Horror fans can often be found bemoaning the use/overuse/misuse of computer generated imagery, and there’s no denying that there’s something way more special about practical effects. For many of us, it was the makeup effects work of guys like Rick Baker and Tom Savini that got us into horror in the first place, and it’s hard not to miss the latex gore and rubbery puppets.
That being said, we do have a tendency to ignore visual effects artists and write off their incredible work as the work of machines. Of computers. Of course, this couldn’t be more wrong. Though the tools are much different, the men and women behind those computers are every bit the artisans that guys like Baker and Savini were back in the heyday of practical effects, and they’re just as deserving of our respect. We may always prefer practical over CGI, but some of the CGI you’re seeing these days is so damn good that you probably didn’t even notice it was CGI.
This year’s The Shallows, for example, featured a computer-generated shark so realistic looking that I honestly had no idea it was the work of digital effects artists until I got home from my local theater and did a little research. We’ve seen some pretty awful CGI sharks over the years, but dammit if the shark in The Shallows didn’t remind me of the shark from Jaws. It’s THAT good.
Important Looking Pirates is the digital effects house responsible for bringing The Shallows shark to life, and a visual effects breakdown they recently uploaded to Vimeo shows just how much work went into making the shark look as realistic as possible. The full breakdown was not available on the film’s DVD and Blu-ray release, so we figured fans of the movie would like to see it.