Ex Machina VFX breakdown and concept art

Ex Machina VFX breakdown and concept art

Ex Machina won the Oscar statuette for the Best Visual Effects in the 88th Academy Awards. Let's have a closer look at the art and stunning VFX of Ex Machina.

The comic book artist Mark Simpson, formally known as Jock, worked on the concept art for Ava and put together ideas of what she may look like. It was all about less robotics and more of an evolved machine. Jock says that in the early stages Ava started out with a figure much closer to human, with internal lights and a few subtle oddities in the joints, but the director pushed for a far more robotic look.

Alex Garland, writer and director, came up with the idea of the mesh that would cover her entire body. These are the words of Jock:

"In certain light, she'd look entirely mechanical, with her midriff and limbs missing — almost a typical 'robot' — but the light would catch the mesh as she turned, or in certain light would reveal a beautiful female form. I think it works incredibly well in the film — she looks completely seductive but entirely mechanical. This is obviously underpinned by Alicia's amazing performance and Double Negative's entirely convincing VFX."

Watch more images of Ava's concept art and VFX in the gallery below. 


The live action performance was augmented to add in robotic elements to various body parts of the actress, Alicia Vikander. She was wearing a tight suit and a prostetic to become Ava which became a challenge for the VFX to be even more seamless. The VFX supervisor, Andrew Whitehurst talks about this in an interview with fxguide:

"The costume Alicia wore was carefully tailored by Sammy Sheldon-Differ so that areas we knew would remain in camera had the most work done to hide the seams and get a perfect fit. Areas such as the torso, which would always be CG, had more flexibility to not be so perfect. That said we did a fair amount of work in taking out large wrinkles in the costume, especially around the armpits in some shots. It was a similar story with the prosthetics on Alicia's face. They looked great but at the extremes of movement, head turns etc, we would get unsightly creases that required paint clean up in post."

Here is the VFX breakdown full video by fxguide. You can also watch the video in the player below in which Alex Garland and Andrew Whitehurst talk about the making of Ava.


Published on: February 2016
More about this Movie
Ex Machina
Ex Machina
Release date: January 21st 2015

Directed by Alex Garland

Produced by Andrew Macdonald, Allon Reich

Written by Alex Garland

Starring Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander,Oscar Isaac

Caleb Smith (Domhnall Gleeson) a programmer at a huge Internet company, wins a contest that enables him to spend a week at the private estate of Nathan Bateman (Oscar Isaac), his firm's brilliant CEO....