We had the daunting task to resurrect the medieval city of Antwerp, 1521. The VFX crew started by taking a guided tour through Antwerp and discovering its many secret, historic locations. One of them being the extensive sewer system that still runs beneath the city's surface today.
Armed with this knowledge, the team started building a completely 3D, procedural CG Antwerp. See the R&D tab for more information.
Isotropix Clarisse was used to create a city that was divided in different quarters, ranging from poor to rich. Each quarter looked at specific folders containing assets that match the social status of that particular district. Everything from trees to street furniture was also added this way and all in the same 3D environment.
This technical animation how the build-up of the digital city: houses are first represented by coloured blocks (the colours represent social status) layed out on a map of the medieval city of Antwerp. These blocks are then replaced by more detailed assets of houses ranging from poor to rich. Finally, the city is dressed with trees, street furniture and digital extras.
3D procedural city
In one of the film's key scenes, Marieke tells Storm she often risks the perilous climb to the cathedral's tower, the city's highest point, to take in the breathtaking view and contemplate. To realise this scene, two actors were shot in a simple set piece in front of green screen. This footage was used in multiple shots in which we orbit the church and see the city below in all it's splendor.
Other shots involve matte paintings, and enriching shots with assets such as ships in harbors and removing anachronistic elements.
The old harbour of Antwerp
Boats and other elements were added to shots of the harbour to enrich the environment.
Scenes that were set more at street level also often required the help of CG to extend or replace the surrounding. In this case, a cable cam shot was extended by adding 3D houses, roofs and background elements.
3D set extensies
Visiting the old sewers
The sewers beneath the city's surface can still be visited (and toured by boat) to this day. For the film, the art department recreated part of the sewers in a studio in Luxembourg.
Antwerp, 1596. Storm Voeten, son of printer Klaas Voeten, becomes the target of a hunt by the Inquisition. Aided by Marieke, a mysterious girl living in the underground sewers of Antwerp, Storm is caught in a race against time to save his father from death.