Future Los Angeles: A Fake City Made of Metal and Smoke, Literally

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This is future Los Angeles, as created in 1982 by Douglas Trumbull's team for Ridley Scott's Blade Runner. Back then, they didn't have computers to create synthetic 3D landscapes, so they used some truly amazing visual tricks.

This is how the city looked from the side, with no lighting. Just line after line of silhouettes, chemically etched on metal from photos:


And here's how they transformed that mess into one of the most fascinating imaginary cities in the history of cinema, using thousands of feet of fiber optics, forced and atmospheric perspective, models, and just pure genius:

After watching things like this, I only want to say: Screw computers. Check Trumbull's site for the full segment and much more. [Douglas Trumbull]