Following Animal Logic’s successful collaboration with Baz Luhrmann on 'Moulin Rouge!' and 'Chanel No. 5 – the film', Animal Logic joined forces once again with the visionary director to create VFX for the romantic and historical epic 'Australia'. Tracing the spiritual, personal and emotional transformation of English aristocrat Lady Sarah Ashley (Nicole Kidman) during her journey with Aussie cattleman The Drover (Hugh Jackman) and Aboriginal half-caste Nullah (Brandon Walters), Australia explores the majesty and freedom of the great outback against the backdrop of a racially divided 1930s Darwin.
As the lead VFX company, Animal Logic was awarded the task of designing and creating the key VFX shots that take place within the port town of Darwin. This entailed creating a CG Darwin, complete with harbour, wharf and ships that had to be re-dressed across the three different time periods seen in the film: ‘Cattletown’, ‘Militarised’, and ‘Post-bombed’. The Animal Logic team brought to life a CG Wharf modelled from lidar scans of Darwin wharf as well as various larger-than-life ships, creating the 'heightened reality' of a romanticised Darwin.
Referencing colour palettes from vintage photographs and classic epic films, the splendorous 1930s landscape provided an exciting canvas for the wide aerial shots and set extensions created. In addition, CG cattle were added to boost the numbers in the cattle yards, the cattle race and during the “triumphant return” when Sarah droves the cattle into Darwin. These shots involved the combination of multiple plates shot across three locations: the cattle town set in Bowen, Darwin harbour, and the bluescreen wharf set built on a stage in Sydney. The CG FX work includes the harbour water, huge burning smoke plumes, burning oil tanks, funnel smoke, fog, clouds, wakes, flames, atmos and cattle dust.