We’ve all watched a lot of Netflix over the last year from rewatching Stranger Things to the newest season of The Crown to binging The Queen’s Gambit. Netflix Originals have helped us get through, allowed us to escape into worlds of stunning originality, and captured our collective imagination, which is why Boris FX is thrilled to share that one of our products, Boris FX Silhouette, is now part of the Netflix Production Technology Alliance.
Silhouette’s participation in the Netflix Production Technology Alliance represents a stamp of approval from the award-winning content platform and production studio. It also highlights the major role rotoscoping and digital paint have in post-production workflows as overall production values soar. Artists working in roto and paint departments are essential in creating the VFX-heavy content audiences have come to expect. Think sci-fi explosions, fantastical backgrounds, and subtle invisible retouching in historical dramas.
Visual effects artists and post facilities working on Netflix Originals can now rest easy knowing that Boris FX Silhouette officially meets Netflix’s technical and delivery specifications and will do so in the future. The groundbreaking rotoscoping, non-destructive digital paint and compositing standalone application is only the third product to join the Netflix Production Technology Alliance under the “VFX” category — marking a new chapter in the product’s storied history.
Silhouette has been the top choice of rotoscope, high-end digital paint, and VFX feature film artists since it first burst onto the scene thanks to Weta Digital’s rotoscoping work on King Kong. Artists have turned to Silhouette on Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters as well as highly-acclaimed television shows. Silhouette’s impact on the world of film and television has been so significant that it was recognized with both an Academy and Emmy Award in Technical Achievement in 2019.
Silhouette’s latest release 2020 continues to innovate with integrated Academy Award-winning Mocha planar tracking (previously a paid option), new advanced roto tools, new paintbrushes, and a detail separation workflow for even easier retouching.
Marco Paolini, Silhouette’s Product Designer/Manager, reflects on its conception back in 2004. “Before Silhouette, rotoscoping and paint typically had been an afterthought included as components within visual effects compositing systems. A comprehensive dedicated tool did not exist at the time,” notes Paolini. “Silhouette changed all that with a rotoscoping and paint system built from the ground up with advanced manual tools and semi-automatic features. We created a tool that, as visual effects artists, we would want to use ourselves — a tool good enough to handle the toughest of shots.”
Artists working on Netflix Originals like The Umbrella Academy, Stranger Things, Project Power, The Punisher, and Black Mirror rely on Silhouette.
Framestore used Silhouette and Mocha Pro for roto, tracking, and paint on these shots from Project Power. (Courtesy of Netflix)
Framestore, the renowned UK-based visual effects studio, recently used Silhouette on Project Power (starring Jamie Foxx and Joseph Gordon-Levitt) to help build many complex behind-the-scenes invisible effects to lay the groundwork for stunningly explosive visuals.
“Silhouette is an indispensable tool for our roto and paint team. We used Silhouette on Project Power (and integrated Mocha tracking) extensively to remove stunt wires and LED lights where necessary, reconstruct sets digitally, and clean up practical footage for CG replacement,” says Josh Barham, Lead Paint & Roto Artist, Framestore. “Silhouette is our go-to tool for challenging paint work.”
BOT VFX, based in India, also relies heavily on Silhouette and used it to tackle rotoscoping and paint work on season three of the megahit Stranger Things.
BOT VFX used Silhouette to isolate the actors on this shot from Stranger Things - Season 3. (Courtesy of Netflix)
“This seemingly simple shot required a lot of roto and paint artistry due to water reflections and lighting,” states Hitesh Shah, CEO & Founder, BOT VFX. “For the past 12 years, BOT VFX has come to rely on Silhouette for all of our roto and much of our paint tasks. But in this particular shot, Silhouette’s node-based workflow and compositing tools were also a huge help to the creative process.”
Congrats to Silhouette and thank you to the Netflix Production Technology Alliance! We can’t wait to show you what’s coming up in the Silhouette 2021 release.