Spotlight on Special Effects Creator, Stan Winston
06 May 21
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Categories: Film FX, Undergradute
Lecturers from the Visual Effects (VFX) and Animation degree at the University of Bolton are enjoying having a top ten movie on Netflix.
Outside the Wire is an American sci-fi that tells the story of an android officer and drone pilot who come together to stop a global catastrophe. As you might expect from such a movie, there are incredible visual effects; with robots, explosions and other-worldly creatures all computer generated to bring the story to life.
This isn’t the first time movie production companies requiring impressive visual animation effects have come to academics at the University of Bolton to support their work. VFX Course Leader Richard Jones, his team and students have worked on an impressive list of films, including the Fast and the Furious series, Black Panther and Bohemian Rhapsody.
Some 75% of the shots in Outside the Wire are visual effects, so producers worked with teams from across the department to develop content ranging from the main character Captain Leo, to explosions and other robots in the movie.
A lot of what you can see is built from scratch and creating Captain Leo was a particularly fun challenge for the team. While he looks like a human from the outside, the cyborg was designed by the military and a defining scene in the story is when the audience discovers Captain Leo’s truth.
To bring this to life, Richard and colleague Sam Taylor developed computer generated, realistic effects that showed electrical currents running through Captain Leo’s internal mesh structure, allowing muscles to contract and amplifying reflections in a very human way, all the while alluding to his android make up.
Speaking about the project, Richard said: “Being part of a creative team that can bring imaginative designs and ideas like Captain Leo and the GUMPs to life in a 3D form on a computer, this type of short intense focus is very rewarding.
“Having on a single goal both drives you to innovate and create, which is incredibly satisfying on completion.”
Dale Alexander graduated from the course in 2016 with a first-class honours degree and has since gone on to work with respected studios on huge movies, such as the Marvel film Avengers: Infinity War. He credits being able to learn from lecturers still active in the industry as part of his success.
“There’s a huge wealth of knowledge from the staff, as well as industry exposure and links to the course. In final year, students present their work to industry companies, gain valuable feedback and in my case, job offers.”
“The quality of work produced by the graduates, correlated with the quality of teaching from the course lecturers, also the industry employment rate from the course was unrivalled,” Dale says.
This type of learning reinforces the University of Bolton’s policy of being a Teaching Intensive, Research Informed (TIRI) institution, and highlights its commitment to providing students with the opportunity to engage and learn directly from professionals.
Find out more about a Visual Effects and Animation degree at the University of Bolton. We’re a university that puts its students first and have been ranked No.1 for Student Satisfaction for the past three years*.
*Complete University Guide in 2021, 2020 and 2019, North West
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