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“Black or White (1991): The Birth of Full Photorealistic Face Morphing”

black and white

Below is an article on an interview with several individuals. Who took part in the production of the music video for Michael Jackson’s song “Black or White.” The interviewees consisted of Jamie Dixon, visual effects supervisor at PDI (Pacific Data Images); Tim Clawson, head of the production at Propaganda Films; Carl Rosendahl, founder of PDI. And Thad Beier, R&D manager at PDI; Shawn Neely, technical director at PDI; and Barbara Meier, an animator at PDI.

They discuss various aspects of the production process, This includes the inspiration for the video’s morphing sequence. The creation of morphing technology at PDI, the hardships faced during filming and editing. And the techniques used to achieve the desired visual effects. They also mention their work with director John Landis. And the importance of aligning the eyes of the subjects in the morphing sequence.


Tim Clawson:

We talked to Lol Creme about how they did that – they had no money so they didn’t use visual effects. He said, ‘Well, if you line up the eyes, then you know the faces will all fit on top of each other. And you just have to make some very subtle adjustments.’

Shawn Neely (technical director, PDI):

We were just ‘morphing’ still images at that point but the advancement was that one person could do the job that previously it would take an animator and shader and lighter, and a bunch of technical directors to work on – a whole 3D team.

Tim Clawson:

While we were filming we could see that the morphing sequence was going to fit the song so well. Not only the rhythm of the song itself – you’re black, you’re white, you’re black, you’re white, but also the message of the song. So just all those things came together to really make that a very special piece. Visual effects are best right when everything comes together, and where the idea of what you’re trying to do transcends the final shots. The visual effects are just simply the execution and not the idea themselves.

This provides ideas into the creative and technical processes involved in creating the groundbreaking visual effects for the “Black or White” music video. This was known for its innovative use of morphing technology.

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