John McTiernan’s Predator is perhaps most fondly remembered for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s line, ‘Get to the chopper!’ But it also featured some incredibly memorable optical effects, crafted by R/Greenberg Associates and overseen by visual effects supervisor Joel Hynek.
These included a distinctive camouflage effect wielded by the alien Predator creature (appearing also in a monster suit designed and built by Stan Winston Studio), a heat vision-inspired Predator POV look, and several other optical effects.
Despite the challenging nature of the shots, and the challenging jungle shoot, the work culminated in an Academy Award nomination for Best Visual Effects (the nominees were Joel Hynek, Robert M. Greenberg, Richard Greenberg and Stan Winston).
In this interview, Hynek details the optical compositing tests that led to the eventual camouflage effect, the ill-fated red-suit-in-the-jungle approach to obtaining plates, and the almost ill-fated attempt at using a thermal camera for the Predator POV shots.
It’s such a big year for anniversaries in vfx, so here’s another one: The Lawnmower Man recently turned 25. I talked to people from Xaos and Angel Studios about the groundbreaking CGI and VR work for VFX Voice.
Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant made heavy use of practical makeup effects, prosthetics and creatures during the filming process. Two creature shops, Creatures Inc. Ltd and Odd Studio combined to make those effects possible, led by creature design supervisor Conor O’Sullivan and creature effects supervisor Adam Johansen.
In this visual behind the scenes look at the practical effects work in the film, Johansen, one of the founders of Odd Studio, breaks down some of the major creature effects, including for the Neomorphs, the Xenormorph, the face huggers and body bursters, various dummies, and the alien lifeforms in David’s lab. Continue reading Up close with the practical creatures of ‘Alien: Covenant’
Disney were super-secretive about how the Beast was made in Beauty and the Beast. But now, with a making of video of Digital Domain’s work released, they’ve let information out. I talked to some of the DD team and wrote a quick how-to on Thrillist.
I first got excited about Kevin Tod Haug’s work in Fight Club, then Panic Room, then Stay – and most recently on American Gods. So it was a thrill to meet him at FMX and do an interview. Here’s the result at VFX Voice.
You’ve got a character that needs to be desiccated and completely non-human in its position but has to be believably human in the way that it moves. Well, that’s motion capture in a nutshell. – John Berton Jr., ILM visual effects supervisor, The Mummy
In 1999, director Stephen Sommers’ The Mummy burst onto cinema screens with visual effects from Industrial Light & Magic. The film’s fun-natured approach to what had previously been a horror genre of ‘mummy’ films was welcomed generously by audiences. As were ILM’s VFX, which took advantage of new approaches to motion capture, particle sims and CG.
The visual effects supervisor was John Berton Jr., who would go on to supervise the film’s sequel, The Mummy Returns, and Men in Black II at ILM, before becoming a freelance supe on films including Charlotte’s Web and Bedtime Stories. He is now a visual effects supervisor at Lytro, exploring the world of light fields.
With a new Mummy film about to hit, vfxblog went back in time with Berton to see how ILM conquered then-new challenges and how visual effects were very much part of the storytelling process in Sommers’ adventure. And in a special bonus addition to this interview, ILM’s visual effects art director on The Mummy, Alex Laurant (now principal art director, Microsoft / Windows Experiences), has generously provided a wealth of concept art, storyboards and other imagery from his work on the show.
Lately I’ve been super lucky to visit some visual effects and animation events around the world. But one of the first events I ever went to – before I even worked in VFX – was the Australian Effects and Animation Festival.
It’s still going, and it’s run by Digital Media World magazine, although now it has the slightly different name of the Animation Effects Awards Festival (AEAF). The event is over two days on 15 and 16 August at the Chauvel Cinema in Sydney – a very cool place to hold an event like this, I might add.
The speakers already announced are pretty incredible, and the two days conclude with an awards ceremony. So if you’re in Sydney on those days, I’d highly recommend attending.
Just check out some of these speakers:
Sheldon Stopsack, Visual Effects Supervisor at MPC on Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
Rob Coleman, Head of Animation at Animal Logic
Jeff Capogreco, Visual Effects Supervisor at ILM
Lindsay Adams, Visual Effects Supervisor at Iloura
Ian Kirby and Luke Bicevskis from The Sequence Group
A representative from Weta Digital will also be one of the speakers
There’s more information at the AEAF website: http://aeaf.tv. I’ll be there too, so please come say hi.