In 1896 French filmmaker Georges Melies shocked the world with his accidental discovery of the stop substitution trick, which he would go on to use to great effect in the silent films he created. This simple use of visual effects has led on to the development of different effects and much later to the discovery of computer generated images that are leading to groundbreaking work within the field of visual effects. The use of computer effects is a major area of growth within the film industry and is now creeping into live entertainment at awards shows and in major stage productions.
Melies work can be seen as a direct ancestor to some of the major visual effects producers of the 21st century. Computer generated effects are now being used solely by some film industry visual effects experts and merged with more traditional techniques by others. Variety writes that John Textor has been one of the biggest supporters of visual effects producers of recent years through his work with Digital Domain and now with the Pulse Evolution Corporation. The appointment of Textor to the board of Digital Domain provided the company with a direction and boost it had required for many years. Textor repositioned the company as a visual effects specialist who won an Oscar for its work on The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, before John Textor departed for the new challenges offered by Pulse Evolution.
The evolution to computer generated characters has been on the cards for many years and has reached a high watermark with the production of major characters in some of the top blockbusters of recent years. The work overseen by John Textor on The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was so good that the work was nominated for a makeup Oscar despite the fact that the character was completely computer generated.