Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Terminator: Salvation Trailer Hidden Subliminal Cues Revealed

Much of the visuals of the Terminator movie series are meant to be realistic. After all, they are really a reflection of what we fear could happen to the world - or what is happening right now - no matter how distant the events are from our homes, where we feel safe and secure.

Television, and the news we watch in it, are our only connection to dire events like the wars and suffering that are part of the life of other people, who may be at the other side of the world. Such happenings are, for the most part, beyond us but the news makes it real for us.

Interestingly, the trailer of Terminator: Salvation seems to attempt to give this sensation of realism or relates the visuals of destruction and violence against humans and nature real through a subliminal message using a word, flashed for a fraction of a second in between teaser scenes interspersed with static effects. Viewers will not see it, but the theory is that the mind still sees and interprets it - giving a sense of reality to make-believe scenes - if you can believe that stuff.

Here are the stills where you can discern the hidden word. Can you read it?

This last one is an enigma. What do you see in the static snow?

Watch the teaser here

In memory of Stan Winston
Terminator: Salvation is made in remembrance of special effects wizard, Stan Winston, who passed away this June while doing work for the movie. Winston was the one who designed the original Terminator "skeleton" of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Read the remarks of director McG about Winston in his post in the Terminator: Salvation blog,

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Monday, July 21, 2008

Virtual Mars Rovers Created with Hollywood Sfx

These two "photos" of Martian rovers look unerringly realistic, as if another rover or astronaut took the pictures. But no, they're not real. They're composites made using rover models and actual photos of the Martian surface taken by the real rovers on Mars.

The colored picture is that of the rover Spirit on the flank of Husband Hill on Mars. The black and white picture is of the same rover in the Columbia Hills. They were made using the Virtual Presence in Space technology developed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. It is a mix of image-processing technology, visualization, and cinema special effects.

Developers say the "synthesis gives a virtual presence to viewers which can help in space mission planning, to accustom people in navigating in an alien environment.

In a related visual technology, scientists are now able to experience the surface of other planets like Mars using Hollywood 3D technology which was used in one of the movies in the Nightmare in Elm Street series. You can view the picture below of the Martian surface in 3D using special movie house red and blue glasses.

Click here to explore more of outer space in 3D. Requires red-blue 3D glasses.

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Friday, July 11, 2008

Hellboy 2 Creatures Trimmed Down Due to Production Limitations

When Hellboy II was first envisioned, producers say it had plenty of creatures and most of them weren't even supposed to be rendered in CG. A lot had to be fleshed out using traditional prosthetics, makeup, and the usual costumes and silicon over skin. One of the creature subcontractors, Creature FX says there were originally thousands planned in the script---the movie's secondary title is, after all, The Golden Army.

The studio had to rethink things and ended up toning down on creatures and physical effects. But in spite of the trimming down, it was still one hell of the job for the effects team--- and the actors of course, who had to endure hours of production time waiting in full makeup just in case they were needed on a take. Doug Jones, who played Abe Sapiens was reportedly in full "fish" outfit for 108 days during the shoot.

The effort put in by the effects and makeup people can really be appreciated in the Troll Market scene, where creatures you've never seen before are made to walk, talk, and hawk.

Get a piece of Hellboy! Order this action figure while it's hot!

Interview with Ron Perlman in full Hellboy 2 makeup

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Parasomnia Movie Poster Has Nude Version

The publicity poster for the horror movie Parasomnia is morbidly striking, but it is for general viewing. However, the designers of the artwork have a darker and more R-rated version of it which shows partial nudity (the flowers and arm repositioned to reveal more).

You can see where the modifications were made using brush tools. Here it is in all it's glory. Compare it with the general patronage version. Which one do you prefer?

Both versions of the publicity art may be viewed in the official Parasomnia movie website. Upon opening the page, the first image viewed is the "demure" version, but then the left arm of the figure changes and moves up to reveal more. This happens quickly so you'll have to keep your eyes glued to the monitor.

Cherilyn Wilson stars in Parasomnia

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Secrets of A Scanner Darkly

The movie, A Scanner Darkly, directed by Richard Linklater, didn't really embed itself into public consciousness, but it did get the attention of artists and animators. The question that a lot of people lucky enough to watch it is: How did they make a live-action film look like an animated one?

The answer can be summed up by one word: rotoscoping. This technique is an old one which was popular prior to the days of computer graphics. You can see it in action in such classics like Star Trek (the original series). It's basically tracing an object to be placed onto a different background or given a different texture.

In A Scanner Darkly, digital video footage was overlaid with animation to give the resulting "unreal" characters a fluid motion with shifting patches of color hues. Linklater used a software called Rotoshop, which was also applied in a previous project called Waking Life.

The Rotoshop was developed in the late 1980s by Waking animation director Bob Sabiston. It lets an animator with a Wacom tablet to trace over characters in DV footage, skip a few frames, and let the software do the tweening, or in-between rendering.

Basically, A Scanner Darkly was shot and edited like a normal film (in DV), an then it went into production for the animation overlay. Producer Tommy Pallotta says it's like making the same movie twice.

Shown in the pictures is actress Wynona Ryder as she would appear as a Rotoshopped cartoon.

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