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Old 08-13-2016, 05:21 AM   #1
borkoborko39
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visual effects in 80-90s

how did they do the vfx in the 80-90s movies like Gordy, Babe, The shining?
I know there were 3d softwares but with the computer specs they had like 8Mb ram with 33Mhz processor.
How did they render all that kind of vfx?
I mainly ask because i have low pc and i want to create for example the blood water from the shining.
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Old 08-13-2016, 05:40 AM   #2
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Well the 'blood water' from The Shining was just liquid in a miniature set.
Computers weren't really used in films to create visual effects until the late 1980s, even then it was a combination of practical and digital effects.
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Old 08-13-2016, 07:23 AM   #3
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Back then everything was real. They made it work. It's only now the special effects crew get lazy and using digital cgi.
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Old 08-13-2016, 09:04 AM   #4
directorik
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Quote:
Originally Posted by borkoborko39 View Post
how did they do the vfx in the 80-90s movies like Gordy, Babe, The shining?
I know there were 3d softwares but with the computer specs they had like 8Mb ram with 33Mhz processor.
How did they render all that kind of vfx?
I mainly ask because i have low pc and i want to create for example the blood water from the shining.
Back then we didn't use computers for VFX. That elevator scene was
done with 300 gallons of theatrical blood on a set. When the film was
being made (in 1978/1979) I do not believe there were 3D software.

Anyone know what software would be used today to do that scene?
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Old 08-13-2016, 06:57 PM   #5
Alcove Audio
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Quote:
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Back then everything was real. They made it work. It's only now the special effects crew get lazy and using digital cgi.
"Lazy" has nothing to do with it 99% of the time. As with everything else it's all about cost and control. It costs less to use CGI than to go "practical" these days. Also, with CGI you have ultimate control over every particle, so all you directorial control freaks can get EXACTLY what you want - as long as you have the budget, of course.


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how did they do the vfx in the 80-90s movies like Gordy, Babe, The shining?.
Just for fun… The first Pixar short "André and Wally B" (1984; two [2] minutes) took 15 to 30 minutes PER FRAME to render. 30 FPS * 120 seconds = 3,600 frames. So that's about 900 to 1,800 hours of render time.
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Old 08-13-2016, 11:56 PM   #6
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It's only now the special effects crew get lazy and using digital cgi.
Uninformed opinion.
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Old 08-14-2016, 05:06 AM   #7
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Uninformed opinion.
+1
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Old 08-14-2016, 09:03 AM   #8
directorik
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Uninformed opinion.
+2
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Old 08-14-2016, 02:04 PM   #9
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In the 80s and 90s effects were done in a more practicle way instead of CGI, because there was no other choice. Some FX like lightsabers or the lightning in Highlander were 'painted' in the film. (In Highlander is was combined with on set light FX, pyrotechnics/fireworks and explosions.)
The blood in The Shining was real liquid.
CGI was not at the required level yet to produce believable liquids.

Don't underestimate how smart filmmakers were before CGI was a possibility: matte paintings, using keys to combine different layers, optical illusions in camera.
But that doesn't mean that using CGI is simple or lazy: using CGI in an effective and believable way also requires planning and clever use of the available options.
I'm sure Rok can tell you many tales about this from first hand experience.

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.............

Anyone know what software would be used today to do that scene?
I'm not an expert on this subject, but I'm pretty sure it can be done with Maya. That is a piece of 3D software were physics can be programmed.

Last edited by WalterB; 08-14-2016 at 02:08 PM.
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Old 08-14-2016, 03:22 PM   #10
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I'm what you could call a connoisseur of 80s and early 90s visual effects. And I've seen enough documentary footage to understand the thinking process behind a lot of it.

Just like today they used blue-screens to photograph models and miniatures against rather than people. And they would use motion-controlled cameras that could repeat an entire motion precisely over and over again, in order to light the subject differently, and then mix all of the footage together to result in the best appearance for their footage. Often the miniatures were stationary due to their shear size, so the camera would have to fly around them in an inverse fashion in order to make it appear as if the model itself is manuvering around performing acrobatics and whatnot. Although with the Millennium Falcon, it too would sometimes be fitted with an animatronic gimbal in order to have it tilt and yaw along with a camera motion towards and away. So they'd combine things when necessary.

They also did plenty of rotoscoping in the early ILM days to remove unwanted extra stuff in the superimposed footage: except they had to do it with black paint instead of with selections and editable masks.

Most energy effects like the proton beams in Ghostbusters, lightning in Hilander and Big Trouble in Little China, and laser blasts in Star Wars, all had to be hand painted with hand-drawn animation, then cleaned up and printed onto cel sheets, I believe with black mattes around the shapes. This way, just like they did in TRON, they would then shine light up through these cels using colored gels, in order to get an intense glowing animation with a bloom halo and a richness of color.

Ghosts were often done using puppets or actors in giant water tanks. The same is true for artificial clouds, such as was seen in Close Encounters, Star Trek II with the Mutara Nebula, and Flash Gordon with the atmosphere above the planet Mongo, as well as the storm clouds above Fantasia in The Neverendign Story.

They would typically use injector wands to spray opaque liquid, often milk, into giant water tanks with what they call heavy water across the top with a layer between it and regular water. This way, there would be an inversion layer where the clouds of milk could not pass above that point, though that was usually to simulate cumulus clouds which never rise above a certain altitude. With the clouds above Mongo, that was more loose milk that could float freely, and would be spun around using other instruments, and then photographed at high-speed. To color this liquid, they'd use a combination of food coloring inside the actual tank, and gelled lamps outside the tank to create different beautiful streaks and bands of color across the undulating surfaces.

For monsters and creatures, you had three options. Puppets that were either hand puppets for small creatures, or marionette/hand-puppets intended to be photographed at high speeds to simulate large creatures. They would also use high speed photography for men/women inside monsters suits rampaging through miniature cities. But when you want a sense of realism and a sense of proper anatomy and proportions, then there was no better option than stop-motion: which Willis O'Brian pioneered with King Kong, Ray Harryhausen perfected with Sinbad and Jason and the Argonauts, and Phil Tippet improved further with his Go-Motion technique on the Star Wars films.

I could go on, but that covers a lot of ground there.
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Old 09-13-2016, 09:32 AM   #11
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About time someone talked about optical effects!
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