How Darth Vader's amazing final scene in Rogue One happened

Star Wars: Rogue One director Gareth Edwards tells the fascinating backstory behind Darth Vader's brutal stroll down the hallway in Rogue One. (Wired)

And if you missed it yesterday, check out the Star Wars: Rogue One ending flow into A New Hope beginning.

Read the rest

Amazing body paint illusion of a woman cut in half

Israeli makeup magician Ilana Kolihanov created this wonderfully creepy optical illusion. See more of her incredible work on her Instagram feed.

A post shared by Ilana Makeup Artist🌻🐙 (@ilana_makeup_artist) on Sep 2, 2016 at 10:02am PDT

A post shared by Ilana Makeup Artist🌻🐙 (@ilana_makeup_artist) on Aug 29, 2016 at 2:27pm PDT

A post shared by Ilana Makeup Artist🌻🐙 (@ilana_makeup_artist) on Oct 7, 2016 at 3:01pm PDT

Read the rest

Adam Savage goes behind the scenes of Ghost In The Shell

Adam Savage visits with Weta Workshop's Richard Taylor for a glimpse of the mecha-geisha masks, animatronic amazement, and far-out fabrication that brought the new Ghost in the Shell film to life. Directed by Rupert Sanders and starring Scarlett Johansson and Pilo Asbaek, Ghost in the Shell hits theaters in a month. Trailer below. (Tested)

Read the rest

Making of the creatures in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Enjoy this "creature featurette" with director Gareth Edwards and Creature Effects Supervisor Neal Scanlan introducing us to the strange characters in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Read the rest

Adam Savage visits Peter Jackson's startling cabinet of movie prop curiosities

Boing Boing pal Adam Savage (MythBusters, Tested) tours the incredible prop collection of Peter Jackson, producer of The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, District 9, and the forthcoming The Adventures of Tintin: Prisoners of the Sun. One of his favorite pieces? An original Hal 9000 faceplate! That is quite the wunderkammer, Mr. Jackson! (Tested)

Read the rest

The biomechanical horror of Alien and H.R. Giger

In this video essay by Kristian Williams, the story of the biomechanical beasts from the mad mind of H.R. Giger, surrealist painter and designer best known for his work on the special effects team behind the film Alien (1979).

Read the rest

Real time face capture lets you control famous faces

Researchers at Stanford have developed face-capture technology that can alter pre-recorded videos in real-time on low cost computers. In other words, you can make George W Bush or Donald Trump appear intelligent.

We present a novel approach for real-time facial reenactment of a monocular target video sequence (e.g., Youtube video). The source sequence is also a monocular video stream, captured live with a commodity webcam. Our goal is to animate the facial expressions of the target video by a source actor and re-render the manipulated output video in a photo-realistic fashion. To this end, we first address the under-constrained problem of facial identity recovery from monocular video by non-rigid model-based bundling. At run time, we track facial expressions of both source and target video using a dense photometric consistency measure. Reenactment is then achieved by fast and efficient deformation transfer between source and target. The mouth interior that best matches the re-targeted expression is retrieved from the target sequence and warped to produce an accurate fit. Finally, we convincingly re-render the synthesized target face on top of the corresponding video stream such that it seamlessly blends with the real-world illumination. We demonstrate our method in a live setup, where Youtube videos are reenacted in real time.

Read the rest

Inside Industrial Light & Magic's virtual reality lab

Industrial Light & Magic’s Experience Lab (ILMxLAB) is a newly-formed supergroup of artists, engineers, sound designers, and storytellers prototyping the future of interactive, immersive cinema for Lucasfilm. Over at Bloomberg Businessweek, I wrote about my visit to the xLAB where The Force is quite strong:

"The way we do technology development here is really hand-in-hand with the creative goals,” says (Lucasfilm CTO Rob) Bredow. “The R&D is always in service to the story.”

For example, to port the Millennium Falcon from the Star Wars film universe into the interactive realm, the Advanced Development Group engineers first had to figure out how the VR hardware could render the massive 3D model in just milliseconds, compared with hours or days for a film shot. Then Skywalker Sound built a surround system that realistically rumbles and whooshes as a Corellian starship should. Meanwhile, game designers and the storytellers hashed out the most compelling way for a Jedi-in-training (you) to battle an army of Stormtroopers with a lightsaber.

"THE SUPERGROUP REMAKING STAR WARS AND JURASSIC WORLD IN VR" (Bloomberg Businessweek) Read the rest

Movie scenes before CGI effects often look very odd and ridiculous

Above, "Game of Thrones" before the computer graphics.

Guardians of the Galaxy:

Pirates of the Caribbean:

Life of Pi:

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse:

See more at Design You Trust. (via Neatorama) Read the rest

People strip their clothes with green screen trick [NSFW]

Tim Fitzgerald shot video of naked people. Then he shot video of the same people holding the same pose, but wearing clothes. Then other people smeared and splashed green paint on the people's clothes, and Fitzgerald green screened the two superimposed videos to make this amusing and NSFW short film. Read the rest

Is bad CGI ruining movies? A nuanced critique

It's an age-old complaint about video games and films: bad graphics make them suck. But plenty of classic entertainment holds up even if the effects don't. RocketJump Film School examines the issue in a brisk overview. Read the rest

See early designs for Marty McFly's Back to the Future 2 hoverboard

In 1986, Industrial Light and Magic artist John Bell designed what would become an icon of Hollywood futurism, Marty McFly's Hoverboard from Back To The Future 2. Read the rest

JJ Abrams on special make-up fx artist Dick Smith: "He was the Beatles to me.”

From JJ Abrams's fantastic tribute to Dick Smith, the pioneering SFX make-up artist behind The Exorcist, Scanners, Little Big Man, and so many more: Read the rest

The Making of Raiders of the Lost Ark

The Making of Raiders of the Lost Ark, aired on PBS in 1981. Read the rest

Why Ray Harryhausen's stop-motion effects were more real than CGI

The death of stop-motion animation pioneer Ray Harryhausen raises questions about the future of special effects, writes Ethan Gilsdorf. In the good old days, it did not take so much to trick the eye.