The Manhattan Project
Article by Joe Fordham
Adapted from the darkly complex graphic novel considered the finest and most influential of its genre, Watchmen, directed by Zack Snyder, called for a seamless blending of practical and visual effects, makeup and miniatures to bring the story's band of misfit superheroes and villains to the big screen. Visual effects supervisor John 'DJ' DesJardin oversaw the work at Sony Pictures Imageworks, The Moving Picture Company, Intelligent Creatures and CIS Hollywood, while Joel Whist supervised special effects. Greg Cannom's Drac Studios contributed prosthetic makeups, and Global Effects fabricated custom suits.
A Handmade World
Article by Joe Fordham
In Coraline, director Henry Selick returns to the genre of stop-motion animation with a fantasy feature — his first to be shot in 3D — based on a novella by Neil Gaiman about an inquisitive young girl who walks through a secret door in her new home and discovers an alternate version of her life that seems more attractive than the real one. Puppetry and animation on a grand scale was provided by Laika Entertainment, making its theatrical film debut. Director of photography Pete Kozachik captured the stereoscopic effects, and visual effects supervisor Brian Van't Hul oversaw extensive postproduction work.
The Spirit
Summoning the Spirit
Article by George Moïse
Master graphic novelist Frank Miller, in his solo directing debut, taps into the oeuvre of renowned 1940s-era comic-book artist Will Eisner for his adaptation of The Spirit, a crime story about a rookie cop who returns from the dead as a masked vigilante. Told in the signature style of Miller's Sin City and 300, The Spirit's hybrid live-action/CG approach featured stark, noir-ish, all-CG environments composited into minimalist greenscreen sets. Visual effects supervisor Stu Maschwitz led the work at The Orphanage, Digital Dimension, Rising Sun Pictures and six other supporting companies.
Urban Renewal
Article by Jody Duncan
Visual effects supervisor Michael Owens discusses the challenges of re-creating 1920s Los Angeles for director Clint Eastwood's period drama Changeling, based on the true story of a woman who takes on the corrupt Los Angeles Police Department following the abduction of her young son by a pedophile serial killer.
Into Inkworld
Article by Jody Duncan
A bookbinder has the power to conjure characters in and out of books through the act of reading them aloud in the fantasy adventure Inkheart, directed by Iain Softley. Seeking photorealism, Softley and visual effects supervisor Angus Bickerton made judicious use of visual effects by Double Negative, The Senate, Cinesite, Rainmaker and Peerless Camera Company, while relying heavily on practical effects by special effects supervisor Paul Corbould, and miniatures by Mattes & Miniatures.
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