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Month: January 2017

When miniatures and CGI met in the sky: the vfx of Turbulence


Remember Turbulence? It was a much-hyped disaster flick set on a passenger 747 starring Lauren Holly and Ray Liotta, and released 20 years ago. The film may not by one for the history books, but its visual effects – a hybrid of miniatures and digital techniques – came right at a time where film VFX were transitioning heavily to CGI.

In honour of the film’s 20th anniversary, vfxblog spoke to visual effects supervisor Mark Vargo, who was also credited as a second unit DOP, about how he and teams from Boss Film Studios, Pacific Title Digital and other effects shops handled the work – including depicting the jetliner amidst a wild storm, having it flip over, and an exciting crash into a rooftop carpark. Included are several behind the scenes images and clips of the miniatures work.

The three big challenges behind Passengers’ spaceship shots

PassengersRecently I wrote about MPC’s visual effects for the anti-gravity swimming pool scene in Passengers after talking to overall VFX supervisor Eric Nordby. MPC had plenty of other challenges to solve in the film, too, including how to realize scenes of the spacecraft, the Avalon.

Here Nordby runs down three things he and the team at MPC had to tackle specifically with the 1000 metre long ship, from design to scale and then coming up with an appropriate environment and lighting in space – something that’s harder to do than you think.

How Rogue One is an ode to the VFX of the Original Trilogy


One of the impressive feats accomplished by ILM for Rogue One is segueing from this ‘new film’ (made with advanced VFX techniques) into A New Hope (released, of course, in 1977, at a time when effects were done with models and motion control and optical compositing).

To make that happen, a special ops team at the studio studied the look of the ILM’s old-school work and researched what made and the stop-motion, motion control and other animation ‘feel’ so real, and how the modern CG techniques might be used to reflect that feel. All the while, ILM still capitalised on the advancements that the studio has pioneered in visual effects since the release of A New Hope.

Rogue One’s animation supervisor Hal Hickel recounts to vfxblog how that approach impacted his work for some of the specific sequences in the film, including the beach assault Walkers shots and the space battle.

VFX trends for 2017


Digital Arts asked me what I thought were the big trends coming for 2017 in VFX. My view is: digital humans and even better digital characters, more practical fx, more vfx houses getting into anim and their own IP, and a big Oscar VFX upset.