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Jeff Kleiser discusses the early CGI of Flight Of The Navigator

Photo-real CGI in 1986? The visual effects supervisor on Disney's ground-breaking movie tells us how easy it wasn't...

Early, early CGI in Flight Of The Navigator (1986)
Martin Anderson
Jul 15, 2009

I was lucky enough, when compiling Top 75 spaceships in movies and TV, to be able to get some background info from Jeff Kleiser, brother of FotN director Randall Kleiser and an accomplished visual effects wizard. Jeff wrote to tell me how he and his team overcame the huge obstacles to creating the first photo-real spaceship with reflection-mapping software years ahead of T2...


I was president of Digital Effects, Inc in 1985. It was a company I had formed with 6 other partners in 1978 in NYC, and we had done a lot of commercials using in-house software that had been written by my partners. Among the software developments we were toying with was reflection-mapping, where a photographic image was mapped onto a CG surface to create the illusion that the object was reflecting the environment.

Disney Movie Previews - Episode 27