‘Jurassic World’ Special Effects Are True to the Original but Cooler

Jurassic World

Technological visual effects have improved over the past 22 years. However, creative director, Phil Tippett, who did the original Jurassic Park was hired on as a consultant for Jurassic World in order to create continuity in the characteristics of the dinosaurs, specifically movement. Computer generated imaging (CGI) is also well used for this movie, but there are older techniques that are mixed in with new techniques as well. This would ensure that the Jurassic World  special effects are true to the original, but with the addition of new technology would be even cooler.

Jurassic World

In the creation of the original Jurassic Park, director Steven Spielberg worked together with a special visual effects super team. Stan Winston was brought on the set to create full-scale dinosaur puppets. Phil Tippett created all the necessary miniatures for the movie. Dennis Muren and Michael Lantieri did all the photorealistic computer animation so even the most predatory and clever raptors would look like animals instead of monsters.

Academy Award winner, Phil Tippet, is a special effects consultant for Jurassic World and he was a special effects artist and dinosaur supervisor in the original movie. Phil Tippett was interviewed by Jeremy Hobson with Here & Now.

Tippett first discusses the special effects of the original Jurassic Park with Jeremy, the reporter from Here & Now. The use of computer graphics came from his friendship with Dennis Muren, who was the visual effects supervisor at Lucasfilm’s Industrial Light & Magic (Star Wars, and the Indiana Jones franchise.) Muren was also on the special effects team for the original Jurassic Park. In 1993, computer graphics technology was great for making hallucinogenic things that could not be done in a practical manner.

Muren decided to attempt a risky move and put computer graphic dinosaurs in the background and even as the camera would get closer, the images still looked real. After Muren’s risk taking, Steven Spielberg challenged him to create a Tyrannosaurus walking through a meadow. After that test passed, the decision was made to use all computer graphics.

Then things got tricky. Everything had to be preplanned and then they would go out with the actors and shoot on location. However, the actors had to perfect their eye lines, be sure each actor was looking in the correct place, and that their performances would allow for another character to be inserted into the scene later. It was a challenge for the actors as well, they had to act as if something was there that they could not see in order for the computer graphics idea to work effectively.

A balance of physics and character development in the special effects of Jurassic Park was necessary. According to Tippett, the special effects artists had to make sure that the movements of each dinosaur were accurate. For example, a 500-pound raptor moves differently than a three-ton Tyrannosaurus. Then the dinosaurs had to be given character and then the creator had to imagine the behavior of that character. The creator becomes the brain of the dinosaur and sees the world as that particular dinosaur might, imagining what its eyes are seeing and capturing, and how it might be perceived by the dinosaur’s character. Tippett told Jeremy, that even though the technology for this job has greatly changed since 1993, the hands-on skill needed by the animators, compositors, and technical directors that program the lighting still requires a certain level of skill.

Jurassic World

Film director Colin Trevorrow says the technology that went into the creation of the Jurassic World’s dinosaurs was a combination of the current advanced techniques for special effects and the techniques used to create special effects in the original in order to keep true to the franchise, but add a flare that would make the movie’s effects even cooler.

Trevorrow was interviewed by Empire and he stated that Legacy Effects, the company that did the first three films, were also hired for this film. They would create animatronic dinosaurs, just like the others and CGI would also be used to a great extent for background effects. It was important to ensure the dinosaurs moved in a realistic and detailed fashion, according to Trevverow and only Tippett and his crew had the skills and the expertise to make that happen. This created continuity between all four films, with the movements of the dinosaurs. This way Jurassic World stays true to the original 1993 hit but adds current technology to make even cooler special effects.

Opinion by Jeanette Smith


Las Vegas Review-Journal: Go Behind the Scenes of ‘Jurassic World’ with Chris Pratt
Las Vegas Review-Journal: ‘Jurassic Park’ Franchise Roars Back to Life
NPR: ‘Jurassic World” Tries to Build a Bigger Dinosaur and a Bigger Movie
Here & Now: Bringing Dinosaurs to Life in ‘Jurassic Park,’ ‘Jurassic World’
Bustle: Are the ‘Jurassic World’ Dinosaurs All CGI? The New Movie’s Special Effects Are Even Cooler Than the First.

Photos courtesy of:

colin newman’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Alvaro Miguel’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
JocelynLehman’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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