Gareth Edwards – Attilla The Hun VFX Breakdown

This is one of my fave inspirational vfx before and after video clips of all time. In 2008, Gareth Edwards, a visual effects artist, got the chance to direct an episode of the series “Heroes and Villains”, which was a mini-series dramatization of various famous historical figures for the BBC. His episode was on Attilla The Hun, and not only did he direct the 3 week shoot on location in Bulgaria, he supervised all the element shoots for the fx, sat in the offline edit doing mockup (postviz) shots for the editor on his laptop, then when the shot count rose from 100 to more like 250, he took it upon himself to get the shots done. So he locked himself away for around 4 months, averaging around 2 shots a day and using 3D Max for the CG, Photoshop for the matte paintings and After Effects for comping. The results speak for themselves. After Effects is not exactly looked at as a serious vfx tool when compared to the likes of Nuke, but again this goes to show it’s not the tool but the artist the wields it, that counts, …and Gareth knows just what is needed to get the best results on screen, he knows how to cheat things when you can, and has a way of being innovative given time and resource constraints. This should inspire anyone who has ever wanted to do VFX on their home PC’s.
The youtube before and after clip is below:

Here is an article from FXGuide with more on how he made the programme.


Here is an audio interview with him where he discusses it more.


FXPHD have an old after effects course that you can get from the Vault if you are a member, which I highly recommend if you are trying to recreate similar VFX in After Effects (plus he talks a bit about matte painting and shortcuts, I enjoyed the course when I did it many years back). The course is call AFX301 – Guerrilla Film-makers Guide To After Effects. The intro video is below, along with a link to the course outline at fxphd.