Hamishmash

Special / Visual Effects

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I’ve never understood why CGI has just become the ONLY way movie makers seem to create creatures these days. The eye and the brain KNOWS it’s not there, not matter how realistic you get them looking.

 

 

Here is an animatronic puppet for the new HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON stage show. If you used CGI just to touch up this on film… give it a bit more facial movement and obviously hide the puppeteers you could make something so much more realistic than anything Avatar shat out.

 

(JUST A NOTE FOR THE REST OF THE THREAD IN ORDER TO AVOID CONFUSION - Special Effects are practical effects made in front of the camera like the dragon above. Visual Effects are things like CGI.)

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i can put up with shitty acting

i can just about put up with shitty dialogue

plot holes can be pretty annoying

 

but shitty CGI (98% of it) can totally ruin a movie for me. i hate it.

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As impressive as that animatronic is... youcan't really apply it to a film like Avatar... because that film was about the entire world, and there was no real way of portraying that without going for the graphical decisions they chose.

 

Having said that, I do agree with you on the over-reliance on CGI, and had the same thought myself just the other day...

 

Watching the trailer for Rise of the Planet of the Apes, I couldn't help but wonder why they hadn't used real monkeys where ever possible?... and even if you used the counter argument that keeping consistant CGI models that portray emotion at all times, helps draw the audience into the character of the apes... there are even examples where you are 'looking through the eyes of the ape'... and there is a CGI arm/hand turning the pages of a book! ... why isn't that an actual Ape doing that?

 

Mind you Marvels current use of CGI blows me away!... that with films like Iron Man I think you can be completely fooled by CGI... it's that convincing!

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I just don't understand why CGI hasn't evolved enough yet to make anything more convincing than the CGI in Jurassic Park...

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I looooooooove the way that the films Alien and Aliens were made.

 

BTSaliensqueenbig.jpg

 

The queen in particular. So clever how they managed to make the puppet work. When growing up, I was amazed at just how real they made it appear. It still looks incredible to this day.

 

The chestburster scene was brilliantly filmed. It was graphic, violent, bloody, yet it looked really authentic. Those two films have some brilliant use of effects. :)

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I just don't understand why CGI hasn't evolved enough yet to make anything more convincing than the CGI in Jurassic Park...
Honestly I think the CGI in Iron Man/Transformers (the first one especially... where it's not completely OTT)... is an entirely different level from that seen in Jurassic Park.

 

But yeah there aren't that many other instances.

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Yeah, a lot of the CGI nowadays is so absurdly good when well implemented it's impossible to notice. Green Lantern was very impressive in places, for example.

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I love that Alien picture. Aliens is still very realistic. You wonder what they could do by mixing those techniques with modern technology.

 

I don't mind CGI where necessary but I don't understand when it's used where something practical would genuinely look better.

 

Like recently they said that Star Wars TV series they wanted to make won't happen for a few years until the technology exists in order to create it realistically. But... they seemed to manage to make the world believable back in the 70s!

 

georgelucasthenandnow-550x434.jpg

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I love that Alien picture. Aliens is still very realistic. You wonder what they could do by mixing those techniques with modern technology.

 

I don't mind CGI where necessary but I don't understand when it's used where something practical would genuinely look better.

 

Like recently they said that Star Wars TV series they wanted to make won't happen for a few years until the technology exists in order to create it realistically. But... they seemed to manage to make the world believable back in the 70s!

 

georgelucasthenandnow-550x434.jpg

 

There was a much better picture of Sigourney Weaver and the Alien Queen puppet, but I couldn't find it. :( It's definitely out there somewhere.

 

They used CGI Aliens in Resurrection, which look shit in comparison. They don't have the same look as the previous ones, which is a shame.

 

However, I was watching Terminator 2 the other night and some of the effects look brilliant to this day. Particularly the T-1000.

 

SUAItUMaVkmmt5qdgOmAVP2ho1_500.jpg

 

Going through the door. Again, when growing up and seeing this for the first time, I was blown away. I still think it looks brilliant. They managed to capture that "fluid" look really, really well.

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CGI was very impressive in the day but I haven't seen something "HOW DID THEY DO THAT?" probably since Terminator 2.

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That guy, Gareth Edwards, is now directing the new Godzilla film. Which has got me psyched, as a huge fan of the originals. And everyone involved are saying "don't worry... we're making sure everything is not like the 1998 bastardisation".

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Is he still doing it? He recently started talking about another film set in the future or something. Made me slightly worried he wasn't on it anymore.

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I think with CGI it's much more dependent on the studio and art direction than technology itself. A superior graphics engine can of course produce better results but if the artists create a sterile world it's an unconvincing world with excellent lighting, which doesn't make it any better.

For instance the german movie "Traumschiff Surprise" had a budget of about 10 million Euros but the special effects look convincing none the less. Then again I recently watched Star Wars Episode 2 and in the beginning where they chase the assassin I felt I was looking at a very long ingame cutscene (not because it didn't look real but somehow unconvincing); the same goes for a large part of Avatar.

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Bring back Jim Henson style puppetry.

 

 

That scene isn't the greatest example (although it was a bastard to film due to the number of puppets), but some of the work on the main puppets (Hoggle especially) is amazing.

 

 

And this scene is always amazing:

 

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They used Jim Henson puppets in the underrated Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy movie.

 

 

They just look great. They wouldn't have nearly so much character if they were CGI.

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Sometimes I think that people are just lazy nowadays. Especially looking at Flink's post above. The most recent technology may not always be the best way to go. Maybe CGI works out better cost/labour-wise? Maybe the standard just isn't good enough (yet)?

 

edit: I should say that CGI is not always a shambles...it was so well done in Black Swan that I didn't know that so many things (Nina's bony frame, etc.) were "fake". I guess stuff like that, enhancements, are more effective than using CGI to make a monster appear.

Edited by EddieColeslaw

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As impressive as that animatronic is... youcan't really apply it to a film like Avatar... because that film was about the entire world, and there was no real way of portraying that without going for the graphical decisions they chose.

 

Having said that, I do agree with you on the over-reliance on CGI, and had the same thought myself just the other day...

 

Watching the trailer for Rise of the Planet of the Apes, I couldn't help but wonder why they hadn't used real monkeys where ever possible?... and even if you used the counter argument that keeping consistant CGI models that portray emotion at all times, helps draw the audience into the character of the apes... there are even examples where you are 'looking through the eyes of the ape'... and there is a CGI arm/hand turning the pages of a book! ... why isn't that an actual Ape doing that?

 

Mind you Marvels current use of CGI blows me away!... that with films like Iron Man I think you can be completely fooled by CGI... it's that convincing!

 

Pretty sure that the Iron Man suit is partially real at least. I've seen set shots with RDJ in a kind of incomplete version. Presumably they match the suit over that to make it more convincing. Obviously in the more outlandish scenes it'll be entirely CGI though. Either way it is damn impressive and totally convincing.

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I don't see anything wrong with CGI, stuff is done in CGI that I don't even realise.

 

Like 1930s new york in King Kong watching behind the scenes and most of that was made up in CGI. Plus in some parts you aren't watching the actors but computer models of them.

 

King Kong himself is immense. :)

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The reason people hate CGI I think is possibly largely because of the directors that use it. When alien was made with cool practical models you could get away with a lot because it was very dark, and CG was nowhere near ready for that kindof task in the 70s and 80s (well....terminator 2 was pretty awesome)

 

But I mean, CG is just a tool, and if the director treats it like candyfloss crap we're going to hate it (also thanks stereoscopic for making people hate vfx even more...)

 

I think its possible, though difficult, to get as much character into cg as animatronics.

 

 

Oh also also don't know if anyone saw this but, here's some black swan making-of material

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Puppets have to be done right, too. The scene in Alien where you first see the alien in full and in good light just looks stupid as it's clearly a man in a suit.

 

The rest of the puppet effects in the first two are great. It's just that one scene.

 

But with CGI you get stuff that can look utterly terrible. The Neo Vs Many Smiths and those two trucks crashing spring to mind.

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Pretty sure that the Iron Man suit is partially real at least. I've seen set shots with RDJ in a kind of incomplete version. Presumably they match the suit over that to make it more convincing. Obviously in the more outlandish scenes it'll be entirely CGI though. Either way it is damn impressive and totally convincing.
Oh yeah there's 100% a full Iron Man suit... I just meant, everything they do with Iron Man... the whole flight aspect, how the flying/hovering suit and it's weaponry are intergrated into the surroundings etc... seemless and totally believable.

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I definitely think puppetry looks better than CGI for a lot of things. No matter how good the CGI is, it will never manage to look as real as the real thing (or a puppet, whatever).

 

A mix between puppets and CGI would be interesting to see. Have any films actually done that yet?

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