Real Steel
Steel Works
Article by Jody Duncan Jesser
To create the robotic stars of Real Steel, set in a near-future world where professional boxing has been relegated to mechanical pugilists, director Shawn Levy relied on a seamless blend of practical and digital effects, with John Rosengrant and his team at Legacy Effects providing full-size animatronic puppets, while visual effects supervisor Erik Nash and a crew at Digital Domain devised their CG counterparts. Also lending a hand were Giant Studios, which motion-captured live performers in choreographed fights to provide critical data for the animators, and Glenn Derry's Video Hawks, which supplied virtual cameras and Simulcam setups for the complex fight action.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Render Unto Ceasar
Article by Joe Fordham
In this prequel to the popular franchise inspired by Pierre Boulle's science fiction novel about intelligent apes that rise up against their human captors, director Rupert Wyatt broke with tradition, abandoning the practical simian makeups of the previous ape films in favor of an all-digital approach. Weta Digital, under the supervision of Joe Letteri and Dan Lemmon, rose to the challenge, generating super-chimp Caesar and armies of photorealistic apes with the help of on-set motion capture of ape actors led by veteran mocap performer Andy Serkis and motion choreographer Terry Notary.
Man in the Moon
Article by Joe Fordham
For his latest film, based on Brian Selznick's illustrated children's novel about a young boy who befriends once-great cinema pioneer Georges Méliès, now living a reclusive life as a toymaker in 1920s Paris, director Martin Scorcese reunited with frequent collaborator Robert Legato who oversaw the visual effects needed to create lush period environments in stereoscopic 3D. Pixomondo served as primary visual effects vendor, aided by Uncharted Territory, ILM, Matte World Digital, and miniature effects provider New Deal Studios. Joss Williams handled special effects.
The Tree of Life
Article by Jody Duncan Jesser
To achieve a 22-minute long sequence featuring the creation of the universe through a series of stunning and scientifically sound images in The Tree of Life, director Terrence Malick melded old-school techniques by filmmaking pioneer Douglas Trumbull with digital effects orchestrated by visual effects supervisor Dan Glass and crews at Prime Focus, Double Negative, One of Us and Method Studios.
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