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How The Martian’s filmmakers turned a Jordanian desert into The Red Planet

It was no easy task to bring the surface of Mars to Earth for Ridley Scott's popular film. Here's how the VFX team accomplished that feat.
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How Mad Max Fury Road twisted real steel for effects computers can’t top

The visual effects of George Miller's Mad Max: Fury Road earned an Oscar nomination by keeping an eye toward practical effects with digital polish.
An android touches a face on the wall in Ex Machina.

How Ex Machina built a better, beautiful, and utterly believable android

The VFX supervisor responsible for Ex Machina's artificially intelligent android explain how they blurred the line between human and robot.
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This scene might win X-Men: Days of Future Past a VFX Oscar. Here’s how they did it

Oscar Effects: How Quicksilver managed to put time in a bottle for his memorable, super-speed scene in Bryan Singer's X-Men: Days Of Future Past.
Oscar Effects: Interstellar

How Interstellar won over scientists (and audiences) by building a better black hole

Oscar Effects: How Christopher Nolan's Interstellar won over scientists and audiences by building a the best simulation of a black hole ever created.
Oscar Effects: Guardians of the Galaxy

How a raccoon and a tree became the human heart of Guardians of the Galaxy

Oscar Effects: How two VFX studios teamed up to make a talking raccoon and a sentient tree the stars of Marvel Studios' Guardians of the Galaxy
Oscars Effects Dawn of the Planet of the Apes featured

How outdoor motion capture brought Dawn of the Planet of the Apes to a new level

Oscars Effects: How the science of wagging tongues and the ability to take the studio outside raised the VFX bar in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
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How digital face mapping helped time (and Falcon) fly in The Winter Soldier

Oscar Effects: How digital face-mapping helped Anthony Mackie's Falcon fly and time go by for Hayley Atwell in Captain America: The Winter Soldier
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Oscar Effects: The Rise and Fall of San Francisco in ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’

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Oscar Effects: Going Locomotive in ‘The Lone Ranger’

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Oscar Effects: Creating the Iron Legion of Iron Man 3

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Oscar Effects: Building A Better Dragon in The Hobbit The Desolation of Smaug

We look at The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, and how Peter Jackson's team created a better dragon.
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Oscar Effects: Before Alfonso Cuarón could make ‘Gravity,’ he had to overcome it

Oscar Effects: How Prometheus explored the future by looking into the past

Despite Prometheus' futuristic setting, Ridley Scott's return to the Alien franchise stressed practical effects over digital magic.

Oscar Effects: How Life Of Pi caught a digital tiger by the tail

Oscar Effects: How Snow White and the Huntsman made a big cast smaller

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Oscar Effects: How The Avengers built a better Hulk

Oscar Effects: How ‘The Hobbit’ doubled down on technical achievement

Will this year's Academy Awards give a vote of approval for 48fps filmmaking?
Contributing Editor, Entertainment

A veteran journalist with more than two decades of experience covering local and national news, arts and entertainment, and emerging technology, Rick has been writing for Digital Trends since 2011.

Over the years, Rick has served as an editor for MTV News and Wizard Magazine, as well as a columnist for Time Inc.,, Fandango, and He is a member of Critics Choice Association and a Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic for films and television series. A voracious consumer of movies and TV series, as well as a lifetime fan of comic books, video games, and all manner of geekery, his work can also be found in Mental Floss,, and various other print and online outlets.

Dubbed a “Professional Geek,” Rick has appeared on Spike TV, MTV, ABC, CBS, Fox Business, and NPR to offer commentary on entertainment and pop culture trends. He served as co-producer and host of WAMC Northeast Public Radio’s “RetConned” podcast, interviewing a wide spectrum of pop-culture personalities and creators from 2016-2018.

A native of New York’s Capital Region, Rick began his journalism career at the alternative newsweekly Metroland. He was named the New York Press Association’s Writer of the Year while covering local, state, and national news around New York’s capital city and surrounding region.

Rick attended college at SUNY Plattsburgh and SUNY Albany, earning degrees in Computer Science, Environmental Science, and Journalism. He is a proud father of two great kids, husband to an endlessly patient partner who tolerates his love for “The Transformers: The Movie,” and a big fan of good beer.