A very concise micro featurette by FX Guide, for Wired, that looks at the push to get back to doing more effects in-camera. Whilst the reviews for the films story have been reserved (listen to Mark Kermodes review for BBC Radio 5), there is no denying that visually, it looks stunning. Despite being introduced as a look at the return to in-camera effects, the miniatures used in the movie flash by too quickly. At the same time, arguably the showpiece of the whole film is the Elysium Torus, but that’s a CG effect. Nevertheless, it’s not a bad way to waste 3 minutes on a Friday.
“My intention is to highlight the artistry of VFX by showing you the canvas. At a time when even Hollywood can’t seem tell the difference between Oscar-winning Visual Effects and Oscar-winning Cinematography, I think it needs to be made clear which is which. Without the fantastic VFX work by talented artists, Hollywood films would not be what they are today.” – Before VFX Tumblr blog
Partly a re-action to the deepening crisis in the VFX industry, particularly in the US, the Before VFX Tumblr blog lets the work do the talking.
For more information on the problems facing the VFX industry:
An in-depth look at the digital environments created by MPC for Prometheus.
I found the quality of visual content in Prometheus surpassed anything offered by the story, but this is a Ridley Scott film after all and by the laws of cinema it couldn’t look anything other than magnificent.
The digital environments here are comprised entirely of landscapes inspired by the scenery of Iceland and Wadi Rum in Jordan. Visual Effects supervisor Richard Stammers talks us through the process of creating the surface of planet LV-223, from initial location scouting, through the use of Google Earth, to the final construction and composition of the digital world.
This feauturette is better than the special features supplied on the DVD/Blu-ray and well worth your time.
Scroll to 1 min 55 seconds to get straight to the Looper digital environments, but the rest of the interview is also worth viewing.
The interview is via the Chaos Group TV channel.
Update 31/01/2013 – Since writing this post, Atomic Fiction (via Twitter) have directed me to some online articles about their effects work on looper at the following locations:
Beware of spoilers!
A short, behind the scenes piece on the design and VFX work done by Prime Focus to create Mega City One for Dredd 3D. The filmmakers chose to build their fictional city by adding to the existing fabric of Johannesburg. The realism appears grimier, lived in and more tangible as a result.
If I have one reservation about the designs in these digital set extensions, it would be that the blocks are treated purely as forms without reference to their function or environment. Specifically, the floor plates on the blocks are really massive, which would make the cores deep within these buildings oppressively dark in a way that would make Hong Kong’s Chung King Mansion seem generously light and airy in comparison. Even a slum needs light, and the struggle to introduce this light would lead to a different footprint and therefore an alternate form for the towers – time spent studying architecture does have its benefits.
As much as I like the look of these visuals, I would like to have seen the design extended further through the application of some real world constraints.