How much of Pacific Rim was born in Singapore?

It’s been slightly more than a month since Pacific Rim opened in Singapore, but it’s been hard to stop thinking of massive Kaiju on Jaeger action. The following little video featuring Pacific Rim director Guillermo Del Toro absolutely geeking out on seeing a life-size Gundam is also a joy to watch:

Some of you who have done some reading would’ve known that Del Toro originally wanted to set the Shatterdome in Singapore. Despite it being moved to Hong Kong (they do have crazier neon lights, but looking at Orchard Road I think we’re getting there), Singapore’s involvement in Pacific Rim didn’t dry up – the local ILM studio was involved in the creation of the film. To find out just how much, we had a quick email interview with one of their lead artists, Adam Lee. There’s a slight spoiler in there, but why not just catch the movie already?

Exactly how many shots from the movie were created by ILM Singapore? Any critical or memorable scenes?

ILM in Singapore was responsible for almost 200 shots including 155 full shots across 8 sequences. A full shot is when each department contributes (something) like layout, animation, creature simulation, effects, lighting, roto(scoping) and compositing.
A large portion of the work was on the ocean battle sequence, where Gypsy Danger and Striker Eureka deliver the Warhead underwater to the rift. ILM Singapore did the entire sequence defining the look, showing the Jagears from above to deep underwater. We have to balance the visibility underwater and at the same time, try to show the scale and action of the Jagears.

I understand several aspects of ILM Singapore were also involved, including the artists, production manager, production supervisor and even VFX Supervisor! How long was the team involved in the production? Did they get to work with their counterparts from overseas?

We started early development work on the show since April 2012 and finished it in June this year, so that was a total of 15 months. We work very closely with our counterparts from San Francisco since we are sharing the same pipeline, tools and technology.
There are bi-weekly meetings with the Supervisors at ILM to review our work. The artists in both locations are in close contact to share problems and solutions. In the early stage of production some of the Singapore artists were sent over to ILM SF to learn the tools and get to know the team over there better.

This is definitely not the first mega blockbuster that ILM Singapore has been involved in, but is this the biggest project so far? What were the challenges and lessons learnt from taking on such a massive task?

This is the biggest so far in terms of volume and level of complexity. Since we are taking on a new pipeline for Pacific Rim, there’s a lot of work trying to finish shots and learn the tools at the same time.

Other challenges includes managing the resources for both rendering and storage. The water simulations requires alot of disk space and the renders of the Jagears and Kaijus takes days. In total we consumed 148TB of storage space just in Singapore alone. Despite the difficulty of the shots and tight deadlines, I think all the artists truly enjoyed working on Pacific Rim.

What’s next for ILM Singapore? Are there any projects that will be 100% in house?

ILM Singapore will continue to work closely with ILM SF to create high standard visual effects for blockbuster movies. In addition, there are a couple of projects are primarily produced in Singapore but we haven’t announced them yet 🙂

And lastly, we have to ask… Any sneak previews or hints on the new Star Wars movies?

We are all really excited about the future Star Wars movies but unfortunately I can’t comment on this.

Awww … well, that’s that. Still, here’s a little bit of fanart by a local ILM artist that we can’t help but share.



The technological backbone of, Alvin’s machinist-nature also ensures that this blog remains alive when the unpredictable Murphy’s Law comes into effect.

Related Articles

One Comment

Here Be You Leaving Comments

Back to top button