If you watched the recent reboot of The Jungle Book, you obviously would have noticed all that flora and fauna. Well, in case you didn’t know, a lot of that wasn’t even real. That’s how far CGI has evolved. However, what’s particularly interesting about the plant and animal life in the movie was that everything seemed so intricate. A bit too intricate some might say. Even those in the VFX industry were quite surprised.
Well, it turns out that the makers of the movie were hiding a little secret. The reason why things were so realistic in the movie is that the makers used something called Quixel’s Megascans. Megascans is an online repository of real-world, physical material scans numbering in the thousands. In other words, it is a material library that provides detailed scans of plant life and vegetation.
Megascans was started by Teddy Bergman, a system engineer by profession. Teddy set out to create Megascans to provide a library containing high-quality source materials that would be apt for today’s VFX and CGI requirements.
Typically, special effects artists are required to create their own source material through methods such as painting, photography, custom scanning, and even sculpting. Megascans aims to simplify this aspect of the artist’s job by serving as a one-stop shop for standardized, high-quality, highly realistic, and physically-based source material.
The scans are also produced in a manner that allows for customization and quicker integration.
Megascans is a perfect example of how far VFX has come and the path it is likely to take in the next decade or so. Sooner or later, creating even more lifelike experiences on the screen will be easier than ever.