Young Sherlock Holmes

[Amblin Entertainment/ILM/Paramount Pictures]

When assorted people start having inexplicable delusions that lead to their deaths, a teenage Sherlock Holmes decides to investigate.

Director: Barry Levinson
ILM Visual Effects Supervisor: Dennis Muren
ILM Animation Supervisor: Ellen E. Luchtwardt
ILM Visual Effects Art Director: Dave Carson
ILM Studios: San Francisco

Case Study

Young Sherlock Holmes

Release Date: December 4, 1985

Young Sherlock solves the mystery when he deduces that the victims died while under the influence of a hallucinatory drug, but before he does, the hallucinations gave ILM an opportunity to test three technologies for three special effects sequences. The first was stop-motion animation-controlled flying harpies, the second was little dancing pastries controlled by rod puppets, and for the third ILM pushed CG technology beyond anything anyone had attempted before: they put the first 3D character into a feature film – a knight that leapt out of a stained glass window and into the history books. To create the “Stained Glass Man,” the Computer Division at Lucasfilm used new motion blur technology and the first 32-bit RGBA paint system. The effect couldn’t have been created in any other way.

For the sequence, visual effects supervisor Dennis Muren and Lucasfilm’s Computer Division devoted months of research and development to the seven-foot-tall knight. Final composites – comprised of the CG knight, animated shadows, and a stained glass window matte painting – were recorded directly to film by a revolutionary laser scanner.