Now that you have had a chance to see Duncan Jones‘ film Moon, starring Sam Rockwell, check out the details behind how he was able to pull off such an extraordinary looking film with such a minuscule budget. Due to his commercial background in special effects, he was able to make the moon come alive without all the fancy equipment other Directors have.

What’s the secret to his success? Nothing more than photoshop, find out more below…

***Note: There are some slight spoilers below. If you’re looking to see the film without knowing how it was made (which I would highly recommend), save this post for after you have seen the film.***

To begin with the landscape shots they had to build a mini-set:

So we used model miniatures, we built a piece of lunar landscape about 30 by 40 feet, not much bigger than this room actually. And we had sort of these Tonka trucks style models that we were dragging across the landscape with fishing line. We had an amazing company called CineSite, and they were able to clean up all of the stuff that I was able to shoot in live action. But it was really that hybrid of shooting as much as I could in camera and then being able to work on top of it afterwards, which really gave us the kind of unique look that I think we’ve got. And allowed us to make something that didn’t feel like a little independent film that was stuck in one sound stage.

How did you create the depth to all of the stars, the moon, the earth and everything else?

Jones: Basically—you ever use photoshop? The nice thing about photoshop is that everything gets broken up into layers, and you can isolate those layers, and when you start thinking that way, when you are working in special effects, all of a sudden all of those things become possible. It’s just a matter of working out—basically imagining a shot in your mind and then working out how to make that shot by breaking it up into separate layers. And then compositing those layers together to create the shot.

So, if you want the moon surface with a satellite gliding over it, you shoot the moon surface first with a little model or with a piece of photography of the moon that you have sort of adjusted and then you shoot your satellite and then you stick your satellite on top of the lunar landscape and all of a sudden you have this nice model of the satellite going around the lunar surface. There are all sorts of ways that you can—that’s really the special effects background and that is what I use to do in commercials for such a long time that makes me think that way, I kind of know how to do that.

See! Anyone can do! Just find yourself $5 million and you’re set!

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