[ VMM Archive ]

From 1997-2001 I served as creator and editor-in-chief of the now obsolete Visual Magic Magazine. This was an incredible time for animation and VFX. Every movie was breaking new ground and pushing technology further and further. I feel privileged to have been able to speak to and write about some of the individuals and companies responsible for these advances. Here you’ll find a selection of the content I produced over that time, complete with spelling corrections, cleaned up grammar (hey, I was 15 at the time!), and better quality images where I could find them. Enjoy! :-)

Scott Daugherty on Practical Magic

Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman star in Griffin Dunne’s new movie, Practical Magic. But the real magic of the movie wasn’t Sandra’s good looks, or Nicole’s sexy smile, the real magic came from Cinesite Hollywood and their team of talented digital effects artists. Scott Dougherty, Cinesite’s visual effects producer for the movie talked with us about how the company worked their wonders. Hi Scott, and thanks for talking with us. My pleasure. Can you give me a little background on yourself; how did you get into this industry? I originally wanted to get involved in production design work, so I moved to LA and started working as an art department production assistant. I did that for a couple of movies, and

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The Armageddon Story

Armageddon is, without a doubt, one of the most talked about summer movies. Love it or hate it, you have to admit that the film’s visual effects were quite spectacular. The story is arguably not very original. An asteroid on a collision course with Earth has been the subject of many a TV show, novel, or in this case a feature film. Many comparisons has been made with Deep Impact, but in terms of both story and visual effects the two films are like chalk and cheese. Michael Bay, the Armageddon’s director, is well known as one of the film industry’s finest filmmakers. His reputation springs from movies like Bad Boys, and The Rock – two films which clearly establish his style as intensely

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[digital domain] Flying to the Top

600 yards from that huge wet blob we call the Pacific Ocean, lies the future of humankind’s so called visual effects industry. A pirate flag flying half-mast symbolises the total uniqueness of an effects house set to bring the world into the 21st century- Digital Domain. Founded by director extraordinaire James Cameron, animatronics whiz Stan Winston, and ex ILM executive Scott Ross in 1993, Digital Domain have grown into the worlds most successful visual effects house. D2 (Digital Domain) have given what have been thought of as the worlds best and biggest effects houses like ILM and PDI a run for their money. With feature films like True Lies, Apollo 13, and The Fifth Element behind them D2 are constantly getting more and more top

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Peter Baustaedter on Matte Painting

Currently working as a Matte Painting Supervisor at SquareUSA, Peter Baustaedter has created matte paintings for some of the finest films ever produced. His resume includes the names of movies like Strange Days, Apollo 13, T2/3D, The Fifth Element, Dante’s Peak, and the most recent addition being Titanic. After over two years working for James Cameron’s company, Digital Domain, Peter left sunny California and made his way to even sunnier Hawaii where he is working for on a fully CG feature. Visual Magic Magazine caught up with Peter for a chat about matte painting, his work, and the visual effects industry… Hello Peter, and thanks for doing this for us. First of all I’d like to ask what a matte painting is?

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Small Talk With The Borrowers

The old, and somewhat amusing cliche – it’s not size that counts – truly has meaning for The Borrowers. In their new movie somewhat originally titled The Borrowers, several thousand of them manage to overpower the wicked John Goodman’s hideous hair style. Although the Borrowers have appeared on the small screen many-a-time, this is their first big-screen performance, and as many of them as possible wanted to be a part of the movie. With some scenes containing large crowds of borrowers, you can imagine that the visual effects crew had a pretty hard time placing several hundred six-inch-tall actors seamlessly in the same shot! London based VFX house The Moving Picture Company was the main vendor on the movie, with The Magic Camera Company, Framestore and

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Are you ready to go back to Titanic

She Sails Once More The long anticipated release of James Cameron’s Titanic finally arrived on Friday December 19th in the US. The three hour fifteen minute long movie features some of the most seamless, invisible visual effects ever conceived. In all, over 15 visual effects houses were handed shots for the movie, including ILM, Blue Sky|VIFX, POP Film, Matte World Digital, and Cinesite. Digital Domain were given the task of producing the extraordinary number of visual effects sequences for the epic love story set on board the most famous ship in the world. Although several huge model miniatures of the Titanic were constructed at both Digital Domain and Donald Pennington, Ltd., to many, the most exciting aspect of the movie was the extraordinary array

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