Making a movie like Star Trek XI believable meant overcoming different challenges and being creative.
Visual Effects Supervisors Roger Guyett and Russell Earl explained some of what had to be done to create the magic for Star Trek XI.
“As a broad overview, I would say that the project had all sorts of different challenges because it had such a broad spectrum of work,” said Guyett. “Most specifically, we did a lot of stuff with virtual pyrotechnics to overcome the issues of doing pyrotechnics in space and dealing with non-terrestrial kind of gravities. And just the creative aspect of being able to place explosions in a movie like this does have that level of space battle, combat, and that was a lot of fun for us to do.”
The destruction of Vulcan was one of the elements of the movie on which the team had to work. “We knew we were going to have massive landscapes, we were going to be on the surface and then shots in space, where we were destroying full planets,” said Earl. “So we worked with some proprietary tools here, ‘Fracture’, that we used to break up the surface of the planet or the terrain based on gross sizes, and that could be run through our physical simulation engine to then break and destroy and emit secondary particles of dust and debris. So we had to figure out an efficient way to do that in a variety of scales.”