Taylor Swift’s 'Look what you make me do' music video was nominated for MTV Video Music Award for Best Visual Effects this year. It got the most views in its first 24 hours of release, more than any other music video on Youtube. The quantity and quality of the VFX in the music video is magnificent, which were provided and created by Ingenuity Studios, a Music Video factory.
THE FIRST SCENE
The very first scene is the graveyard scene. The first landscape scene from the sky with tomb lining up as “TS” is a fully CG scene.
Everything in that scene is done in their CG department, they also added birds and wolves to make the scene more alive. Other shots in this scene were shot in a green screen graveyard and composited onto CG background.
They also did some work to make Taylor more like a zombie, like darkening the eye areas and pushing the cheeks in.
Wen Qian was the lead of the sequence Bathroom. “ Working on this sequence is like playing a mirror game.” Said Wen Qian. She indicated that all the mirror in the scene reflects the crew members.
They create a CG bathroom scene with a lot of chandeliers and put those into the mirror. And also, They duplicated the things in the bathroom in the reflection to add more depth to the scene. Before the scene move to the throne scene, there is a shot that all the mirrors flipped over.
The CG team created everything in the bathroom including a CG Taylor, so when the mirror turns the reflection has everything in it.
In the throne scene, all the snakes are created by FX and Animation Artists. Even the teacup and tea pod are fully CG.
And the throne was real and on the set. Except for the throne, the backdrop of the throne and a couple columns, Ingenuity Studios create a big CG palace look scene for this sequence.
THE CHALLENGEBLE SCENES
The Car Crash scene has a lot of CG too. And also the compositors used deep comp to layer the depth between Taylor and the floating CG glass pieces. There are also CG explosion, CG cars and a green screen leopard in that scene.
And in the plastic Barbie dolls scene, the 2D and 3D artists in Ingenuity Studios combined 3D renders and 2D assets to get a perfect doll look for each girl, and also used After Effects to get some passes to adjust the specular and shadows of the girls/dolls.
In the Taylor Mountain scene, there are not only real Taylors, girls dressed like Taylor and also CG Taylors. The artists combined all of them together to create a huge Taylor mountain.
In the airplane scene, The director and artists designed the whole scene which was shot in a green screen on a piece of plane wing. And the compositors added all the Taylors into the scene.
The cage scene , the dancers scene, Motocycle scene and the Bank scene are also full of VFX. For example, Wen Qian worked on the Bank scene a lot. She added those bullet hits and holes onto the wall. And there are also a lot of other elements were done by CG and added to the scene which people might not notice. There are CG money, CG Bank machines, some of the elements are created in 2D as well. In the Motocycle scene, the 3D artists added the CG money/coins falling from two CG motocycles.
According to Wen, the supervisors and the lead artists kept improving each shot to get every shot a high-quality artistic look. Building on her experience as a graphic designer in her native country of China, Ms. Wen relocated to the United States to pursue her Master of Fine Arts in Animation, Interactive Technology, Video Graphics and Special Effects at the Art Academy in San Francisco, California.
Now, as a prominent Visual Effects Artist, she has contributed to some of the most well-known productions in the nation, such as “Modern Family”, “VEEP”, and “Blackish”; programs that are not only hailed by the general public, but critically acclaimed as some of the most outstanding in the industry, as demonstrated by the Primetime Emmy, Golden Globe, and other notable awards these shows have received. Ms. Wen has also worked on the music videos of many famous artists including Maroon 5’s “What Lovers Do”, Imagine Dragon’s “Thunder”, and several of multi-award-winning Grammy artist Taylor Swift’s immensely popular music videos such as “Are You Ready for It”, Delicate”, and “End Game”.
Over all, this music video Look What You Made Me Do really deserves a nomination for MTV Video Music Award for Best Visual Effects. And the artists in Ingenuity Studio made a lot of effort on this music video. Ms. Wen and her team and all her co-workers from Ingenuity Studios are so proud about this nomination.
Recently, Wen worked on a lot other TV shows, movies, and music videos. She has to lead the VFX work for Shawn Mendes’s newest music video “ Lost in Japan”.
As a spin-off of “ Black-ish”, “Grown-ish” (might be known as “College-ish”) received a lot of compliments during 2018. And Freeform has booked a second season with 20 episodes (compare to 13 episodes in Season 1). Wen has been the VFX show lead since the very first episode of Grown-ish season 1. In the show, there was a sequence of shots, needed to be added in a car for consistency, and make it look like the guy in the shot was standing by the car or lean on the car. Wen set up the look and polished it. The result turned out very successful. It looks like the car was there in the first place.