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Month: May 2017

Luma Pictures had to look at some pretty horrible ear canal reference for their ‘Alien: Covenant’ effects


For Alien: Covenant, Ridley Scott’s newest deep dive into his Alien universe, Luma Pictures was called upon to create visual effects for several sequences. The studio researched and realized the tiny spores that inhabit some of the characters, including via ear canals – just getting that right required some pretty grotesque reference. Luma also delivered some other-wordly lamps inside the lab of the synthetic David. They rounded out the work with set extensions and graphics. And they killed James Franco.

Luma visual effects supervisor Brendan Seals, based in the studio’s Melbourne office, runs down the work for vfxblog in this interview (he collaborated with LA-based Luma associate visual effects supervisor Jared Simeth).  I also had the pleasure of recently sitting down with Seals, animation supervisor Raphael Pimentel and CG supervisor Andrew Zink at a screening of the film and a Q&A in Melbourne recently.

The Alien: Covenant Luma Q&A. From left: Andrew Zink, Brendan Seals, Raphael Pimentel and the author. Photo by Hugo Sands.

‘The Lost World’ turns 20: Animation director Randal M. Dutra reflects on those early days of the digital age

Illustration by Aidan Roberts.

How Steven Spielberg came to adopt CGI dinosaurs for 1993’s Jurassic Park is an often-told story, including in several interviews I’ve done recently. Ultimately, the move from stop-motion to digital dinos paved the way for an explosion in CG characters in blockbuster movies.

That included Jurassic Park’s sequel, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, released 20 years ago this week, in which the director and visual effects studio Industrial Light & Magic returned with even more photorealistic digital dinos.

One artist who was there on both films, straddling the stop-motion and CG worlds, was Randal M. Dutra. He was at Tippett Studio for Jurassic Park and heavily involved in early movement tests and the use of the innovative Digital Input Device (DID). Then Dutra moved to ILM to work as Animation Director for The Lost World. On the film’s 20th anniversary, vfxblog finds out more from Dutra about his dinosaur experiences.

Dutra animating the T-Rex attacking the Ford Explorer for the “T-Rex Main Road” Animatic. July/August, 1992.

Let’s talk about those crazy ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ warp shots



A stand-out moment in James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 occurs when Yondu, Kraglin, Rocket and Baby Groot jump through several space portals causing their faces to warp and distend in almost grotesque ways.

Trixter pulled off the scenes by re-creating photoreal digital doubles of Yondu (Michael Rooker) and Kraglin (Sean Gunn) while also deforming 3D models of Rocket and Groot, to hilarious effect. Trixter visual effects supervisor Alessandro Cioffi breaks down the work in this series of images.