Making art out of science, using VFX.
Working to recreate the fictional Black Hole, Gargantua for Chris Nolan’s movie Interstellar, VFX Supervisor Paul Franklin worked with renowned Caltech theoretical physicist Kip Thorne as an executive producer and scientific consultant on the movie. His job was to visualise as closely and as accurately as possible the best view of the spectacle, not just as a bright light but as a true representation of the phenomenon. They were using simple geometry, 3D rendering and various layers of compositing.
With the recent groundbreaking release of the first real black hole photo, it appears Thorne and the Interstellar team favorably predicted the the world’s first look at the space phenomena. Astronomers captured the first image of a real black hole and made the image public on April 10.
The photograph shows a red-orange circle made out of dust and gas that forms the outline to the black hole, which is located 55 million light-years away from Earth in the Messier 87 galaxy.
This video from Veritasium gives the best description of why Thorne and those behind him, got it so right. Down further is a TED talk from Paul Franklin, who worked with Thorne to realise the effects which were so accurate.
Animations and simulations with English text: L. R. Weih & L. Rezzolla (Goethe University Frankfurt) https://youtu.be/jvftAadCFRI
Video of observation of M87 courtesy of: C. M. Fromm, Y. Mizuno & L. Rezzolla (Goethe University Frankfurt) https://youtu.be/meOKmzhTcIY