20 Before and After Comparisons of Movie Visual Effects

20 Before and After Comparisons of Movie Visual Effects


It’s not a secret that all of the big movies today have CGI effects in them starting from realistic-looking textures to a 3D rendered dog poop (we’ll get back to that one, I promise). Now settle down, children, we’re going to have a short yet exciting history lesson!

Back like in the last century, the first 2D computer imagery was featured in the sci-fi western “Westworld”.


3 years after that its sequel “Futureworld” used 3D graphics for the first time in the history of moviemaking.



In ’77 3D wireframe graphics were introduced in the first “Star Wars” movie and everything went uphill since then.

“Tron’s” extensive 3D scenes (1982)



First-ever animated short from Pixar “The Adventures of Andre and And Wally B” (1984)


First realistic-looking textures in “Jurassic Park” (1993)



First full-length 3D animated film “Toy Story” (1995)

The unforgettable bullet dodging in “The Matrix” (1999)



And the mesmerizing facial capture technology used in Steven Spielberg’s “Avatar” (2009)


All these exceptional CGI benchmarks look exciting but one should wonder how would movies look without the CGI effects? Nice segway, eh?

It is hard to pretend something is there when it’s not. What you see on a movie screen is the result of hundreds of CG animators, special FX artists, stunt-doubles and cleverly built movie sets, not to mention actors, directors, producers and other essential people working hundreds of hours on movies like Daredevil, Fantastic Four and Green Lantern only to have them bashed by the fanbase for plot holes and horrible CGI. Look, not everything should be exactly like in the comics, give these movies a break! Sorry, I digress. Let’s have a look at some of the most prominent examples of human ingenuity:

1) In “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” to make the apes look more like humans and less like puppets, the CGI wizards used facial capture. Lots of it.




2) Obviously, there were no real tigers or even an ocean in “Life of Pi”, but there were endless green screens and a stuffed blue… tiger head? Yeah, that’s real magic!




3) Another motion capture gimmick, this time for the famous Harvey Dent aka Two-Face from “The Dark Knight”.


4) “Marvel’s The Avengers” … Gee, where do I start? It’s safe to say that this movie is 90% CGI at this point.


5) Andrew Serkis deserves a medal and a pizza with cheese crust for his role of Gollum in “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy. He had to actually wear a full body suit with motion capture sensors attached to it, while crouching most of the time.


6) Who would have thought that the astounding settings in “The Hobbit” movies were CGI?



Sad fact: one day while working on “The Hobbit” Ian McKellen a.k.a Gandalf the Grey broke down in tears because to shoot scenes with tiny dwarfs and the giant wizard they had to do it separately. All he had were 13 photos of dwarfs with little lights that flashed when the appropriate dwarf was talking. He cried, actually cried. Then he said out loud, “This is not why I became an actor” but unfortunately the microphone was on and the whole studio heard.

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