The Visual Effects Secret Behind the Raptors of Jurassic Park

Watch this scene from Jurassic Park. Don't worry I'll wait for you.

This scene is the reason that, to this day, I will not go into kitchens. Steven Spielberg wasn't content with ruining the beach for me in Jaws. Oh no, he also had to ruin the most glorious room in the house with Jurassic Park. As an aside, he would later ruin the Beach Boys' classic "Little Deuce Coupe" by making me watch Tom Cruise butcher it in War of the Worlds, but I digress. The point is, this scene is one of the most memorable in a film filled to the brim with iconic scenes.

But how did they do it? How did the wizards behind this film manage to bring raptors back to life?

No. It had nothing to do with Mr. DNA

If you thought the effects in this scene were mostly CGI, you wouldn't be alone. When Jurassic Park first came out, the new digital methods used to create some of the film's more spectacular scenes were highly publicized. Scenes like the one in which we first see humans standing next to a fully grown brontosaurus absolutely blew audiences away. And somehow it was all created with computers. Most of us didn't know how, because most 90s kids at the time had only experienced computer generated images like this one:

Sometimes it was orange instead of green, but you get the idea.

But what most people don't know, is that of the 11 minutes in which dinosaurs are on the screen, only four of them had CGI elements in them.

That raptor calling out to the other at around the 13 second mark in the video? That's a guy in a suit. The raptor looking over the counter? That's a hand puppet. From gigantic autoerotic-- er, I mean, animatronic triceratops, to animatronic raptor heads peering through door windows there was plenty of practical effects to balance out the CGI.

The blending of the two was so seamless there are times when you begin to question what was CGI and what wasn't . Take this scene for instance:

The part where this clip begins, where the T-rex is chomping on the car is almost entirely CGI. In fact the only components that are real are the set and the children who were composited into the shot. It just goes to show that a skilled director can really mess with a person's sense of what is real and what is not by concocting the right formula of CGI and practical effects.

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