Over the last decade the use of VFX has changed immensely. Earlier it was used to only those shots which were impossible to shoot. Now around 75% of the movie is created with help of VFX. But few decades back artists and studios used to sweat it out to create one single shot of VFX. Even though not all shots were as good as today’s VFX, but some shots literally created lasting impressions on the mind of the audience. 3D visual effects in the movies have come on leaps and bounds since their introduction in the 1980s. The art of creating realistic looking environments, monsters, creatures and buildings continues to impress, with many movies now relying on the creative talent at special effects companies like ILM and Weta to enhance movies with stunning CGI.
Here are the some iconic VFX shots which changed the Visual effects industry forever.
A vision was unlike anything Hollywood – Star Wars
It marked the first animated film to use computer graphics, although it was only used in a limited way for just a few of the film’s images. Animation used a variety of special effects, from models to paintings to very basic but impressive CGI. In Fact the whole film influenced the artist’s and director’s around the globe. Be it the never seen spaceship battles or the cool light or saber fights. Every thing that ILM and George Lucas created for this film was beyond the imagination of normal people.
No one had idea about how it was done – Young Sherlock Holmes
ILM took their legacy forward and pushed CG technology beyond anything anyone had attempted before: they put the first 3D character into a feature film – a knight that leapt out of a stained glass window in “Young Sherlock Holmes.”A short sequence where a stained-glass knight attacks a priest John Lasster a Lucasfilm’s artist used new motion blur technology and the first 32-bit RGBA paint system. The effect couldn’t have been created in any other way.
The utterly gorgeous Visual Effects – The Abyss
The Abyss won an Oscar for Best Visual Effects, and is remembered chiefly for the then-cutting-edge CG water tentacle. But it also ran the gamut of traditional effects techniques. Visual effects, especially of the watery, snake-like alien creature, a ‘pseudopod,’ represented the first example of digitally-animated, CGI water. This was the first computer generated three-dimensional (3D) character – real cutting-edge technology. The film exhibited seamless and convincing compositing of 3D animation together with70 mm live-action footage. The alien water-probe sequence lasting about 75 seconds required 8 months of visual effects work.
Raiders for the Innovative VFX – Indiana Jones (Raiders of the Lost Ark)
ILM was instrumental in creating many of the notable sequences in Raiders, including the finale when the unsealing of the Ark of the Covenant results in a spectacular supernatural event. Achieved via a clever mix of small gossamer puppets filmed in a water tank and a variety of optical effects, the sequence used every visual effects trick. There one shot which is the most iconic VFX shot of the movie, the melting of Toht’s head. It was done by exposing a gelatine and plaster model of Ronald Lacey’s head to a heat lamp with an undercranked camera, while Dietrich’s crushed head was a hollow model from which air was withdrawn.
Most ambitious spectacular – Terminator (Judgement day)
Terminator 2: Judgement Day was a pioneering movie in the realm of visual effects thanks to its CGI work, the sequences in this film has only five minutes of running time, but it costed 10 months and 35 artists hard work to produce it. The excitement to watch T-1000, melting and then building itself has not lost even after so many years this is one of the most loved VFX shot. More than 25 years after its initial release, Terminator 2: Judgement Day remains not just one of the best entries in the Terminator franchise but also a classic sci-fi movie.
Finally VFX arrived with a bang – Jurassic Park
Jurassic Park is considered a landmark in the development of computer-generated imagery and animatronic visual effects. Jurassic Park won Academy Award for Best Visual Effects. The dinosaurs were created with groundbreaking computer-generated imagery by Industrial Light & Magic and with life-sized animatronic dinosaurs was built by Stan Winston.
There are few more iconic movies which raised the bar of VFX fo e.g. Titanic, Forrest Gump, The Mask, Jumanji and many more. Filmmakers like George Lucas, Steven Speilberg and James Cameroon are the ones who have pushed the VFX envelope to bring their imagination on screeen. Even after so many years of VFX, it is still evolving.