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Tau Films created the animation and VFX for Primal (2019), an action adventure starring Nicolas Cage, Famke Janssen, and Kevin Durand. The film is directed by Nick Powell, and is currently in theaters and available on demand (Amazon Prime, YouTube, Google Play). Cage plays Frank Walsh, a big-game hunter who books passage on a Greek freighter with his bounty of exotic animals captured in the Amazon rainforest. The animals include a rare white jaguar, woolly-spider monkeys, and a tapir.

According to Walt Jones, VFX Supervisor at Tau Films, the animals were always a key component of the story. “With both the white jaguar and the woolly-spider monkeys, it was critical to have the CG animals blending seamlessly into the world of the film, giving Frank Walsh a reason to exist while keeping the tension and danger on the freighter high, as if something could attack at any moment,” said Jones. “We really wanted to give the audience a fun ride and play up the excitement that everyone expects from a Nicholas Cage film.”

Over the course of 8 months in post production, Tau Films delivered 141 shots for Primal. Getting the kinematics, anatomy, and physics right for the animals was key to the creature work. “We achieved lifelike results by using real-world dynamics in the CG world to produce realistic muscles and skin simulations,” said Bharat Sabharwal, Rigging Supervisor. “The requirement of the show was to create photo-realistic animals for some challenging shot directions and hero-character interactions.”

Primal was shot principally in Puerto Rico, while the animation and VFX work was completed at Tau Films VFX studios worldwide.

The Tau Films Lookdev, Lighting, FX, and Compositing teams had to recreate the dramatic lighting and the environment of the Amazon jungle as a CG rainforest, and create two versions of the CG jaguar — a regular jaguar and a blood-stained version — for the action-packed moments in the story. “What made the shots with the white jaguar exceptional is the intensity of the fight scenes — on the treetop, on the ground, and in the dense undergrowth of the forest,” quipped Jateen Thakkar, Compositing/Sequence Supervisor.

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About Tau Films, LLC
Tau Films is an international creative content and visual effects group formed by a diverse team of exceptional artists, technologists, and visionaries. We are known for creative solutions in an ever-changing landscape of story, media and content, and we service high-end feature film, theme parks, commercial, television, special venue, and museum clients in the global marketplace.

Pavleen Kaur
Media Relations
Tau Films, LLC
All images © 2019 Lionsgate Entertainment
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