Star Trek 4: The Voyage Home (1986)

Star Trek 4: The Voyage Home (1986)


First photorealistic face morphing, first CGI fog

Star Trek 4: The Voyage Home
Original Poster

Video (HD 1080p)

CGI making of video


1) Traveling through time, Kirk and crew experience what author Jody Duncan Shay termed a "dreamlike state". The script's only direction for the effect was "now they go through time"; Nimoy and McQuarrie envisioned Kirk's dream as a montage of bizarre images. The filmmakers decided early on that part of the dream sequence would use computer-generated animation to give it an unreal quality divorced from the rest of the film. ILM worked from McQuarrie's storyboards and created a rough mock-up or animatic to show Nimoy and hone the direction of the sequence. For the very beginning of the dream, the inside of the Bird-of-Prey bridge was painted stark white. Part of the final sequence involved morphing the heads of the Enterprise crew into one another; ILM digitized the cast members' heads using a 3-D scanning technology developed by Cyberware and used the resulting data for the computer models. Because each head model had the same number of key points of reference, transforming one character into another was simple; more difficult, the animators recalled, was ensuring that the transformation looked "pleasing" and not "grotesque". The resulting thirty seconds of footage took weeks to render; the department used every spare computer they could find to help in the processing chores. ILM's stage, optical, and matte departments collaborated to complete other shots for the dream sequence. The shot of a man's fall to Earth was created by filming a small puppet on bluescreen. Shots of liquid nitrogen composited behind the puppet gave the impression of smoke.

2) Cyberware pioneered the market for three-dimensional detailed scans of people and objects. The laser and video based technology could scan complex objects in only seconds to produce a detailed three-dimensional data-set of the facial features and a detailed texture map of the surface color.

3) First primitive photorealistic morphing was in NYIT demo 2 (1980).