Monday, September 3, 2012

Reality vs. Screen Illusion

Rob Legato creates visual effects for big-budget movies.


(Video link) In this TED talk, he shares how he created effects sequences for Apollo 13, Titanic, and Hugo. In the first two cases, actual documentary film footage exists of some of the scenes he was visualizing. The real footage served as a reality check against the cinematic invention.

One of the surprising revelations is that our sense of what looks real is greatly influenced by the emotional processes of our memories, which reorder reality into a composite fiction.

That emotionally tinged version of reality is what moviemakers need to bring to life if they want to create convincing illusions. The same general principle applies to painting. Often it's necessary to go beyond optical or photographic realism in order to achieve psychological realism. It's the difference between mere accuracy and true believability.
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Rob Legato on TED: The Art of Creating Awe

7 comments:

Ezra said...

James, what do you think of this line? When an artist creates a plein air study he paints what his EYES see. When an artist creates a work of art he paints what his SOUL sees.

I may have heard that line from you at some point.

H4lfM4d said...

profound statement at the end:

"(successful) ...because no-one knows you had anything to do with it."

IGNORE THE MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN

Martyn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Martyn said...

(Correcting terrible typo and adding additional commentary)

Having worked in visual effects for six years (albeit as a techie rather than an artist), here's something to balance out this post as to what it's actually like working in the visual effects industry:

http://vfxsoldier.wordpress.com/

VFX is VERY labour intensive despite all the technical jiggery pokery behind it, and it's a damn shame that the bigger Hollywood studios are exploiting artists trying to make a living from it.

James Gurney said...

Martyn, thanks for that link. I had read about some of the problems in the VFX industry in Variety, and it's pretty upsetting, especially in a time when FX-heavy films are doing so well.

ChrisG said...

John Keats: "a fact is not a truth until you love it."

Roberto said...

Happy Labor Day :( RQ