Union VFX - The Theory of Everything

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Union Brings Extra Visual Dimension to Hawkings' Theories...of Everything

Union VFX were the sole visual effects vendor on The Theory of Everything, directed by James Marsh.

Union completed 160 shots in total, from design and pre-visualization to final execution with highlights including the end titles where a two minute journey through space was created flying past several nebulae created in Houdini then into a black hole and then through the nervous system of the body. 

Adam Gascoyne, lead visual effects supervisor and co-founder of Union VFX explained: ‘This is our first project with James Marsh and we worked very closely with him to develop a visual interpretation of Hawking’s theories. We tried to come up with a look and feel for the period and wanted the visions to be very subtle in keeping with the context of the film.’

The monitor which Hawking uses to communicate was also re-designed by Union in post and the timings of the text were adjusted for dramatic effect to make it clearer for the viewer.  Some crowd replication and car green screen work was also carried out. 

Union pride themselves on thier collaborative approach to developing and scoping the VFX possibilities during the development stage alongside the production team and director.  

‘Simple things like reversing the motion of cream being added to coffee using Houdini fluid simulations, the animation of embers flying out of the fire and the explosion of the pupil representing Hawking’s heat radiation theory added considerable visual impact to an already compelling story. Factoring the VFX into the development process rather than trying to 'fix it in post' is not only creatively more exciting, it gives production significantly more bang for their buck.’ added Gascoyne. 

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