20 Jaw-Dropping Special Effects from the pre-CGI Era

One can really not stress enough the radical transformation that CGI has meant for special effects. No longer do we live in the days when you had to use horses to show cows on film or just tie a bunch of cats together if you needed something that looks like a horse. No, now we live in the future – and so contemporary filmmakers can just say out loud “uhm, computer?”, give their order, and boom, new blockbuster with hyper-real, photorealistic images to desensitize us from anything real. Or at least that’s how we think modern special effects work, we don’t know, we haven’t caught up on our Movie Magic in years. The point is: special effects have friggin’ evolved.

Indeed, at the end of the day we can almost divide the history of special effects into pre-Jurassic Park and post-Jurassic Park (“Young Sherlock Holmes? Sure, great CGI for a movie that came out in the year 8 BJP”). As it is known, even George Lucas started conceiving of Episode I after witnessing Spielberg’s lifelike dinosaurs. So the question appears clearly: How did they manage to do special effects before CGI? In this Pictofact, we offer several approaches to this question through 20 amazing, flawless, sleek-looking, jaw-dropping examples of pre-CGI effects built just on human ingenuity. Well, ingenuity, but also condoms and lube. Be on the lookout for the condoms and lube. In general, you know, as life advice, but also and specifically in this list.

An American Werewolf in London

Amazing effects made without CGI An American Werewolf in London The iconic, game-changing werewolf transformation used prosthetics, animatronics, reverse photography, and a fake floor. FX wizard Rick Baker worked for months on these two minutes - and got an Oscar for it. CRACKED.COM

Source: Ranker

The Thing

Amazing effects made without CGI The Thing John Carpenter rejected the idea of a guy in a suit, so his FX team created several incarnations of the Thing, mimicking different creatures and organs. The result feels and moves like it is truly alive - perhaps because there's very little stop motion as well. CRACKED.COM

Source: Wikipedia

Who Framed Roger Rabbit

CRACKED.COM Amazing effects made without CGI Who Framed Roger Rabbit Roger Rabbit did the opposite of the Chip 'n Dale movie - hand-drawn animation was made to look 3D. The animation was passed through several layers of highlighting and shading to give it its lifelike feel.

Source: Cartoon Brew


Amazing effects made without CGI Hook The island is a painting - and yet, the perspective subtly changes as Robin Williams blue-screen flies over it. This was done by slightly tilting the painting, and then returning it to an upright position. CRACKED.COM

Source: vfxblog

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

CRACKED.COM Amazing effects made without CGI Close Encounters of the Third Kind Besides the insane model work, the alien ship was shot on 70 mm film, which has a greater resolution than the 35 mm film used for the rest of the movie. This allowed it to keep a good deal of sharpness and detail in the final composition.

Source: Wikipedia

Back to the Future II

CRACKED.COM Fake DeLorean Amazing effects made without CGI Back to the Future II That lamp post isn't random - it's there to hide the change from the flying fake DeLorean to a real car. The transition is seamless, with shadows and details perfectly matched. God damn, we love this trilogy. Real DeLorean

Source: BuzzFeed

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