My aunt has been teaching technologies in Beijing Film Academy for many years. She was an early (for China) proponent of digital film making, and a few years ago she asked me to get her Cinefex so she doesn’t have to fight other people for getting it from the library. I don’t know other specialized magazines, but every issue of the quarterly Cinefex is like an art book. I enjoyed flipping the pages to see the amazing FX/CGI shots, and learned the basic storyline about some latest movies.

One of the few things I really learned is that an FX shot sometimes doesn’t look like FX at all, and those are probably the hardest ones to make. A funny anti-sample is that Peter Jackson said among all the things he did for Lord of the Ring, including adjusting color tint for almost every shot, he did NOT do anything to Frodo Baggins’ blue eyes.

Still, I was surprised to see a cover of an old-aged Benjamin Button. What’s special about a makeup?

Turns out it’s a very significant milestone in FX. We’re probably still many years from a really convincing 100% CG head (Final Fantasy was a decent try), but BB shows that we can already do CG head tracked to human almost perfectly.

The movie itself was a bit lame, as the concept is way too bizarre, and it’s pretty absurd and pretentious when the artificially young and handsome Brad Pitt tried to act and speak with 60 years of life experiences. So when I first watched it without knowing the FX behind it, I was really bored. I didn’t see any FX, and that’s the best FX there possibly can be.