"It was really hard, it was really slow, it was really tedious, it was really expensive. And then next time we do it it's going to be less difficult, and less slow and less expensive."
That's what Ed Ulbrich, Executive VP of Production at Digital Domain told me about designing the 100% digital head seen in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button—a challenge he justly refers to as the "Holy Grail" of special effects imaging.
In case you were interested in a few more specifics regarding the process, Ulbrich's TED talk from a few months back is quite revealing. Despite the ludicrously complicated methodology (conveniently abbreviated during TED), Ulbrich can't deny that human recreation will democratise like every other in the special effects industry, like morphing.
"In 1991 when I saw Terminator 2, it blew my mind. It made me want to be in this business. It was a miracle," Ulbrich said. "Now, I have a 5-year-old daughter who has a little program on the Mac that can take two photos and morph them. It becomes just another arrow in your quiver."
The movie is out today on Blu-ray and DVD. More from our talk with Ulbrich to come later.