This shot began with some pre-dawn helicopter footage that slowly panned across the San Francisco skyline, showing the city losing power. I stabilized and degrained the footage, and created a few key frames on which to build my single, large painting. The city's lights were hardly visible in the footage.
To animate from lights to no-lights, I had to paint out all the lights of the city, which took a while. Then, I had to repaint every single light on the skyline as a separate layer (to animate later). Even after repainting the entirety of San Francisco's lit skyline, it wasn't visually impressive nor dramatic enough. So I basically tripled the amount of buildings and lights that are actually on the skyline. I think the original idea was to replicate the pan but starting tight on the hangar (the cause of the energy drain) then zooming out to show the skyline seemed like a better idea. I added a lot of heat lightning in the sky, and for extra credit created and animated planes in the sky and ships in the bay.
Director Ang Lee specifically wanted this shot to start at 1.85, then end in a super-wide aspect ratio, which was tricky to nail. I did the entire shot in Photoshop and After Effects on a single Mac (with two other Macs to help with rendering).