Three Body Problem

Feature film

Based on the famous novel "三体". Visual development for 9 months. Cancelled

VFX Supervisor

the Premise

To continue development of a project many years in the making. To use existing footage as much as possible and to keep the vfx work going.


By the time I arrived as the new vfx supervisor there had already been an initial shoot, and a second one for pickups and fixes. This had been a couple of years earlier. To my eyes it still had a lot of problems, both lighting and camera.

My concept of the judgement building on the alien world

They were also already on their way with the vfx with that footage. After understanding the story better I set about talking with all 7 of the studios working on the shots. Some we would have to completely redo as they had for some reason strayed from the beautiful production illustrations. Other sequences were looking fantastic and I only had to add some notes.

There were in fact hundreds of concept illustrations done, most very interesting and beautiful. It was to be a very exciting project with scifi concepts never seen before.

They brought in a director who I worked closely with and I hired a storyboard artist. Between us we came up with some new ideas while he also was rewriting the story with a small directing team and the producing team.

an angle of my previs for the human computer
The book mentions a moon with remnants of earlier civilizations. I extrapolated that there could be many 'chunks' in very low orbit flying overhead.
The director wanted to see the shipyard in the new script so I created a concept.

The producers felt the mountains and forests rendered for the first reel were not real enough and suggested we shoot on location. The director suggested the mountains near Vancouver, so I took a trip there to fly around and identify a mountain for the secret base. It had certain requirements of being the right size, some flatness on top, and a good view. I identified the likely candidate and we took a helicopter up to check it out.

When I returned to Beijing I had a series of previz shots created from real height data. One of those is this one.

reveal of the base

After a few months that director was asked to leave, I have no idea why. A month later there was yet another director. He also wanted to rewrite the story. All this time I was doing previz of the vfx heavy sequences we knew we wanted to keep, which was most of them. Then, a few months later I was layed off as well as several others due to budget concerns. Some weeks later the project was shut down. Perhaps it will be brought back to life some day, it's a very valuable IP after all.

I wish I could show more but I'm not sure what state of ownership there is for the content.

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