28 July 2014

Ex Machina

Director: Alex Garland
Production Company: DNA Films
Overall VFX Supervisor: Andrew Whitehurst
VFX Producers: Carrie Rishel and Fay McConkey
2D Supervisor: Paul Norris
CG Lead: Mark Ardington
Released: 22nd January 2015 UK / 10th April 2015 US




Ex Machina, an independent film made on a budget of just $15 million tells the story of Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson), a lonely 24 year old coder at the world’s largest internet company.

Caleb wins a competition to spend a week at a private mountain retreat belonging to Nathan (Oscar Isaac), the reclusive CEO of the company. But when he arrives at the remote location he finds that he will have to participate in a strange and fascinating experiment in which he must interact with Ava (Alicia Vikander) the world’s first true artificial intelligence, housed in the body of a beautiful robot girl.

Double Negative were tasked with the creation of the iconic Ava under the supervision of Overall and Dneg Supervisor Andrew Whitehurst.

Along with Milk VFX’s Sara Bennett, Dneg’s Andrew Whitehurst, Paul Norris and Mark Ardington won out over the likes of Star Wars, The Martian and Mad Max at the 2015 Academy Awards, taking home the Best VFX Oscar for their work on Ex Machina.

DNegTV's Paul Norris wins Best VFX Oscar for Ex Machina!

left to right:  Mark Ardington, Sara Bennett, Paul Norris and Andrew Whitehurst


Oscars: Ex Machina wins Best Visual Effects Award – Hollywood Reporter

More Human Than Human: Ex Machina’s Incredible Robot – The Verge

Why Ex Machina’s Visual Effects will Stun You in Their Simplicity – Tech Radar

The Making of Ava – FX Guide

Ex Machina VFX  – Cinefex

Alex Garland Interview – IndieWire

‘The reason they won was simple: Ava is a sinuously realistic creation with see-through limbs and a chrome-domed cranium that makes you completely believe in the artificial intelligence at the heart of the story. Double Negative had practically passed a Turing test’ Londonist

‘With the help of Double Negative’s laudable VFX, Ava is familiar, recalling Sonny in I-Robot and Bjork in Chris Cunningham’s All Is Full Of Love video, yet unique, with a glowing midriff power-core on display. Her heart, in a sense, is for all to see’ Empire Magazine

‘Blending balletic physical performance with Double Negative’s excellently rendered computer graphics, Vikander’s Ava beautifully blurs the line between “mecha” and “orga” (in the lexicon of Spielberg’s AI), inflecting the most natural gestures – a tilt of the head, a roll of the wrist, a flicker of a smile – with a hint of artifice, subtly accentuated by a whispered symphony of gyroscopic noise.’ The Guardian

‘The technical aspects are all top-notch, from production designer Mark Digby’s flawless work through to an evocative score from Geoff Barrow and Ben Salisbury, though special credit should go to visual effects supervisor Andrew Whitehurst for overseeing effects on the most subtle of sci-fi films. Ex Machina is an absorbing, thrilling and impressively performed film.’ Screen Daily

“Then it was a question of handing over to the VFX team run by the guy called Andrew Whitehurst, I’m not sure if I’ve ever met anyone smarter than Andrew Whitehurst. He’s kind of a genius but he’s also got a creative streak in him. Andrew took that and made it this very complex, very functional looking, but really quite beautiful rather elegant construction.” Alex Garland Interview for DIY