For the Disney film, HOLES, based on the best selling book by Louis Sachar, Flash Film Works performed all the visual effects shots. These included creating 3D animated lizards to menace the kids in the film, as well as creating the "God's Thumb" mountain peak and many other types of effects on the film.

William Mesa with Patricia Arquette

William Mesa directs actress Patricia Arquette during the shooting of a visual effects plate for the movie "Holes."


This lizard was creating in 3D, modeled after the practical lizards used in some scenes in the film. The real lizards didn't do anything though, so CG lizards were needed to make the lizards appear more dangerous. 

For the climatic ending of the film, numerous lizards were created in Lightwave 3D and tracked into practical shots to make it appear as though they were menacing the actors.

For this establishing shot from the opening of the film, we shot a helicopter plate of the bus driving across the desert. Then we rotoscoped the bus and the dust trail out of the shot, tracked the plate, and replaced the desert floor with a computer generated landscape containing thousands of holes. 
For several shots, we had to replace backgrounds of the camp in order to make it appear as though it was in the desert.

In this sequence from the film, we shot a helicopter plate of the mountain and composited in our Computer generated "God's Thumb" mountain peak. We also replaced the background desert with the dry lakebed. 

For the sequence where the kids climb up the "God's Thumb" mountain, we shot the kid actors against greenscreen and created the background by pasting together elements of different plates shot on location. We then composited the actors in front of the assembled background plate.. 

For this shot in the film, we took a scene filmed on an old west Ranch in the hills and replaced the background with footage filmed by the 2nd unit crew at Lake Casitas to create the illusion that the town was located next to a lake. We also had to change the position of the stagecoach to make it appear as though it enters the shot earlier than it really did during the shoot. 

Another shot of the lizards. A few of them were practical but most were CG.


Learn more about this movie  on the internet movie database    All images courtesy Walt Disney Pictures.