Open discussion about ILM and the magic they create. Also VFX and movies in general. Anyone can post topics here.

Moderator: malducin

#33624
Writing for vfx voice, Ian Failies talks to Jumanji's animation supervisor Kyle Balda.

http://vfxvoice.com/revisiting-the-ramp ... f-jumanji/

After ILM, Banda would go on to work at Pixar and, eventually, direct the Despicable Me films for Illumination Entertainment.

Jumanji is a film I've never been a fan of but it did try to accomplish an insane amount of different types of vfx for its time. You had creature animation, fx animation, and miniatures....and even pistol-wielding, motorcycle-riding, monkeys.

This film also had an amazing ILM crew: Doug Chiang, Steve Williams, Ellen Poon, Steve Price, and....Ken Ralston!

The film as a whole just never worked for me but it was a very ambitious vfx film at the time.
Last edited by ShaneP on Tue Jan 09, 2018 4:53 pm, edited 2 times in total.
#33625
It's been a long time since I've seen the original Jumanji in its entirety, but after the watching the sequel (which was far better and more fun than it had any right to be), I was this close to buying the original on Blu-Ray at my local Wal-Mart. I had it in my hands, but then I put it back because I'm sure they'll re-release it when the sequel comes out on home media and I'll just buy both. The bonus material on it looked great, especially a "Special Effects Commentary". :D This article has definitely convinced me to go forward with that plan. As you said, Shane, there's such a collaboration of many different methods, I can't not have it in my collection. :D
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By ShaneP
#33627
It's been a long time since I've seen the original Jumanji in its entirety, but after the watching the sequel (which was far better and more fun than it had any right to be), I was this close to buying the original on Blu-Ray at my local Wal-Mart. I had it in my hands, but then I put it back because I'm sure they'll re-release it when the sequel comes out on home media and I'll just buy both. The bonus material on it looked great, especially a "Special Effects Commentary". :D This article has definitely convinced me to go forward with that plan. As you said, Shane, there's such a collaboration of many different methods, I can't not have it in my collection. :D
Yes. This was the era of the CG/animatronic combo for the same characters. You had Winston, Baker/Cinovation,ADI,and a few others who worked alongside ILM on film after film. It was also an era when they were still working out the right ratio and types of shots that worked best for the particular craft, CG or animatronic.
Sometimes they were less successful than others. By the time we get to 1997, just a few years from Jumanji, it was becoming clear that animatronic and CG cross cutting of the same characters was starting to fall apart. Some of that was on the filmmakers, who were designing really elaborate shots with wild and alive characters and camera moves for CG, and then really conservative shots for the animatronic. Sometimes you could just see the seams or the tradeoff of the techniques.

It's funny because I never liked the monkeys in this Jumanji film. And some of the animatronic characters are just...ooppff. They just don't work. But again, this was a very ambitious film at a time they were still trying to work things out. Unfortunately, it shows in the end result.
#33636
Yes. This was the era of the CG/animatronic combo for the same characters. You had Winston, Baker/Cinovation,ADI,and a few others who worked alongside ILM on film after film. It was also an era when they were still working out the right ratio and types of shots that worked best for the particular craft, CG or animatronic.
Sometimes they were less successful than others. By the time we get to 1997, just a few years from Jumanji, it was becoming clear that animatronic and CG cross cutting of the same characters was starting to fall apart. Some of that was on the filmmakers, who were designing really elaborate shots with wild and alive characters and camera moves for CG, and then really conservative shots for the animatronic. Sometimes you could just see the seams or the tradeoff of the techniques.
And I feel like that's something that's often overlooked when it comes to discussions (and by "discussions", I also mean random armchair experts on Youtube comment threads and such :roll: ) is that practical FX work, let's focus more on animatronics here than make-up effects, just don't work with certain shooting methods. The quicker you film, the more you move the camera, the more minute details you require from the creature/character, the less animatronics are able to do convincingly. And if you're trading back-and-forth between practical and digital, seams can show. A LOT. Close-up digital creature work as of late has been so amazing (R&H in Life of Pi, ILM/Imagine Engine in JW, etc.) that animatronics simply cannot keep up. Twitching eyelids, fluttering throats, microscopic lip curls... to create that level of detail in animatronic form would so unbelievably difficult. Add onto that a camera move that will pan from the head of a creature to its legs, and suddenly you've got a problem because animatronics aren't often full-body.

James Gunn actually had some really good comments on it in his audio commentary for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

“There’s a marriage between practical effects and visual effects where they work together to create the best effect sequences. Because what you’re really looking for from an audience member, is for them not to know what’s not real.”

“I always like to use practical [FX] when it works, just like I like to use CGI when it works. I don’t buy into this belief that practical is always best. It isn’t. I don’t believe that there’s anyway, for instance, that we could create the kind of emotion we see with Baby Groot here, with practical FX. You can’t create a puppet like that. There’s too much movement. Even moreso with Rocket, an even more complicated character, with his eye movements, the meniscus in his eyes, the reflections; you couldn’t create that with a puppet. But, when something can be created practically, I feel it’s best to go that route.”

It's refreshing to hear a contemporary filmmaker who can word his responses in such a way as to bring praise to both methods.
It's funny because I never liked the monkeys in this Jumanji film. And some of the animatronic characters are just...ooppff. They just don't work. But again, this was a very ambitious film at a time they were still trying to work things out. Unfortunately, it shows in the end result.
But...but...practical FX 5ever! 8)
#33640
The spiders in this movie always looked terrible. They didn't work then and they really don't work now. Some of the seams and tradeoffs between the techniques really started to show by the time this film was released. Same with Men in Black and The Lost World two years later.

And did I mention the monkeys looked really bad? Their antics were funny as hell but they didn't look like they were actually in those scenes. Animatronics would not have helped! I think the movie just reached the cutting edge and bled profusely on it.