The ultimate retro VFX sessions

retro VFX sessions

A preview of the ‘Then & Now’ talks at FMX 2019

Readers of befores & afters will no doubt be aware of my love for all things VFX retro. It’s a passion I’ve also been channelling for FMX in Stuttgart, which is taking place April 30th to May 3rd. For the conference, I’ve programmed a series of talks from VFX and animation legends John Gaeta, Kim Libreri, Matt Aitken and Hal Hickel.

They’ll all be speaking in the ‘Then & Now’ track, tackling topics ranging from The Matrix’s bullet-time to Weta Digital’s long history of CG creatures, to inside ILM’s animation team. Here’s a quick preview.

Looking back at Bullet-Time and into the future

John Gaeta and Kim Libreri
John Gaeta and Kim Libreri.

We just had the 20th anniversary of The Matrix, so I figured it was the right time to reflect on the groundbreaking VFX work. Both John Gaeta and Kim Libreri agreed to be part of a conversation about Bullet-Time in particular, and how it spurned a whole heap of innovation (such as Universal Capture for the Matrix sequels) and then laid the groundwork for things Gaeta and Libreri have done themselves, including where they currently work at Magic Leap and Epic Games, respectively.

Come join the conversation on Wednesday May 1st at König-Karl-Halle, starting at 2pm. Spoiler alert: you are going to see some breakdowns from the Matrix movies you have likely never seen before.

A history of animation and VFX

Hal Hickel
Hal Hickel.

ILM animation supervisor Hal Hickel has had an incredible career. You might know him via his work on the CG character Davy Jones in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, or for Rango, Pacific Rim and Rogue One, but Hickel actually got his start motion graphics and stop motion, and even worked at Pixar on Toy Story. His talk, ‘Just Make It Look Cool!’ – 35 Years Of Creative Problem Solving In the VFX, and Animation Industry’ will break down his own career as well as what it’s like inside ILM as an animation supervisor.

Hickel’s talk is Thursday, May 2nd at König-Karl-Halle, starting at 2pm.

Everything you wanted to know about Weta Digital’s creatures

Matt Aitken
Matt Aitken.

Gollum, King Kong, the Na’vi, Smaug, Thanos…and so many more. There’s almost a never-ending list of memorable CG creatures created by Weta Digital, and visual effects supervisor Matt Aitken has been there for pretty much all of them, including for the very current Avengers: Endgame. Aitken is going to recount the history of Weta Digital’s approach to digital characters, including the unique combination of motion capture and individual artistry at the studio, plus a look inside some of the latest Weta tech.

Come see ‘Digital Evolution: Can Thanos Defeat a Balrog? And Other Vital Questions from My 25 Years at Weta Digital’ on Friday May 3rd at König-Karl-Halle, starting 12noon.

For more on FMX and how to buy tickets, head to

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