The Martian is a movie produced (VFX) by Framestore, THe Senate, Industrial Light and Magic, Territory Studio and MPC, leading companies within the VFX Industry.
By looking into NASA’s mar mission archives, the teams were able to collect the best references for the movie, and this helped them to get the best results when shooting for the film in Wadi Rum in Jordan.
The VFX Companies then changed the landscapes of Jordan, into the red planet and made it look more alien than just our home planet. The main component of this is the grading and colour correction seen in the majority of the breakdown clips.
The next component that was used a lot was adding the visor onto the front of the astronauts helmets.
The reason why they didnt include the visor on the actors helmets, is that it would reflect all the cameras and the area that they were filming in, and this would have been difficult and tedious to remove during the editing of the film.
During the VFX, these visors were extremely believable and integrated them into the environment , using highly realistic reflections, using tracking and rendering reflections within the CG Environment.
The filming on site in Jordan used high resolution photography, however extra rocks, craters, mountain ranges and a view of a distant Olympus Mons to create a greater landscape were all added within the CG landscape.
Although there isnt any wind on mars, Ridley Scott wanted to add more to the environment by adding fast ice and dust clouds, to create more of an atmosphere.
These effects were created using houdini and maya CG Fluid simulation, combined with pouring salt and dry ice.
‘We added light clouds to the surface, to echo the dust clouds; above that, we worked to create something that would add the depth we wanted, without importing the fluffy white variety we’re accustomed to on Earth’.
“Many of the plates we shot in Jordan were replaced in some way, except the very middle strip that were the amazing mountains,” adds Stammers. “In the background we’d add additional mountains that were even further scaled. Most notable is in the area of the Hab site where the main mission is taking place, there’s one really distant volcano which is a nod to Olympus Mons, Mars’ largest volcano at 59,000 feet. Ridley wanted something epic in the background to dwarf even the big mountains that are there at Wadi Rum. Then we added other ones that were half that size but much bigger than the ones present in our plate photography.”