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Why does CGI suck so badly?
ozoneocean at 2:24PM, Dec. 13, 2007
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It's true, it usually sucks pretty hard. When it first started to come in, we thought it'd be a more realistic way of doing what they did with models, pyrotechnics, and puppets… There was a lot of hype and expense surrounding it. But these days the opposite is generally true; it looks more fake than models and puppets ever did. :(

Maybe there's just a shortage of skilled CGI artists? Maybe there's an oversupply of shitty ones? I'd say the latter was the case and I'd say they prolly have to work cheap because of it. So movies and TV make do with poor quality…

-I don't say ALL CGI is crap, but most of it tends to be. Back in he days when skilled modellers and puppeteers ruled the roost, there was probably only a very small amount of them and to get into the biz you'd have to apprentice with the best. But with CGI you just take a few courses and anyone thinks they can do it, you no longer have the culture of excellence that limited the path into the industry.

Ah, what do I know? Nothing, that's what! :P
I'm just bitter from looking at one too many poor CGI creations…
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:29PM
lastcall at 3:08PM, Dec. 13, 2007
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Oh, don't let me near this topic. …Oops, too late.

Let me tell you a little story, shall I? ….I have a BFA in 2D animation. I graduated back in 2000–right when Disney decided to get rid of their entire 2D department, and all hope of a f***ing future for me vanished. (Yes, I'm bitter.) I refused to train in 3D animation, because I despise it. I believe it lacks any emotion or feeling, compared to the fluidity and raw emotion that a hand-drawn 2D animated feature can convey. Don Bluth is one of my heroes because he has tried the longest to stick to 2D animation, depsite the trends.

Let's compare, shall we?

Toy Story. Stiff and lacking of emotion.



Tarzan. Great stuff, full of feeling. (Glen Keane, you are my hero.)



last edited on July 14, 2011 1:27PM
Hawk at 3:15PM, Dec. 13, 2007
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From a person who does CGI, let me give you my perspective.

I think it all comes down to a few factors:

- The time constraints of movie making are not particularly kind to the demands of CGI. There is no shortage of skilled CGI artists. If you give these guys enough time, they can knock your socks off with something incredible. We see this from time to time. However, movies still work in the classic Hollywood timeframe, so special effects divisions get rushed. They lose valuable time that would have been used to polish and perfect the effects we see. Time really is money in the movie and television industry, and many producers are willing to settle for not-quite-perfect effects if it will please investors.

- There is a paradigm shift in between live-action filming and animation. In live-action, multiple takes are filmed and all but the best takes and cut and discarded. Sometimes, multiple versions and shots are filmed to see which looks the best. Because of the time and costs of animation production, things are done differently. More emphasis is put into preproduction and planning and storyboards, so that the shots are perfected before the work is done, and only the necessary work is done.
Now, when you mix these elements together (like in a special-effects-driven film) There are discrepancies in the way things run. A director's insistence to “try several different versions” can severely infringe on the CGI team's time and budget.

- The Uncanny Valley! Movies and TV are getting too ambitious. The “Uncanny Valley” is the term for the strange rift between cartoony characters and real-life people. There's a middle-zone with CGI people that look almost real, but not quite, so they're like creepy-looking zombies (see Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within or Polar Express). Once again, time is a factor and there never seems to enough time to iron out all the things that make a CGI character look fake. Filmmakers need to realize that just because something can be done with CGI, it doesn't mean it should. In fact, they should be striving to do as much in live-action as possible. Movies that strive to look completely realistic have no business going all-CGI.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:46PM
Hawk at 3:21PM, Dec. 13, 2007
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I believe it lacks any emotion or feeling, compared to the fluidity and raw emotion that a hand-drawn 2D animated feature can convey.

I share a lot of your views and I think 2D is more expressive and alive than 3D, but Toy Story vs. Tarzan isn't exactly the fairest comparison.

I hated seeing the 2D animation genre get killed off, and that's why I'm happy to see that it's coming back. But with that being said, I see a lot of good in CGI animated films, especially the ones from Pixar. I imagine it's possible for both types to exist, so long as peolpe use them properly. If we keep getting things like Open Season and Barnyard, you may see 2D come back quicker than you think.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:46PM
lastcall at 3:53PM, Dec. 13, 2007
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Hawk
I share a lot of your views and I think 2D is more expressive and alive than 3D, but Toy Story vs. Tarzan isn't exactly the fairest comparison.

Yeah I know, but it's all I could think of after several shots of whiskey.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:27PM
Steely Gaze at 5:04PM, Dec. 13, 2007
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I have to agree with most of what's already been said. No sense in me quoting everyone, but some points I want to touch on.

First: I dislike CGI. This wasn't always so, but as the years went on, I just felt like it was being overused. CG effects are good, and can be quite important to movies, but they can also be unnecessary. Too many good movies have been hurt by having needless, silly looking CGI effects.

Secondly: There, as Hawk astutely pointed out, will always be room for the talented 3D artists. Pixar has done some unbelievable work, and I think that's because they don't try to be realistic with their art.

We are far from a time when technology can replicate reality, and thusly most 3D animation ends up looking lifeless when compared to living, breathing actors. Of course, in traditional animation you will never achieve a human level of detail, but that's okay because I think traditional animation makes up for it in personality. There's a life in real animation that is often lacking in CGI. I'm not a big fan of Don Bluth (can't stand the man really) but I recently rewatched The Secret of Nimh and found it to be delightful and quite vibrant when compared with other, more recent, family movies.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 3:57PM
kingofsnake at 5:42PM, Dec. 13, 2007
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Let me tell you a little story, shall I? ….I have a BFA in 2D animation. I graduated back in 2000–right when Disney decided to get rid of their entire 2D department, and all hope of a f***ing future for me vanished. (Yes, I'm bitter.)

I'm pretty sure when Pixar and Disney merged, one of the first things Pixar did was reopen the 2D cartooning studio. Of course maybe I just imagined it, but that sounds like something they'd do. The Pixar people have always had a strong respect for 2D animation, most of the people they hire come from 2D animation background (which is why quality of Pixar films is head over heels above pretty much all other 3D animation.) If you look at the extras on the incredibles and cars they go into detail about the backgrounds of the animators, one of them used to do 2d stuff for seseme street and they have some really rough models of the characters done in 2D that look really good, cartoony.

The real problem is that most animation from the last ten years is vastly inferior to where it was in the Looney Tunes era, or even the eighties. Back then animators were working wicked cheap, but were given the freedom to do pretty much what they wanted. Not so much anymore. It's cheaper to use static figures or repeat animations, I haven't seen any really impressive 2d animation outside of disney movies in years.

I caught some video from the Chipmunk adventure (remember they flew hot air balloons around the world trying to get little stuffed chipmunk dolls only to find out later they were full of smuggled diamonds) from the eighties. I was astounded by the quality of the animation, it wasn't until then that I really realized how many corners they've been cutting, even in some of the better produced cartoons of today like Fosters and Billy and Mandy. To be perfectly honest, now that I think about it, the only contemporary cartoon I can think of that really does anything progressive in animation is Ed Edd and Eddy.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:16PM
SarahN at 6:27PM, Dec. 13, 2007
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Steely Gaze
First: I dislike CGI. This wasn't always so, but as the years went on, I just felt like it was being overused. CG effects are good, and can be quite important to movies, but they can also be unnecessary. Too many good movies have been hurt by having needless, silly looking CGI effects.
THANK YOU. Cgi has made movie makers (right now I am referring to live action movies) really LAZY. No one wants to put any effort into anything anymore now that cgi is around. Or at least not outside of computers.

For example, they are making a “Where the Wild Things Are” movie. Instead of doing something cool like make giganto, impressive puppets; something that actually feels real…it's going to be boring-ass, pointless cgi. (From what I've heard.)

Same deal with the “Clash of the Titans” remake they're planning. I always thought a remake of that would be cool…but instead of doing amazing things with it they'll probably just make it boring with a bunch of dumb computer effects. Medusa will probably be all 3D. I can see a little tampering for the hair…but the rest they could use makeup and other things! But 100 bucks says she'll be all 3D.

Is it bad that I sometimes think old stop-motion animation looks better? At least it's REAL. Or maybe that's just my old-fartness peaking through.

All-3D movies are a little different. Yes, it is used WAY too much nowadays and makes some movies that much more lame…but Pixar has been pretty good about making quality movies with lots of emotion and good expressions.

But 2D cartoons need a comeback. BADLY.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:23PM
7384395948urhfdjfrueruieieueue at 6:39PM, Dec. 13, 2007
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CGI in an all CGI movie is great as long as it's cartoony. CGI attempting to look like live action is terrible. Same for some CGI character in a live action movie.

i will also like to know you the more
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:05AM
crazyninny at 6:53PM, Dec. 13, 2007
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CGI must die.

BRING BACK 2D!!!
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:48AM
Ziffy88 at 8:27PM, Dec. 13, 2007
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It's a mixed bag. It's like with all other forms of art there's better ways to do them. As for 2d vs 3d. Realistic 3d does create that haunted look on people that makes them look like puppets. I don't really know. I enjoy good CGI animation, but I also enjoy good 2d animation. What I really worry about is the story. Starship Troopers Chronicle had really dated CGI. Now when I watch it I realize the show was well written but they should have used 2d because of how stiff it was. When I saw Gundam Wing (I still think the plots way too convoluted) I thought the animators were lazy just repeating the same silly scenes every other episodes. So laziness can effect both sides. I want some good well written and fluid animation. It needs to fit the story. I can't imagine Reboot being in 2d.
last edited on July 14, 2011 5:01PM
Mega Josh at 8:55PM, Dec. 13, 2007
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The only really good CGI movie lately was Surf's Up. :/

Everything else like Over the Hedge though? Ahahahah that shit needs to be burned.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:58PM
subcultured at 9:14PM, Dec. 13, 2007
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it doesn't. it's all a matter of opinion
J
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:03PM
Chernobog at 10:49PM, Dec. 13, 2007
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CGI kind of reminds me of those old $5 a pop virtual reality simulators (Dactyl Nightmare, etc) you'd see in the arcade. Just seems to me the technology needs to be advanced more or something. Or the movie industry actually needs to look like they spent a budget on it, something more than Jimmy Newtron.

There's examples of CG I like, such as FF: The Spirits Within or LOTR, but most of it strikes me as god awful looking or just overused. Beowulf is one of those films I honestly wished was live action, not ‘live action looking’. There's just a tendency for things to look very ‘same’, I think. Alvin and the Chipmunks, Scooby Doo, and Garfield look hideous in CG. They all have the same drug addled bright eyeballs and basically identical looking fur. With human based characters or anything not furry, it's usually a problem for me that everything looks so shiny or greasy, like everyone's made of polished chrome metal. I'm just not down with that.

Getting further into it, it might be that I just don't much care for so much 3D in my media. Even in some video games (Castlevania or Pac Man strikes a chord), it seems so blatantly unneeded. I mean what do I get? Perpetually bad camera angles. Textured environments that really aren't very 3D beyond wandering around in a box with a difficult to discern jumping ability in relation to point A and B.

I don't know… 2D isn't necessarily better as whole, but it's more practiced by our society and styled much better. I'd rather have CG elements in a 2D work (Blue Submarine #6 and Futurama, for example) that something entirely CG.
 
 
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DAJB at 11:45PM, Dec. 13, 2007
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Not all CGI sucks. The trouble is that it's the newest toy in the film-maker's toy box. This means (a) everyone wants to play with it even when there are better ways of doing the same thing and (b) at the moment it's seen as the reason for making the film, rather than a tool to enhance a film that would be good with or without it.

- Hey, LotR was huge! Why don't we do something with CGI?
- LotR wasn't successful just because of the CGI. It was an epic fantasy full of …
- We could make The Chronicles of Narnia - that was written by one of Tolkien's buds!
- Umm - isn't that story a little twee for kids nowadays?
- Nah - we can put in all these great CGI creatures.
- I don't know … who's going to be in it. Anybody who can act?
- It doesn't matter. It'll have CGI. Everyone loves CGI - look at Shrek!
- It won't have dreadful English child actors who wouldn't even get a part in their own school play, will it?
- Well, yes, but no-one will notice. They'll all be looking at the CGI - think of Harry Potter!
- I don't know. I suppose it could just about work if it has a decent script.
- Script?

last edited on July 14, 2011 12:03PM
ozoneocean at 1:20AM, Dec. 14, 2007
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subcultured
it doesn't. it's all a matter of opinion
Well the weight of opinion is against that notion ;)

Naw Sub. Most of us agree that not all CGI is bad, and it can be ok in a 3d cartoon movie by itself, although usually not as good as a good 2d animated film, but where it fails hardest is in live action films and TV where, for whatever reason, it's usually pretty poorly done.

There are lots of good examples of CGI working well in live action, but the bad examples overwhelm them, and quite often the puppet/pyrotechnic/costume/and model department would have done a better job ;)

Heh, for an extreme example; compare the joke-like CG additions to the original Starwars movies with what was there before… The musical scene in the bar (“Mos” something or other…)was probably the absolute worst part of that.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:29PM
Phantom Penguin at 2:18AM, Dec. 14, 2007
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I think it has to do with the huge amount of CGI films. All the really good companys are busy all the time so the little indie ones with not as much skill or money put into them get jobs they really shouldn't get.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:42PM
lastcall at 2:33AM, Dec. 14, 2007
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Steely Gaze
Secondly: There, as Hawk astutely pointed out, will always be room for the talented 3D artists. Pixar has done some unbelievable work, and I think that's because they don't try to be realistic with their art.

Amen. Especially from The Invincibles onward. They finally nailed their style down.

As much as I dislike 3D, though…I think the guys at Square Pictures do some amazing work. FFVII: Advent Children was really beautiful, and Animatrix: Final Flight of the Osiris was also cool.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:27PM
Custard Trout at 3:03AM, Dec. 14, 2007
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I'm going to parrot everybody else and say it depends on the film.

I get into arguments about CGI vs Traditional all the time, I'm usually on the side of Traditional, but I'll defend CGI as well. The problem is not that it's impossible to be inventive, but that people aren't. The other week I went to a screening of several short films made by students, and one of them was CGI, which I just discovered you can watch here, making the paragraph I wrote before finding it completely redundant, thus wasting several minutes. Oh well, I probably would've just wasted them anyway.

So there.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 11:59AM
lastcall at 3:42AM, Dec. 14, 2007
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thus wasting several minutes. Oh well, I probably would've just wasted them anyway.

Yeah, you could've wasted those minutes watching porn. What's wrong with you!?!? ;)
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:27PM
ozoneocean at 4:09AM, Dec. 14, 2007
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Minutes spent watching porn are never wasted :)
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:29PM
kingofsnake at 5:09AM, Dec. 14, 2007
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The thing is, good CG looks great, but bad or unnessecary CG looks terrible.

For example the new star wars trilogy. I honestly think CG for the robots was the way to go. CG for just about everything else, for the fucking landscapes!? that was just ridiculous.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:16PM
Ziffy88 at 9:27AM, Dec. 14, 2007
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Also in live action bad prosthetics can look really bad. Plus in Beowulf some of the scenes would have been impossible to do in live action because it would have looked crappier. They should have gone for a more stylized approach than a realistic look


For Star Wars you're going need CGI for the background. Sorry but shooting in a volcanoe or fictional cities of flying cars is not going to be possible.

Now is this movie has some controversies over the look. I personally love it. Though I can see the complaints. It does have an artificial look but I liked it
last edited on July 14, 2011 5:01PM
Ziffy88 at 9:37AM, Dec. 14, 2007
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comapre Sam and Max hit the road to Season 1 of Sam and Max



last edited on July 14, 2011 5:01PM
ozoneocean at 10:49AM, Dec. 14, 2007
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Meh, perhaps sometimes if you can't do something without CGI, then maybe you should do it at all? :)

That might sound extreme, but really, how many CGI enhanced scenes do films really need? Tone it down is what I say. Those new Starwars films had far, far, far too much of it.

And yeah, you can do amazingly complex BGs with models ;)
Not too long ago I know that British fighter plane training simulation was done using a system where there was a gigantic model set with a robotic camera that would act as the plane and navigate through the model environment in response to the simulator. It looked far more realistic than CGI simulators funilly enough…
Of course such a system has a lot of obvious technical limitations, which is why thy don't use it any longer ^_^

And as for CG scenes being set in stone after things are done and costing a lot to change according to the director's whim, well that's mostly true, but there's the fact that you can have multiple “cameras” and a lot more view points than in any live action sequence, so in that respect it's easy to to more changing.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:29PM
SarahN at 1:11PM, Dec. 14, 2007
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Ziffy88
Sam & Max clips.
I like the new Sam & Max games, but I actually wish they had tried an updated 2D instead still.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:23PM
kingofsnake at 1:44PM, Dec. 14, 2007
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Ziffy88
For Star Wars you're going need CGI for the background. Sorry but shooting in a volcanoe or fictional cities of flying cars is not going to be possible.


Yeah, it's amazing how they did it in the first trilogy without CGI

I'm not saying they couldn't use SOME CGI backgrounds to flesh out the whole “futuristic” aspect. But when they have a bunch of dudes walking through a forest or a field, and they build a whole CG forest and field instead of just going to a REAL forest or field, thats just ridicuolus.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:16PM
Ziffy88 at 5:02PM, Dec. 14, 2007
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I don't remember so many forests shots outside of the first one and a few in the second one. The trouble is that shooting them on set would have been just as hard. But as we all know it was really worth it. I'm not even a fan of the new trilogy, I'm just saying good for them for playing around with technology. Anyways yeah if they can't shoot in a forest after what they did in Return of the Jedi then yeah, that's just lazy. But Star Wars is silly.
Good uses of CGI on TV Battlestar Galatica. Compare the new series to the old series and you'll notice that it's a hell of a lot better. I personally think space battles started looking alot better now with CGI compared to using models.
Really simple mixture of different effects. Serenity (same effects studio that did BSG I believe)Building a mule prop and giving some hints that it is hovering. Then that falling through the atmosphere scene in the end.

I like the Sam and Max games and I do kind of wished they did do 2D a little. It does sacrifice a little of the emotion a bit. Still it was good and the fact they can churn out a bunch of episodes for a season it alright with me.
last edited on July 14, 2011 5:01PM
Ziffy88 at 5:03PM, Dec. 14, 2007
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I think the best example of should have stayed 2d was the monkey island series. Talk about a beautiful 2d look.
last edited on July 14, 2011 5:01PM
Ziffy88 at 5:12PM, Dec. 14, 2007
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but a really good game in 3d was Grim Fandango. Also another thing what about Stop Motion remember the Neverhood. man Animation can be great
last edited on July 14, 2011 5:01PM

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