Douglas Trumbull (born 1942) is one of the most renowned pioneers in the field of special effects. Most of the common imaginary of dystopic or very remote futures comes from the effort he put in the movies he worked in.
Illustrator in Los Angeles at first, in the Sixties he caught the attention of Stanley Kubrick who put him in charge for the visual effects in “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968). From this very occasion, Trumbull always tried to experiment with the technology of the time, with the aim to achieve the most realistic effects.
As Trumbull kept working with visual effects he managed to push further techniques that were already known (such as the motion control used in 1981’s “Blade Runner“) and introduce new ones (his “Showscan” process utilized in his movie “Brainstorm” in 1983).
The modern days with their CGI-driven effects did not affect the work of Trumbull. For the 2011’s “The Tree of Life” he used organic effects already tested in “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”, agreeing with the director, Terrence Malik, to create “a working environment that’s almost impossible to come by these days”.
The works of Trumbull carried him into the Hall of Fame of special effects, and whoever is passionate in this field or simply appreciates iconic movies should really look up to him.
The curiosity to enlarge the misleading narrative structure of the cinema has always been one of the driving force of this communicative language, since its origins.
There are many examples of integration between live action and imaginary world inside cinema history, a long way that lead us from cartoons to digital animation.
The first experiment of integration was realized by James Stuart Blackton in 1900 with a short film entitled The Enchanted Drawing. In this film, the director “interacts” with a portrait, from whom he receives objects, this effect comes moving the object between individually photographed frames, creating the illusion of movement when the series of frames is played as a continuous sequence.Some years later, Max Fleischer, with his short series of films entitled Out of the Inkwell, used for the first time the rotoscoping technique, which was made up by himselfes and gives the opportunity to animate the main characters drawing frame by frame in the film played on a window panel, used as a guide. But the revolutionary tecnology was introduced by the Disney’s in films like Mary Poppins, Bedknobs and Broomsticks e Pete’s dragon: the “Screen Vapor Process”Continue reading
This time we would like to show you a short documentary video about visual effects which have won the Academy Award®.
Nowadays almost all of us are absolutely used to the presence of variously special effects in films, web videos, TV commercials and so on.
BUT… Over 20 years ago the technology was incomparable to the current, however some of producers were already able to create very realistic visual illusions.
One of the best example is the Oscar winner of 1994 – Forrest Gump, directed by Robert Zemeckis, and exactly this film we have chosen as a reference point of our documentary video.
Which kind of tricks have been used in this film?
How it was possible without the current technology and devices?
Why visual effects used in Forrest Gump were so special and innovative?
And are there any other films that had used the same (or similar) special effects before (and later)?
You can find answers for all these questions in the video!
DOCUMENTARY – Digital Characters with Motion Capture
What is the MoCap? What are markers? How Davy Jones or Smaug are created?
For these and other questions, in this video, we take a look at the technique of Motion Capture (or MoCap ), a method of high interaction between man and technology that allows to capture the movements of people and objects and turn them into digital 3D information.
Here you can find some basic knowledge about this innovative technology! #ThisIsMotionCapture
Previously we focused on the integration of CG generated furry creatures in the real world; now we are going to move from fur to hair, discussing the importance of it, starting from japanese and traditional animation, passing through CG milestones of early 2000 and ending with latest movies like Rapunzel, Brave and Frozen that represented great challanges not only for animators, but even (and maybe primarily) for scientists and engineers.
The shadow Play is a form of theatrical art of long tradition , part of the pre-cinema works .
The term pre-cinema means all those experiments and entertainment related to the projection of images and illusory movement , dating from ancient times up to the first public screening of cinema , organized by the Lumière brothers December 28, 1895 .
The shadow play are a very old type of show (second century BC) which was played in itinerant theaters moved from one country to another , similar to “gabbiotti” of Sicilian puppets or marionettes . It was common to find these theaters near the temples during religious festivals , but also in laic festivals such as New Year’s day or at county fairs .
In the shows the figures can not be seen directly but, as the name suggests , you only can see their shadows.
The viewer stands in front of a white semi-transparent screen behind which the actors maneuver the figures and recite the various parts. A powerful source of light casts the shadows directly on the screen with the effect of get them bigger and make them animated .
A legend tells that the Chinese Emperor Wudi ( 140-85 BC) had become gloomy after the death of his concubine Li Furen . To console the king , his eunuchs did carve a figure in wood similar to the woman and projected the shadow on a curtain. The Emperor believing that it was the spirit of his beloved that came to visit him and feel comforted . Obviously today the figures are not more made of wood, but of leather , lighter and easier to handle.
IDEA: For the first project, we decided to explore the history, and evolution, of special effects in the opening title of the TV series. We decided to narrow down the search to the opening because play a very important role as they have recurring elements that attract and conquer the audience even before yout sart watching the episode.
PRELIMINARY: Before starting work we have done a thorough search to find out what years in television began broadcasting television series, and later TV series which had titres within which the parties had made thanks to special effects. Once collected the material we decided to split material found in 3 macroblocks: 60s‐70s, 80s-90s and 2000s – present day.
DEVELOPMENT: Each of these macroblocks consists of a video that summarizes the opening that, in our opinion, have been more important in the era under consideration. In each of these videos we made sure to show the title of the series, this in addition to contextualize the series, manages to understand how the history of special effects has evolved and transformed from the ’60s to today. To give the impression of a journey in time we have achieved a kind of lift a spacecraft that carries a kind of time travel. Every time the elevator opens, you see a room, furnished in the style of the period examined. Next, we’re going to zoom in on the tv that will show the video era. At the end there will be the closing of the doors , and the displacement of the ship forward in time.
TECHNICAL DEVELOPMENT: At a technical level, we have created all the graphics of the lift, the rooms and the TV through Adobe Illustrator. For video editing we used Adobe Premiere. Finally, we have exported both graphic video in After Effects and created the final video.