ILM’s Hal Hickel on the symbiotic relationship between actor and animator

At the recent Trojan Horse was a Unicorn event in Malta, I had the opportunity to sit down with ILM animation supervisor Hal Hickel for a THU TV interview. We talked about the wealth of CG characters Hickel has overseen which began with live action and motion captured performances, including Davy Jones from the Pirates…

Solo’s old-school hyperspace jump

A new clip promoting Solo’s Blu-ray release is out, and it showcases the old-school techniques used to realise the hyperspace sequences on the Millennium Falcon. It includes a description of the technique by ILM’s Rob Bredow. Check out the clip below.

The CGI tidal wave in Snake Eyes that no one got to see

This week is the 20th anniversary of Brian De Palma’s Snake Eyes, a film perhaps not thought of for any major VFX moments. But, in fact, the movie nearly did feature a key CG water sequence in what was still the early days of fluid sims. This was for the original ending, which involved a…

Fallen Kingdom: the film before the film

Before things start ramping up in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, audiences get a taste of what’s to come thanks to a dramatic prologue sequence. Here, mercenaries visit Isla Nublar and quickly encounter the infamous T. Rex in the main street, and then later a leaping Mosasaurus. The sequence includes both a submarine arrival and an…

The saddest moment in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom was also one of the most beautiful

The sight of a brachiosaurus being enveloped in an ash cloud after the volcanic eruption of Isla Nublar – as several characters and other dinosaurs leave the island by boat – was a powerful moment in J.A. Bayona’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. vfxblog asked ILM animation supervisor Jance Rubinchik about the approach to that touching…

The best of both Jurassic worlds: practical and digital

“We gave Neal a 200 million polygon file from the T. rex at one-to-one scale. He started printing it but two days later he rang me panicking, going, ‘David, David. I can see poly faces! I can see the polygons in my 3D print! We need more resolution!’” – David Vickery, visual effects supervisor, Jurassic…

Optical craziness

If you just think for a second that all the compositing for Who Framed Roger Rabbit was done optically, it blows your mind. Check out my interview with ILM’s then optical photography supervisor Ed Jones about how that was done, on the 30th anniversary of the film, at Cartoon Brew.

All aboard Solo’s conveyex train heist

I recently got to chat to Solo visual effects supervisor Rob Bredow about the film – you should be able to read various articles around the place, and I’ll post links to them at vfxblog.com. One of the standout sequences in the film is the conveyex train heist on Vandor, and Bredow shared his scouting, shooting,…

‘You can’t wipe them off, they’re holograms.’ Well………

How closely were you watching that game of Dejarik in Solo? Now’s the time to take another look… Pretty much every Star Wars film has fun Easter Eggs. But Ron Howard’s Solo has one of the coolest ‘inside visual effects’ hidden gem played out so far. And it’s to do with the game of Dejarik –…

Jurassic Week: mocap’ing dinos

vfxblog’s Jurassic Week coverage continues with this look at a few innovations introduced by ILM in Jurassic World; an iPad app for visualising the dinos during on-set photography, and a workflow for motion capturing raptors and the scariest dinosaur so far. Check it out below. https://vfxblog.com/jurassicmocap/

Jurassic Week: JP3 shines

Jurassic Week continues with this in-depth look at the several tech breakthroughs made by ILM in Jurassic Park III, including with ambient occlusion, virtual sets, flesh sims and simulated plants. Read the dedicated page, below. https://vfxblog.com/jurassicpark3/

Jurassic Week: the Dinosaur Input Device

Next up in vfxblog’s Jurassic Week is a brand new oral history on the making of the Dinosaur Input Device. It was this dinosaur-shaped stop-motion armature fitted with special encoders that kept Tippett Studio in the game during the making of Jurassic Park, after its original stop-motion dinos were scrapped in favour of ILM’s CG….

Jurassic Week: the history of Viewpaint

This week vfxblog is celebrating Jurassic Week, a whole week of Jurassic Park-inspired articles to celebrate the imminent 25th anniversary of Jurassic Park and the upcoming release of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. First up, a look at ILM’s secret weapon in bringing its photoreal dinosaurs to life: Viewpaint, a 3D texturing tool that let artists…

Willow is 30!

It’s very nearly the 30th anniversary of Ron Howard’s Willow, a huge effects film full of practical fx, miniatures, optical composites, matte paintings…and digital morphing. This was ILM’s big breakthrough into 2D image manipulation. I recently wrote about for VFX Voice magazine, and you can check out that article here.

Remembering this killer ILM shot from Deep Impact, now 20 years old

20 years ago, the first of 1998’s asteroid films, Deep Impact, was released. In some ways it used visual effects rather sparingly to showcase the result of a partial meteor hit on the Earth. Massive waves hitting New York were a feature of the film, and these were realised as CG water sims by ILM….