Sunday, November 13, 2011


I was watching the Science Channel and was lucky to catch an episode of How's It Made all about special effects. The show starts off by showing the complexity of miniatures. It is shocking how closely a drawing can be replicated into a model form by artists. This would definitely be a tedious profession but extremely rewarding. In the video they talk about larger scaled miniatures having the ability to be scanned into the computer to create a digital world. This is achieved by placing reflective dots on the miniature for reference points. After this is completed a device is used to laser scan the miniature.

The complexity of the lighting for the miniature set is unfathomable. Many tiny mirrors are used to achieve perfect lighting. The camera used in this miniature shoot is controlled remotely and is on a flexible robotic arm. A computer is used to track and record the camera's movements so shots can be easily replicated. The second half of the video provides information on how characters are now incorporated into the miniature set. Human motion capturing is demonstrated. It is an interesting set up with a person in the motion suit being digitally tracked and having those movements projected up behind as the animated character. I was surprised to see the amount of steps before animation can even begin to be produced. The movie is still in production that was featured in this episode. The animation studio that is developing this film can be found here. I look forward to seeing how the film looks after its completion. Watching this ten minute video will have you gain a larger appreciation for animated films.

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