To Hell and Back
Article by Jody Duncan
Based on the graphic novels of Mike Mignola, Hellboy features the demon head of an occult crimefighting team gathered to counter the forces of evil. Charged with delivering the effects-heavy film on a modest budget, director Guillermo del Toro relied heavily on practical effects by Nick Allder and makeup and animatronics by Cinovation Studio, Spectral Motion and DDT Efectos Especiales. Complementing the practical effects were some 800 visual effects shots featuring miniatures, CG environments and character animation, with visual effects supervisor Edward Irastorza and principal vendors Tippett Studio and The Orphanage leading the effort.
The Matrix Revolutions
Heavy Metal
Article by Joe Fordham
The Matrix Revolutions — the final installment in the Wachowski Brothers' post-apocalyptic trilogy — marked the close of a four-year odyssey for visual effects supervisor John Gaeta and ESC Entertainment, the company formed to lead the visual effects effort for both sequels. Working with effects vendors and physical and miniature effects teams in the U.S. and abroad, Gaeta and his collaborators devised new virtual technologies, and in Revolutions, capitalized on those advances to deliver stunning scenes of the machine world's final war against humanity.
The Passion of the Christ
Passion Play
Article by Jody Duncan
Unflinching in its depiction of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, Mel Gibson's controversial film, The Passion of the Christ, presents the horror of the event like no other. To realize his vision, Gibson chose makeup effects creator Keith Vanderlaan and his company, Captive Audience, to handle all of the film's effects work, marking the facility's debut as a full-service shop. The result was a deft blending of makeup and animatronics with sophisticated digital effects to deliver shockingly realistic images in the service of Gibson's gritty interpretation.
Matte World Digital
A Company of Artists
Article by Jody Duncan
Having transitioned successfully from traditional matte painting to the digital backlot approach used in modern filmmaking, Matte World Digital is one of a handful of companies to survive the swift technological advances in the visual effects industry over the past decade. Co-founder Craig Barron details the company's efforts to stay at the forefront of the digital revolution and its impact on his craft, as canvasses and bushes gave way to computer workstations and sophisticated software tools.
Q&A: Phil Tippett
Interview by Joe Fordham
In an exclusive interview, Oscar-winning visual effects maestro Phil Tippett, founder of Tippett Studio — one of the industry's top-rated computer animation facilities — discusses his recent foray into film directing, with Starship Troopers 2, and the remarkable 27-year career that has carried him from stop-motion animation in Star Wars to go-motion in Dragonslayer to 3D character animation in Jurassic Park and beyond.
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