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Old 08-06-2015, 06:27 AM   #41
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I personally don't like CGI as much as practical for anything but touch-ups, because on some level, your eye always screams at your brain "That's Not Existing in a 3-Dimensional Space" once you're using it on something big, something that has weight and depth and girth to it. I do get the, "It's movies, it's all fake anyways" point, but I don't agree, as some things are, shall we say, "Less Fake" than others. As good as the Hulk model for the Avengers flicks has gotten... it still ain't doin' it for me. He's still too "Light" and "Bouncy". I use Hulk as an example because that's a perfect example of how you just can't put an all-CGI character front-and-center in a movie and not have a serious disconnect between Eye and Brain, and how they've tried a lot of approaches to just that one character with some pretty varied and often disastrous results.

Then you get sh*t like the "dinosaur stampede" in Jackson's King Kong... what the f*ck was THAT sh*t?! It looked like a bunch of dinosaur-shaped parade balloons crashing into each other. I was just getting into the movie and then for the next 5 minutes I couldn't believe the bullsh*t my eyes were being forced to ignore. Just Awful.

Those are obviously Bad Examples, or rather, Examples of Blatantly Bad CGI, but for me, even when it's "good", like the Hobbit flicks... it's still pretty bad, just by virtue of being everywhere. I mean, I like pretty much every super-hero movie... they all still look halfway like sh*t, because when they cut to CGI FX you can instantly tell, and even if it doesn't bother you, as you're watching it it's like listening to a vinyl record and suddenly there's a tiny pop or hiss, just audible enough to take you out of the moment right when you were getting into it, and once you know it's there, you can't NOT hear it ever again. You can make it look Great but it never really looks "Real". And I'm convinced it's because it's just way overused anymore, especially in places it may not be fully necessary, to the point where it stands out when it shouldn't.

I mean, I know it's work. And it's a tool, it can be used for Good or Evil. I still think the best mix for Truly Great SFX is to do as much as humanly possible in the camera with practical effects, and then use CGI to wipe out errors, make other things "pop", and take care of all the things you simply can't do practically. That's how it started and where it should have stayed. Computer effects used to be the seasoning; now they're trying to push it like it's the whole damn steak and it just don't taste right, ya dig?
Dude......

The Hobbit movies are not the best of VFX, not by a mile. Best is a strange term to use as well. Best is preferential, and in many ways hard to validate. The Hobbit Trilogy isn't "the best"; however, it is high a profile film, with tons VFX in it. It also has tons of practical elements.

The Hobbit films, are not considered the best in terms of believability, but more due to the sheer volume of high quality work, while still breaking new ground in areas of technical achievement. They spend a ton of money on improving VFX, much like ILM or The Mill, but at the end of the day, it's still a business, and they only have so long to create. much of the time, the question isn't "can we make this perfect", but rather, what can we get away with, and still be good.

As someone pointed out, art is as much about what you see, as what you don't see, what the artists chooses to include in their work, and what they choose to forgo.

I'm sure you've seen the new Planet of the Apes films. Some pretty remarkable CG, to be sure - but it's not perfect. Real apes would definitely look better.

Weta (mostly)


The Mill


Real Chimps on an Island (A testament to human cruelty, but still...)


Clearly, the Chimps, being actual Chimps, look the most, like Chimps. You can immediately discern the real from the fake, in a side by side, and it still has a distance to go before it's perfect...or does it? Some shots are better than others - largely due to different effects house handling different shots, due to time and cost, and not sharing assets (the latter happening more than you'd think.)

But the question is, what do we want to se in POTA? Do we want 100% Chimp reality? should we get rid of the CG and simply prod and poke some poor Chimp to dance and act for our amusement? Dance monkey dance?

And what about mixing CG and Live action?



It wasn't any more impressive in the end.

I'll agree with you, that the tool can be abused, but what you're ACTUALLY commenting on, is the skill of the artists using that tool, and the amount of time and money spent. You're commenting on the team that created the moment, and all teams have their weak link(s).

Most people don't get, that within VFX, there are many many people who can sh1t the bed. The plates may be shot poorly. The character designer doesn't understand anatomy. The lighter can make a good model look like garbage, so can the texture artist. The render engine used makes a massive difference, as does the density of the model. The rigger can screw the animator, the animator can mis interpret the boards. Mocap can be a mess, the compositor can badly compositite, and the colorist can destroy it all.

That's a massive oversimplification of the moving parts, but you get the idea. The misconception is that it takes months to create the visual effects - lol - not true - it takes months to get the machine, all of those people who don't really know one another, to spit out something the Director is happy with, or worse, get the studio to sign off on.

It's factory work, where the blueprint is constantly changing, and even if you set out to make a chair, you ended up with a bird house, and no one knows why.

Oh, and the Dino Stamped? Yeah, it looked terrible - thank god that was 10 years ago. I am curious though; do you think they went digital because getting actual dinosaurs to stamped around a cliff was too expensive?

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Old 08-06-2015, 08:29 AM   #42
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To me seeing a CGI character is no different to seeing an animatronic, stop motion or some sort of hybrid. My brain knows that it's an effect. The type, for the most part (unless it's REALLY poorly done), doesn't matter much to me, as much as HOW WELL it's done.

There will ALWAYS be a part of 'that really doesn't exist in real life', no matter how whatever it is created. There's more to it than just the disconnect between your eye and brain. It's whether they can make you forget about it. That's the movie magic. I don't get pulled out of JP when they switch from Animatronic to CGI because of how well it's done. The Apatasaurus in JW.. a little more jarring. Simply because of quality.
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Old 08-06-2015, 09:11 AM   #43
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To me seeing a CGI character is no different to seeing an animatronic, stop motion or some sort of hybrid. My brain knows that it's an effect. The type, for the most part (unless it's REALLY poorly done), doesn't matter much to me, as much as HOW WELL it's done.

There will ALWAYS be a part of 'that really doesn't exist in real life', no matter how whatever it is created. There's more to it than just the disconnect between your eye and brain. It's whether they can make you forget about it. That's the movie magic. I don't get pulled out of JP when they switch from Animatronic to CGI because of how well it's done. The Apatasaurus in JW.. a little more jarring. Simply because of quality.
THIS is absolutely true. I find myself often looking for the seams during a film.

On the flip side, a friend of mine once remarked - "I've been staring at (CG) skin for so long, real people are starting to look fake."

Then again, even when it's real - the mind has a hard time with things that are unusual. I'd like to think we can tell the difference between real an imagined with ease...but sometimes...





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Old 08-06-2015, 06:00 PM   #44
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Believe me, I get it. Here's the thing: "Just do it all with computers" should never have become the Default. It's lazy. But because people, in general, ARE lazy, that's how it all evolved. "Why build a set? Just push a few buttons. Why sew costumes? Just push a few buttons." I get it, those buttons can be pushed in bad ways or by stupid people. That's still only PART of the problem. The problem is, doing it "The Easy Way" instead of "The RIGHT Way" should never be the standard. "How do we make this look as good as we possibly can?" should be the only question they ask. NOT, "How do we make this look as good as we possibly can... without having to actually build anything, because that's hard and time-consuming, yo?"

A mix of practical and CGI is always going to look 100x better than just CGI Everywhere, as current tastes and standards dictate. But nobody wants to do the work, and why should they? Not that CGI isn't work, it is, but... compared to physically designing and making costumes and building sets? I'unno. I know sets and models looks a lot better and more realistic than green screen. I know actual costumes looks a lot better than just painting an actor in a mo-cap suit with a CGI suit of armor or whatever. I know things that Exist in a 3D space always look better than things that Do Not, no matter how shiny or how detailed.

It's over-used. Even good CGI is Bad CGI when it's everywhere for no reason other than "Eh." "We could give this guy a costume to wear... or we can just do it in paint." F*ck that. Nobody's gonna justify that to me, not in this lifetime, sorry. It has a place in making movies; I think that place is a lot smaller than the place it currently occupies.

And I'd never call the Hobbit flicks "the best CGI", I just used them as an example of Good CGI b/c every second of footage is green screen but people are still generally okay with the quality of it. Personally I'd never call it "the best CGI" on account of how it's all over every frame. Pretty stuff? Sure. Still gives me a goddamn headache. Overkill is overkill, any way you slice it. And the amount of CGI in movies nowadays isn't just overkill, it's not even remotely necessary.

I've also never, EVER been "blown away" or "had my mind blown" by any CGI effects, not the way I have been by the stuff people came up with back in the 80s, when pushing buttons wasn't an option. People MADE things then. It was a CRAFT, done with care, a specialty skill that most people couldn't do. To me, THAT kind of thing is "mind-blowing", someone doing the kind of stuff the Henson shop did for so many years. That's the kind of stuff that makes me go "Woah, how'd they DO that?!" I'm still impressed when I look at lots of that old stuff. The sheer scope and amount of work it took to make the impossible into something at least plausibly realistic, from nothing. Now they push buttons and paint a picture. I'unno man.

Clearly some people's mileage is going to vary, and that's whatever. I'm not wrong in general though; CGI IS used more than is necessary and thus a lot of it looks sh*tty by default. It's fine when it's there to embellish, clean up, or exaggerate. It has a place. And in some movies like Speed Racer, then yes, you absolutely need to go full overkill on CGI because that's the only way you can or should even attempt that type of movie. But not every movie should use it to that degree, because it doesn't generally look very convincing or good when you do it that way.

Meh. Just meh.
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Old 08-06-2015, 06:36 PM   #45
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Believe me, I get it. Here's the thing: "Just do it all with computers" should never have become the Default. It's lazy. But because people, in general, ARE lazy, that's how it all evolved. "Why build a set? Just push a few buttons. Why sew costumes? Just push a few buttons." I get it, those buttons can be pushed in bad ways or by stupid people. That's still only PART of the problem. The problem is, doing it "The Easy Way" instead of "The RIGHT Way" should never be the standard. "How do we make this look as good as we possibly can?" should be the only question they ask. NOT, "How do we make this look as good as we possibly can... without having to actually build anything, because that's hard and time-consuming, yo?"
DUDE!!!!

You need to stop man. You're becoming offensive. It's not just pushing some buttons man. I get that you don't understand, but you're making some really silly assumptions.And yes, everything you've just said underlines, in triplicate, how very little you know.

The computer isn't doing anything for you - it's the reverse.

Want to see how most digital creatures start today?


Just like practical effects, it starts with a simple shape - and goes from there. the digital approximation of a lump of clay.


Think of it like this - I want a sock puppet in the shot. I pull the damned sock off of my foot, draw two eyes, stick it on my hand, roll camera. Presto - sock puppet for 2.99, plus the cost of a sharpie.

To do the same digitally, is infinitely harder. It takes a ton of work just to get close to matching what you get for free from a physical object shot on the day.

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...The sheer scope and amount of work it took to make the impossible into something at least plausibly realistic, from nothing. Now they push buttons and paint a picture. I'unno man.
At this point, I can only assume, you're doing your schtick.
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Old 08-06-2015, 06:46 PM   #46
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Well, you would know better as a professional so I'll defer. Generally speaking, my preference isn't going to ever be towards an aesthetic that's predominantly computer effects. My eyes don't like it. Wasn't trying to disrespect your job or you as a professional. Movies with an abundance of digital effects are not my taste. That's not your, my, or anyone's fault. I'll try and be more polite in expressing it.
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Old 08-06-2015, 08:25 PM   #47
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I will give you that some may use it where it's not needed, I assume often out of trying to be more impressive than what they think they can get with something "real"... Falling tower? Yes. Safer than doing risky real explosions and whatnot? Sure. CGI robo Shredder...? No, and just why. Costume Shredder probably would have saved time actually.

Ultimately this is the choices of the director, producer or whoever, and not an evil on the studios and individuals producing CGI.

But the amount of work that is put into creating everything that's made in 3D, I'm sure it's a boon for the carpel tunnel treatment industry. I'm just a small fry and not as good with it as I wish I was, but even then it wears on the hands... I can't imagine how it does on those who do this stuff for big film and whatnot, esp those working in a massive amount of realism.
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Old 08-06-2015, 08:27 PM   #48
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Well, you would know better as a professional so I'll defer. Generally speaking, my preference isn't going to ever be towards an aesthetic that's predominantly computer effects. My eyes don't like it. Wasn't trying to disrespect your job or you as a professional. Movies with an abundance of digital effects are not my taste. That's not your, my, or anyone's fault. I'll try and be more polite in expressing it.
All I'm trying to get across, is that the misconception is that it's easy. The hardest thing to do in CG, is to make any digital asset look real, period. When you manage to accomplish this, you've done your job properly, but now, no one knows you ever even did your job. So, when people talk about CG they overlook the great work, and focus on the lesser work, which because you notice it, becomes the defining example of all the work.

What I'm saying is, no one likes the look of CG, including me, especially when you can tell it's CG. That's fair, and I agree, but you shouldn't assume it was because people were lazy. Instead, know that the client was cheap, indecisive, or poorly organized. Know that they probably awarded the job to the lowest bidder, who in turn didn't have the level of expertise to deliver. CG artists aren't really lazy - Hard to be lazy working 23 hr days.

Often times, the reason it sucks, has more to do with the money budgeted to the studio, and the BS politics of film, than the ability of the artist(s) involved.

This is why it's frustrating. I appreciate the sentiment, but an artist is still an artist, and the studios are still a$$holes.

As an aside, Rick Baker also works digitally. He's very talented, but even his best digital work isn't as good as his physical sculptures.

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Old 08-06-2015, 11:33 PM   #49
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The problem with a lot of people against cgi is once again their cynicism towards modern day movies. I've seen it so much...so-and-so looks fake, it's a cgi fest, practical always looks better etc...

Seriously if you take a good look at older movies from the 80s and 90s, those praised for effects, a lot of the practical stuff comes off just as fake. You can tell when a puppet or trick was used. People just consider it better because it was a different time and associate it as having more "care" put into it.

Now, as an adult, when I watch some of my old favorites I look at the monsters or whatever I can basically determine how they did it. Nothing wrong with this as long as it looks good but its the same difference as knowing stuff is cgi.

Creating a good cgi shot must be just as difficult to produce if not harder since it has to literally be animated to fit the environment (lighting, shadow, debris, etc..) Every little detail that comes with one shot.

Of course some movies have better cgi than others but the same is true about practical effects. Plus I have a feeling nowadays people purposely focus on what's cgi instead of the overall scenes/movie on screen which is not fair. Do that with older movies and the fake practical stuff becomes more apparent too.
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Old 08-07-2015, 12:35 AM   #50
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Stop trying to make the same (wrong) point all the time.

People consider it better because it's actually there, it's real, it's in the 3rd dimension, can be touched, interacted with live, etc. When a prop is done well, it's infinitely more believable because of that. You don't have to worry about the laws of physics being bent to the will of a computer animated character, you don't have to worry about conflicting light sources, moisture looking metallic, etc because the final product is often bound to reality's rules. For many people, suspension of disbelief is hard to attain knowing that actors X & Y were talking to paper plates on broom handles. It's not about whether or not a thing looks man made, it's about how convincing it is that the thing is actually there with the actors.

People don't just rally against modern cinema because of nostalgia...

TMNT 1990's turtles are far more real than TMNT 2014's, for example, because they literally ARE real.

I'm not knocking CGI, just Wildcat's ignorance.
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Old 08-07-2015, 12:43 AM   #51
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So according to that practical effects are better just because they physically exist? Guess I can go make my own animatronic and no matter how crappy it turns out it's better automatically because...look I can touch it.

This is actually another thing I've thought of. No matter how good CGI gets there will always be people that think practical is better just because it was "made". Which is pretty stupid. That logic right there is just nostalgia.
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Old 08-07-2015, 12:50 AM   #52
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Try to read the whole post before replying.

"When a prop is done well, it's infinitely more believable because of that."

Don't be a wad. Obviously modern CGI is going to be superior to the work of a novice, but by that same token, an expert prop shop would kick the ass of the guys who do the kinda movies you'd see on The SyFy channel. A skilled veteran of Henson's creature shop could give an ILM animator a run for their money any day of the week. I didn't say it IS better, either, I just gave the reasoning why some do. Or rather, why they prefer it to CGI, at least with respect to characters. Because it's real, & that gives it a leg up.

Preferring a prop to a model because of it's physicality has 0000.0% to do with nostalgia.
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Old 08-07-2015, 01:00 AM   #53
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And I never said CGI was better than practical. Shortened, I said...both cgi and practical can come off fake but a lot of people harshly judge cgi just because it's cgi.

I'm not going to be biased and defend even my most favorite movies as having better effects when some of it is obviously discernable of how it was actually done despite how good looks. The best cgi is simply better in these instances.

Don't know why you bring up the turtles. Of course the 90s turtles look better. The 2014 cgi is not well done.
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Old 08-07-2015, 01:12 AM   #54
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People judge CGI harshly because it doesn't have nearly as good a track record as physical creations. It's only just starting to look believable now, but that's mostly with vehicles, backgrounds, & explosions, it's still got a long way to go when it comes to living things like robots, aliens, beasts, humans, etc. I don't think a single person here was debating that bad props are better than good CGI, it's like comparing splinters to gunshot wounds, there's no argument.

I brought up the turtles because there are plenty of cases where preferring something from 25 years ago is valid rather than simply nostalgia & cynicism. 2014's TMNT is not well done, that's right, & that further drives home the point that even in the now there's tons of unconvincing crap on the big screen. So it's plenty fair to judge it harshly. When everything looks as good as Star Wars' next installment inevitably will, it'll be a different conversation.
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Old 08-07-2015, 01:19 AM   #55
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That said a bad practical effect can still be better than bad CG because at least it's there and can be interacted with by the actors. Bad CG is just inserted after the fact and doesn't have any depth to it in even the actors probably aren't even looking in the right place
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Old 08-07-2015, 01:52 AM   #56
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I will give you that some may use it where it's not needed, I assume often out of trying to be more impressive than what they think they can get with something "real"... Falling tower? Yes. Safer than doing risky real explosions and whatnot? Sure. CGI robo Shredder...? No, and just why. Costume Shredder probably would have saved time actually.
CGI has it's uses at times, although I would say that one other knock against it is the temptation and tendency to try use it to make 'impressive' props instead of stuff that looks real and practical.

Shredder's costume? Does not look practical.
Donnie's abundance of stuff on his body? Not practical.
Bayformers? Intentional bunch of tiny little parts whizzing about instead of a robot that looks practical and durable.


Another example of CGI's shortfalls: Nick TMNT. CGI is impressive, but the backgrounds and people models are severely limited, there are no (or barely any) people walking NYC at night like there would be in real life. It takes time and money to 'sculpt' a model instead of just drawing it in a fraction of the time. Even during the day it looks 'deserted,' whereas with 'traditional' animation this wouldn't be an issue.

I think one possibility with people being sort of against CGI is that CGI is always pushed as being automatically 'better' just because, instead having it's flaws acknowledged like other tools of creating tend to have.

I'm not knocking CGI. But not everything is perfect with it either, which is what I think proponents often tend to overlook.

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Old 08-07-2015, 06:35 AM   #57
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It takes time and money to 'sculpt' a model instead of just drawing it in a fraction of the time.
This is absolutely not true, at all, in any way.
It's crazy how much disinformation has piled up over the years. I blame all the behind the scenes extras on DVDs.
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Old 08-07-2015, 06:41 AM   #58
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I'm not knocking CGI, just Wildcat's ignorance.
You, sir, are the Hero of the Day.

Just woke up and your posts already made my morning.
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Old 08-07-2015, 06:41 AM   #59
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People judge CGI harshly because it doesn't have nearly as good a track record as physical creations. It's only just starting to look believable now, but that's mostly with vehicles, backgrounds, & explosions, it's still got a long way to go when it comes to living things like robots, aliens, beasts, humans, etc. I don't think a single person here was debating that bad props are better than good CGI, it's like comparing splinters to gunshot wounds, there's no argument.

I brought up the turtles because there are plenty of cases where preferring something from 25 years ago is valid rather than simply nostalgia & cynicism. 2014's TMNT is not well done, that's right, & that further drives home the point that even in the now there's tons of unconvincing crap on the big screen. So it's plenty fair to judge it harshly. When everything looks as good as Star Wars' next installment inevitably will, it'll be a different conversation.
Well, to be fair, comparing Henson Splinter to Baysplinter is like comparing Splinter to a gunshot wound.
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Old 08-07-2015, 07:12 AM   #60
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You guys Rock.
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