Before you see Tom Cruise’s ‘The Mummy’, re-visit the digital make-up, mocap and other VFX innovations from the 1999 film

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Illustration by Aidan Roberts.

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.

Continue reading Before you see Tom Cruise’s ‘The Mummy’, re-visit the digital make-up, mocap and other VFX innovations from the 1999 film

A home-grown VFX event

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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.

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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.