Digital Art in Film

Digital Art plays a huge part in films. I’ve always loved checking out the behind the scenes parts of movies. It’s cool to see how these big budget Hollywood movies are made, although for some it ruins the illusion. If that’s you, this blog post is not for you.

Now a days a lot of what we see on screen doesn’t really exist. A few years ago people actually had to make every thing, every prop, explosion etc had to be real, there was no way to digitally make it. For example, lets look at the insanely popular Star Wars series.

George Lucas, 1983, 2005

Right here we have two pictures of George Lucas, creator of Star Wars. In the first picture, taken in 1983, we see a room filled with props and pieces they used to create the films. In 2005 however, we see Lucas standing in front of a green screen. Everything was digital in the new films.

Entire scenes are now fully digital, including the actors in them. The scary part is that it’s often impossible to tell what’s real and what isn’t today. For example, let’s look at one of last summer’s biggest hits, The Amazing Spiderman. Some scenes were totally digital, including Spiderman himself. If this was going to be shot 20 years ago the team would have needed to rely on camera tricks and dangerous stunts to make Spiderman shoot through the air the way he does.

 


2012, The Amazing Spiderman

The Amazing Spiderman
Spiderman model added to city backdrop

 

The Amazing Spiderman
Final Shot

Movies like Avatar really pushed what we could do with digital characters in film. The majority of the characters were sculpted in Zbrush for the film to achieve a high level of character detail. But what about animation?

 

Avatar (2009) facial animation

Fox’s new movie Life of Pi features a photorealistic tiger throughout the film that doesn’t really exist. I bet they fooled a lot of people. To add to the believability they filmed actions and movements of real tigers, and mimicked them with an artist flair while achieving goals set up for the movie.

The Life of Pi (2012)
On set, no effects

 

The Life of Pi (2012)
Adding in the background

 

The Life of Pi (2012)
Adding in the Tiger

 

The Life of Pi (2012)
Final Shot

As you can see a lot goes into making something like this. Next time you’re watching a movie just think about the impossible shots and stunts and wonder whether or not they are real or made by a team of digital artists in a studio!

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