13 Hollywood movie scenes before and after special effects

The art of making movies and TV shows has gone through revolutionary changes with the advent of technology. Now the movies invest so much, in special effects that renowned actor Sir Ian McKellen, who played Gandalf in Lord of the Rings trilogy sadly remarked on being asked to act alone in front of green screen, he said, “I didn’t become an actor for this.”


But now special effects have become an inseparable part of the movie and TV industry and dependence on special effects means that a single episode of Game of Thrones costs upwards of 6 million USD including the lavish sets. Special effects make it possible to have brilliant scenes and we have 13 scenes that will shock you when you see the before and after pics.

1 Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy was last year’s sleeper hit and one of its main characters is an alien whose race looks like raccoons of Earth. Here is how the raccoon was filmed with an actor playing the raccoon, and then special effects were added to the motion capture work done by the actor to show the raccoon moving and emoting.

Guardians of the Galaxy

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2 Game of Thrones – The dragons

The Game of Thrones is a fantasy TV show on HBO which is set in 1100s. Therefore, the show uses a high amount of special effects to show the scenery and sets of that time period. This image shows how the lead actress Emilia Clarke, who can control dragons in the show, comforts one of her three dragons. This is how the scene is shot and then dragon is added in after effects.

Game of Thrones – The dragons

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3 Life of Pi

Life of Pi features a boy and some animals on a ship and how the tiger and the boy bond during the ordeal when their ship capsizes and they are left on a life boat. For all those who thought the tiger in the movie was real, this image will disappoint you. The tiger was computer generated, to keep the actor safe.

Life of Pi

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4 Pirates of the Caribbean

Pirates of the Caribbean is a movie franchise based on the famous Disneyland ride. It stars Johhny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Keira Knightley in various roles. But the best role of the antagonist in the second and third movies was portrayed by British actor Bill Nighy who played Davy Jones. As seen in the image, he has tentacles coming out of his face and the effect was created by marking certain spots on Nighy’s face and then compositing the tentacles on those markers in post-production.

Pirates of the Caribbean

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5 The Dark Knight

Aaron Eckhart played the noble lawyer Harvey Dent turned into villain Two Face. Half of his face was burned in an accident in the movie when he was kidnapped by The Joker and this is how the effect of a half-burnt face was formed.

The Dark Knight

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6 Game of Thrones – The Wall

The Wall in the Game of Thrones is a 300 mile barrier that keeps the wildlings and the white walkers away from other people. It is maintained by the Brothers of Black and it was attacked by the wildlings in Season 4 of the show and here is how the climbing scene of the battle was filmed in real, in front of a green screen.

Game of Thrones – The Wall

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7 Gravity

Gravity is a blockbuster movie about two astronauts stranded in space after their space shuttle is damaged in space and they run against time to fix the shuttle and come back to Earth. It eventually won the Academy Award for best visual effects which was a deserved win since the actors shot in a studio, while they were shown in space in the movie.


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8 Rise of the Planet of the Apes

The Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a remake of a classic movie. However in this movie, scientists give apes super intelligence and they develop speech and an ape becomes the leader of other apes and starts living in the forest on their own to avoid conflict with humans. The apes were all digitized with 4-5 main actors emoting and moving for the apes and their actions were recorded using motion capture technique.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

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9 Lord of the Rings

JRR Tolkien’s masterpiece ‘The Lord of the Rings’ was made into a 3-movie franchise, which became one of the most successful financially, and critically acclaimed movies ever. The performance of Andy Serkis in the role of Gollum was highly appreciated and lauded as he performed the role completely in motion picture and received a special award for his efforts.

Lord of the Rings

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10 Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

Remember the game of Quiddich in the Harry Potter and Half Blood Prince, which saw Harry battle for the golden ball in a scary condition and it was all performed in front of the blue screen and then the background was digitally added to the movie.

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

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11 Life of Pi – Sailing

While the whole part of Pi and the Tiger in the boat in the movie is seemed to be filmed in ocean, in reality it was filmed in a studio on a massive swimming pool. The image kind of breaks the illusion of the grandeur that the movie shows. Also none of the animals were real.

Life of Pi – Sailing

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12 Avengers

The Avengers movie shows multiple superheroes of the Earth and beyond fight an alien invasion in Manhattan. All the fight scenes in the climax of the movie were shot in studio and on location in front of big green screens to add the effects of blasts and flying aliens later on.


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13 X-Men Days of Future Past

As you can see in the image, the mutant with the power to control fire basically barbeques the other guy in the scene. In reality, it is the magic of motion capture and post production wizardry by the SFX team.

X-Men days of Future Past

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