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Ghost Rider
Hell on Wheels
Article by Jody Duncan
 
In Ghost Rider, adapted from the Marvel comic, stunt motorcyclist Johnny Blaze strikes a deal with the Devil that transforms him into a fiery skeletal avenger. For the film's array of Hellfire effects, demonic character transformations, phantom materializations and grisly confrontations, director Mark Steven Johnson called upon visual effects supervisor Kevin Mack to oversee the effort, with lead effects house Sony Pictures Imageworks assigned the majority of the Hellfire and Ghost Rider effects, while supporting vendors CaféFX, Digital Dream and Gray Matter tackled the rest.
 
300
A Beautiful Death
Article by Joe Fordham
 
The Battle of Thermopylae, in which 300 Spartans fought to the death against a massive Persian onslaught in 480 B.C., forms the basis of 300, a big-screen adaptation of the Frank Miller graphic novel loosely based on historical accounts of the incident. As with Sin City, a previous Frank Miller movie adaptation, director Zack Snyder captured Miller's impressionistic style by shooting most of the action against bluescreen and compositing it into computer generated sets and environments. Visual effects supervisor Chris Watts oversaw the digital work involving nearly a dozen vendors, led by Hybride Technologies, Animal Logic and Hydraulx.
 
Pan's Labyrinth
Into the Labyrinth
Article by Joe Fordham
 
In Pan's Labyrinth, the acclaimed film written, produced and directed by horror mogul Guillermo Del Toro, a young girl, caught up in the brutality of the Spanish Civil War, escapes her grim reality by immersing herself in a gothic fantasy world of her own creation. To realize the myriad strange creatures and magical environments of her fantasy life, Del Toro relied on long-time collaborators DDT Efectos Especiales for makeup and animatronic effects, while visual effects were provided by CaféFX.
 
Zodiac
The Streets of San Francisco
Article by Jody Duncan
 
Director David Fincher explores the serial killer theme with Zodiac, a chilling cinematic account of the real-life search to find the infamous murderer who terrorized the San Francisco Bay area in the late 1960s and '70s. Seeking historically accurate, era-appropriate environments for the period film, Fincher called upon visual effects artists at Matte World Digital and Digital Domain to provide the desired look, with effects ranging from simple split-screens to all-CG shots. Additional fix-it and cleanup work was provided by a host of independent artists and vendors.
 
Apocalypto
Overview: Ted Rae on Apocalypto
Article by Joe Fordham
 
To realize his epic film, Apocalypto, a look into the ancient Mayan civilization, as seen through the eyes of a young hunter on the run from brutal enemies, director Mel Gibson creates an immersive experience enhanced by a full range of effects that included extensive makeup and animatronics, plus miniatures and visual effects contributed by seven vendors.
 
Norbit
Overview: Rick Baker & Erik Bruhwiler on Norbit
Article by Estelle Shay
 
With the help of makeup veteran Rick Baker and visual effects house Digital Dimension, actor Eddie Murphy once again inhabits multiple roles in the DreamWorks comedy Norbit, playing the meek and nerdy Norbit, his 400-pound bully of wife, Rasputia, and an irascible Asian named Mr. Wong.
 
 
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