands and an intense sword fighting spectacle. 

Under the leadership of VFX Supervisor Bob Winter, Framestore’s team in Montreal overcame numerous compositing and VFX challenges, necessitating the development of custom tools to solve the complexity of elements and layers for slow-motion sequences.

Visual Effects Supervisor
Effects Simulation

Nemesis’ Robotic Arms and Energy Gauntlets

Nemesis is a skilled sword master with robotic arms and energy gauntlets that allow her to wield molten-metal weapons with astonishing finesse. For Part Two, Framestore’s team in Montreal was tasked with rendering her CG mechanical hands realistically, incorporating as much of the original costume design as possible. Their journey began on solid ground as the look development of Nemesis' mechanical hands and her blades was already established in Part One. The continuity of having many of the same artists work on both parts was extremely valuable.

‘Early in the process, we realised the importance of adaptability as we ventured into the complexities of integrating Nemesis's mechanical hands into various scenes. We found ourselves navigating through a spectrum of options for each shot, ranging from digitally replacing her entire hands to replacing only the green screen glove worn by the actress, with numerous variations in between. The methodology chosen had far-reaching implications across multiple departments, including tracking, paint and roto, lighting, compositing, and in some cases, CFX.’ explains Compositing Supervisor Jean-Baptiste Godin. 

A woman holding two plastic sticks as swords, she has greenscreen gloves covering her hands. There is a light shining from behind her.
A woman standing with two glowing swords and robotic hands, there is a light shining from behind her.

Unlike the night-time sequence from Part One, Nemesis’ hands in Part Two are featured in close-up shots during broad daylight. This shift presented unique challenges, especially for the paint and roto department. They faced the intricate task of painting the backside of parts covered by the green screen gloves while preserving the integrity of the background settings. ‘In instances where the digital hand geometry appeared thinner than the green screen glove, maintaining continuity with the background was particularly challenging. The team often undertook multiple paint tasks, evaluating different strategies to flexibly include or exclude parts of the costume.’ details Godin. 

The team's efforts culminated in a spectacular sequence featuring a monumental sword fight between Nemesis and Krypteian soldiers.

A woman with her arms covered in green screen material, holding plastic swords stand ins, they are clashing with other plastic swords coming from outside the frame.
A woman with robotic arms holding red glowing swords, they are clashing with other swords coming from outside the frame.

Slow Mo Sword Fights

In Part One, Nemesis finds herself clashing with the Harmada. However, in Part Two, the complexity of her fights escalated significantly as Nemesis faced up to five Krypteian soldiers, each wielding molten blades. This 1070-frame scene posed a considerable challenge, especially given the wide array of elements and layers to be integrated, as well as the myriad of FX accompanying each sword swing—sparks, steam, heat haze, trails, slag, and scorching—all in slow motion. "One of our biggest challenges was dealing with the complex speed ramps across various shots," notes VFX Supervisor Bob Winter. "These variable speed ramps necessitated innovative approaches and some modifications to our standard processes for generating FX elements. This allowed us to achieve accurate motion blur and enhance the overall visual fidelity of the scenes."

A group of people fighting with plastic stand ins for swords, they are jumping through the air and ducking close to the ground.
A group of people fighting with glowing swords, they are jumping through the air and ducking close to the ground.

Given the multitude of moving pieces and intricate details involved, any error or omission in the process could potentially alter the final outcome drastically. Precision and meticulous attention to detail were crucial at every phase of production to guarantee the sequence's success. "Given the extensive use of slow motion and the variety of FX layers in this sequence, we developed our own bespoke tool to adopt a more methodical approach," explains FX Supervisor Ruben Villoria Serrano. "This tool interprets all timing changes from the compositing team, allowing FX solvers to sync perfectly with the action. This custom-made tool not only helped speed up the process but also ensured consistency across all shots," adds Villoria Serrano.

Collaboration was key in achieving the sequence’s intricate visual harmony. The FX, lighting, and compositing departments worked closely, particularly on managing tracers and other dynamic elements. "This collaborative effort involved extensive back-and-forth communication to harmonize the various elements seamlessly. Achieving a consistent look throughout the sequence required meticulous planning and execution. We relied heavily on maintaining an updated comp template at all times, as the final look was predominantly crafted during the compositing stage," comments Godin.

A woman fighting two men with plastic stand ins for swords, they are in a dust-filled dilapidated buidling.
A woman fighting two men with glowing red swords, they are in a dust-filled dilapidated buidling.

Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver once again showcases Framestore's meticulous attention to detail and ability to adapt creatively to complex directorial visions. This project required intensive collaboration across various departments to maintain efficiency and artistic coherence.

Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver is now streaming on Netflix.

A group of people stood looking at an explosion happening at the top of a sand dune in the background, the people are holding guns.
A group of people stood looking at the top of a sand dune in the background, the people are holding guns.
A young woman stands in a field, the sun is setting, she balances a scythe over her shoulders

VFX Supervisor
Compositing Supervisor
Jean-Baptiste Godin
FX Supervisor
Ruben Villoria Serrano
VFX Producer
Perdita Carvil