For The Wolverine, the team created more than 260 visual effects shots, including a recreation of the World War II atomic bomb attack on Nagasaki, Japan. They also produced digital environments for a number of sequences, one being a scene set in a snow-covered Japanese village, and combat effects such as digital copies of Wolverine’s iconic claws for use in scenes involving challenging stunts.
For the atomic bomb attack, which occurs in an early flashback sequence, RSP artists worked from archival footage to create CG models of Nagasaki and the towering mushroom cloud produced by the bomb. They also created radioactive shockwaves, pyroclastic waves and debris elements for shots showing the destruction of the prisoner of war camp where Wolverine is held.
RSP built a detailed 3D model of the prisoner of war camp based on a location in Sydney, and then blew it apart as the radioactive shockwaves roll through. One of those waves carries Wolverine through the air. He lands in a stone well where he uses his body as a shield in saving the life of a Japanese soldier.
The Japanese Village scene, where Wolverine is attacked by an army of Ninjas, also required extensive visual effects enhancement. Live action was shot on a partial set built in a Sydney car park. RSP extended the set considerably with CG buildings, mountain ranges, and a digital version of a lab, sprinkled with snow. High, wide-angle views of the village are fully CG. Artists also created the torrent of arrows with ropes that are fired by ninjas at Wolverine in order to subdue and bind him.
Digital replacements for Wolverine’s claws were used in place of practical claws for scenes involving dangerous stunts. In those instances, actor Hugh Jackman wore stubs or tracking markers that served as guides for match-moving the digital claw assets.
Other items on RSP’s task list included adding wounds to Wolverine during some of his many fights, filling a bucket with a murky liquid that one of Wolverine’s adversaries uses to create poison arrows, and massive set extensions replacing iconic Sydney landmarks with iconic Japanese structures. Artists also created a matte painting and environmental elements for a scene set in Canada’s Yukon as well as all shots of the Yashida lab.