You can't talk about the history of sci-fi cinema without recognizing the incredible contributions of the late Stan Winston. He was the go-to guy for monsters, killer cyborgs, aliens and dinosaurs for nearly four decades, and even in the CGI age his work still holds up. For proof, check out this test footage of his awesome dinosaur creations from all three Jurassic Park films.
When it was released in 1993, Jurassic Park was at the cutting edge of computer-generated images in film, but when you think about it now you probably don't think about the digital work. What everyone remembers most from that flick is that massive, fierce Tyrannosaurus—those eyes, those teeth, that huge head ready to swallow everyone up whole. That was courtesy of Winston and his team, who constructed one of the largest animatronic creatures ever put on film. Here's T. rex, ready for his closeup and demonstrating the precision of his powerful robotic jaws.
But if T. rex wasn't your flavor, that means what you remember most about Jurassic Park are those Raptors, with their claws and their speed and their creepy little heads peering around doorways. Well, that was Winston too, and you can see his creation at work in this Raptor test footage.
Be warned, though; it's still creepy even though you know it's fake.
Winston and crew returned to the Jurassic Park universe for The Lost World in 1997. He brought back some old friends and introduced some new ones, most notably the tiny but deadly Compsognathus. Here's that little critter hopping and eating.
In 2001, Winston and company returned for Jurassic Park III. This time he turned to puppet work more than animatronics, as you can see in the two videos below. They're not super-huge robots, but that doesn't make the effect any less impressive.
These videos are all courtesy of the Stan Winston School of Character Arts, an online academy that offers multimedia courses in how to design the creature of your choice just like the master. More proof that, though Winston is gone, his creatures are alive and well—not to mention endlessly influential.
(via Bleeding Cool)