Why cloudy days are no good for the werewolves of ‘New Moon’

Nov. 26, 2009 | 12:21 a.m.

SCENE STEALER

Patrick Kevin Day spoke with effects legend Phil Tippett about creating the werewolf effects for “The Twilight Saga: New Moon,” (and no, we’re not talking about Taylor Lautner’s supernatural 16 pack). You can read his previous Scene Stealer interviews and Liesl Bradner’s Wizards of Hollywood series right here.

Newmoon-scene1

Darkness may be a visual effects artist’s best friend, but his biggest enemy isn’t bright sunlight — it’s the overcast day. So adding all those CG werewolves to scenes shot in cloudy Vancouver, Canada, was a particular challenge for “New Moon” visual effects supervisor Phil Tippett and his team. “On a sunny day, you get really nice contrasts, but with flat lighting and a furry thing — the fur really soaks up the light and everything appears flat,” Tippett said. “So to make it appear three-dimensional, we had to goose reality. We emphasized their shadows and used rim lights” to make the wolves stand out from the background. But that’s not the only way Tippett and company played with reality. When that wolf checks out Bella, it’s not a wolf’s eyes, it’s Jacob’s. “We brought Taylor [Lautner] in and had him haul his eyelids back as far as possible and shot close-ups.” They then added those eyes to the giant animated timber wolf used in the scene.

– Patrick Kevin Day

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“New Moon” Photo: Summit Entertainment / Phil Tippett Studios

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