DIVE produced 105 visual effects shots in the highly anticipated DreamWorks release "I Am Number Four." DIVE worked with Visual Effects Supervisor Greg McMurray to enhance the main character's otherworldly powers showcased in the film. One of DIVE's challenges was in creating a technique to demonstrate the power of "Lumen" and how it transfers to the tools the main character touches.
DIVE established Lumen's blue glow by combining an enhanced and lengthened motion blur with the original gleam from an LED crystal embedded in a sword. The team then manually tracked both the tip and bottom of this crystal in each shot due to the speed of the blades and the lighting in the shots.
"We created a tool to give us the streaks and enhanced motion blur coming off of the crystal during the fast fighting," said DIVE Sequence Lead Jeremy Fernsler. "We then controlled the length and fade of the streak. This tool also made it easier to tweak the motion curve from the track and allowed us to make the streaks follow the flow of the sword strikes during the battle. A final color correct and glow pass tied the enhancements together."
"I Am Number Four" also highlights DIVE's work in Paint. While camera projections were used to aid the larger plate restoration areas, some trickier techniques were employed when Number Four dives from a cliff over a waterfall. In this scene, the actor's wires were both behind thin strands of hair and in front of a pool of rippling water making for a tricky paint fix.
DIVE used hand frame-to-frame paint to blend out the wires above the flowing water and to remove cable shadows above the actor's clothes without destroying environmental shadows. The end result was then combined with projected patches for the final output.
Additional intricacies involved harness removal from Number Four. The DIVE creative team used a combination of hand paint with tracked filters and color corrections to clean the rippling shadows and visible harness dents on the actor's body while still retaining the natural effects needed to represent the character's movement within the scene.
One of DIVE's other tasks included removing the film's set items, which occasionally occluded actors' features. In one instance a rig was left on an actor, covering a large percentage of his hands. The DIVE team meticulously worked on individual frame paint and color corrections to correctly match the actor's skin flesh tones and to address sensitive light gradients.
"I Am Number 4 was a great project to showcase a wide variety of DIVE's visual effects skills," said DIVE's VFX Supervisor Ed Mendez. "Our team used a range of techniques in addition to adding blue glows to weapons, removing wires and augmenting actor's hands. We also removed green screens, tracked in mirror reflections, added a sign to a building and red eyes to the Mogs, as well as added exploding glass and blood. 'I Am Number 4' was a fun and challenging project and our team did an exceptional job on this show."