the vfx show #129: Cowboys and Aliens

Mike Seymour, Matt Wallin and Ian Failes discuss Cowboys and Aliens LIVE from the SIGGRAPH 2011 conference in Vancouver.

Show Notes:

Director: Jon Favreau
Cinematographer: Matthew Libatique
VFX Supervisors and Visual Effects Companies:
Roger Guyett — ILM
Fuel VFX
The Embassy
Shade VFX
Legacy Effects
Kerner Optical
New Deal Studios

History of Western Films

Panaflex Millenium Camera

Time Rider: The Adventure of Lyle Swann -Trailer here

Walker -Trailer here

Man with No Name

The Q&A with Jeff Goldsmith Cowboys and Aliens Podcast

The Searchers

Close Encounters of the Third Kind Tanker in the desert scene

Challenger reference photos

Scott Chambliss— Production Designer

Howie Weed The Empire Strikes Back: The Special Edition Wampa creature

Battle Los Angeles

Robert Downey Jr. opts out of ‘Cowboys & Aliens’ for ‘Sherlock Holmes sequel’ — Entertainment Weekly article

Nathan Longest


3:10 to Yuma


Paths of Hate See the video at the top of the page.

Kevin Reher — Producer La Luna

NVIDIA GPU Panel Bonus Audio Recording

Deep Compositing explored in this fxguidetv episode

fxpodcast: Ken Perlin Beyond the Noise

Pixar’s shading techniques for Cars 2 as mentioned in the Day 2 story on fxguide

Unity: Game Development Tool

3 thoughts on “the vfx show #129: <em>Cowboys and Aliens</em>”

  1. hey guys,

    the laser and lighting effects of the alien ships actually WERE done practically in camera, so good eye for catching that! They were achieved by mounting Lightwave lasers, Clay Paky Alpha Beams and PRG Bad Boys on a Spydercam rig flying over the set. In my opinion, this was sheer brilliance on the part of the filmmakers. What else, if not alien lasers, makes you immediate assume that you will do it cg? And yet they did it in camera, and ended up with some awesome footage as a reward for their efforts (as you noted).


    1. Dirk,

      Very cool to know. Thanks for that information. It makes sense that they were practical in that it would seem odd to make a laser light like effect instead of somehow enhancing the look in CG. Was a great idea on-set to add much more interactive lighting to whatever practical explosions they had.


  2. Cool – thanks for this, Dirk. We also had the benefit of seeing ILM’s Cowboys & Aliens Siggraph presentation (after recording this vfxshow) and saw some amazing practical work by New Deal Studios, Legacy Effects and Kerner Optical, along with digital fx by The Embassy, Fuel and other facilities. So much great work for this film.

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