View Full Version : CGI - Good or Bad?

17-08-2004, 12:55:55
I still remember watching Jurassic Park for the first time and being amazed at how well the CGI almost seamlessly blended into the real time action - I was hooked! Bring on them CGI movies...!

Now after watching a number of shoddy CGI movies like Val Helsing, Star Wars and dare I say it, the Spidermans, I am not so sure and find myself almost nostalgically yearning for the days before CGI.

Don't get me wrong, when CGI is done well it is awesome - such as LOTR for the most part.

But when done poorly, it just looks like cartoon crap a la Spiderman (I is far worse than II, so I guess that is an improvement!). Sure I know he is supposed to be a comic character but if you want cartoons why not stick to the likes of Who Framed Roger Rabbit...

I watched Return of the Jedi recently and its models and animatronics still hold up very favourably to the CGI versions, and I still love watching the old Harryhausen classics...

Is CGI being abused by lazy film-makers?


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17-08-2004, 13:28:12
The second Spider-Man CGI is about a million times better than the first one, I thought it was pretty good in II.

I think the problem is that CGI is cheaper.

17-08-2004, 14:03:53
Cost has little to do with it. You just can't do some of the things that people think up today with practical effects. Be it cost, physical danger, or the impossiblity of physics.

Is it being abused? Oh hell yes. Anytime you create a CGI background for a scene set inside a building *cough*Lucas*cough* you're going overboard. When used properly it's a godsend. And yes, I consider it's use in Spider-Man, proper. Without CGI, that movie would have either never been made, or looked as crappy as the old 70's TV show.

17-08-2004, 14:36:11
I prefer seeing puppets, miniatures and lighting effects to animated computer cartoons. No matter how good it is it still looks fake. Some of The Day After Tomorrow was breathtaking but it was still breathtaking computerised animation. It didn't look real. I think they have to learn to make things less grand, less perfect and try to encorporate blurring, a sense of distance etc. If you see a city scape in CGI you can see a perfectly framed, highly detailed and richly coloured picture but if you see a real photo of a city there are bits that are ugly, dark, blurrey, smoggy and colours fade in the distance.

I think they have nearly nailed things like water, spaceships and buildings but when you see animals and people it just doesn't look right.

17-08-2004, 22:11:36
People are remarkably hard to do in CG. Spaceships, buildings, and water are trivial.

Blurring is old tech. It was perfected back in the days of Dragon Slayer (a major point of its stop action puppetry). However, a lot of these films don't use blurring anymore because... "It don't look real" according to their MTV audiences. Too much video game influence.

It's easy to make a CG city look real. It just takes more time to design it with good parts and bad parts... modern architecture with some pre-war and post-war architecture scattered about. And frankly, many don't want to waste the time on that, when they could use it to be tweeking their CG women characters to have bigger nipples hinted at through her clothes.

17-08-2004, 22:29:21
bigger nipples are important

Jon Miller

Sir Penguin
17-08-2004, 22:41:03
Final Fantasy was a beautiful movie. I think CG can be done extremely well, but the hard part it blending it into a live-action movie.


20-08-2004, 13:25:31
LOTR & Jurassic Park used it in the right way I felt, ie where it had to be used to demonstrate something that wasn't available in the real world, but on the whole most films abuse it for 'spectacular' scenes every 30 seconds. I find it really dulling, like hardcore porn, you just become numb to it after a while :D
I saw Ghostbusters recently and I was really impressed by the 'realism' of Mr Staypuft walking round New York- that was great effects and it still looks impressive now.
Don't cross the streams!

Scabrous Birdseed
14-09-2004, 18:48:17
I think CGI is best used precisely to do "cartoon crap" - some of the best CG I've seen has been in films like Moulin Rouge, where they enhanced the fantastic aspect rather than try for realism.

14-09-2004, 18:56:27
An upcoming example of that would be Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. That movie is supposed to look hyperreal, yet comic booky. An effect that couldn't be achieved without CGI.

Lazarus and the Gimp
14-09-2004, 19:18:28
It'll be a long time before CGI matches the effect made by decent sets and lighting- like in the films of Derek Jarman and Peter Greenaway.

14-09-2004, 19:19:10
I saw some " CG women characters" at the Hamburg meeting but I didn't see their nipples. I should have asked

14-09-2004, 20:50:55
Your mistake. CGI nipples rule.