yFX delivers cutting edge VFX and transforms Salman Khan’s Bharat

yFX delivers cutting edge VFX and transforms Salman Khan’s Bharat

yFx , a part of YRF Studios has a strong pool of talented VFX artists and has been churning out some amazing quality VFX for some of the big movies. Salman Khan’s Bharat is a recent example.

Salman Khan starring & Ali Zafar directed Bharat has been creating waves at the box office. The movie traces India's post-independence history from the perspective of a common man, and follows his life from the age of 18 to 70. The movie featured around 2500 VFX shots and the VFX has been a major highlight of the movie. The artists at yFX, a division of YRF Studios has created and executed the VFX for the movie.

yFX, visual effects facility at YRF Studios was started in 2016 by a core group of experienced, skilled and award-winning VFX supervisors, technical directors, and artists. The studio offers 3D asset build, animation, matte painting, compositing, and visual effects. The technology equipped at the studio include Maya, Houdini, Nuke, and Flame pipelines, with high-speed servers, and a large render farm.

yFX’s first major project was visual effects for the Salman Khan starrer Sultan - CGI virtual sets, crowd multiplication, both 3D and live, and digital prosthetics, formed a large portion of the over 2000 vfx shots delivered for Sultan.

Apart from delivering 3D animation and visual effects for the feature film, television and advertising industries, yFX has strong capabilities in the newly developing augmented (AR) and virtual reality (VR) areas as well.

Striking VFX sequences of Bharat

The circus scene with the Maut ka Kua (Wheel of Death) was a major VFX sequence of the film. There was a set put up for the circus interior with minimum dressing and a few people in the front stands. yFX team extended the set to give it scale and populated it with digital crowds. The circus exterior was digitally recreated. In the Wheel of Death sequence, a lot of the action was shot on a green screen. yFX recreated the Wheel of Death shot digitally; the speed of the wheel was correctly matched including the slight wobble that comes with an organic handmade mechanical setup. In fact, to recreate the movement with the slight imperfections of the orbit were the most difficult. All the cars were added in CG and Salman Khan was digitally inserted in post. yFX then used face replacement with 2-layer comps and a digital double where necessary.

The young Salman sequence was digitally reprofiled to de-age him. The team carefully chose videos and stills from his younger days that best portrayed the look they were trying to achieve. This was indeed a process in itself because in the span of the last 20 years,Salman has changed much back and forth. So the team did artist sketches and then built a 3D model of the young Salman. They then used this model as a template to modify his jawline, neck, cheeks, forehead, eyebrows, lips, nose, in fact everything on the face. For the skin texture the team removed superficial wrinkles, but there is a very distinct change in reflectivity on the skin when it loses the elasticity of youth. The team did some research and development on this as well; the subtle light shifts in fact on loose skin were removed and replaced with smooth diffused lighting to show youthful skin texture.

For the body there was just some chiselling work necessary around the midriff to be done. yFX did not do anything on the older looking Salman Khan as that was all done using prosthetics.

Complex CG Work

Another major sequence of the movie was the ‘storm at sea’ scene and that was done using CG. The ship scene was shot in Malta - on a cargo liner. yFX team re-created the ships in CG and did the water simulations for the storm. Additionally, the Wagah border scene was extended and built up in CG and people done digitally to populate it.

The VFX project of the movie was challenging and the team had to do 3 months of research and development on the 3D model to get it right. Another 2-3 months went into the preparation for the young look. After that the pipeline was pretty much set and then it was purely the execution.

The director Ali Zafar has been true collaborator on the VFX process. The director understood the process and was clear on what he required from the VFX. This made the development process smooth and efficient for the yFX team and gave them the latitude to experiment and try stuff.

yFX delivering quality VFX

yFX Studios has been synonymous with delivering quality VFX and the recent work done by them include Uri : The Surgical Strike and now Bharat. They have 3 major films lined up for the next 18 months and all of them are completely different. The challenge for the team is in usually adapting a pipeline to work this out - given the number of shots in a movie today. With the increasing complexity, it becomes imperative that the pipeline is robust to adapt itself to new technology. yFX is striving to be a studio that’s pretty much software agnostic, given the sheer diversity of what’s called for in each show.