Call Of Duty – Epic Night Out

  • Director: James Mangold
  • Production Company: Aero Films
  • Agency: 72 & Sunny
  • Task: FX-TD

At the end of 2013 I worked on the trailer for the popular computer game franchise “Call of Duty – Ghosts”. I was tasked with creating the FX work in the Caracas cityscape sequence. This consisted of creating a photo-real firework system, which could be deployed into the majority of the shots in the sequence, blowing up a drone as Megan Fox shoots it out of the sky and causing a building, which our hero characters are abseiling down, to explode upon being hit by a missile.

The amount of work that went into this spot was mind blowing. There ended up being CG in practically every shot, from matte paintings and FX to full CG characters. I had a couple of weeks to come up with a firework system which could be rolled out across a number of shots and I decided that Houdini was the tool for the job. I created a firework digital asset that allowed quick prototyping of different common firework types. I also created a number of presets and FX caches for the most popular fireworks and from these we were able to quickly populate shots.

For the drone explosion and building explosion, I used Houdini’s powerful fluid simulation and rigid body dynamics tools to create the main explosions, dust rings, debris and sparks. I created multiple layers of dust and debris as well as interactive smoke lighting passes which were combined in compositing to produce the final shot. All of the FX elements were rendered in Mantra and the building was rendered using Arnold in Maya.

Above is a video showing a breakdown of the massive amount of work that went into the commercial.