Today’s computer-generated special effects, whether two dimensional or three dimensional, have become so advanced and sophisticated that complete digital characters are placed in movies, often substituting for actual actors. Adobe’s Photoshop is the main software program used to create these amazing digital effects, and it does a superb job.
Cinematic depictions of magic, epic fantasies, wars, galaxies, and the like are brought to life via special effects. Unbelievable special effects created in movies like Transformers and Avatar are astonishingly real and make-believe at the same time. In fact, pioneering special effects have opened up an extensive variety of movie entertainment options and formats.
Check out the following three movies that were successful because of their outstanding special effects and moving narrative.
James Cameron’s epic work, his first since Titanic in 1997, was the 3-D, ultramodern action film Avatar, created with pioneering and Oscar-winning special effects. Forty percent of the movie was live action and 60% was photo-generated.
Even though planned for release in early 2009, the opening was postponed until December 2009 because of the challenges in setting up 3-D projection techniques to show the film globally and because of the arduous requirements of the special effects.
The film used motion-performance capture supported CGI-technology with artists on stage becoming the Na’vi characters. This type of special effects uses actors in bodysuits covered with minute dots. About 140 digital cameras record their body movements, with an additional small helmet camera picking up subtle facial, eye, and head movements. Afterwards, animators use the digitally documented information to create the “actors” in their virtual world setting.
2. Jurassic Park
Jurassic Park, even more so than Star Wars, altered the world of special effects when it was released in 1993. As soon as Director Steven Spielberg understood that special effects could create digital dinosaurs, the game plan was launched. Authentic-looking T-Rexes and Stegosaur filled the screen with some of the most magnificent special effects ever witnessed by a movie audience. Even though 20 years have passed since Jurassic Park was introduced to the world, it is still considered one of the best special effects movies of all time.
3. Transformers Trilogy
The special effects used to create the Transformers, a group of giant metal android robots, was dazzling and even gave them personality, along with emotion and a touch of heroism. The second movie in this trilogy was so effects-exhaustive that a number of computers overheated and the internal circuitry melted while creating some of the special effects for the mind-boggling battle in Egypt.
Other special effects movies could also be included among the best. Movies like the Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean, Monsters vs. Aliens, and more have earned their place in the history books of special effects.
Breakthrough special effects today are elaborate and flawlessly incorporated via sophisticated systems like the Contour, which tracks an actor’s facial expressions in three-dimensional space. In the movie The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, a computer-generated reproduction of Brad Pitt’s face was utilized to graft special effects onto smaller bodies.
About the author:
Joe Sucharda is vice president, corporate marketing, for Sencore, an engineering leader in the development of video delivery and IPTV monitoring solutions. He has extensive experience in the telecommunications industry.