This entry is part 4 of 4 in the series VFX_archaeology
Context is Everything
Modern cinema maintains a series of technical terms via oral tradition, that really no longer make sense. How many people really itnow the origin of terms like “Gaffer,” and “best boy?” Yes, those job titles have a clear set of responsibilities, but the origin of the term is sometimes cryptic, or humorous. Visual effects have their own terms as well, developed from a multitude of technical and artistic sources. Digital visual effects in particular rely on some nomenclature that was developed in the analog era, and truly has little meaning … Continue reading
This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series VFX_archaeology
Recollections of BOSS FILM STUDIOS
A recent post of one of my photos from Starship Troopers on social media erupted into a lengthy discussion about the BOSS Film work, some of which has heretofore received little mention. Following is a summary of that discussion, beefed up with a little bit of … Continue reading
To the IMAX Moon and Beyond
Moon Flight Science!
On September 23, 2005, Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon in 3D released on giant IMAX screens. It is a 4K stereo3D experience of the Moon landings, and speculative missions from the past and future. The film was honored with the first Visual Effects: Special Venue award by the Visual Effects Society in 2006. This multi-part article is based … Continue reading
In October 1996 the best place for any devotee of Star Trek to be was the Starfleet Shipyards. These are not the in-cannon fabled shipyards of Mars, nor are they the near earth orbit construction dry-docks. They are definitely not a large ground-based construction facility in Iowa. The Starfleet shipyards were in Marina del Rey California, in the backyard of BOSS film studios at the shops of renowned model maker Greg Jein.
Greg Jein is associated with almost every incarnation of the USS … Continue reading
This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Magnificent Desolation VFX
To the IMAX Moon and Beyond
Filming on location is not an option.
On September 23, 2005, Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon in 3D released on giant IMAX screens. It is a 4K stereo3D experience of the moon landings, and speculative missions from the past and future. The … Continue reading
This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Magnificent Desolation VFX
To the IMAX Moon and Beyond
We didn’t have their giant rockets, so we faked it later.
On September 23, 2005, Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon in 3D released on giant IMAX screens. It is a 4K stereo3D experience of the moon landings, and speculative missions from the past … Continue reading
This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Magnificent Desolation VFX
To the IMAX Moon and Beyond
The Moon landings were real — we faked it later.
On September 23, 2005, Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon in 3D released on giant IMAX screens. A 4K stereo3D experience of the Moon landings, and speculative missions from the past and future — which … Continue reading
This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series VFX_archaeology
Exploring the Evolution of a Lost Shot From Script to Screen
[Image from the Empire Strikes Back Blu-ray. Color correction emphasizes blue spill that was normally lost to viewer.]
The near final shot of The Empire Strikes Back (TESB) of the Millenium Falcon flying off into the sunset — or rather the ten thousand sunsets of a spiral galaxy — is one of the most iconic, and oft-printed promotional images from … Continue reading
This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Gorilla VFX
Simple and Fun VFX Distraction.
We all love high end Visual Effects, but anyone who loves them as much as those who do it for a career, sometimes enjoy the simplicity of doing things the film school/garage band way. As kids we devoured Cinemagic, and Cinefex magazines, and hand back-wound super-8 mm cartridges, to … Continue reading
Writing Code For VFX Solves Problems, and Motivates Others
It is my supposition that everyone in the visual effects business should learn to program, even a little bit, as it opens … Continue reading
“I sit on the beach, drink instant coffee, and dive when I can.”
On April 5, 2015, The Digital Makeup Initiative, Stereo VFX, and Stereo Conversion Communities lost one of its pioneers. Jason Jue, VFX supervisor, compositor, and avid diver passed away. Those who knew him grieve with his family, and are all taken aback by the sudden happenings that pulled him from this world. What I can say most about him is that he was my good friend.
Jason was the third employee of Sassoon Film Design (Santa Monica, CA). Jammed into a one room office … Continue reading
The Digital Legacy of One of the world’s first 3D scanned actors.
I’d hoped to have written this before it happened.
You never know how much you appreciate something, or someone until they are gone. I was one of the generation raised in a world where the name SPOCK meant something more than how to raise children. The character that Leonard Nimoy created on Star Trek gave was an ideal of logic, and personified our struggle to overcome or … Continue reading
This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Lost Concepts
The Lost Concept Series explores production designs by Johnathan Banta that never saw the light of day — until now.
There is always so much work that goes into an entertainment property that no one ever sees. Were it not for the books that chronicle the preproduction of … Continue reading
It Came From the 1990’s
Okay, this will take a little bit of back-story…
Early Digital makeup.
In 1997, I started to write an article in conjunction with Digital Domain’s Andre Bustanoby (fresh off of Continue reading
Using Motion Vectors as Fluid Forces
I was stuck. The particular scene In front of me required that a character from existing footage be combined with tentacles of my own making, repositioned to come out of water at the edge of screen, combined with a sky matte painting, and fling water off of its body at every flick or tiny movement. Time was as usual, … Continue reading
This entry is part 1 of 4 in the series VFX_archaeology
Evolution of a Design
Story update: Joe Johnston on Twitter said that he did not do the original drawing that inspired the illustration in the middle of this article (done for research purposes only, and not an official StarWars art piece), and that he only used the cockpit and radar dish as elements. This design I saw might therefore be the work of one of the other artists on Star Wars. It could represent an alternate direction rather than a step in the evolution of the … Continue reading
An Accomplished VFX Artist Leaves A Clandestine Legacy
Richard Edlund, a close friend of Laine, kindly contributed this card, drawn by Laine for the Holidays. Thank you, Richard.
People working the visual effects field are often artists in many different disciplines. I am also a cartoonist, having published several strips, and I enjoy funny behind the scenes jokes scribbled by artists under pressure — I honed a lot of my skills perusing the sci-FI cartoons in the … Continue reading
Information and title updated 03/20/2014
A patch from the old Boss Film Days. The 65MM in the title says it all.
I was there at the end.
Richard Edlund’s BOSS film studios (named after his favorite shotgun, but originally BOSS FILM CORPORATION **) was a powerhouse of creativity. It followed in the tradition set by Doug Trumbull’s Entertainment Effects Group, which Edlund purchased to form BOSS when he left Industrial Light and Magic: 65mm image acquisition and compositing. On the heels of the visual effects revival, Edlund and … Continue reading
Kerry O’Quinn’s Penultimate Magazine Online Library.
In several boxes in my garage sit almost every copy of Starlog Magazine up to issue 100. They are in various conditions, some tattered, some torn, all well read. They are an archive library. For those who did not live in Los Angeles, and did not discover the mail order Cinefex (which was actually advertised in Starlog pages), there was … Continue reading
This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series The VFX War
Hollywood’s Juvenile Response to Brilliance.
For 2014 the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences promises in a Variety article to “get the visual effects presentation right this year.” They are in reference to last year’s global debacle of a presentation after The Life of Pi was played offstage as the vfx supervisors were attempting to honor the artists who lost their jobs making the film — and the director who publicly thanked everyone (I mean everyone) on the show except his … Continue reading
Youtube Analysis Of VFX Documentary Viewers.
In 2008 I added a Youtube Channel, dedicated to collecting, and favoriting links to documentaries and inspiring visual effects. I uploaded several of the documentaries that I enjoyed as I was growing up (and had to take a few of them down — thank you Lucasfilm). but it seems to have a reasonably popular following. When I started doing this there were no channels of this type I could find, but there is now a plethora of content in this realm, and the channel subscriptions follow many of those. The uploaded content has … Continue reading
Todd Masters and Johnathan Banta At The Digital Days Conference.
The Digital Days Conference kicks off Saturday Feb 1, 2014. Todd Masters and Johnathan Banta (spelled wrong on their website) of MastersFX join a panel Sunday to talk about the convergence of practical and digital effects.
Join us as we talk of the crossing between digits and digital.
The time of the … Continue reading
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Focusing the Hatred of the Galaxy, a Digital Star is Born!
There are long diatribes on the Internet tearing George Lucas to shreds for the creation of Jar Jar Binks. Such vile hatred for a character in a movie —an individual that does not exist — is curious. Normally this level of vitriol is reserved for politicians and rapscallions (though the character was a politician in Episode II and III). Fans of Star Wars despise this creation, and make it their hobby to eviscerate him.
As I said: Curious.
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Great British VFX Documentaries Online.
From Poppa Day to Matte Painting in the 60’s and 70’s, Dennis Lowes webpage is an amazing documentary resource of visual effects in Britain. Want some in-depth information on the making of Alien you did not know? He has multiple interviews on video with images to back it up. His videos introduce us to a great collection of talented people, and disciplined work, from which we all can learn. Great education, motivation, and fun, and there is more than what is shown in the images below (including some of Dennis’ own work if you … Continue reading
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By any other Name it is Good Old Fashioned Sculpture.
The term Dimensionalization should leave the lexicon of stereo conversion. First off, it is a buzz-word that Madison Avenue could have invented that says very little about the process, and it also calls forth images of an automated process that is simple to do. Secondly, it is a copyrighted phrase for a now defunct company, but mostly it is an inaccurate description.
As an example, think of this sentence: “I have converted a 3D world into 2D with the use of a camera lens. It is now dimensionalized”. The word … Continue reading