Making Of: Final Fantasy XV Stand Together

A behind the scenes look

We hope you’ve all been gaming responsibly since the much anticipated release of Final Fantasy XV.

We’re stating the obvious when we say that many of us at Luma are big time fans. BIG TIME.

So, when we received the opportunity to work with Omelet and Square Enix to create the Stand Together trailer for the franchise, we kinda lost our marbles for a second there. For the spot, Luma worked closely with Director, Kasra Farahani, to bring the Iron Giant and the fight sequences into the real world.

Check out our breakdown of the first ever live action trailer for Final Fantasy XV!

We sat down with Luma VFX Supervisor, Kevin Souls, to get all the details behind creating this spot for Final Fantasy XV.

What was the collaboration with the director like?

Kasra and the team at Omelet were extremely collaborative. We started with just rough boards and worked together to refine and design the shots before they left for the shoot. A particular challenge was presented by the ending Fog Battle: Kasra wanted the shot to feel dreamy, almost abstract, but with direct calls to fight moves from the game. The final composite became a mixture of plate photography, Iron Giant renders, and real game footage of the characters generated for us directly by Square Enix.

What was the biggest challenge on this show?

The two biggest challenges we faced on the show was translating the fight sequences from the game into a photoreal vfx context and finding the balance for the animation of the Iron Giant. The fight sequence from the game is carefully designed but never seen at the detail and length as it would be presented in the commercial. Luma studied game footage and then progressed it by adding detail and complexity.

Can you tell us more about the creative process behind creating the Iron Giant?

The Iron Giant is a well established character from the Final Fantasy canon. However, it had never been seen in the photoreal live action realm. It was up to Luma to take the game asset and upgrade it, while keeping faithful to the spirit and history of the character within the game. At each step along the way, we would submit our changes to Square Enix for guidance and approval. The first thing we did was upgrade the sculpt by adding complex surface detail. Next, we redesigned the Iron Giant’s face by basing it off a samurai mask. His face isn’t clearly visible in the game, and we needed to show him screaming in Stand Together. Finally, we painted high resolution textures to add detail. We built all our shaders in Arnold, carefully dialing roughness and specular to create the dirt splattered battle worn beast.

Luma used HDR environment maps, acquired onset where the Giant would stand, to match each plate. The high resolution maps provided a photoreal level of fidelity, replicating the lighting and reflections. Layers of fog were added over the Iron Giant along with fx debris to tie him into the ground and the sometimes murky plates.

Take us through the design and creation of the Fog Battle.

The Fog Battle presented a unique challenge. Luma used an assortment of material ranging from plate photography to real game footage in order to capture the director’s dreamlike vision of the fog enshrouded final battle with the Iron Giant. As boarded, the shot was graphical in nature with the characters appearing as merely silhouettes against the cut out of forest trees. Luma would light and render the Iron Giant, but all the other characters came straight out of the game engine. Each character was delivered separately, edited, and composited into a coherent fight. The footage was then up-rezed and processed to smooth out transitions and add motion blur. Next, we animated the Iron Giant to interact with each move. All of this was then carefully layered into the plate, between the trees, and encased in fog. Godrays and FX were peppered throughout the shot to give a sense of depth and scale.