Everyone loves fantasy films. Thousands of people crowd cinemas to watch dragons breathe fire and wizards duel. We know it isn’t real. But in 2018 what’s a good movie without amazing effects! With 3D, IMAX and a dozen other technologies we want to see our wildest fantasies brought to life on the big screen. And the film industry is quick to sell us just that.
When you start listing fantasy series nothing beats Harry Potter. Children and adults the world over follow the franchise obsessively, waiting for updates and sequels. Recently, J.K Rowling blessed her fans by creating the Fantastic Beasts series, set in the same wizarding world as her popular Harry Potter franchise. And fans loved it!
There are two movies out till date: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them as well as The Crimes of Grindelwald. And while there are books for neither the screenplays to both are available for sale. Fans were shocked by the sight of a young Dumbledore and Grindelwald dueling it out. Not to mention the amazing creatures that seem to find their way to one magizoologist Newt Scamander!
We can spend hours debating over the intricacies of the plot. And comparing the Crimes of Grindelwald to the first Fantastic Beasts part. But what cannot be denied is that the visual effects for the film were simply mind-boggling. From the opening sequence with Grindelwald tossing a Chupacabra out a flying carriage to the Newt swimming on a gigantic Kelpie. A giant Zouwu – the elephant-sized cat – terrorizing the streets of Paris. And of course every scene with Credence. Fans were left engrossed in a world that seemed too real to not exist.
And it was due to this incredible obsession that on December 19 Youtube channel Fame Focus put out an entire video dedicated to showing fans how the scenes from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them were created used VFX. Comparing the finished scenes to the sets used during the film the video went viral. Original behind the scenes footage received over 3 million views. And understandably. Because the difference between a green screen and remarkable scenes with magnificent creatures is startling.
Of course, this isn’t the first time the topic has come up. Last year visual effects genius Pablo Grillo explained the entire process of the creation of J.K Rowling’s creatures during an interview for ‘The Independent’. He talked about the careful process of selecting the crew. The animation team was hired almost at the same time as the writing for the script started. And from the very beginning, the entire team knew the magnitude of the project they were taking on.
So what makes the creatures from Fantastic Beasts so lifelike? Well, a huge contributor was the fact that the film was not created from a book. That’s right! Since animators were working while the script was being written a lot of individual quirks were first created and then added to the script. So the credit for the magnificence of the films goes not just to our favorite writer. But also to the dozens of animators who worked day in and day out to make it happen.
In fact, the animation team had complete artistic freedom throughout the project. Which meant that they were free to create whatever creatures they wished to. Hundreds of drafts were drawn out and discarded. And when the final creatures were created the animators breathed life into them by building situations and drafting scenes around them.
The entire process took months of hard work. While Rowling worked on the human characters these individuals worked on creating their creatures with the same determined fervor. Amidst that behavior patterns emerged, personalized quirks were added and intricate details were sculpted into these beasts. It was only after this was done that the finished creatures and perfected moments were written into the script.