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Why does CGI suck so badly?
Hawk at 8:49PM, Dec. 14, 2007
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Man, I'm surprised at the huge amount of blanket statements going on here. Some of you have a good, educated perspective on CGI, but others probably just watched Hoodwinked or Jar Jar Binks and think it represents the entire industry.

CGI done well can look just as good or better than most puppets and blue-screen tricks. It's the “doing it well” part that makes the difference. All special effects have a budget and you can skimp on a puppet or costume just like you can skimp on CGI. You've all seen crappy animatronic puppets in movies, but they're not as fresh in your mind as the wamp-rats on Tatooine that George Lucas went out of his way to throw in your face.

CGI isn't bad. It's just used poorly or inappropriately by some filmmakers. Sorry guys, I really do like 2D a lot, I just needed to clear these issues up.

IRONY TIME: Tarzan was used as an example of 2D animation trumping 3D, but most of Tarzan's backgrounds were CGI.

SarahN
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.

Don't ever assume that making CGI isn't work. You don't just push a button on a computer and go get a coffee.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:46PM
Ziffy88 at 10:17PM, Dec. 14, 2007
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Imagine Gollum being live action…wouldn't have been the same. Seeing little puppets attacking Frodo and gnawing off his finger
last edited on July 14, 2011 5:01PM
SarahN at 12:52AM, Dec. 15, 2007
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Hawk
SarahN
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.

Don't ever assume that making CGI isn't work. You don't just push a button on a computer and go get a coffee.

Alright. Lazy was the wrong word.
When I said lazy I ment as in not even going to try something different when it comes to effects.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:23PM
lastcall at 5:13AM, Dec. 15, 2007
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There's crappy 2D animation, too. ….Like this fine example:



huh!?

last edited on July 14, 2011 1:27PM
isukun at 6:54AM, Dec. 15, 2007
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Don't ever assume that making CGI isn't work. You don't just push a button on a computer and go get a coffee.

Creating CGI for moviesdoes involve some level of work, but generally it is less work than using more classic methods of special effects creation. It doesn't take as much time to make a 3D model on the computer as it does to create a real miniature, model, armature, or puppet and then film/animate them. Case in point: look at the animation for the tower collapsing the the end of the Lord of the Rings. The model and animation for that sequence were created entirely by one man in a weekend. Now that isn't a particularly easy shot to create in CGI, but I'd be willing to bet if they had used models, it would have taken longer and required more manpower and resources.

Now, I wouldn't argue that CGI makes Hollywood lazy, but it definitely is easier and cheaper for them, even when done well. Plus, things like motion capture make CGI even easier. I can't help but think that some movies would benefit from actually having animators move the models instead of actors.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:04PM
Hawk at 12:05PM, Dec. 15, 2007
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isukun
Creating CGI for moviesdoes involve some level of work, but generally it is less work than using more classic methods of special effects creation. It doesn't take as much time to make a 3D model on the computer as it does to create a real miniature, model, armature, or puppet and then film/animate them. Case in point: look at the animation for the tower collapsing the the end of the Lord of the Rings. The model and animation for that sequence were created entirely by one man in a weekend. Now that isn't a particularly easy shot to create in CGI, but I'd be willing to bet if they had used models, it would have taken longer and required more manpower and resources.

You're right, CGI is less expensive than its alternatives, and that's one the things that makes it lucrative to filmmakers. Also prominent is the fact that there was initially a “Wow” factor to CGI when it first hit, but we've all grown accustomed to it.

CGI, just like models, has varying degrees of difficulty to create. Believe it or not, there are some types of shots you'd be stupid to try in CGI when it would be cheaper and easier to do with live-action special effects–shots involving water, for instance. Many of the shots of water you see in The Incredibles were real water faked into a CGI scene.

isukun
Now, I wouldn't argue that CGI makes Hollywood lazy, but it definitely is easier and cheaper for them, even when done well. Plus, things like motion capture make CGI even easier. I can't help but think that some movies would benefit from actually having animators move the models instead of actors.

I agree with that. Polar Express especially. And I remember while watching Monster House how it was actually a bit distracting to see certain motion-capture sequences. A good studio will just use video footage of actors for reference like Disney commonly did, or use motion capture to get general movement and timeing, then edit it to exaggerate the right parts.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:46PM
lastcall at 4:38AM, Dec. 16, 2007
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Awww, no one commented on my fine example of 2D animation…I worked hard to bring you that “fine example”…..lol!
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:27PM
ozoneocean at 4:58AM, Dec. 16, 2007
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Ziffy88
Imagine Gollum being live action…wouldn't have been the same. Seeing little puppets attacking Frodo and gnawing off his finger
Who says you'd have needed a puppet?

Lastcall, yup that was crappy. But at leat they got the sound synced :)
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:29PM
subcultured at 8:05AM, Dec. 16, 2007
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cgi is still young…just like any new film process (colored films) people focus on the process rather than the whole of the movie.
J
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:03PM
ozoneocean at 8:44AM, Dec. 16, 2007
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subcultured
cgi is still young…just like any new film process (colored films) people focus on the process rather than the whole of the movie.
More like it's young so it's not always implemented as well as it could be :)
Like the early talkies. Hey, even the early coloured films handled the colour badly… watch a few ;)
ugh! Even years after the process was mastered people STILL fluffed it, the 70's produced a whole raft of terribly coloured film. Must have been new techniques tried or just a massive batch of crap film stock.

But you CGI fans shouldn't take the failure too much to heart, a lot of attempts to mix 2D animation into live action failed horribly due to poor implementation, and even stop motion had its clunky moments. Ray Harryhausen was better at some things than others.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:29PM
subcultured at 11:59AM, Dec. 16, 2007
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i hate to see traditional animation go away in movies.
it would seem weird if lady and the tramp was in 3d
J
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:03PM
Hawk at 12:18PM, Dec. 16, 2007
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ozoneocean
But you CGI fans shouldn't take the failure too much to heart, a lot of attempts to mix 2D animation into live action failed horribly due to poor implementation, and even stop motion had its clunky moments. Ray Harryhausen was better at some things than others.

You get points for saying "failed horribly“ instead of ”failed miserably".

When you mentioned 2D and live-action mixed, it made me remember Who Framed Roger Rabbit. It's funny how you go back and watch things you saw as a kid and realize how cheap they were… but Roger Rabbit is STILL a masterpiece. Years later, I'm still floored by some of the details they were able to pull off. I'd love to see 2D and live-action mixed more, if they did it THAT well.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:46PM
ozoneocean at 12:28PM, Dec. 16, 2007
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Heh, for every Roger Rabbit there was atleast one or two Cool Worlds…
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:29PM
kingofsnake at 12:53PM, Dec. 16, 2007
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2d/live action mix is one of the things they're probably so much better at now thanks to CGI. I remember watching an interview with the phyisical special effects team that worked on jurrasic park, and they talked alot about how they had to get fences to burst apart as if a dinosaur was running through it, or things to get knocked over on their own. Plus with the inception of CGI more and more actors are getting better at acting against something thats going to be added to the film later.

Speaking of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, am I the only one who was totally stoked to see Bob Hoskins getting more roles in higher profile movies lately?
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:16PM
7384395948urhfdjfrueruieieueue at 1:53PM, Dec. 16, 2007
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ozoneocean
ugh! Even years after the process was mastered people STILL fluffed it
Nanny McPhee.
i will also like to know you the more
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:05AM
TH89 at 1:11PM, Dec. 19, 2007
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Hawk
When you mentioned 2D and live-action mixed, it made me remember Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

Made me remember Space Jam. Yechh. I am such a whippersnapper.

I've been doing CG for 6 or 7 years and I'm going with context being important. I thought Finding Nemo looked great, I thought Lord of the Rings looked great (for the most part). I thought New Star Wars went way over the line as far as good taste is concerned. I'd love to have seen puppets and models brought back for Star Wars.

The first Jurassic Park has aged incredibly well, and strikes me as a great example of how to blend live action, puppets, and CGI. I'd like to see more of that.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:13PM
ozoneocean at 1:20PM, Dec. 19, 2007
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TH89
Hawk
When you mentioned 2D and live-action mixed, it made me remember Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

Made me remember Space Jam. Yechh. I am such a whippersnapper.

I've been doing CG for 6 or 7 years and I'm going with context being important. I thought Finding Nemo looked great, I thought Lord of the Rings looked great (for the most part). I thought New Star Wars went way over the line as far as good taste is concerned. I'd love to have seen puppets and models brought back for Star Wars.

The first Jurassic Park has aged incredibly well, and strikes me as a great example of how to blend live action, puppets, and CGI. I'd like to see more of that.
For the most part I agree with you there, except for Jurassic park: even at the time I thought that looked disappointingly fake… They may as well have used jerky animatronics for the whole thing, that blurry animation wasn't even convincing for me back then; so much so that it took me out of the experience at times and I was left thinking ; “yeah, enough fake T-rex, lets get back to Jeff Goldblum” lol!
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:29PM
Custard Trout at 1:33PM, Dec. 19, 2007
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Interesting fact: Jurrasic Park had less than six seconds of CGI animation.
Hey buddy, you should be a Russian Cosmonaut, and here's why.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:59AM
TH89 at 1:57PM, Dec. 19, 2007
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Seriously? Damn.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:13PM
ozoneocean at 2:29PM, Dec. 19, 2007
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Interesting fact: it all sucked arse.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:29PM
TH89 at 3:03PM, Dec. 19, 2007
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Interesting fact: you're a meanie
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:13PM
ozoneocean at 3:47PM, Dec. 19, 2007
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Interesting fact: you know I'm right :)
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:29PM
isukun at 8:30PM, Dec. 19, 2007
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Interesting fact: Jurrasic Park had less than six seconds of CGI animation.

That is pretty interesting, especially since it isn't true. For instance, watch this scene. In the shot where the T. Rex steps out of the containment area, the T. Rex is full CGI animation. That shot alone contains six seconds of CGI animation. Then you have a shot with another five seconds where the T. Rex passes in front of the second car. Another four seconds where it walks up to the first car. The shot where the T. Rex nudges the car causing it to flip is another five seconds of CGI. The shot with the T. Rex biting the underside of the car and tires is another eight seconds of CGI. Another four for it chasing the first flare. Another eight chasing Ian. Three looking at the lawyer, four eating him. One second pushing the car. All told 48 seconds of CGI animation in that scene and that isn't even one of the more CGI intensive scenes involving the dinosaurs.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:04PM
Ziffy88 at 9:17PM, Dec. 19, 2007
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this stuff was awesome when you are a kid. The special effects were amazing and I think they still are. It's a nice combination of animation and puppets.

It could have been


interesting note…

I'll admit it, it was a fun stupid movie. Best seen with friends and booze and lots of junk food. The second one ripped off aliens to the letter and was actually a better movie for it. The third one ripped off aliens again and lost some of it's “charm” very loose definition of the word. Only for those who loves bad movies, like Siskel apparently.
last edited on July 14, 2011 5:01PM
isukun at 9:23PM, Dec. 19, 2007
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I think you mean Ebert. He's the one that gave the thumbs up to Tomb Raider. Siskel doesn't do a lot of reviewing anymore on account of he's dead.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:04PM
Ziffy88 at 9:34PM, Dec. 19, 2007
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yeah they both have given some odd movies thumbs up I know Siskel is dead way to be tacky(looks who's talking I vomited on a grave)
last edited on July 14, 2011 5:01PM
glenfx at 3:10PM, Dec. 31, 2007
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Someone
Creating CGI for moviesdoes involve some level of work, but generally it is less work than using more classic methods of special effects creation. It doesn't take as much time to make a 3D model on the computer as it does to create a real miniature, model, armature, or puppet and then film/animate them. Case in point: look at the animation for the tower collapsing the the end of the Lord of the Rings. The model and animation for that sequence were created entirely by one man in a weekend. Now that isn't a particularly easy shot to create in CGI, but I'd be willing to bet if they had used models, it would have taken longer and required more manpower and resources.

Now, I wouldn't argue that CGI makes Hollywood lazy, but it definitely is easier and cheaper for them, even when done well. Plus, things like motion capture make CGI even easier. I can't help but think that some movies would benefit from actually having animators move the models instead of actors.

NO, 3D isn’t a walk in the park, its time consuming as well as is a miniature model, while sometimes its easyer to build a miniature than a 3D model. In the LOTR (as in most cases) you cant control how a building is going to colapse, if it fails they have to do the models again, if it fails again, they have to make another one… while in 3D you have huge control over the effect, if you dont like something you adjust the settings and do a new simulation. Its not about lazyness, its about better use of resources.

For the people who thinks 3D characters are so easy to build, well, to build a character for animation you have to spend lots of time getting the model right, then create the UV maps, then paint each texture, then build the proper shader for each texture, then model each morph (mouth, eyes, other deformations), then you have to rigg, adjust weights and create each control for the animator (and im not saying many other things added to it like furr, hair, cloth, etc), then needs to be animated, then lighted then rendered and composed.
a prop model/scene goes trough a similar procedure.

It's easy to rant and rave about things you don’t really know about.

As for the original poster, where do you see bad cgi??? you ranted about it but didn’t give any examples of what you found to be bad, actually cg has improved dramatically over the years.. SO ill give you good examples of great cgi.

(Oh by the way, for the one making the comparison of toy story to Tarzan, well, toy story was the very first 3D animated movie, yet its still very high quality to this day, and Tarzan wasn’t 100% hand drawn you know, all the action scenes in the jungle couldn’t be done in 2D, so they had to make them in 3D ;) )

300, Pirates of the Caribbean threelogy, golden compass, avp2, tmnt, final fantasy 7, transformers, everything pixar, underworld, futurama, spyderman threelogy, meet the Robinsons, apleseed, treasure planet, etc.

Now, a bad movie will be bad no matter how good the cgi or 2D art might be, but you cant say the cgi was bad because the movie was bad or because you didn’t like the movie.


If we are going to praise 2D movies because its hand drawn and we have a misinformed tendency to feel bad for them, then i can say there are really bad movies done in 2D as well. A resent example would be Highlander the animated movie, or ghost in the shell 2, you can watch little mermaid or beauty and the beast and see how the characters look different on each scene (that’s really bad), the new transformers series is really badly animated (every transformation is just a blur or a one frame transformation), the movie of lady death was very badly animated, and many others i dont have time to name.

I want to finish my long post with a great reference of great use of all 3 media put together in one film (2D, 3D and miniature models) and is the movie Wonderfull Days, I personally think that movie is a masterpiece.

In the end either 2D cells, 2D cg, 3D, maquettes and stop motion, they are all tools and ranting against each is just pointless and stupid.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:37PM
ozoneocean at 5:46PM, Dec. 31, 2007
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Yeah, I know how to make 3D models, the weight-maps, the hair, all that… It's not that hard at all, it's just like any other project you have to work on. And with 3D programs it gets easier and easier because people develop simple tools to do a lot of the stuff and give you short cuts constantly!
Ever easier :)

Now, being easy doesn't make something bad or worse. No, no, no, no! That'd be stupid. Being easy just makes it more attractive to use.

As for examples of bad CGI… I don't think you need any. Most movies and TV shows made in the last 17 years? I can pick some at random for you… Jurassic Park, Terminator 2, the Mummy, Lawnmower Man, the Starwars movies (the redone originals and the new ones), The Lord of The Rings, Anaconda, in TV there was Babylon 5, Star treck Voyager, the later and the re-done Red Dwarf episodes, the new series of Doctor Who. Whatever. I don't watch a lot of flashy FX movies any more anyway :P

I don't say that models, puppets, make-up, pyrotechnics, prosthetics, and animatronics would have been better substitutes, but in most cases it usually helps when they're used in combination with CGI, and the CGI isn't stretched beyond what it can depict convincingly.

Jebus, all the older methods can be used horribly as well, I don't think anyone would argue that, but CGI is rapidly becoming the new “man in the rubber mask”, if you know what I mean?
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:29PM
isukun at 8:13PM, Dec. 31, 2007
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It's easy to rant and rave about things you don�t really know about.

It's also easy to rant and rave abou tthings I DO know about. I already have a BA in Animation and I'm almost finished with my Masters. So yes, I have been working on 3D character animation and set design with both Maya and 3D Studio Max for over four years now. I know what goes into it.

Oh by the way, for the one making the comparison of toy story to Tarzan, well, toy story was the very first 3D animated movie, yet its still very high quality to this day, and Tarzan wasn�t 100% hand drawn you know, all the action scenes in the jungle couldn�t be done in 2D, so they had to make them in 3D

Toy Story may have been the first feature length fully 3D animated film, but it's not like CGI was new at the time. Hollywood was already using it pretty extensively at the time and it had already worked it's way into television with shows like Reboot. As for Tarzan, CG was used to a degree in the set design. Disney developed the Deep Paint software to combine simple 3D shapes with a 2D paint program to give 3D objects a 2D asthetic. This was used primarily for backgrounds and sets, though. The character animation was all entirely 2D still.

300, Pirates of the Caribbean threelogy, golden compass, avp2, tmnt, final fantasy 7, transformers, everything pixar, underworld, futurama, spyderman threelogy, meet the Robinsons, apleseed, treasure planet, etc.

Apart from the Pixar films, I find that the vast majority of fully 3D animated movies use the same book of shortcuts when it comes to animation. I find their approach to be less favorable to 2D animation because it doesn't look fluid. You get lots of quick and stiff movements, less squash and stretch, and they frequently drop the anticipation from animation. I find this particularly true in aything made by Sqauresoft as well as most Disney 3d animation, all Japanese 3D animation, as well as a few other Western studios as well (Blue Sky definitely comes to mind). TMNT wasn't that well animated, either.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:04PM
glenfx at 6:17PM, Jan. 1, 2008
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So every single movie from the last 17 years is bad? ^^.

Jurassic Park and Terminator 2 which i think are really great movies and the effects where amazingly well done.
BOTH had their share of animatronics and traditional effects 9_9

(star trek and babylon both suck, but you have to consider the time they have to do each episode, yet each has a small amount of cg and lots of traditional effects)

What is your expectation for cgi anyway??, maybe if you lower your expectations a LOT then you’ll start enjoying movies for what they are.

If you just dont like cg, go see Bloodrayne, i think youll start loving cg after that lol.

Someone
Toy Story may have been the first feature length fully 3D animated film, but it's not like CGI was new at the time. Hollywood was already using it pretty extensively at the time and it had already worked it's way into television with shows like Reboot.
didn’t say it was the first 3d ever, but (if you really know about 3D) you should know that the requirements for feature film are way much higher than what is needed for tv, so you cant do a comparison of toy story with something like reboot.
And the cg used in films where merelly seconds long, so cant compare those to toy story either.

Someone
Disney developed the Deep Paint software to combine simple 3D shapes with a 2D paint program to give 3D objects a 2D asthetic. This was used primarily for backgrounds and sets, though. The character animation was all entirely 2D still.
exactly what I said, it wasn’t 100% 2D ;) (just in case, animation is not only cut down to characters)

Someone
Apart from the Pixar films, I find that the vast majority of fully 3D animated movies use the same book of shortcuts when it comes to animation. I find their approach to be less favorable to 2D animation because it doesn't look fluid. You get lots of quick and stiff movements, less squash and stretch, and they frequently drop the anticipation from animation. I find this particularly true in aything made by Sqauresoft as well as most Disney 3d animation, all Japanese 3D animation, as well as a few other Western studios as well (Blue Sky definitely comes to mind). TMNT wasn't that well animated, either.

So, lets say Pirates of the Caribbean would be better if the other characters where hand drawn and had lots of stretch and squash… cool, the era of the roger rabbit wannabees.



TMNT wasn’t a masterpiece, but it was well animated and was a huge leap from the 2D animated series and in my oppinion its way wetter in 3D than in 2D or even the real life movies.
I believe we are just asking for far too much while we don’t have what it takes to create something slightly close to what its been done by others and end up ranting about it as if we could do it better, or since we know we cant achieve it then we disregard it.

Its fayr to argue or comment on something when its trully bad like the latest superman movie, but it wasnt cg's fault, it was the writer's and director's fault.

I for once, have done 2D and 3D animation and was a lead character modeler in a local feature production and have 8 years of experience (also use maya), yet I know my limits and know the tough work it takes to make a film, so I see something like TMNT and know it was well done, i actually enjoy the films without thinking about the procedures or how they did or should have done something (is way more enjoyable).
I hope isukun that since you’re in your master class that, you show you are far better than everyone else and back up your words with your work, not with your degree, degrees in this media worth nothing if you dont have a good portfolio or demo reel to back it up.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:37PM

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