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Behind the CGI Aliens and Levitating Jet Boots of 'Jupiter Ascending'

Channing Tatum's jet boots are roller blades minus the ramps.

by Beckett Mufson
Feb 9 2015, 5:30pm

A reptilian Sangorn.Images via

From spaceship controls to vibrant future cities, Framestore helped bring about 500 shots for the Wachowskis' latest sci-fi epic, Jupiter Ascending, to life. In a new blog post, the VFX house, who also created visuals for Guardians of the Galaxy and Edge of Tomorrow, walks through how they designed the film's antagonistic aliens, sweeping environments, and heart-pounding action scenes. 

For the Sargorn, a reptilian alien race that alternates between being articulate humanoids and raging beasts, Framestore had to animate characters who were just as recognizable on the attack as they were when behaving diplomatically. To facilitate dialogue through their lipless lizard faces, the animators had to develop a way for them to speak sideways from the corners of their mouths.

These aliens challenge Channing Tatum's Caine Wise in what the blog post says is one of the more impressive fight scenes in Jupiter Ascending. In order to capture Tatum's jet boots in the enclosed environment of primary antagonist Balem's boardroom, Framestore set up a modified halfpipe to capture the actor rollerblading up and down the ramps, and then removed the ramps in post production.

Genetically-engineered super soldier Caine Wise (Channing Tatum) fights a Sargon.

The above fight scene without Framestore's VFX.

Below, find more images of Jupiter Ascending from Framestore's share of the VFX work, including the floating world of the villain Titus' Clipper spaceship as well as of the film's fast-paced minefield space chase. Read the full blog post here for a more in-depth description of the VFX house's process.

A Sangorn attacks Caine Wise.

Animation model of a Sangorn attacking Caine Wise.

The Keepers are designed to be creepy, insect-like villains.

Titus' Clipper reqired a billion-polygon model.

The elaborate dock of Titus' Clipper.

Visit Framestore's website for more examples of their rich VFX artistry.

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