2008 VFX Year in Review
It was another year of superheroes, sci-fi, fantasy, action/adventure and a few breakthroughs along the way. Have we crossed the Uncanny Valley? Wait and see. Here's our top 10 vfx highlights for 2008: 1. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Vfx artistry was obviously crucial to telling the F. Scott Fitzgerald-adapted story of a man (played by Brad Pitt) aging backwards in this Christmas Day release. From a CG head on a live actor's body to makeup and "youthening" effects, the combination of techniques and skill put this film at the top of our vfx list for 2008. However, the invisibility of the work and the ability to keep viewers completely in the story are its crowning achievement. The whole story on Digital Domain's four-year journey with director David Fincher to develop a photoreal digital human, and the critical contributions of Lola, Hydraulx, Asylum and Matte World Digital will soon be covered in depth by VFXWorld. Boasts John Gaeta, vfx supervisor on Speed Racer: "Benjamin Button is a frontier expanding application of visual computing and hand crafted illusion... and done so in a way that can touch your heart."
It was another year of superheroes, sci-fi, fantasy, action/adventure and a few breakthroughs along the way. Have we crossed the Uncanny Valley? Wait and see. Here's our top 10 vfx highlights for 2008:
1. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
2. Speed Racer
Speaking of expanding frontiers, Gaeta, Co-VFX Supervisor Dan Glass and their talented vfx gang certainly did that in providing some of the most exhilarating thrills of the year in this unappreciated gem from the Wachowskis. Shame on the Academy for not entering it in the semi-finals. But props to Digital Domain, BUF, CafeFX, Evil Eye, Sony Pictures Imageworks, ILM, Christov Effects and Design and the other contributors. They mashed 2D and 3D into a new "Photo Anime" look with cool spherical bubbles and wrapped it around "Car Fu" fun. It opened our eyes to new possibilities for digital cinema: "There were lots of ideas left on the table from The Matrix," Gaeta explains, "but there were lots of possibilities in deepening the form, which weren't as doable as they are now with the abilities of digital cinema end to end post processing. So we said, let's loosen up and move away from this deep photorealistic and integrationist approach, and try to pursue the nuances of anime a little closer to the bone. And so that began this slow but steady remaking of the rules of this universe. It seemed that to pay homage to the spirit of this animation format, we needed to find the language that the average viewer can understand. Camera movement and editing and in anime when there are rays behind an object for graphic impact, they know what it means. It boosts the energy and emotional underscoring of an event. We deconstructed a number of anime to find the basic language and started to translate that graphically into our conception of what the movie should be."
2. Speed Racer