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'Life of Pi': Bill Westenhofer discusses tiger special effects
For director Ang Lee's "Life of Pi," the story of a spiritual Indian boy stranded at sea with a tiger, Oscar-winning visual effects supervisor Bill Westenhofer, who is nominated for this year's Oscars, started with shots of actor Suraj Sharma alone on a lifeboat in a water tank against a blue screen. Working with 1,200 visual effects artists at several companies, he transformed this footage into the character of Pi Patel and a Bengal tiger on a vast, changeable sea. Rhythm & Hues, where Westenhofer works, conjured up most of the animals, seas and skies; other effects companies tackled everything from creating storm sequences and a sinking ship to making Sharma skinnier and Pondicherry, India, look like the 1970s.
By Cristy Lytal
January 17, 2013