Guyett approaches pic much like animation
In “Star Trek,” vfx supervisor Roger Guyett needed to help the audience stay oriented in an adventure that jumped between planets, time periods, even parallel universes.
So he borrowed a technique from animation: a color map for the entire movie. Each digitally created locale, be it a planet or a region of space, was assigned its own hues and tones.
The approach was practical because many of the pic’s locales were entirely digital, just as in animation.
“When you’re completely inventing something, you have more control over those colors and tones and the way that you light those spaces,” Guyett says. When creating new locales with the color map, he could slot in a fresh keyframe and look at the map. “It really is clear whether (the locale) is confusing to the audience.”
Guyett also borrowed an idea from old Westerns. “When the guys ride out of the Western town they always ride left to right and they always ride back right to left.” Likewise, he says, “(When) the Enterprise would be going somewhere, it would always be traveling left to right, and return to Earth right to left. However silly that sounds, it really helps you understand what the ship is doing. Now combine that with traveling through different colors. You’re just supporting the story and people’s basic understanding of what’s going on.”