CGI in Movies Discussion

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Huntn, Sep 27, 2018.

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  1. Huntn, Nov 3, 2018
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    Huntn thread starter macrumors P6

    Huntn

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    #26
  2. Huntn, Nov 4, 2018
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    Huntn thread starter macrumors P6

    Huntn

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    #27
    Speaking of de-aged actors check out:


    How These Ten Actors Were De-aged
    My impression is that it is a toss up between Michael Douglass in Ant Man and Kurt Russel in Guardians of the Galaxy 2. They also de-aged Michelle Phiffer in Ant Man and the Wasp.
     
  3. Huntn, Nov 5, 2018
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    Huntn thread starter macrumors P6

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    #28
    I am interested in seeing Bohemian Rhapsody, and I was curious if they would fill up a stadium with 70k people. No they built the stage on a deserted airport, took 2000 extras and CGI’d in the stadium and the other 68000 people. Similiar things were done convincingly in the Lord of the Rings battle sequences and I would venture this is now the norm anytime large numbers of people are needed.

    A32291CC-C547-43C8-A3AF-4FA3653B753A.jpeg

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/life...-created-queens-epic-live-aid-set/1845037002/

    I never said it was predominantly CGI but substantial CGI was used, some of it so subtle it might not be noticed. If I’m not mistaken, the snowey fortress was a full size set. I agree that frequently a combination of CGI mixed with real effects is desirable.
     
  4. AngerDanger macrumors 68040

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    #29
    Gotta admit, @Huntn, it's nice to see such balanced praise and discussion of CGI. :) I feel it often gets denigrated for a number of reasons—which isn't to say there aren't plenty of examples of bad CGI—that have more to do with perception than genuine lack of artistic merit:
    • Good CGI goes unnoticed – A lot of fantastic work goes into creating visuals that most viewers assume are practical effects. Rig removal (removing wires and support structures for giant moving props) and compositing (combining real or CG elements with other real or CG elements (e.g. the crowd duplication mentioned above)) are ubiquitous and equally unnoticed when done right.
    • It's soulless – People harp on CGI and digital art in general for being "made by computers" and lacking a human element. If the same absurd critique were made of fine artists, we'd hear complaints that too many painters use soulless oil instead of creating humans with real flesh and blood! Plus, CGI is as much "made by computers" as paintings are made by oil or books are made by trees.
    • It's easier to reproduce – If you see a fine artist create a beautiful gesture drawing with one fluid stroke, the process they used is much less immediately apparent than if you saw a CG artist, say, add a bevel modifier to a 3D model. I think it's the fact that we could follow whatever steps CG artists take and end up reproducing the same work that makes so many people unfairly against it.
    • The best effects are still practical – The most realistic humans in film are played by—go figure—real humans. It might seem odd to consider actors as practical effects, but they're on the less-impressive but still-incredibly-difficult-to-replace side of the FX spectrum. The same goes for props; the best clothes, weapons, locations, etc. tend to be practical as well. Practical effects often have the advantage of being the actual thing they seek to emulate.
    • It's a last resort – CGI is often used to visually depict something that filmmakers aren't sure how to show in any other way. In these cases, even the best practical effects would fail and probably look like a horrible stop motion mess.
    • It's gorgeous – Attempts to emulate real-world objects aside, computers tend to create the reciprocal of biological creations; it's far easier to create an array of mathematically perfect lines on a computer, but one blurry smudge might need to be a large raster file. You can, by following relatively simple algorithms, create beautiful procedurally generated and surreal visuals—depictions of mathematics that previously only existed in concept, not in image. Because of this, as others have mentioned in this thread, I think the allure of padding out a weak narrative with beautiful visuals is too strong for many filmmakers.
     
  5. Huntn thread starter macrumors P6

    Huntn

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    #30
    Great post! I agree completely. Of interest when CGI first appeared noticibly in movies, I frequently hated it, titles like Sin City, The Crow, even 300. Not implying these are bad movies because of CGI, but as a rule, I do not like stylized backgrounds. When the backgrounds were stylized and I knew the movie was filmed in a warehouse, I disliked them.

    However that all changed with Avatar, a complete photorealistic, artificial world, filmed in a warehouse. From start to finish, that movie is mind blowing, establishing new standards in techniques and methodology of meshing live action with animation/CGI. When the CGI gets so good that the only reason you know it is CGI is because you know dinosaurs don’t exist (for example), then CGI has really arrived. And as mentioned by both us, the most impressive is when the viewer does not notice, it blends in seemingly and all appears real. This is pretty much a norm when it comes to background scenery in movies, you don’t associate with a CGI.

    I was really impressed by Titanic, the blend of CGI with live action, in addition to an amazing ship set that some of it tilted.

     
  6. rhett7660 macrumors G4

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    #31
    As long as the CGI doesn't take away from the story, I am all for it. Some of it is better than others, no doubt.
     
  7. Huntn thread starter macrumors P6

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    #32
    ..or take the place of the story.
     
  8. jdechko macrumors 68040

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    #33
    Agreed that the best CGI is the stuff you don't notice.

    Also we are still in the Uncanny Valley era of human CGI. Some of the effects in Harry Potter (a quiddch scene in one of the moves) just look bad.

    Star Wars is on both sides. Some of it looks great, especially the non-human CGI. But in Rogue One, the CGI effects of Peter Cushing and Carrie Fisher were good in the reflections, but bad once they turned around.
     
  9. rhett7660 macrumors G4

    rhett7660

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    #34
    Exactly... You can usually tell when the CGI gets in the way or is used as the story versus part of the story. Hopefully that makes sense.
     
  10. Scepticalscribe Contributor

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    #35
    Agree with both of you, and also with @AngerDanger, who wrote a balanced and thoughtful post.

    And agree that Titanic used CGI very well - though they also had an enormous model of the ship built.

    Another movie that used CGI impressively - in a way which enhanced and did not distract from - the story - was Gladiator.
     
  11. AngerDanger, Nov 6, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2018

    AngerDanger macrumors 68040

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    #36
    I was originally going to post something about Monsters (2010), an opportunistically shot thriller with VFX created by the director, Gareth Edwards (who also directed @Huntn's favorite Star Wars sequel :p), on his home computer using off-the-shelf software, but then I remembered something else that was really cool.

    [​IMG]

    Chris Nolan's Interstellar (2014) heavily employed CGI as many space travel films do, but these visuals were accurate—so accurate that, well, I'll copy/paste something from IMDb trivia:

    "To create the wormhole and black hole, Dr. Kip Thorne collaborated with Visual Effects Supervisor Paul J. Franklin and his team at Double Negative. Thorne provided pages of deeply sourced theoretical equations to the team, which then created new CGI software programs based on these equations to create accurate computer simulations of these phenomena. Some individual frames took up to one hundred hours to render, and ultimately the whole CGI program reached to eight hundred terabytes of data. The resulting visual effects provided Thorne with new insight into the effects of gravitational lensing and accretion disks surrounding black holes, and led to him writing two scientific papers–one for the astrophysics community, and one for the computer graphics community."
    That last sentence is what really gets to me. The creation of a commercially and critically successful film lead to breakthroughs in science and art. It's such a rare tetrafecta and reminds me of creations by Renaissance auteurs who were able to find commercial employment, broad appeal, and artistic novelty while pushing the boundaries of scientific invention (I'm looking at you, da Vinci).

    In a manner analogous to fiction's exploration and revelation of the human condition, digital effects are now allowing primates to learn more about the universe they inhabit. It's probably one of my favorite facts in the world and makes Interstellar a worthy addition to the list…

    Ahem. Anyway, my name isn't SentimentalDanger or HoldingBackTearsDanger. :oops:

    Wow, I must confess that I didn't know Titanic used CGI. A quick Bing search shows one instance with Jack and Diane on a moving color matte, a real camera pull-back, CGI elements (water, smoke, birds, and a flag (a miniature flag wouldn't move correctly for a full sized ship)), and the gorgeous miniature ship shot with the same camera pull-back (I'm guessing they had to do a little calculus to figure out the related rate of the movement between differing focal lengths). Very ****ing cool.

     
  12. Huntn thread starter macrumors P6

    Huntn

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    #37
    I walked out of Gladiator saying Best Picture. Yup, nailed it. :D
     
  13. Huntn thread starter macrumors P6

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    #38
    Interstellar was very satisfying for me in its effects. The only issue I had was a time paradox, where Cooper sends himself a message from the future about where to find the secret NASA launch facility, which is how he gets involved in the plan to save the human race. It’s one of this things where you don’t want to try to think it through. :)
     
  14. AngerDanger, Nov 8, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2018

    AngerDanger macrumors 68040

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    In addition to staying true to a film created decades earlier without inheriting its pacing issues, Blade Runner 2049 also features some amazing CGI, particularly when bringing Sean Young's ageless Rachel back to screen. I never would've guessed how extensively a CG model was used, but after watching a VFX breakdown, my mind's blown. Below are some GIF'd excerpts from that video:

    [​IMG]

    It was especially cool to learn that even the flashbacks to scenes from the original Blade Runner were all recreated with CG:

    [​IMG]

    As you'd expect, motion-capture was used to ensure natural, fluid movement:

    [​IMG]

    EDIT: Some of the embedded GIFs aren't properly loading. If you wanna see them, hit the REPLY button on this post, and the text box at the bottom will get filled with the working GIFs.
     
  15. twietee, Nov 9, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2018

    twietee macrumors 603

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    #40
    Basil The Great Mouse Detecive (1986) as well. The final encounter within Big Ben's clockwork was using CGI -or more precise: used CGI to know how to draw the moving clockwork parts.
     
  16. velocityg4, Nov 9, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2018

    velocityg4 macrumors 601

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    #41
    I always felt Terminator 2 made excellent use of CGI to enhance the movie. Without it you'd never be able to reproduce just how capable and powerful an adversary the T-1000 is. It also holds up well. Nothing seems out of place. At the time such effects were quite amazing. Unlike many other attempts at CGI at the time it appears realistic.

    While some scenes are obviously CGI, without looking bad that is. Others make it hard to tell which effects are CGI and which are practical. There are many remarkable scenes to choose from. I went with two which are remarkable without blood and gore. Since some may object.

    The T-1000 pouring into the helicopter.



    The shattering of the frozen T-1000 was an iconic scene. I remember them redoing it in "Hot Shots! Part Deux". This is a scene where it is tough to tell how much is CGI and how much is practical.

     
  17. SoggyCheese Suspended

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    #42
    Surprised nobody has mentioned the trailblazer for all this. Tron.
     
  18. Scepticalscribe Contributor

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    #43
    And, of course, (and normally I detest film adaptations of books I had loved) but the CGI in Lord of the Rings was most impressive, as was the spectacular landscape and scenery of New Zealand.
     
  19. hawkeye_a macrumors 6502a

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    #44
    I have to admit that I'm over the "novelty" of CGI being used to dress-up and sell a film. I tend to prefer the subtle use of CGI(where I cant even tell if CGI was used); think Forrest Gump.

    Maybe it's getting older, but I kind of find myself preferring practical/real/physical special effects instead.... like in the original Star Wars trilogy, Conan the Barbarian(1982), Blade Runner, etc.

    It could be that the uncanny valley just cannot be breached, and the heavier the reliance on CGI the more apparent the shortcomings become.
     
  20. velocityg4 macrumors 601

    velocityg4

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    #45
    For myself, I'd say it is a matter of the quality of writing, directing and acting. The novelty has worn off. The movies themselves have little substance. Just something mildly entertaining and quickly forgotten. Never to be seen again.

    They aren't all horrible. Usually the most you can hope for is clever or funny. Considering the obscene budgets. You'd think they could spend a little on a decent writer and cancel 30 seconds worth of CGI to pay them.

    Mostly I just find myself watching movies from the 30's through 60's. There are a lot of good movies from the late 70's through the 90's. I've just seen them so many times that I haven't rewatched them for a while. When it comes to special effects. The 50's through the 70's had acceptable practical effects. Some pretty darn good for the time ("Forbidden Planet", "2001 A Space Odyssey", "The Blob", "The Ten Commandments"). Heck there are movies from the 30's with decent special effects.

    Conan the Barbarian (1982) has to be in my top ten favorite movies.
     
  21. Huntn, Nov 21, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2018

    Huntn thread starter macrumors P6

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    #46
    Movies continue to stand primarily on their story and how the story is told.

    CGI has come a long way, the biggest was achieving photo realism, but instead of filming on location, the CGI takes over or auments that aspect and it enables stories to be told that could not be told before with the same emmersive impact.

    When you are talking practical effects with the list of movies you cited, it’s an easy argument to say CGI is just the natural progression of illusion in movies to benefit the telling of the story.
    --- Post Merged, Nov 21, 2018 ---
    Thanks for posting, fascinating! Animating animals is easy as compared to the last big hurtle, animating human faces convincingly. If I understand it, motion capture is just copying a human, my guess is the next breakthrough is an independent animation based on 3d mapping of a human, where the motion capture is no longer required and then the completely independent creation of the human frame along with corresponding motion, expressions, personality, voice, etc.
     
  22. Huntn thread starter macrumors P6

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    #47
    Looking at some Avatar info and stumbled across this:

    F0E49D66-A2C0-4CE2-8AF8-BE7725B3E02B.jpeg
    Alita: Battle Angel (Feb 2019) another James Cameron project, where the lead character is animated based on motion capture. Yes, I will have to see this in the theater. :)


    Skin or CGI? Alita: Battle Angel takes manga to photorealistic levels
    https://www.cnet.com/news/alita-battle-angel-takes-manga-to-photorealistic-levels/

    Here’s Looking At You, Kid: ‘Alita: Battle Angel’ Has Changed Alita’s Anime Eyes
    http://sciencefiction.com/2018/11/19/looks-like-alita-battle-angel-changed-alitas-anime-eyes/
     
  23. Huntn thread starter macrumors P6

    Huntn

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    #48
    Having just watched The Blob (1958), which is almost completely sanitary with lines like “don’t go in there, it’s the most horrible thing I’ve ever seen!”, to make up for it’s lack of graphic gore, which a story like this really needs, and which the 1988 movie makes up for.

    The two movies I can think of with the best FX practical effects are The Blob (1988) and The Thing (1982). And I agree that practical effects have more of an impact than pure CGI when it comes to horror films. One horror movie with mostly CGI, that really dissapointed me was The Haunting (1999) as compared to the original 1963 movie that relied mostly on suspense, and besides some minimalist practical effects, like a bulging door, was extremely effective leaving most of it to the audience’s imagination.

    From an interview with Chuck Russell, director of The Blob:
    [ Exclusive] ‘The Blob’ 1988 Director Talks Practical Effects and Second Remake
    https://bloody-disgusting.com/exclu...rector-talks-practical-effects-second-remake/

    4526FD62-C152-4F7B-9D4E-0C49F9F68D09.jpeg
    “I’m in a funny space about visual FX today vs. the eighties,” he admitted to us. “I helped perfect CGI with The Mask… But I always used CGI in careful conjunction with physical FX and the on camera actors performance. Bottom line, full CGI characters can be fascinating, but are rarely scary.”

    The Painstaking Practical Effects Behind The Thing “Chest Chomp” Scene
    https://news.avclub.com/the-painstaking-practical-effects-behind-the-thing-s-c-1798278719

     
  24. rhett7660 macrumors G4

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    #49
    I would think Young Sherlock Holmes which was the first movie to use CGI.

    Tron was a fun movie though. I also liked Tron II.
    --- Post Merged, Nov 26, 2018 ---
    I have watched the The Thing behind the scenes before and it never gets old. I still watch that movie once a year. Between the over the top blood and guts scenes to the music, it just works.

    Did you happen to catch the remake of it? It was just ok... in my opinion.
     
  25. Huntn thread starter macrumors P6

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    #50
    I did see the remake, prequel and meh. It seemed to rely on a lot of what came before it and honestly the practical FX effects in the original were better from an impact standpoint than the CGI monster effects in the prequel (if I am remembering it correctly).
     

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