Constantine (Digital Visual Effects)

Constantine is a perfect example of the important role digital visual effects play in creating a great movie. Visual effects were used in practically every scene in this movie, covering every single 3D process. One of the most outstanding visual effects was the process of creating the demons from Hell and bringing them to live onscreen. This character was computer-generated (CG) but in order to make it seem more realistic in terms of movements and actions, motion capture was most probably used. In this case, a person was put into a costume with reflective markers or lights at the joints so that their motions could be detected and used to control the movements of the CG demons.


The demons were only one example of the many CG characters in this movie. Another CG character which played a crucial role in the movie was the vermin-man demon. The director Francis Lawrence admitted the creation of this character to be costly. There were a lot of steps involved to bring this creature to live onscreen. As the vermin-man was also computer-generated, this meant that Keanu’s character, Constantine, has be shot alone, fighting and struggling against an unseen demon. Then, the CG demon as well as the bugs and snakes had to be added into the scene. A lot of work had to be done to make the bugs appear as alive and moving on the vermin-man’s body. Compositing was done to add all those elements together to create the final scene of the fight. In addition to the vermin-man, the cars speeding past on the road as Constantine dashed across was also computer-generated to ensure the actor’s safety.

Another outstanding visual effect in the movie was the portrayal of Hell. Practically every single element in the Hell scenes was computer-generated as well. The 2D painting process was also used, in which a picture was taken of a particular location, and then the picture was processed to make it appear more dramatic. Most of the time, this painting process was also used to paint out the wires and harness attached to the actors during the filming so that they do not appear in the movie. Then all the CG elements will be created, such as the fire, and the dust and debris in the air. The cars that Constantine was walking past will also be processed to add in the effect of the rust and corrosion. During the scene in which Constantine was in Hell, the actor Keanu will most probably be filmed in a studio with a greenscreen. The surroundings as seen in the movie were created digitally. Then, compositing was done to put all those elements together to create the complete scene. Again, the demons seen in the Hell scene were all computer-generated.

Portrayal of Hell



Other CG characters seen in the movie include the flying demons on the street; in the beginning just after Angela seek out Constantine for some answers. That scene involved quite a number of camera tricks as well. As usual, the demons had to be created digitally. Therefore, Constantine had to be filmed fighting against nothing again. Then, the burst of light from his hand has to be created separately. All of these elements are again put together to create the final scene. Another nicely done CG character was the Child of Satan, which was seen in the movie approaching Angela when she was pulled down to Hell. For this character, motion picture was probably needed to capture a more realistic sense of movement, and then added to the 3D character.

One particular feature which I found interesting was the beautiful creation of the half breed’s wings. These would most likely have to be computer-generated as well, and motions and movements of the wings will be added digitally to make it appear life-like.



Another obvious example of visual effects used was in the scene where Angela got sucked through the walls of the building. As before, the debris and dust was computer-generated. The actress playing Angela was filmed separately in a greenscreen studio, with wires lifting her up into the air to make it seem as if she was being pulled back. In a separate shot, the walls were filmed being torn apart, with unseen wires attached to it. These separate shots are then put together to create the scene we see in the movie.


Compositing plays a crucial part in the visual effects of the movie. In many scenes, the actors which appeared in the same scene together were shot individually, then put together to make them seem as if they were communicating with each other.

These were only some of the examples of visual effects used in Constantine. As I mentioned earlier, mostly every single scene of this movie contained some sort of visual effects. With realistic and interesting portrayal of demons, Hell, angels, and all sorts of never before seen creatures, Constantine is a great example of how digital visual effects, if done well, can make a truly awesome movie.


Extra Feature of Constantine DVD












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