In Angels & Demons, there are small canisters holding antimatter. It appears very realistic, including when it's shown in closeup at some point:

closeup on antimatter in canister

How was this effect achieved? Doesn't look like CGI.

  • 5
    Very realistic, in comparison to what? A real antimatter container… the size of a warehouse - CERN 1 or CERN 2 which unfortunately you can't see inside of.
    – Tetsujin
    May 17, 2021 at 11:18
  • @Tetsujin just realistic, without being compared - guess I mean "that's how I imagine antimatter looks like, without knowing how it really looks like". But does it really matter? May 17, 2021 at 11:20
  • 4
    Does it really antimatter? I mean, the very obvious answer, whatever you think it looks like, is going to be "Yup, it's CGI" I'm pretty sure the cost of actually designing something that glows like a plasma & can be held stably inside a plastic box whilst being safely handled by both cast & crew would be somewhat prohibitive.
    – Tetsujin
    May 17, 2021 at 11:23
  • @Tetsujin well it might be some cleverly built light bulb, or something like lava lamp mechanism... was hoping someone might know and share the details, hence asking. If it's CGI indeed and someone can confirm, the question won't have much value, I admit. May 17, 2021 at 11:39

1 Answer 1


The scene in question is on YouTube

"0:24 - canister being handled, no apparent movement of the anti-matter"

"4:51 - Static closeup of canister, with anti-matter movment"

In an earlier part of the scene, someone is attempting to defuse one of the containers and you can see a glowing blue blob inside the glass as it's handled. This is filmed from a distance, so can easily be an internal light illuminating a shape (possibly in an acrylic block). A momentary closeup shows some movement, but as the container isn't moving at the time this can be standard CGI.

The scene in your screencap above is also static and CGI based - short in length against a dark background, so won't take a huge amount of processing power.

It seems likely that this effect is a mixture of physical and CGI. Physical for the dynamic shots where you can't really see the shape in the canister, and CGI for the static, detailed shots.

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