scene from Black Panther

This new Black Panther VFX vid shows basically nothing in Wakanda is real

Contributed by
Jun 7, 2018

With its breathtaking cliffs and waterfalls, Black Panther's fictional nation of Wakanda would be a travel brochure waiting to happen if it actually existed — but the only world in which these natural wonders do exist is the digital one.

You would think the only virtual part of that scene where T’Challa’s Bugatti spaceship soars through a sheer canyon is the ship itself (because we just aren’t as technologically advanced as the Wakandans yet). The ship was built by a computer, but a mind-blowing effects reel from Scanline VFX reveals that the rest of the landscape is no more tangible than that piece of futuretech. You read that right. There is absolutely nothing there that is real.

Just as the icy wastes beyond the Wall in Game of Thrones are really digital magic, so are the parts of Wakanda that take you on a space-age getaway. The Bugatti and those majestic cliffs start off as uncolored 3D renderings against a black background. Not too convincing yet. Then you start to see the transformation from incredibly textured prototypes to actual rock cliffs and crashing waterfalls, with multiple overlays of light and shadow making them appear more and more photorealistic.

So what about those intense fight scenes? T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) and M’Baku (Winston Duke) are actually facing off on an outdoor studio set. While there is a 3D textured background behind the combatants, and they really are on a flooded platform sculpted to look as much like layers of rock as possible, that's nothing compared to what Scanline transforms it into. The behind-the-scenes equipment that ruined the view two seconds ago becomes an entire rocky wall with thrice as many onlookers.

When the combat actually happens, not only is the camera equipment in front of the stage covered in more dimensional cliffs and waterfalls, but the lighting and the water on the platform are digitally enhanced to make the scene even more epic.

Watch the digital evolution of Wakanda and let yourself believe everything you see.

(via io9)