Categories: Entertainment

10 Sci-Fi Visual Effects That Changed The Game for Moviemakers

Is there any better way to pay our tribute to the visual effects industry than going back to the sci-fi movies that started them all?

As a genre, science fiction (sci-fi) has always been about pushing the boundaries of storytelling by exploring modern scientific concepts both in our world and in different planets. In films, these ideas have become the driving force behind filmmakers to create groundbreaking visual effects to make their stories more convincing.

Visual effects producer Andrea Knoll has always been about finding balance, beauty, and value of source materials and their restrained usage in visual effects. Innovations such as improved camera tricks, prosthetics, and computer imagery are just some critical innovations in the sci-fi genre that changed the game for filmmakers.

Here are a few visual effects that rocked the film industry with so much intensity that the game changed for the sci-fi genre forever:

10: The Schüfftan Process of the Metropolis (1927)

German cinematographer Eugen Schüfftan refined and popularized the movie special effect called the Schüfftan process while working on the expressionist movie Metropolis. Using a specially-made mirror at specific angles, the technique creates the illusion of massive, realistic-looking sets, bringing forth the unique innovation that preceded the traveling matte and blue screen effects.

In the movie Metropolis, it made miniature futuristic skyscrapers look massive behind live actors.

9: The Star Gate Sequence of 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

In Stanley Kubrick’s sci-fi masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey, special effects artist Doug Trumbull used a chock full of awe-inspiring special effects that took film-making to a whole new level. In the Star Gate sequence, slit-scan photography of thousands of high-contrast colored shots taken in a dark room was used to create a mesmerizing visual effect of various nebula-like phenomena – which included the expanding star field.

8: The Lightsaber of Star Wars (1977)

Among the most iconic special effects in film history is the lightsaber. When the 1977 Star Wars came out, the movie industry realized the elegance of the Jedi weapon. As Hollywood tries to recapture the lightning in a bottle that is the lightsaber, Star Wars pioneered the never-before-seen special pop culture magic.

7: The Xenomorph of Alien (1979)

H.R. Giger designed the Xenomorph in 1979’s Alien and redefined the look of on-screen aliens. The insect-and-skeleton combination for the alien a timeless horror character.

6: Practical Monster Effects of The Thing (1982)

Despite the absence of computer-generated imagery (CGI) at the time of John Carpenter’s The Thing, this movie had some impressive design that evoked terror. The unnatural limbs and high-quality spider-head and dog sequence are both timeless and remarkably effective in terms of practical effects.

5: Facial Prosthetics of The Fly (1986)

One of the most memorable aspects of The Fly is the incredibly-detailed facial prosthetics that transformed the actors in frightening ways. Though heavy facial prosthetics usually results in a weaker performance, The Fly’s fantastic visual effects did not hinder Jeff Goldblum at all.

4: Liquid Metal CGI of Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)

The impressive liquid metal Terminator in Terminator 2: Judgement Day is among the first mainstream use of CGI. This visual effect pioneered the remarkable technology in Terminator 2 that still looks on point today.

3: Dinosaurs of Jurassic Park (1993)

The 1993 Jurassic Park upped the ante for the earliest use of CGI with its believable dinosaurs. By using the perfect blend of practical effects and CGI, Jurassic Park has definitely aged well when it comes to special effects.

2: Bullet Time of The Matrix (1999)

When The Matrix came out in 1999, trench coats, hackers, and slow-motion bullets were already on the trend. Sisters Lana Wachowski and Lilly Wachowski took the bullet sci-fi effect to a whole new level with meticulously-placed cameras and some editing magic, creating what is perhaps the most iconic action movie visual of all time.

1: Motion Capture of the Planet Of The Apes Series (2011 – 2017)

The series Planet Of The Apes is not the first to use motion capture technology in film, but is undeniably one of the most successful. The Planet of the Apes trilogy took motion capture and elevated it to excellence, making the characters and their emotions look very real.

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