11 Reasons Why Special Effects Are Awesome

Magic! Special effects help turn all our fantasies into realities. Discover a brand new world with Syfy’s Defiance on Mondays starting April 15th at 9/8c.

1. The Avengers

Industrial Light & Magic / Via youtube.com

How it was done:

Industrial Light & Magic / Via youtube.com

Mark Ruffalo can’t actually turn into a giant green rage monster on a whim, only a purple one with yellow polka dots. To get around this, his face and facial expressions were digitally mapped and transformed into a Ruffalo-Hulk with computers.

2. Defiance

Syfy

How it was done:

Syfy

The creators of Defiance took a page from the Avatar playbook and designed brand new terrain and fauna for their show. We’re definitely not in St. Louis anymore. Catch the series premiere of Syfy’s Defiance on Mondays starting April 15th at 9/8c.

3. Life of Pi

20th Century Fox Film Corp / Everett

How it was done:

20th Century Fox Film Corp / Everett

Filming in the middle of the ocean is somewhat unpredictable because of giant sea monsters that have a sweet tooth for actors. To create a safe work environment, an ocean set was recreated indoors with the wider ocean background and tiger added in digitally.

4. Inception

Warner Bros. / Everett

How it was done:

Warner Bros. / Via youtube.com

The one scene in Inception that you knew definitely had to be computer generated actually wasn’t. Christopher Nolan had a full-size hallway built and rigged to actually rotate. That Nolan is a sneaky one indeed.

5. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End

Industrial Light & Magic / Via youtube.com

How it was done:

Industrial Light & Magic / Via youtube.com

The real Davy Jones was indisposed (something about his bi-centennial tentacle checkup), so actors in motion capture suits performed on a set and were later replaced with digital renderings.

6. The Avengers

Industrial Light & Magic / Via youtube.com

How it was done:

Industrial Light & Magic / Via youtube.com

New York City typically frowns upon turning its streets into a warzone, so Marvel did the next best thing, they recreated the entire city from scratch with computers and spliced it in with green screen captures.

7. 300

Warner Bros / Everett

How it was done:

Warner Bros. / Via youtube.com

The film crew built one giant rock that they used for a number of different scenes in the movie. All they did was change the camera angle so you never knew it was the same set. The dramatic color filtering was done in post-processing as well.

8. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

Emmet Griffin / Disney / Via youtube.com

How it was done:

Emmet Griffin / Disney / Via youtube.com

Contrary to popular belief, giant talking lions aren’t real. Aslan along with the idyllic Narnian scenery in the background were both completely computer generated. Narnia, alas, does not exist. Or does it?

9. The Matrix

Warner Bros. / Via youtube.com

How it was done:

Warner Bros. / Via youtube.com

As awesome as Carrie-Anne Moss is, she can’t actually float in mid-air while performing a jump kick. She was held aloft with wires that were removed later.

10. The Dark Knight

Emmet Griffin / Warner Bros. / Via youtube.com

How it was done:

Emmet Griffin / Warner Bros. / Via youtube.com

Burning off your actors’ faces for the sake of a movie is generally frowned upon, so computer graphics offers the next best thing. Aaron Eckhart’s face was digitally mapped and replaced with a charred version of itself in post-production.

11. Defiance

Syfy

How it was done:

Syfy

Since aliens and their spaceships don’t officially “exist,” Nolan and Irisa explored the wonders of a green room while filming Defiance and the spaceship interior was added in during post-production. Catch the series premiere of Syfy’s Defiance on Mondays starting April 15th at 9/8c.

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