This entry is part 4 of 4 in the series Lost Concepts
An Idea On Its Own
During the production of Transformers: The Movie, I was asked to submit some ideas for poster designs, and other concepts to sell the motion picture. I knew it was a Michael Bay film, and that he had a love for fast cars, scantily clad perfect women, and shiny metal objects, and I hoped to bring a fresh perspective — considering I had seen nothing … Continue reading
This entry is part 4 of 4 in the series VFX_archaeology
You can’t talk about #greebles without mentioning, likely the most iconic miniature ever shot, the #starwars #stardestroyer at only 3 feet long -@FonHDavis
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 … Continue reading
During a screening of Doctor Strange at a Visual Effects Society event, someone asked the film’s Director whether he preferred the 3D version, or the 2D version? He said: “I am torn, as I love the 3D version, but also the Expanded Dynamic Range version as well.”
I gravitate toward stereo3D movies, due to my history of making stereo3D films. I wrote an article about stereo conversion for The Force Awakens, recounting its masterful use of the stereo3D format. In my opinion, Doctor Strange was a tour-de-force example of fantastic stereo3D conversion, so based on the … 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
This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series VFX Between Shots
With Your Own Two Hands
When I was a kid, I built things with my hands. Clay, wood, paper, tape, wire, and film combined together were enough to make a movie. If … Continue reading
This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Lost Concepts
Concept Art by Johnathan Banta
As part of any creative process, there are a lot of abandoned avenues and choices. When a final design concept is approved, all other art is shelved and a final creation guided from approved art. It is an evolution, sometimes directed, and occasionally as a last resort. For television work especially, design and manufacture of these creations happens under a very tight … 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
Join VFX. See The World!
I love my Skechers Midway tennis shoes. Older, used pairs of the shoe sit in the back of my closet in vain hope for a re-issue of the particular model — eventually I face reality and have to throw them out. I really like how the shoe looks, but the old shoes are more than just footwear; the shoes in many … 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
The New Year cometh! Remember the lessons of the old.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Stereo Conversion is Awe Inspiring and You Should See It.
In a darkened IMAX3D theater I saw Star Wars: the Force Awakens for the second time. My first viewing was at the Motion Picture Academy screening with JJ Abrams, Kathleen Kennedy, Roger Guyett, and many others. I was already pretty impressed with the film, and I had a few complaints, but they were minor. As I watched it again, on a gigantic IMAX screen, at twice the brightness of a standard 3D projector, drowned in chest thumping sound, I was … 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 5 of 10 in the series AGsketchbook
Selfie Portrait of the VFX artist
This entry is part 2 of 4 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
This entry is part 4 of 10 in the series AGsketchbook
Digital doodle on custom made background. This was an exercise in creating an ink-stained paper look from scratch with digital paintbrushes.
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