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CGI and Digital or Real models and actors-whats your prefferance.?

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Hi All.
Having read the threads on the site today i thought i would intrest you in the subject of CGI digital anaimation.
Do you prefer Digital CGi or an old world aproach.

I do like CGI when its done correctly and in moderation.
The latest Star wars films have far to much of Digital i believe.

The hardest thing to create is nature itself and even in space i think this rule applys.
The Weight,Motion,fluidity and structure of an object is somewhat shadowed with CGI.

Look at the extra parts in Empire when the Falcon is landing,It looks far too flat.

I was dreadding the thought of too much CGI before the new films came out,the look and movement of the early techniques are hard to beat.
CGI moves to fast.

Look at the latest Van helsing movie,The wearewolf has lost its appeal beacuse the CGI is overly done.

If i was remaking the Star wars saga i would have reverted back to the original techniques used for the very first film.
Gone are the digital technologys and i would even use old analouge film and props,Its the only way.

Just my thoughts.

"This little ones not worth it,Now let me get you something"....
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CGI can be good when it is done properly. LOTR is the best example of this, just look at Golem; a completely digitised character, but totally believable, because the creators took the time and made the effort to develop the character properly, and the animatorsdid a great job making his movement natural (unlike Jarjar who seems to walk in an unnatural boobing motion... but that's the least of my concerns where Jarjar is concerned). Also as I said in that other post, most of the CGI in AOTC and TPM is to shiny and uniform looking to be believed. In LOTR all the CGI characters look different from one another, even in the battle scenes; in AOTC all the soldiers are perfectly identical, right down to the way they wear their uniforms and their movements; it doesn't look natural.

Personally I think CGI generally belongs in computer games, not movies; but if it is done right, it can work. I think the difference between AOTC and LOTR is that LOTR used cgi when it was necessary (to complement the story); AOTC used it whenever possible (to -be- the story).
-Everyone is entitled to my opinion-
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Originally posted by: Samatar

Personally I think CGI generally belongs in computer games, not movies; but if it is done right, it can work. I think the difference between AOTC and LOTR is that LOTR used cgi when it was necessary (to complement the story); AOTC used it whenever possible (to -be- the story).


Couldn't agree more. Perhaps part of the reason the acting in the prequels hasn't been as good as it should be is the fact that most of the movies have been filmed in front of green screens before the finished concepts of the scenery have been completed.
On the subject of CGI characters, Gollum IS incredible in virtually every detail. Puppet Yoda is, and always will be, my favorite incarnation of Yoda (even with all of the lightsaber action in Ep. II taken into account).
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I personally don't even favor golem's CGI much. he still looks incredibly, for lack of deep thinking for a better word right now, translucent and pale in comparison to any real figures. I would've opted for a heavily makeup'd actor instead. I think the same look could be achieved. from my perception nothing about the skin, eyes or hair on golem feels real. I also notice the CGI when it comes to things like catapults knocking down buildings and such. maybe pariculatly because the computer animated dust looks very fake, but overall I believe that CGI must be used as sparingly as possible for best results. It also makes the inventive mind lazy to always look to computers to draw an image rather than figuring out how it can actually be done.
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I definitely prefer models, puppets, miniatures, etc. because they ARE real and they look real. CGI is good when it's used for enhancing scenes or doing scenes that couldn't be done in any other way, but using it too much is really bad.

One thing I really hate about CGI is when filmmakers use it to make explosions, because they can easily be done for real (even really huge scale ones like the nuclear explosion in Terminator 2 - they made it work really well without making the whole thing out of CGI). The main example of this on my mind is when Senator Amidala's ship explodes at the beginning Attack of the Clones. It's a CGI explosion and it looks cheap and stupid. It could've - and should've - been done by blowing up a model of the ship on blue or green screen. Afterwards they could've just inserted it into the shot and digitally enhance the whole thing (adding in extra debris, if necessary, adding in the troops that were sent flying from the ship in the explosion, etc.) instead of doing the entire thing out of CGI. That way, it would've looked pretty realistic and would've had a much better effect.

CGI nowadays is really being used as the lazy way out for filmmakers. It's still new and expensive and everything, but a lot of the time it's faster than having to build sets, models, etc. so they just make it digitally. When it comes to the prequels, I really think George Lucas is using this much CGI because he wants to show off what it can do. A lot of the really big sequences (especially in Episode II) feel like they were made that big simply because George Lucas had the magic of CGI and felt he could show off what it could do. A good example of this is the digital Yoda. In one part of the movie, when Obi-Wan is talking with Mace Windu, he's flying around on a levitating chair. I have a feeling that Lucas did something like that entirely because Yoda was being done digitally, so he thought he should just do it.

CGI is absolutely not needed to make good special effects (in fact, most of the time it actually looks worse than models and miniatures). Just look at 2001: A Space Odyssey. Despite being almost forty years old, the special effects are still ten times better than ANY of today's computer generated garbage. And back then they had absolutely no computers or anything. 2001 is one of the very few movies where you really can't see the effects, and that's because they were brilliantly done. I'd pick the effects from 2001 over the effects from the prequels any day.
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Digital effects are always best. Could it be the clones looked all alike because they are clones. Hence the movies title.
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Originally posted by: jimbo

Digital effects are always best.


Not always. There are a lot of times when digital effects look like crap. Digital doesn't automatically mean better. Many movies without digital effects look very good and realistic. Have you ever seen 2001: A Space Odyssey? There was no such thing as digital effects when it was made, yet it has special effects that are completely realistic and convincing and they're ten times better than any of today's CGI effects.
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I know they were clones, but that doesn't mean they would all move inperfect unison and that their uniforms would all look perfectly identical...
-Everyone is entitled to my opinion-
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All the soldiers being clones basically just means they're all twins. Do Ashley and Mary Kate both move and act exactly the same?

I love 2001. I just watched it again the other day actually. The cinematograhy in that movie is simply amazing. Best ever, in my opinion. Not that GL would know anything about that, since he does 95% of his movies on computer...

That's another thing that bugs me. Back when the original movies were made, they were ground breaking. They had to do things that had never been done before. Basically create new technology so they could acheive the shots they wanted. How about now? Well, now they just do it all on computer. No innovation, to creativity, nothing.

Personally, I prefer models WAY more than CGI. I've been saying that since the day I saw TPM in theaters. Everything looked fake and cheesy to me. If they really just wanted to use computers so bad, why not just make a REAL model, make a digital map of it, and munipulate it digitally. That way, you can make it do whatever you want, but it looks real.

I agree, LOTR is one of the best CGI uses ever. Except for Gollum, where you can tell he's CGI (but not by too much), there isn't very many glaring CGI scenes that stand out. They did everything they possibly could with reality before resorting to computers. I mean, you don't use 250 REAL horses for no reason. If GL made LOTR, do you think there would be more than 3 horses EVER on set?

To me, CGI is like any other special effect. It can be awesome when used sparingly and only when necessary, but when overused, it's stupid. You NEVER want to over use a special effect, because then it's just cheesy and over done. The CGI in the PTs is both.

I completely agree with you Samatar:
CGI should be used only when necessary to enhance the story, not to BE the story.
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Well, I belive CGI should be used in the following situations:

* Animated movies - it's ok if it's "flawed", as it's not supposed to be 100% real.
* Scenes really impossible to shoot otherwise - like people falling from great hights, morphs, gigantic machines impossible to build.
* Minor corrections - visible microphone, crew in reflexions, sfx correction (matte lines, or see the Exorcist special edition for examples of this)...

CGI still can't replace good old fashioned SFX, and we know it. Not a single computer generated ship made by ILM could look as good as Douglas Trumbull models in 2001 - and if it wasn't for his work, I doubt we would have ILM or even Star Wars today.
“Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.” — Nazi Reich Marshal Hermann Goering
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Mary-Kate and Ashly both do act the same. They both suck. I say the effects in Attack of the Clones were far better then the ones in Lord of the Rings. I honestly couldn't tell the clones were digital until someone told me. They fooled me. Everything look perfectly liflike. Look at Walking with Dinosaurs. The digital dinosaurs looked better then the puppets they used for close ups. Sometimes the dinos were half digital and half puppet and I honestly couldn't tell the difference. This movie amazed me that such excellent effects could be done for a 1999 television project. Don't get me wrong before digital technology came around I had no problem with live action effects. I am still a fan of Ray Harryhousans work. Today however computers have got to the point were you can put anything on screen in 100% photorealism. After seeing Final Fantasy I believe that actors days are numbered.
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Hi Spider,
Great post.
I agree with you 100%.
CGI has a hard time when creating 3 dimenshional items.They look paper thin and have no mass.

Like the post said 2001 was such a good movie,I believed i was in space when watching it.

Look at Empire when the At At are attacking hoth,They have both weight,structure,movement and tone.
If done in CGI Empire would be a tottaly different film.

Jedi was good beacuse CGi was used aswell as model kits.

Terminator 2 was a good film i think beacuse CGI was used with live actors and sparingly.

The phantom menace had me in disbelief when i saw it at the movies,Also clone wars.
I think that if a film has a concrete story line and good acting then CGI is not so important.
Its intresting how technology in film making has changed since the first Star wars movie,Sets and props dont seem to be the order of the day.
I always like models and sets beacuse they have a very true to life and "hands on" approach,look at Battlestar Galactica,
The ships in this series looked awsome,Done in CGI they would move too fast and look flat.
If you look at CGi in the clone wars there are not many sceens when the action is slow and CGI is applied.This is beacuse CGI is no good at slow motion beacuse the human brain can detect it from reality.

I am not entirely looking forward to seeing the next Star wars film,CGI will play a big part no doubt and gone will be the true approach.

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Originally posted by: Laserforce
Jedi was good beacuse CGi was used aswell as model kits.


Really? Where?
“Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.” — Nazi Reich Marshal Hermann Goering
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I say the effects in Attack of the Clones were far better then the ones in Lord of the Rings


now i have lost all credit for you...
lol
kids eh?
"Never. I'll never turn to the darkside. You've failed your highness. I am a jedi, like my father before me."
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Originally posted by: Laserforce
Hi Spider,
Great post.
I agree with you 100%.
CGI has a hard time when creating 3 dimenshional items.They look paper thin and have no mass.

Like the post said 2001 was such a good movie,I believed i was in space when watching it.

Look at Empire when the At At are attacking hoth,They have both weight,structure,movement and tone.
If done in CGI Empire would be a tottaly different film.

Jedi was good beacuse CGi was used aswell as model kits.

Terminator 2 was a good film i think beacuse CGI was used with live actors and sparingly.

The phantom menace had me in disbelief when i saw it at the movies,Also clone wars.
I think that if a film has a concrete story line and good acting then CGI is not so important.
Its intresting how technology in film making has changed since the first Star wars movie,Sets and props dont seem to be the order of the day.
I always like models and sets beacuse they have a very true to life and "hands on" approach,look at Battlestar Galactica,
The ships in this series looked awsome,Done in CGI they would move too fast and look flat.
If you look at CGi in the clone wars there are not many sceens when the action is slow and CGI is applied.This is beacuse CGI is no good at slow motion beacuse the human brain can detect it from reality.

I am not entirely looking forward to seeing the next Star wars film,CGI will play a big part no doubt and gone will be the true approach.


First of all Terminator 2 is an Ok film. I see it as a dumb action movie. I enjoy it the same why I enjoy Van Helsing great effects but all the substance of the first Terminator movie is gone. What about the Matrix. You say CGI can never look good in slow motion but The Matrix is filled with slow motion CGI that looks excellent. Not to mention slow motion in movies normally is bad even in live action form.
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Hi ricarleite,
Thanks for the post.
If i can remember i think Jedi was applied with digital techniques at the end of the films battle sequence.
I can remember a program on the tv when the film was at the cinema showing how they did it.
The point where many tie fighters are flying into the screen and the actor says"theres to many of them".
Also i think the action sequences where desighned on computer with the flight paths of the space craft being constructed in wire frame etc.

Thanks,
Laserforce.

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Originally posted by: jimbo
Today computers have got to the point were you can put anything on screen in 100% photorealism. After seeing Final Fantasy I believe that actors days are numbered.


By "100% photorealism" you mean that it looks 100% as realistic as real life, with no possible way of telling the differance...CGI is FAR from that.

By the way, Final Fantasy did so poorly in the box office that the studio that made it went bankrupt. I think actor's jobs are safe for quite awhile...

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Originally posted by: jimbo
First of all Terminator 2 is an Ok film. I see it as a dumb action movie. I enjoy it the same why I enjoy Van Helsing great effects but all the substance of the first Terminator movie is gone. What about the Matrix. You say CGI can never look good in slow motion but The Matrix is filled with slow motion CGI that looks excellent. Not to mention slow motion in movies normally is bad even in live action form.


What substance of the first Terminator film? Terminator 2 added substance to the first movie by fleshing out the story. Terminator 3 was a dumb action movie that was tacted on hoping to be a box office success, completely scrapping the story and plot of the original movies. Most of the slowmotion CGI in the Matrix looks like CGI. Most of the slowmotion effects in the Matrix is real actors on wires in slow motion. The Neo vs. Many Agent Smiths scene in Matrix 2 is obviously CGI, as is the final showdown in Matrix 3.

CGI is a long long way from replacing actors, sets, or traditional special effects (despite GL's efforts), because it's obviously not real and looks cheesy to film goers.

Science Fiction and Action movies generally utilize special effects WAY more than any other gengre (another reason actor's jobs are safe), and if you look at the best and most groundbreaking movies of those gengres, special effects were used in a traditional nature and CGI was used sparingly, if at all.

I'm talking about movies like Bladerunner, 2001, Predator, the Road Warrior, Terminator 2, Aliens, the first Matrix...
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My personal opinion is that a costumed actor or puppet is far more convincing as a character. There's a greater feeling of realism when something is actually present in a scene as opposed to being placed in at a later time. I know CGI has it's uses, but to me it just doesn't give as much realism to a character or a location as much as something within the physical realm would. But that's just how I feel.
"Crazy people can be very persuassive."
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i feel the same way... CG is nowhere near replacing actors...
not for a very long time i think...

the only convincing CG role i found as close to believable was Gollum...
this was definatly due to Andy Serkis and the unbelievable amount of heart he put into this character...
other than that what else do we have?
Jar Jar... lol... Ahmed Best will never work again...

"Never. I'll never turn to the darkside. You've failed your highness. I am a jedi, like my father before me."
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Did he used to work before the PT's? Maybe he can dress up as Jar Jar for birthday parties.
“Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.” — Nazi Reich Marshal Hermann Goering
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I say CGI should be used only when nessessary. Just compare the CGI jabba in the sp anh to the orginal Jabbi in ROTJ. The one in Jedi is much more real looking to me.


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CGI will never replace actors, no matter how convincing they may be. There wouldn't be any point in it, for one. I can understand in action or sci fi you might use CG charaters for some scenes, or for characters that can't be played by humans, but what about dramas? Romance? Period pieces? Why would you bother? Plus, a huge part of cinema in Hollywood is star power. People go to see films for the actors that are in them. Studios pay millions of dollars for actors like Arnold Schwarzewhatever (sorry, no idea how to spell that one), Sylvester Stallone etc. Is that because they are more convincing actors? I don't think so. Digital animation, like any form of animation, has it's place, but will never replace live action.
-Everyone is entitled to my opinion-
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It could partially replace live action someday. But not today, it would happen in 15 to 20 years from now, if the CGI technology continues to evolve.
“Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.” — Nazi Reich Marshal Hermann Goering
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Digital effects will replace actors someday. Its only a question of when. Really its a matter of cost. Its now to expensive to create digital actors for every movie. Digital effects are getting better and cheaper every day. When Jurassic Park came out in 1993 I had no clue how those effects were created. My 5 year old mind was absolutly amazed. I have loved digital effects from that point on. The digital dinosaurs in the movie looked so lifelike. And that was 11 years ago. 7 years later we got Walking with Dinosaurs. One of the most amazing and epic films of all time. It had effects equal to Jurassic Park but for television and in much greater numbers. Today we have improved to the point where we can make anything. True sometimes digital effects today don't always look good but it is a matter of cost not technology. In my opinion Gollum looked just as realistic as Frodo in Lord of the Rings.