The Missing Millennium Falcon — FOUND!

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series VFX_archaeology

Found: One Actual Millennium Falcon Transitional Variant.   Inquire Within. This image is from the new SOLO, a Star Wars Story art book. It shows an almost completely unknown variant of the early design of the Millennium Falcon, and attributes it to Joe Johnston. This attribution may be in error, …

Digital Makeup Chronicles 2 — The Life of Brian

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series The dMFX Chronicles

Practically Effective The addition of Digital Makeup in Falling Skies actually expanded the use of practical effects.  I know that may shock some of you to read.  In a time when computer Generated Imagery frequently replaces the practical world, this syndicated, wrapped series bucked the trend.  Practical makeup artists used …

Tracking for FRINGE Effect — Performance Transfer in Production

Grabbing an Actor’s Performance In 2008 concepts and methods developed working on 3D conversion for IMAX films combined to solve a problem at Zoic studios for the Bad Robot TV series FRINGE. Those IMAX3D films required large amounts of match moved geometry to generate depth information.  During that time I …

Lost Concepts: Part 4 — Transformers

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 …

VFX Archaeology: Part 4 — Nurnies and Greeblies

This entry is part 4 of 5 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 …

VFX Archaeology: Part 3 — Starship Troopers

This entry is part 3 of 5 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 …

How We Faked The Moon Landing: Part 4 — The Visual Effects of Magnificent Desolation

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 …

Starfleet Shipyards — October 1996

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 …

How We Faked The Moon Landing: Part 3 — The Visual Effects of Magnificent Desolation

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 film …

How We Faked the Moon Landing: Part 2 — the Visual Effects of Magnificent Desolation

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 …

How We Faked The Moon Landing: Part 1 — the Visual Effects of Magnificent Desolation 3D

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 at …

VFX Archaeology — The Lost Empire Strikes Back

This entry is part 2 of 5 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 …

Gorilla VFX: Episode 3 — Fun With Toys and Mirrors

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 …

VFX Touchstones: Part One — The Code Breakers

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 avenues that were once barriers. Whether writing the code, or just “breaking the code,” it is necessary to expand …

Jason Jue — 1977-2015 — The Sassoon Six Minus One

“I sit on the beach, drink instant coffee, and dive when I can.” Jason Jue   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 …

Digital Nimoy — Across the Final Frontier

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 …

Lost Concepts: Part 2 — Almost Human dMFX

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 Star Wars, …

Fringe to Falling Skies — The Unwanted Rise of Digital Makeup

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series The dMFX Chronicles

It Came From the 1990’s Okay, this will take a little bit of back-story… In 1997, I started to write an article in conjunction with Digital Domain’s Andre Bustanoby (fresh off of Titanic VFX) for the (now archival) website VFXHQ.  This article was to chronicle what we saw as the beginning of a new …

Vector-based Particle Emission: A 2D Method for Complex Particle Motion

    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, …

The Missing Millennium Falcon?

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series VFX_archaeology

Evolution of a Design This article contains an image recreated from memory of an actual  photo in an ex-ILMer’s archive — it is a re-creation for research purposes only, and not an official StarWars art piece. (However, the design has been verified to exist in the LFL archives by an insider.) …

BOSS Film Studios – The Last Watch

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 …

The VFX War: Part 3 — The Slight Heard Round The World

This entry is part 3 of 5 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 …