Interstellar VFX science explained

The Science Behind VES Award Winner Interstellar’s VFX: Black holes, tessaracts & 4,000 foot waves explained

Christopher Nolan’s recent Visual Effects Society award winner, Interstellar, was undoubtably one of the Hollywood highlights of 2014. With incredible VFX, a ‘do as much without green screen as possible’ approach, and a solid science base, Nolan created a believable, relatable story that was visually mesmerising.
VFX news site fxguide, posted an article detailing some of the key sequences that VFX studio Double Negative created. The article goes into great depth detailing how the studio implemented the research of Interstellar’s scientific advisor Kip Throne to create some unique scenes. If you’re at all into VFX, or quantum physics, then this article is definitely worth a read.


One of our favourite insights, on the topic of 4D/5D and higher dimensions within the tesseract scene – WARNING: Spoilers ahead – is as follows:

To understand the Dneg solution one has to understand the nature of higher dimensions. If an object is at rest – say a ball – to a flat table it is a dot. If the ball could move through the table – much like an apple being sliced thinly – the ball would appear as ever increasing bigger circles and then ever reducing circles until it passed all the way through the table. From the flat surface point of view the circle makes sense…and a circle is not a bad approximation to a ball when drawn on paper. This example moves from 3D to 2D. But how do we move to 4D and beyond? One theory that is common even in every day CGI is to think of the fourth dimension as time. Thus that same ball bouncing is only seen at one instant as a ball – but over time its path defines a tube. From a 4D view the ball is a tube and the sphere we know is just a 3D slice of that 4D world. Now there is some question over time as the fourth dimension, but if we assume it is, then the 5th dimension is the stuff in the bulk, the stuff outside our universe.


For the full article, click here.