‘That’s Impossible, Even For A Computer!’

The trench run briefing scene from Star Wars (1977) involved one of the first extensive digital renderings in Hollywood history.

Great animation takes more than building the character with the highest pore-count or spending the most money on explosions. It takes science, artisanship, and rigorous attention to detail. Computer graphics researcher Paul Debevec ought to know—his work has been used to create movies like The Matrix and Avatar. We spoke to Debevec about his favorite motion picture innovations from the past year. Click through as we dive into the techniques used in eight great new movies.



Old and new technologies came together to make this one of the best-looking films for young audiences in years. Read the full story here.


How do you turn a human actor into a pixie? It’s harder than you might think.

Down of the Planet of the Apes

Here’s what it took to put humans and apes together on screen in the most amazing motion-capture movie to date.

The Tale Of The Princess Kaguya

This hand-drawn film has even the digital geniuses blown away.


How do you make a two-hour film feel like an overwhelming, unbroken stream of consciousness?

The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies

The latest and final installment of The Hobbit pushes the boundaries of what’s possible in cinema.


You can’t talk special effects without talking about the most epic motion picture of 2014.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Read why this shot involved one of the most innovative uses of CGI this year.