How This Hollywood School Trains Aspiring Special-Effects Artists | Movies Insider

How This Hollywood School Trains Aspiring Special-Effects Artists | Movies Insider


Narrator: Recognize these characters? These eyeballs? This face? They’re all made by the
same guy, Stan Winston, and there’s a way to learn
exactly how he brought these practical-effects legends to life. Practical effects often
get overshadowed by CGI, which can do the seemingly impossible. One school, however,
thinks that special effects are here to stay and is
helping teach the craft to the next generation of artists. The Stan Winston School
is an online school based in Los Angeles, where a wide array of Hollywood special-effects artists have taught character creation to over 20,000 students
since its founding. Its online tutorials can be watched either live or at your convenience. Classes instruct viewers
how to do everything from putting feathers on a fake bird, to making a mask, to creating
a convincing monster. Erich Grey Litoff: Online
education allows you to have the tools at your hands to learn on your own time. Narrator: The school’s
named after this guy, Stan Winston, and his
teachings and creations greatly influence
everything about the school. He was one of Hollywood’s most legendary special-effects artists
and a pioneer in the field. The school was launched
by his son, Matt Winston, and son-in-law, Erich Grey Litoff. Matt Winston: One of Stan’s mantras was, do what you love, follow your passion, and success will come. Narrator: Winston came to Hollywood with dreams of becoming an actor. When that didn’t work out, he ended up in the world
of special effects. Even if you don’t know his
name, you know his work. Perhaps his proudest achievement was the “Jurassic Park” franchise, in which he built dinosaurs
both big and small. Grey Litoff: So, this
would be one of the claws, screen-used claw from the
T. rex in “Jurassic Park.” Narrator: Along with his
many groundbreaking effects, Winston also managed to
film a lot of his work, which the school has in its
archive and often posts online. The school itself is filled
with some of Winston’s classics. Stan’s influences show up in many of the things
it builds for classes. Grey Litoff: These are raptor eyes from the “Jurassic Park” series. These are hand-painted, clear resin on top of the painted eye, and, you
can see, to give the illusion, there’s actually a little bit of depth between where the paint is
and the urethane is on there. Narrator: Teachers will show you how to make realistic
fake eyeballs in class. Winston also built the metal arm for T-X in “Terminator
3: Rise of the Machines.” In one of the classes,
beginners were taught how to build a very simple
working mechanical arm. Winston: Using just plumbing parts and stuff you could go
find at the hardware store. Now, definitely, it’s very
crude, but the principles can be applied to a much more
advanced mechanical hand. Narrator: And this silicone rod puppet, which looks a lot like this one that was designed for the
movie “Small Soldiers.” Grey Litoff: And now, with CGI technology, it’s easier than ever to remove the puppeteer, remove the rod. Narrator: Sometimes, these old pieces are actually used in lessons. In one lesson, teachers
use this moving tentacle, which runs on cables
attached to a controller that was used to move
and control the dinosaurs in one of the “Jurassic Park” movies. The school emphasizes Stan’s
philosophy for effects, especially that a lot of influences, even for sci-fi and fantasy
puppets and effects, should be rooted in the
real world and nature. It’s why “Predator” might
have looked so real to you and also how, in “Instinct,”
they were able to get away with a gorilla that was actually
just an animatronic mask worn by a guy in a gorilla suit. Another major lesson that a budding special-effects artist must learn: avoiding the uncanny
valley, when something appears a little too
frighteningly realistic. Winston: If you actually
have a puppet on set, physics is now working with you, and natural laws are now working with you. The same light is landing on
the puppet as is on the actor, so that heightens the level of realism. Narrator: The school’s also a means of teaching and preserving these methods. A lot of movie special effects, sadly, were made just for use on a given movie and didn’t have a long shelf life. Winston: Oftentimes, the
materials you need to use to make sure something is totally
lifelike are very fragile. Back in the old days of props
and effects and puppets, people didn’t really see
a value beyond the filming of the movie, and so many of those things just disappeared or were thrown away. More and more, studios
are taking great efforts to preserve these creations, and that’s fantastic for everyone because this really is Hollywood history, and it’s our duty and our honor to play our part in
helping to preserve it. Narrator: And even though movies today are seemingly dominated by CGI, practical effects aren’t going anywhere. Stan Winston embraced CGI,
and in movies he worked on, it often went hand in hand
with practical effects. For instance, in “Jurassic
Park,” in close-ups or any shots involving
interactions with humans, the dinosaurs were usually puppets. For wider shots involving more movement, that was typically CGI. Winston: He always believed that the job of an effects artist is to be invisible. You never want an audience to walk out of a theater
going, “Great effects.” You want them to say, “Great
story, great characters.” And if you could achieve
that, you succeeded. For the famous shot in “Jurassic Park” where the T. rex leans down
and Lexi shines her flashlight into his eye and the pupil dilates, a special device was created
to create that dilating action.

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  1. I think people with the name Stan are very creative๐Ÿ˜€ Stan Lee ,
    Stan Winston (my opinion) ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. Awesome ๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž.

  3. I wish you can get in the dinosaur & scare away your classmates if you have the suit ( any dino that is the same height as a hooman )

  4. Interesting and well done video. I have many contacts and clients in the entertainment industry. My family and I were guests at the Ray Harryhausen event at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and saw may of the props used in his films. There are some claymation studios, although they're not thriving as they were in the days of Ray Harryhausen. The Stan Winston School cited in this video has many amazing and informative, state-of-the-art videos. Absolutely great!

  5. Stan Winston is a true king of special effects, I've loved his work ever since childhood. He has done fantastic jobs, I hope other young special effect makers are inspired and encouraged by his fantastic work.

  6. โ€œCGI can do the seemingly impossibleโ€… turn good looking realistic dinosaurs into shitty CGIasaurs.

  7. Man Aliens, Terminator 2, Jurassic park, the lost world Jurassic park, Jurassic park 3, Predator, literally my favorite movies ever

  8. I have always been ticked off by how the animatronic soldiers were hardly used in small soldiers in place of doggy CGI

  9. Crewman Daniels (Matt Winston) from the future! ๐Ÿ™‚ in Star Trek: Enterprise.
    I miss that show!

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