The VFX magic of ‘The Shape of Water’

Recently, I was able to interview several of the effects filmmakers behind Guillermo del Toro’s amazing The Shape of Water. You can check those pieces out at VFX Voice and Cartoon Brew. The film has also been shortlisted in the final 10 movies for consideration for the visual effects Oscar, and will be at the VFX…

Ten things I learned from ILM about ‘The Last Jedi’s’ space battles

Space battles are synonymous with Star Wars films. The original trilogy is fondly remembered for ILM’s use of motion control and miniatures. These days, like on The Last Jedi, digital ship models, photorealistic rendering and simulated crashes and explosions are of course the norm. But to ensure the space battles in this latest Star Wars adventure…

Blade Runner 2049: going deep with DNEG

Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049 is one of the 10 films short-listed for the VFX Oscar. I’ve covered several aspects of the film so far including with overall visual effects supervisor John Nelson, but here is a brand new interview with Double Negative visual effects supervisor Paul Lambert. DNEG was responsible for views of future…

How to: Rey & Kylo vs. Snoke’s Elite Praetorian Guard

The moment Rey and Kylo Ren take on Snoke’s Elite Praetorian Guard’s is one of the many highlights from Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi. I’ll have more on how Industrial Light & Magic crafted Snoke soon, but here’s overall visual effects supervisor Ben Morris on how that lightsaber fight scene, which was overseen by ILM…

Are you planning for FMX yet?

I first heard about FMX in 2011, just as I started writing full-time about visual effects. I went there – it’s in Stuttgart – and was immediately hooked. There’s a ton of super-cool visual effects, animation and CG presentations. You could go to JUST THOSE all week if you wanted to. But why the conference…

Breaking down the beautybot

Earlier this year I caught up with Imageworks visual effects supervisor Mark Breakspear to discuss his studio’s work on Kingsman: The Golden Circle. The home entertainment release of the film is now here, and Imageworks has shared with vfxblog a fun look at the beautybot effects. Watch Breakspear and animation director Max Tyrie talk about the…

Behind the scenes of ‘Valerian’s’ Big Market

When Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets was released, I got the opportunity to talk to both overall VFX supe Scott Stokdyk and ILM supervisor Philippe Rebours about the Big Market sequence. Now with the film set for home entertainment release, there’s a snippet of one of the featurettes available on the Big Market…

SIGGRAPH Asia tech papers preview: 3D avatars from a single photo

Over the past few years, I’ve had the pleasure of reading about and watching the results of digital human and faces research led by Hao Li. He is, simultaneously, CEO & Co-Founder of Pinscreen, Inc., Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the University of Southern California, and Director of the Vision and Graphics Lab at…

‘Thor: Ragnarok’s’ Sakaar chase scene was also a courtship dance

Stuck on Sakaar but looking to get back to Asgard, Thor, Valkeryie and Banner steal one of the Grandmaster’s ships, the Commodore. In a high octane chase scene through the city, they escape Sakaar fighters and exit through a wormhole. Digital Domain crafted visual effects for the Thor: Ragnarok sequence, overseen by overall visual effects…

What went into those cool title and UI designs in ‘Thor: Ragnarok’?

The explosion in visual effects work in comic book films is perhaps only matched by the explosion in design work also seen in those movies – everything from logo reveals, to main-on-end titles, screen UIs and other designs. One of the studios behind much of this work is Perception, based in New York. It recently…

Pixar previews their real-time graphics talk at SIGGRAPH Asia

One of the featured sessions at SIGGRAPH Asia in Bangkok (27-30 November) is How Real-Time Graphics Helps Pixar Make Feature Films, being presented by senior graphics software engineers David Yu and Pol Jeremias-Vila. I got the chance to ask them a few quick questions about what real-time graphics and effects initiatives are in use at…

Crafting the insane action behind ‘Thor: Ragnorak’s’ end battle

WARNING: Contains some plot spoilers. Amongst the many and complex visual effects sequences in Taika Waititi’s Thor: Ragnarok, the final battle on Asgard is perhaps the most epic. Here, the evil Hela (Cate Blanchett), her d-guards and massive dog Fenris take on Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and…

Ian Spriggs on CG portraits and designing characters for Neill Blomkamp

Ian Spriggs is a character artist with experience at several visual effects studios and most recently at Neill Blomkamp’s Oats Studios. Here, he has taken on some of the most elaborate modelling and texturing tasks of his career. Spriggs is also well-known for his CG portraits and self-portraits, including one of Blomkamp himself. I sat…

Reflecting on ‘Valerian’: concept artist Ben Mauro

At Trojan Horse was a Unicorn in Portugal recently, I got to sit down with Ben Mauro, an art director, concept artist, creature designer and illustrator whose work has appeared in such films as Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, Lucy, Elysium, Chappie and the Hobbit films, plus several games and other places….

vfxblog readers get a discount to SIGGRAPH Asia

One of the reasons I try and get to different conferences is that there often ends up being presentations on VFX and animation that you get early access to or don’t get shown anywhere else. That’s exactly what looks set to be shown soon at SIGGRAPH Asia in Bangkok, taken place between 27 and 30…

Let’s all move to LA, in 2049

Los Angeles in 2049 is an over-populated metropolis, threatened by rising sea levels, and featuring vastly different scale buildings, from sprawling favelas to mile high pyramids. That’s how the city is presented in Blade Runner 2049, which had to show a location 30 years into the future from the original Blade Runner and had the benefit…