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Recreating Reality with Visual Effects

Paul and Christina Graff of Crazy Horse Effects (CHE) are visual effects aficionados, with projects to their credit such as There Will Be Blood and Life of Pi. They also work with a team of some of the best matte painters and designers in the visual effects industry, and are recognized for their award-winning compositing. They recently created some seamless visual effects for The Wolf of Wall Street, directed by Martin Scorsese, with Oscar-winning VFX supervisor Rob Legato overseeing the shots.

 

Adobe: How did you become involved with The Wolf of Wall Street?

Rodeo FX Sees Double for 'Enemy'

Rodeo FX completed 60 visual effects shots for the Denis Villeneuve film Enemy, a surreal mystery that follows a college professor (Jake Gyllenhaal) as he learns he has a doppelgänger (also played by Gyllenhaal). (For more on Enemy, read our interview with cinematographer Nicolas Bolduc, CSC here.)

Using a combination of live and CG elements, Rodeo developed a method to “duplicate” Gyllenhaal so that he could talk to his doppelgänger and even interact with him physically. During production, a crew from Rodeo was present on set to assist Villeneuve in shooting these technical scenes.

 

 

 

Mirada Visits Ancient Egypt for Katy Perry Video

Directed by Mathew Cullen, the Egyptian-themed music video for Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse” offers viewers an epic visual spectacle.

While much of the action in the video was captured in camera, the creative team at Mirada enhanced the aesthetics with 3D character assets and FX particle and fluid simulations. They also added visual enrichments to key moments within live-action sets and sprawling digital matte paintings. Led by creative director Izhak Roitman and visual effects supervisor Andrew Ashton, Mirada designed and delivered 127 visual effects shots for “Dark Horse” that included re-creating Egyptian pyramids and animating a talking sphinx.

 

Alfonso Cuaron on Spontaneity Within the Careful Choreography of 'Gravity'

Tonight, director Alfonso Cuarón will receive the Visionary Award at the 12th Annual VES Awards for his breathtaking space odyssey, Gravity.  But no one who has seen it, or any of the director’s previous works (Y Tu Mama Tambien, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban), can doubt that it’s the narrative that drives the effects, even when the effects in question required years of pre-vis.

Promo Footage for 'Cosmos' Showcases Some Impressive CGI

This promo for Fox's Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey showcases some of the blockbuster CGI that was promised of the reboot of the beloved science show. The 13-episode show is hosted by noted astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. It premieres on March 9th.

Watch below.

Milk Delivers Effects to 'Doctor Who' Special

Milk Visual Effects contributed to BBC’s 3D Doctor Who 50th anniversary episode, “The Day of the Doctor,” creating a series of large-scale CG environments, action shots and CG spacecraft in stereoscopic 3D. Milk created 129 visual effects shots, including the dramatic sequences featuring the Gallifreyan city of Arcadia under siege at the hands of the Daleks, and fly-through shots of the city intended to immerse the television audience.

Joseph Kosinski's Film 'Oblivion' Showcases Elegant Effects Created with Adobe After Effects

When you want great visual effects for your latest futuristic film, you need to hire a great team. That’s exactly what Joseph Kosinski did for his latest film, Oblivion, starring Tom Cruise as a drone repairman working on an uninhabitable future Earth. Kosinski turned to Bradley G. Munkowitz (GMUNK), who he’d previously worked with on Tron Legacy. As lead interface graphic designer, GMUNK then pulled a team together that included Interface Graphic Designers Joseph Chan (Chanimal) and Jake Sargeant, and Interface Animators Alexander Perry (AP), Navarro Parker (Nav), and David Lewandowski (D‐Lew). They were happy to reunite to share how much fun they had creating the 2D effects for the film using an Adobe workflow. (Now available on DVD.)

Framestore Develops Groundbreaking 'Gravity' Effects

“I first heard about Gravity at the beginning of 2010,” says visual effects supervisor Tim Webber, a longtime collaborator of director Alfonso Cuarón—and the man Cuarón approached to help realize a film no one knew how to make. “Alfonso came in and talked us through the movie for 45 minutes and it was gripping.”

Framestore Breaks Down VFX Work on 'Gravity'

Gravity's visual effects house Framestore writes an account of their elaborate process that led to the spectacular and groundbreaking film.

They write, "In the end considerably more of it is CGI than first discussed, and in fact considerably more of it is computer generated than real. In the majority of shots the only elements captured with a camera are the faces. The vastness of space, the Earth, the stars (all 30 million of them), the space shuttles, Hubble Telescope, the International Space Station (ISS), the copious and equally villainous fragments of debris, even the space suits: they were all made by visual effects artists at Framestore."

Read the full story here.

Stargate Studios Sets the Bar for Visual Effects on Productions Such as 'The Walking Dead'

Delivering content for some of televisions top shows, including House of Lies, Grey's Anatomy, and, of course The Walking Dead, Stargate Studios continues to break the mold of how feature films, television series, electronic games, and commercials are generated. The studio was founded in 1989 by Sam Nicholson, a distinguished cinematographer and visual effects supervisor with 30 years of expertise in film, television, and visual effects. The now international production company provides concept development, advanced production services, and state-of-the-art postproduction services.

The Mill Creates Mini Copters for Lexus Spot

VFX house The Mill created most of the miniature helicopters found in Lexus spot "Swarm," which was directed by Sam Brown.

Explains Televisual, "The lead 3D CG artist Mike Chapman and a large team of CG artists at The Mill augmented many in-camera shots as well as developed entirely CG characters. Motion capture environments were created on all the sets (including a public swimming pool, supermarket, a barber's and a museum) with computer-controlled movements mapping out each of the CG characters individually to fly perfectly in formation."

Watch below and read more here.

Choreography and Flexibility Play Into the Impressive VFX of 'Gravity'

VFX supervisor Tim Webber talks to Animation World Network about how they choreographed Gravity like an animated movie with the flexibility that allowed it to adapt to live actors.

VFX House Big Lazy Robot Creates Buzzy Spec Trailer

VFX house Big Lazy Robot have made a spec reel worth watching: a trailer for a non-existent sci-fi film that shows off their impressive skills. Reportedly, it has already garnered them interest for producting a full-length film.

Watch below.

The Cutting-Edge VFX of 'Gravity'

Bill Desowitz of Indiewire delves into how Gravity takes cinematic traditions and story beats and uses cutting-edge tools and cinematography to achieve them.

The VFX of 'Rush': Incorporating Archival and Digital Footage

VFX supervisor Jody Johnson explains the visual effects behind racing drama Rush, which incorporated archival racing footage into its final cut.

He says, "The editors gathered together hours and hours and hours of racing footage (both 35mm and 16mm), and we got together with [director] Ron [Howard] and [DP] Anthony [Dod Mantle] and looked at ways of using the material. We needed to work out if it was going to be useful and, if so, how we could use it. We looked at production value, storytelling moments and stylistic compatibility."

Read the full story here on Animation World Network.

Douglas Trumbull on Kubrick, CGI and More

Visual effects legend and innovator Douglas Trumbull (2001: A Space Odyssey, Close Encounters of the Third Kind) talks to Filmmaker Magazine about his career and his continued passion for the future of cinema.

He says of working with Stanley Kubrick, "I sometimes say I was seduced, sometimes I say I was distorted, or sometimes that I was deeply affected, whatever, by working with Stanley Kubrick. I was a young impressionable moviemaker and my first movie was with Stanley Kubrick. I said, 'If this is what movies are like then I want to do this all my life.' Then I found out that his attention to detail and manner of working wasn’t the norm."

Read the full story here.

The Embassy Creates Animated Sequence for 'Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters'

Visual Effects house The Embassy created a beautiful animated scene that depicts some of the mythology behind Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters. Says VFX supervisor David Cassey of the sequence, which has a stained glass motif, "This was also our first stereo production at the Embassy. The scene was not post-converted but rendered in full stereoscopic 3D. We enjoyed creating all the little particles and embers flying around in stereo, they really added to the completeness of this world."

Watch the sequence below. (via Stash Magazine)

MPC, Pereira & O’Dell, and MJZ Create an Unlikely Hero for Ad Council

As classic tales of self-discovery and personal growth go, a discarded plastic bottle makes an unusual protagonist, but the VFX team at MPC collaborated with MJZ’s Victor Garcia to help to bring just such a character to life in the latest for The Ad Council. Beautifully shot by Garcia, and concepted by agency Pereira & O’Dell, "Journey" follows the cross-country travels of a tiny plastic bottle with big dreams.

MPC handled the full range of VFX duties for the spot, including creating and animating full 3D bottles, helping integrate live action elements into the scene and completing general enhancement of the environment to create this emotional tale of a bottle’s life and after-life.

Watch the finished spot below.

Modus FX Provides Mayhem on 'This Is the End'

Modus FX completed 240 visual effects shots for This Is the End, a comedy co-directed by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg set against the unlikely backdrop of an apocalypse. Modus FX created cataclysmic environments, a range of CG monsters, “rapture” lights and other effects to convey the scope of the catastrophe.

Ntropic Creates Immersive, Fully CGI Game Trailer for 'RYSE: Son of Rome'

Production house Ntropic created the sleek, stylistic CGI game trailer for RYSE: Son of Rome using Maya and ZBrush.

Says creative director Andrew Sinagra to Stash Magazine, "The hardest part of the project was physically managing the amount of detail that went into every fragment throughout the pipeline without setting any technical constraints on the creative. We wanted people to have to look closely, with the hope that viewers would watch several times, continually finding new elements and details in each story.”

Read more here. Watch the trailer below.

Making the Invisible Visible: Postproduction for 'Under the Dome'

What does a visual effects supervisor do when the "hero" effect in a television series is totally invisible? This was the dilemma facing Stephan Fleet in his work as visual effects supervisor for Under The Dome, the DreamWorks series airing this summer on CBS. Based on the Stephen King novel, the series concerns a small town in Maine that is suddenly and inexplicably sealed inside a completely invisible but monstrously powerful barrier.

“We see what the dome does,” Fleet explains, “but we don’t ever see the dome itself. A character could press his face or hand against it or we see where dirt and various objects come in contact with this barrier, but it isn’t like a big sheet of glass. We can’t see reflections or any kind of texture.”

Zoic Crafts Creatures for 'Falling Skies' Promo

Visual effects house Zoic Studios unleashed some of the creatures from TNT’s sci-fi series Falling Skies onto an unsuspecting model for the surprising teaser “Clear Gaze,” a promo for the show’s third season.

Although it appears at first to be a commercial for a contact lens brand, the woman featured in the spot soon begins to bleed from her eye as her body is invaded by a bug.

“The piece works because of the unexpected and photoreal integration of the bug,” explains director Loni Peristere. “No one likes anything in their eye!”

Joseph Koskinski Describes the World of 'Oblivion' as a Beautiful Desolation

This 20-minute behind-the-scenes Oblivion featurette includes the cast and crew explaining the story and the world-building of the futuristic sci-fi thriller. It also highlights some of the movie's more impressive visuals and VFX.

Says director Joseph Kosinski, "The two words I had from the very beginning of the project was a beautiful desolation. It's almost primordial Earth, feels like Earth maybe the way it looked a million years ago...but against that rugged landscape, I wanted to bring a very clean, forward-looking technology."

Watch below. (via io9)

A Breakdown of the VFX of 'Olympus Has Fallen'

In this VFX breakdown video from Worldwide FX, see how Washington DC was brought to explosive life via greenscreen, composites and CGI in action thriller Olympus Has Fallen.

Dell Helps Soho VFX Siege the Castle in Time for 'Jack the Giant Slayer' Premiere

Dell’s comprehensive media and entertainment solutions helped Soho VFX deliver 214 visual effects for Jack the Giant Slayer, a fantasy—adventure film based on the Jack the Giant Killer and Jack and the Beanstalk fairy tales.

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