New mocap video of Andy Serkis as Snoke

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Most vfxblog readers have probably already seen ILM’s fantastic Snoke visual effects breakdown here, but Lucasfilm has also just released a clip from the upcoming Last Jedi Blu-ray/DVD that features an unaltered Andy Serkis performing Snoke in his motion capture suit.

Back in January, I wrote a piece for Cartoon Brew on how ILM transformed the actor’s mocap into Snoke. What was interesting – among many other things – about the studio’s work here was that the character went through a bit of a re-design and re-think during production, that even involved untwisting Serkis’ original mocap performance a little to make the character feel more powerful. It evolved into the final CG Snoke we see on screen.

Check out the new clip below:

Inside Kong: Skull Island’s final battle

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There are a number of fierce fight scenes in Kong: Skull Island – one of the most intense is the final battle between Kong and a giant Skullcrawler. ILM handled the complex sequence, which included not only extensive character animation, but also a photoreal jungle and water environment and plenty of effects simulations.

Academy Award nominee Scott Benza was ILM’s animation supervisor on Kong: Skull Island. The other Oscar nominees for this film in the VFX category are Stephen Rosenbaum, Jeff White and Michael Meinardus. Here Benza details how that final fight came together.

Continue reading Inside Kong: Skull Island’s final battle

The making of The Last Jedi’s crystal foxes

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Towards the end of The Last Jedi, we meet on Crait a number of Vulptex creatures, fox-like animals with crystalline bristles. Although a detailed animatronic was made for the production, the Vulptices were ultimately crafted in CG by ILM.

Academy Award nominee Ben Morris from ILM was the overall visual effects supervisor on The Last Jedi. The other VFX Oscar nominees for the film are Mike Mulholland, Neal Scanlan and Chris Corbould. Here, Morris explains the design of the Vulptices, and how they went through both practical and digital builds.
Continue reading The making of The Last Jedi’s crystal foxes

Miniaturisation secrets: Eric Brevig on ‘The Indian in the Cupboard’

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Alexander Payne’s Downsizing, soon in theatres, marks the latest in a rich history of films that have dealt with miniaturisation – that is, showing shrunken-down characters in a real-sized world.

Films such as Fantastic Voyage, Inner Space, Willow, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, Hook, The Indian in the Cupboard and Ant-Man are all ones that have used different visual effects techniques to go small. These techniques have ranged from forced perspective, over-sized sets, shooting on blue or greenscreen and of course digital means.

Visual effects supervisor Eric Brevig happens to have worked on a coupe of these types of films, including one of my favourites, The Indian in the Cupboard, which featured visual effects from Industrial Light & Magic. I asked him about his memories of that film and the methodology behind miniaturisation. Continue reading Miniaturisation secrets: Eric Brevig on ‘The Indian in the Cupboard’

‘Flubber’ turns 20: how ILM made the shape-shifting green goo come to life

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Twenty years ago, the film release schedule was awash with CG and VFX-heavy projects. Industrial Light & Magic, which had had a hand of course in a number of these, further demonstrated a diverse visual effects skill set with its work on Flubber.

Brand new challenges for the studio came in the form of Flubber itself, which had to be both a transforming piece of sticky goo and a character with major personality, while also being reflective and translucent. ILM’s artists solved these issues in several ways, including taking advantage of Softimage’s MetaClay tools.

Philip Edward Alexy was a lead technical animator at ILM on Flubber, and he shared some memories of the show with vfxblog. The show was overseen by visual effects supervisor Peter Crosman, and by VFX supervisors Tom Bertino and Sandy Karpman at ILM. Alexy also shares some rare crew shots and behind the scenes stills from during production. Continue reading ‘Flubber’ turns 20: how ILM made the shape-shifting green goo come to life