Shape of Water VFX Mr XIt’s still shocking to look at The Shape of Water and realize that it cost less than $20mil to make. Included in Guillermo del Toro’s shrewd production techniques (which involved shooting underwater scenes without water), is a smart use of CGI. It’s worth noting that del Toro belongs to an old school style of filmmaking, one that calls on a seamless blend of enhanced imagery and practical effects, rather than just a deluge of completely fake imagery. The nuance and texture shines through in the final product, with lavishly designed worlds that are palpable above anything else.

This reel from FX company Mr. X is a great look at how one of last year’s most striking films was brought to reality.