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31 Mind Blowing VFX Breakdowns

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If you are into After Effects, odds are you are into VFX. For this week's roundup Topher found 31 VFX breakdowns that are sure to inspire you. These are not all done with After Effects, but learning the background of how they were done will help make you a better compositor.

31 Mind Blowing VFX Breakdowns

  • Heroes Behind the Scenes: VFX

    In this short feature, Stargate Digital's VFX Supervisor Mark Kolpack takes you to editing rooms of Tony Ocampo and Ryan Vs. Dorkman's own Ryan Wieber to show you how the effects of Heroes are produced. There is a special focus on how they produced Hiro's time freeze effect in the very first episode.

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  • I Am Legend

    If you have seen the movie I Am Legend then you will know how visually stunning it is, and appreciate how much work had to have gone into making New York City look completely deserted. The breakdown takes you through how they intergrated the different matte paintings, 3D renders, and live action footage to create the effect of overgrowth in the streets or the bridges collapsing into the East River.

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  • Benjamin Button - Matte Painting Breakdown

    Most people rave about the facial replacement effects done in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, but most people forget about the fabulous matte painting and compositing that was done to bring the era of the 50's and so on to life.

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  • Hancock - Final Flight Breakdown

    This breakdown shows you where the producers of the movie Hancock decided where to blend live action and CG Hancocks to create his unique flying style throughout the city.

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  • Cloverfield

    One of the best monster movies in years, in my opinion, is Cloverfield. It's just something about a POV handheld-ish feature film with amazing visual effects that really gets my heart pumping. Enough of that though, this breakdown portays pretty much all the different effects in a nutshell from the live action passes to CG mosters, and the interaction of the building being destroyed, bridges collapsing, and the ever famous shot of the Statue of Liberty's head being hurled over the city.

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  • Death Ripper

    I searched Google and couldn't find anything on the movie Death Ripper, so from what I gather it is the story of a skateboarding zombie out for vengeance. From that, you can gain a perspective on the movie, as well as appreciate the various compositing and visual effects shots that Tom Nugent, the VFX artist on the movie, has produced.

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  • Paul Stephen Carlin - VFX Breakdown Reel

    If you are a VFX artist trying to figure out how to make your breakdowns look the best possible, take a note out of this guy's book. Paul Stephen Carlin has an absolutely fantastic demo reel with VFX breakdowns showcasing the work he has done in rig removal, screen replacement, matchmoving, and much more.

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  • In Dire Need - Camera Mapping Breakdown

    Taking second place in PSAID's PSA Video Contest, In Dire Need takes an already awesome looking glidecam shot and turns it into a breathtaking disaster victim's home. Matchmoving and matte painting the foreground elements and the background, Colin Levy walks you through the steps they took to acheive the final shot.

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  • The Disappearing Act

    Another from Colin Levy, an earlier project called The Disappearing Act. This one shows the steps taken in crowd replication, and creating trap doors from regular footage, as well as compositing in the CG elements to make everything blend together correctly.

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  • Face ‡ Face - Color Grading Breakdown

    I usually think color grading breakdowns are a bit blah, but this one really takes you through and shows you the different passes used to acheive this great film graded look. From basic video to film stock looks... it really shows you what you can do when you do it right.

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  • Hannibal Rising - Restore Breakdown

    Sometimes you get thrown some difficult object removal shots to work on, in which you have to remove and object, only then to replace whatever was behind it. This proves very difficult sometimes, but for this shot from Hannibal Rising, Guillaume Carniato shows a trick as well some good photoshopping for video techniques.

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  • Plant

    When I actually first watched Plant, I thought that mostly all the movie was filmed live action, apart from the obvious CG elements. In the compositing world, that means the creators did a really good job. You can watch the actual short HERE and watch the breakdown below.

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  • Harry Potter Movies 3-5

    The Moving Picture Company has been handling some of the visual effects on the last three Harry Potter movies, and these breakdowns are killer. Some of the effects shown: Dumbledore & Voldemort's duel, Harry & Voldemort & Priori Incantatum, Nagini the snake and the opening credits, and Fred and George's spectacular exit in Professor Umbridge's classroom. If you're a Harry Potter nerd like me, you will enjoy these immensely.

    Prisoner of Azkaban Goblet of Fire Order of the Pheonix

  • Poseidon

    Another from the Moving Picture Company, Poseidon has tons of crazy shots of a huge cruiseliner flooding the cabins and dining rooms along with people scrambling for higher ground. Check out this breakdown to see which shots have real water, or fluid simulations... thought those people were real? Think again... You never know till you watch.

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  • Prince Caspian's Reepicheep

    Quite possibly one of the most favorited characters in Chronicles of Narnia Prince Caspian is Reepicheep, the valiant and brave mouse. Check out this video showing the different elements that went into making Reepicheep in the walking, talking swashbuckler he is.

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  • X-Men: The Last Stand

    Only showcasing a few effects, but some of the best, is X-Men: The Last Stand, yes again done by the MPC... what can I say, they rock! Anyways, effects covered are Cyclop's uncontrolled blast into the lake, and many of the various shots from when Jean Grey is tearing apart her house, including disintegrating Charles Xavier into dust. Awesome.

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  • Kerli - Walking On Air

    I had never heard about this girl before, but the VFX for her video "Walking On Air" are very stunning. The color grading and compositing create a very sharp, super vibrant picture. This video, directed by Aggressive and produced by RefusedTV, is one of the videos in this list you must see.

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  • The Hunt For Gollum

    The Hunt For Gollum debuted this week online, on May 3rd, but the CGI/VFX reel "Middle Earth Magic" has been online for a little while. Covering matte paintings, 3D models, color grading and more, it is a great little extra to make you enjoy this spectacular fan film that much more.

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  • Fast and Furious 4

    Another 2.5d matte painting extravaganza! Kaliber VFX's Fast and Furious 4 is a great breakdown reel of some of the more intricate effects from the film. Tons of CG and matte paintings make this one video you are going to want to watch, even if you aren't into that whole street racing thing.

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  • Attila The Hun

    Quite possibly one of the best movies to show how versatile After Effects can be when compositing for movies and TV, Attila the Hun directed and produced by Gareth Edwards is phenomonal. Gareth actaully completed 250 VFX shots by himself averaging 2 shots a day, from a 1-2 person key, to entire armies charging at the opposition. This film is one of my favorite VFX breakdowns I have ever seen.

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  • Rendezvous With Rama

    Based on the Arthur C. Clarke novel, Rendezvous With Rama is visually stimulating and showcases Aaron Ross's talents as a compositor and VFX artist. The breakdown takes you through almost all of the shots in the film, and gives a thorough insight to what went into making it.

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  • Actionhorse's Ponytale

    I totally thought this was real when I saw it. Then I saw the breakdown. One of the coolest snowboarding VFX shots I have ever seen, Arvid Niklasson takes you through the steps he took to create such a radical trick.

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  • Saiko - De Boca en Boca

    In a very Sin City-esque music video Gustavo Paz Saavedgra breaks down the different elements, color grading and matte paintings he used to acheive such an awesome look.

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  • Mezzo "LEAP"

    In this commercial, the producer shows a very distinct way of showing this breakdown. He has the screen divided in three sections like a pie chart, that spin around showing the original footage, 3D modeled world and elements, and then final product.

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  • RVD2 VFX Sneak Preview

    RVD2 is back again in this week's roundup. This time we are going to check out an excerpt from the making of DVD you can buy online showing how they created and composited the effect when Ryan drags his lightsaber through the water.

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  • HBO's John Adams

    The HBO miniseries, John Adams was nominated for 23 Emmy's and out of that, won 13 total. Keeping that production alive and as strong as it was, were the visual effects. Check out the compositing that went into this production, and it just might blow your mind.

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  • Stargate Films

    Stargate produces the visual effects for a lot of television series, most notably Heroes, Grey's Anatomy, and Knight Rider. They have Show Demo Reels on they website that have breakdowns within them.

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  • XBOX 360 - Movie Download

    These ads are really creepy, but really cool at the same time. The Mill takes you through the Flame workflow and the different passes to composite everything together to make the final product for the Movie Download ad.

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  • PS3 - Mural

    Another from The Mill, and another gaming platform ad. This one is the Playstation 3 Mural ad, where everything is "painting" itself onto the city walls as people are driving and walking. Windows break, walls crack, awesomeness ensues.

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