CROSSING STREAMS: A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO THE VFX OF ‘GHOSTBUSTERS’

Sony Pictures Imageworks ‘aint afraid of no ghost, in fact, the visual effects studio made a whole bunch of ’em for Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters. And now you can too with these step by step guidelines from visual effects supervisor Daniel Kramer into how Imageworks used its strong VFX artistry and technical might to make a myriad of ghostly scenes for the reboot of the classic franchise.

Creating Slimer: A 5 Step Guide

Step 1

A full maquette was built by Rick Lazzarini and used on set as a stand-in. Pete Travers had the practical character draped in green LED lights to cast interactive light into the scene and on the ghostbusters.

Step 2

For our cg version we researched the first 2 movies and found there is a lot of variety in the look of Slimer, or Onionhead as they called him, with many special purpose models sculpted for different types of actions. The production art department provided us a ZBrush model (a model sculpted in cg) as a starting place and we incorporated more features from the original movies, and from the current maquette, to arrive at the final design sculpted by our lead modeler Eric Neil.

Step 3

As part of our build our texture artist Chris Zammit sculpted extra displacement maps for wrinkles, tongue texture, and other skin imperfections in ZBrush and handled texture though Mari (a texturing program) and Photoshop. Our hair department also added peachfuzz and stray hairs for an extra level of detail.

Step 4

We added dripping slime and emanations courtesy of our fx department. Jason Williams, in look development, pulled it all together to dial the all the material properties: skin, slime, emanations, etc.

Step 5

The rigging and animation was supervised by our Animation Supervisor Sacha Kapijimpanga. We incorporated a new muscle and fat system by Ziva Dynamics (a plug-in to animation software Maya) into Slimer which added the right amount of jiggle and mass to his body.


For more step-by-step ghost guidelines, check out the original article on One Perfect Shot, including ‘How to Conjure a Ghost in 10 Easy Steps’ and ‘Proton Packs: Creating the Beam in 5 Steps or Less’.