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How Ropes Almost Sunk “The Sea Beast”

THE SEA BEAST – Karl Urban as JACOB HOLLAND . Cr: Netflix © 2022

When you watch the new trailer for The Sea Beast, you’ll definitely see a lot of ropes. One thing you might not appreciate is just how hard those ropes were to create.

“The ropes in Moana were a real stumbling block,” says Chris Williams, who Co-Directed the film. “They were very challenging, just a handful of ropes.” When he wrote and prepared to direct The Sea Beast, he knew the challenge of ropes would come up yet again, This time on a much grander scale.

“When it came time to construct our ship for The Sea Beast, I thought how many of these ropes are we going to have to sacrifice for this to be possible,” Williams continues. Luckily he encountered a team at Imageworks ready to accept the challenge. “[They] were keen to say, ‘Let’s take it on. Let’s try to make this like a fully accurate ship and really rig it the way a ship would really be rigged.'”

That resulted in the creation of over 5,000 visible ropes on the sailing ship The Inevitable. “And that’s only the ones that are above deck,” confirms VFX Supervisor Stirling Duguid.

THE SEA BEAST – (Pictured) The Inevitable. Cr: Netflix © 2022

“Ropes are hard. Ropes are legitimately hard,” according to Head of Character Animation Joshua Beveridge. “The amount of complicated rope action in The Sea Beast demanded that we think of a whole new approach.”

If you’re wondering why ropes are so hard to create, it’s the unique way ropes move and encounter other objects. “They have these complex regions of slack that come and go. It piles up, it self-collides, it drags against objects around it,” continues Beveridge. The team completely overhauled its approach to ropes in order to address the challenges most effectively.

“It was incredibly liberating to be able to say, ‘What if?’ in a scene with a rope,” says Beveridge. “Ropes used to be miserable to animate, and now they’re almost fun.”

The Sea Beast premieres on Netflix on July 8, 2022.

About The Sea Beast

From Academy Award winning filmmaker Chris Williams (Moana, Big Hero Six), THE SEA BEAST takes us to where the map ends, and the true adventure begins. Starring Karl Urban, Zaris-Angel Hator, Jared Harris, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Dan Stevens and Kathy Burke.

In an era when terrifying beasts roamed the seas, monster hunters were celebrated heroes – and none were more beloved than the great Jacob Holland. But when young Maisie Brumble stows away on his fabled ship, he’s saddled with an unexpected ally. Together they embark on an epic journey into uncharted waters and make history.

As The Bunny Hops®