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Digital Domain [Hardcover]

Piers Bizony
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

22 Nov 2001
Founded in April 1993 by James Cameron, Stan Winston and Scott Toss, Digital Domain is one of the front-runners in the world of movie special effects. The company's work featured heavily in "True Lies", "Interview with The Vampire", "Armageddon" and "Dante's Peak", all of which were successful at the box office. In 1995 they won a BAFTA award for their work on "Apollo 13", recalling a historic NASA space rescue without using a single frame of real archive. Then came an Oscar for their work on Cameron's "Titanic", one of the most expensive and most successful movies ever made. The company also builds theme park systems. The T2-3D ride, based on James Cameron's cyborg hit "The Terminator", combines computer effects, projection systems, and advanced 3D illusions. This text, written in a jargon-free style, looks at the company's work and should be of interest to all who are curious to learn how the amazing effects in contemporary blockbuster movies are created by Oscar-winning talents at the forefront of their industry.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Aurum Press Ltd (22 Nov 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1854107070
  • ISBN-13: 978-1854107077
  • Product Dimensions: 28.8 x 22.8 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,201,003 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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...the text is accompanied by some of the most eye-popping stills...the colour and clarity of which are simply dazzling. -- Film Review, December 2001

Beautifully illustrated and designed, this is a must for anyone interested in how films are, and will be, made. -- Empire, December 2001

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful find after a long search 3 Dec 2001
By A Customer
Piers Bizony's book is the first of its kind to delve inside the inner workings of Digital Domain, the acclaimed effects company founded by James Cameron, Scott Ross and Stan Winston. The book is divided into chapters dealing with techniques and processes like motion control, bluescreen, animation and 3D. Whilst providing a detailed account of the hows and whys of all manner of visual effects, Bizony also takes time to discuss the merit and often under-appreciated value that they provide. Several parts detail the misconception that "computers can do everything" and seeks to highlight the human side of the creative process.
As someone who is currently studying film and visual effects I found it very interesting, especially after searching through all manner of books only to find ones that were written so technically-minded that they became uninteresting or others made for readers with only a slight curiousity about the subject.
The language is fresh and responsive with enough recognisable examples and breakdowns for the reader to be led through without getting lost. There are hundreds of beautiful photographs in various stages of completion and interviews and quotes from the computer artists themselves. I'm sure that almost anyone would be able to find a film they recognise within the pages and enjoy the explanations of how the images were achieved.
This isn't a coffee table book to show off to your friends, this is a lovingly created archive of hard work and stunning achievement. I only hope that the book is the first in a series and that we see more of Digital Domain's work documented in this way in the future.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Weak on detail 17 Feb 2002
By A Customer
I have a real interest in knowing how special effects are produced and always welcome anything new. But this book didn't provide any unique insights and although entertaining it is not a patch on the two Industrial Light + Magic volumes. None of the articles are very inspiring and the CGI examples are a little short on detail. I suspect a lot of this has to do with Digital Domain not having produced effects for that many films and maybe had the author waited another 5 years it might have made a more substantial read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 7 July 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.8 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rejoinder to a previous review... 14 Feb 2002
By A Customer - Published on
As a former employee of Digital Domain, and one of the people who worked with Piers Bizony to develop his book, I find it necessary to respond to the vituperative review posted earlier, entitled, "Digital Campaign - its like 250 pages of add copy!"
That rather misguided review calls into question the author's integrity as a journalist. It's a totally ridiculous notion that Piers Bizony was "used" in some kind of marketing scheme cooked-up to repair Digital Domain's image.
The book was originally conceived and begun in 1996. It was in development for almost five years. Piers was given free reign in developing the form, theme and tone of the book. He maintained editorial control throughout the process. It was never intended as some kind of tawdry expose of the underbelly of the company. Nor was it EVER envisioned as some kind of "revisionist" history of the company. In point of fact, the book has been embraced by many former Digital Domain employees for the book's balance - and for having refrained from becoming a "revisionist" ode.
Based upon his prior interest in visual effects, from working with Stanley Kubrick on his "2001" book, and also his appreciation of Digital Domain's efforts on "Apollo 13," Piers chose to document a portion of the company's work, admittedly its higher profile accomplishments, to give a non-industry, non-technical audience an idea of the processes involved. More than anything, the book is a salute to the hundreds of artists who've worked at Digital Domain.
Although it's blood-sport in Hollywood to savage people and companies who've attained certain status, the reviewer in fact reveals a predisposition which one might imagine is informed by either their own personnel bad experiences at the company or a really naive prejudice against the company.
No one at Digital Domain has ever failed to honestly admire the accomplishments of the standard-bearers of the effect's industry. You will not find greater appreciation for the accomplishments of both ILM and Pixar anywhere else in the industry.
By simplistically citing some of the company's supposed failed efforts, does that call into question Digital Domain's place in the effects industry? I think not. The production problems of two of the cited films are nearly legendary in the industry. They had nothing to do with the film's visual effects. And Digital Domain should not be stigmatized because it was hired to work on poorly conceived projects. Even ILM would be the first to admit they are generally only as good as the projects and scripts they serve.
And the reviewer's notion that somehow the company's best days are behind them is equally ill informed. The book covers work up through the year 2000. Since that time, Digital Domain has produced effects work on many of the highest profile films and highest grossing films. "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" was the HIGHEST grossing film of 2000. At the same time, the company handled a large chunk of "X Men." More recently, the company delivered great work for director Ron Howard's "A Beautiful Mind" - the likely Academy Award winner for Best Picture for 2001. It also delivered great work for "Lord of the Ring" - another likely candidate for Best Picture and likely winner for Best Visual Effects. Currently, Digital Domain recently delivered "Time Machine" - some of the most beautiful imagery in the company's history!
The reviewer drags out some old news, as it pertains to Jim Cameron's departure from the company. Why is that even remotely of interest or of the slightest relevance? Piers did NOT use Mr. Cameron's name more than to state that he was the director of a number of the company's major achievements. This is a book about the artists. And should one question the accomplishments of Digital Domain's artists one would only need look into the ranks of every other effects company in the industry.
If there is a certain patina to the book, it simply reflects the company's desire to work on cool projects. In a de-facto sense, the company has been driven by the directors and studio clients who've brought in challenging projects - director's like Neil Jordan, Ron Howard, Luc Besson, David Ficher, Bryan Singer, the Coen brothers, etc. etc.
As to the reviewer's ludicrous Enron comment, Digital Domain is a privately held company that produces some of the best work in the industry - and has been self-sustaining FOR YEARS!! They make money. They are not subsidized by anyone, or anything other than their own ability to stay in business.
No one should underestimate the difficult nature of visual effects. Just like the industry at large, it's a tough business. But Digital Domain, like every other company in the industry, is essentially held captive by the forces at work that rule the industry. It's also an incredibly challenging and rewarding part of the business - but clearly not for those with thin skin or easily bruised egos.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book for Visual Effects Fans, but... 12 Mar 2002
By A Customer - Published on
This is a good book for special effects and visual effects fans, especially for those who have seen the movies that are showcased by the author. I have only two gripes. There are some nice pictures that are split in two and should maybe have been printed in a gatefold (the way the excellent ILM books did). Also, many photos are really grainy, and the printing, which is at best mediocre, doesn't really help. If you're a regular reader of Cinefex quarterly, you're going to be disappointed, but overall, a good "coffee table" book.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice coffee table book 30 Jan 2002
By J. Hill - Published on
If you know anything about visual effects this book isn't going to open some secret doors of knowledge.
With that said, this book has some wonderful photos and shot breakdowns. Even knowing "how" they did it it's still nice to enjoy the craftsmanship that's been put into these shots.
If you own The Art of the Matrix, or either of the ILM hardcovers this book would be a nice addition to your collection.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended for any involved in film art 21 Mar 2002
By Midwest Book Review - Published on
Digital Domain has provided some of the finest special effects in the movie world, and this provides the first inside look at the works of a company noted for creating stunning scenes. Their techniques, special effects, and processes are demonstrated visually in frame-by-frame deconstructions which are involving and most illuminating. Highly recommended for any involved in film art.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful book! 7 Jan 2002
By royzone - Published on
This is simply a beautiful book about incredibly talented and creative people, and the special effects they create. It is quite detailed, without getting to technical or boring. If you enjoy special effects movies (or movies in general) and wants to know more about how bluescreen, compositing, CGI and more is done, this is the book for you. It gives you a wonderful insight into the creative team that is Digital Domain. Essential buy!
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