Computer Graphics World

Edition 2 2018

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e d i t i o n 2 , 2 0 1 8 | c g w 5 T he beginning of 2018 marked 20 years since the release of James Cameron's Titanic. The romantic-disaster epic hit the big screen with appropriate force, captivating audiences across the globe and sweeping up 11 Oscars in the process. At a time when visual effects was still in its relative infancy, Titanic's use of digital technology was at the cutting edge of VFX for the time, pioneering the photorealism we expect in movies today. Now, almost every film we celebrate at the Academy Awards will have been enhanced by VFX. It's a testament to today's VFX industry that audiences continue to be dazzled by its content aer all this time. Yet, when you look at this year's Best Visual Effects category, which included Blade Runner 2049, War for the Planet of the Apes, Kong: Skull Island, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and Star Wars: The Last Jedi, it's clear that films are continuing to redefine what audiences consider "magical." These films are prime examples of just how far the industry has come over the past 20 years. Titanic: Still Making Waves "Epic" seems an appropriate word to use when describing Cam- eron's acclaimed blockbuster. At the time of release, Titanic was the most expensive film ever made, costing $200 million (US). Many heralded the launch of the film as the tipping point where imagination could be re-created digitally, and the opportuni- ties for filmmakers seemed endless. Mark Lasoff, digital effects super visor at Digital Domain – which was responsible for the lion's share of the film's VFX – heralded it as the cusp of VFX becoming completely photorealistic in film. Today, VFX technology has evolved even further, and the re-cre- ation of real-life sets and enough extras to sink a ship has become the norm. Take the new Star Wars franchise as an example; the infamous Death Star is created entirely virtually using 3D mod- eling tools, and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story only had 121 actors, compared to 173 compositors. Similarly, in Jon Favreau's The Jungle Book, the action was shot entirely against a bluescreen – the only live-action element was Mowgli (Neel Sethi) – with the rest of the animals and environments being computer-generated. Avatar to Blade Runner James Cameron's next project aer Titanic was Avatar. Ten years in the making, this film raised the bar for VFX forever. Bringing to life the fantastical environments of Pandora took a staggering 2,500 VFX shots. Weta Digital was responsible for the lion's share of the VFX on Avatar, evolving the use of VFX tools to meet the imagination of Cameron. At this year's Academy Awards, the industry has been noting the success in the Best Visual Effects category of Blade Runner 2049. Whether or not you prefer Denis Villeneuve's modern take or Ridley Scott's original predecessor, it's fascinating to see how the VFX has developed from film to film. The mind-boggling complexity, physical accuracy, and sheer detail in digital VFX has enabled studios to create atmospheric environments that truly transport us to another place and time. Atomic Fiction's TWENTY YEARS OF MAGIC OSCAR-WINNING FILM THE JUNGLE BOOK. FROM TITANIC TO BLADE RUNNER 2049: HOW VFX HAS EVOLVED AT THE OSCARS BY SIMON ROBINSON V I E W P O I N T

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