A horrifying video shows just how impressive VFX can be.
An uncredited video of a backflip gone wrong went viral on Twitter this week, garnering more than 170,000 likes. In it, a man in stilettos tries to backflip, but when his heels make contact with the ground again, his body crumbles into gooey, fleshy chunks.
It’s unsettling, disgusting, and absolutely mesmerizing to watch.
The original video is a collaboration between Shutter Authority, an Instagram account run by VFX artist Raghav Anil Kumar, and stunt YouTuber Jiemba Sands.
“Watching a person break apart into pieces is certainly going to be horrifying,” Anil Kumar said in an Instagram DM to Mashable. “But the way the pieces fall apart is more cartoony, much like the stuff we’ve see in Looney Tunes and Tom and Jerry.”
Anil Kumar noted that Sands’ content is usually surprising, like when he gracefully trips over a log or falls off a tree branch, but still ends up on his feet.
“My goal was to up the levels on both those aspects and I think the idea worked,” Anil Kumar said. “I tried to challenge myself to make something that’s already unexpected even more unexpected, and Jiemba’s content was the perfect fit for this.”
It clearly did work — Twitter and Instagram users expressed their shock.
I watched it like 15 times and I’m still taken back every single time.
— Kiss my Fat Ash (@Tobi_Is_Fab) February 19, 2020
Anil Kumar learned VFX from watching YouTube tutorials. While he’s always been interested in special effects — he started playing with video editing on his family’s computer in 2004 — he credits the video sharing platform with actually teaching him how to edit.
“I was always interested in movie making and VFX, even as a child way before YouTube,” Anil Kumar said. “But YouTube over the last decade and a half has certainly made it easier to learn anything.”
In a behind-the-scenes video, Anil Kumar showed followers a step-by-step guide to making their own gory VFX. Using Adobe After Effects and Blender, he made a three dimensional model of Sands just as his toes would have touched the ground. Then, he animated the crumbling. After some refining, Anil Kumar erased Sands from the original video and replaced him with the model.
He said the full process took “a couple of hours to actually make,” and then an additional “few more” to tweak and perfect.
He advises aspiring VFX artists to keep practicing.
“Beyond a certain point, it’s hard to find tutorials that actually teach you what you’re going after,” Anil Kumar said. “That’s when we need to apply ourselves and all things we’ve learnt to create something that represents our vision.”
So keep applying yourself, and someday you too can disgust the internet with stunning special effects.