Meet Chennai-girl Arpita Venugopal who was part of a team that did the special effects for The Smurfs 2

The Portal, a magical doorway that leads the evil wizard Gargamel to Smurfland in The Smurfs 2, has an Indian connection. Chennai-girl Arpita Venugopal was part of a team of 15 from Sony Pictures Imageworks that has done the special effects for the movie.

Getting animated!

Arpita worked on shots in which the animated blue-coloured people interact with water. The Portal resembles a whirlpool. “We had to create effects to make water look as natural and photo-realistic as possible,” says Arpita in a telephone interview. “We created splashes for scenes in which the Smurfs stand in water; we used Physics-based simulation software,” she explains.

The special effects for The Smurfs 2 was done by teams from Sony Pictures Imageworks in Vancouver and Los Angeles. “We coordinated as a team and contributed to the effects,” adds Arpita. The 25-year-old has also worked on shots that deal with the creation of Smurfette, the beautiful female Smurf.

For Arpita, who did her Bachelors in Visual Communication at M.O.P. Vaishnav College for Women, The Smurfs 2 experience was “fun-filled” since all she had to do was deal with cute blue people who danced and sang, unlike her previous films where she had to work with fire and monsters.

Remember the adrenaline-packed scene in Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows — Part 2 where Harry, Ron and Hermione take on a raging fire in the Room of Requirement? Arpita had a role to play in the sequence too. She was also part of a team that worked on the “interaction between water and a giant sea creature that’s out to kill people on board a ship” in a movie from the Chronicles Of Narnia series. Then there was the ruthless “volcano monster” she worked on for Wrath Of The Titans. “It’s one of my favourites among the movies I worked for,” she says. “We created smoke and volcanic clouds for it.” She is also set to work for The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

Rewarding work

Arpita enjoys her job. For, it lets her re-create the elements of Nature. “It’s stressful work but when you watch the movie at the end of the day, you feel really good. It’s rewarding.”