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 Posted:   May 11, 2015 - 11:39 AM   
 By:   DavidinBerkeley   (Member)

One good thing about watching old movies is that I can still look at the special effects and say "Wow, I wonder how they did that!"

There's one old movie I want to see from the 40's where the special effects are supposed to be pretty darned good. I can't wait (and won't say what it is, in case some mope decides to spoil it and tell me how it was done).

 
 Posted:   May 11, 2015 - 1:38 PM   
 By:   solium   (Member)


A symptom of CGI burnout might be that I spent way-too-much time during INTO THE WOODS wondering which things were CGI and which were not.

If it is true, then it is for no sensible reason that I'm disappointed. Hmm...

One good thing about watching old movies is that I can still look at the special effects and say "Wow, I wonder how they did that!"

There's one old movie I want to see from the 40's where the special effects are supposed to be pretty darned good. I can't wait…


I think this is a very good observation. Today we just assume an effect was accomplished with CGI. I've been learning a lot lately what I thought was CGI wasn't. Though obviously they do primarily rely on it.

But like you said in the old days or with older movies you wonder how an effect was done, but then you move on with the story.

Today our minds are trained to think it's all or mostly CGI so every frame of the film I'm just thinking, "CGI shot!", "And another CGI shot!"

I think I know the trick and it takes the mystery out of it.

 
 Posted:   May 11, 2015 - 1:43 PM   
 By:   mastadge   (Member)

Wow, I'm glad I'm not so jaded as some! To me, it's not whether I know the "trick" but whether it looks good/convincing. I don't care whether the car chase is CGI or practical or some mixture thereof so long as it looks like a real car chase involving real cars in the physical universe I'm used to, where things have mass and momentum and gravity exists and whatnot.

 
 
 Posted:   May 12, 2015 - 1:39 AM   
 By:   SOSAYWEALL   (Member)

Well said Mastadge!

 
 
 Posted:   May 12, 2015 - 6:45 AM   
 By:   Ado   (Member)

To me the problem is that unpersuasive (to me) CGI is often bought as good enough by some viewers.
We already had discussions months ago about CGI in GOTG and in other case, Captain America 2. Personally I found the use of CGI in those movies not impressive at all, and it was very transparent when it was green screened and animated.

For me it is a problem when ineffective effects work bounces me out of the movie to think 'yeah, I see Captain America standing in front of that very fake looking giant aircraft hanger bay with the fake giant aircraft', that kind of thing. What is remarkable is that these studios are spending a quarter billion dollars to make movies, and the effects on the screen really are not showing that kind of investment, but money does not always equal quality.

 
 Posted:   May 12, 2015 - 6:54 AM   
 By:   mastadge   (Member)

For me it is a problem when ineffective effects work bounces me out of the movie to think 'yeah, I see Captain America standing in front of that very fake looking giant aircraft hanger bay with the fake giant aircraft', that kind of thing. What is remarkable is that these studios are spending a quarter billion dollars to make movies, and the effects on the screen really are not showing that kind of investment, but money does not always equal quality.

I hear you. I have similar issues sometimes. For instance, recently I thought the effects in Dawn of the Planets of the Apes were crap -- but I kept reading how excellent they were. I guess it doesn't matter to me how well-rendered your ape is if it doesn't fit the background and doesn't move right. Then again, it's not really any different from a fakey-looking man in a rubber suit, or fakey-looking backgrounds during car rides in older movies -- any effects have their limits. A practical effect is limited by a number of factors -- and so is a CG effect. Just as a practical effect is restrained by the actual physics of its materials, a CG effect has problems in the opposite direction: it's virtually impossible to build a perfect physics engine into a program so that moving bodies move properly in themselves and in their environments. So in the end it comes down to: on this budget, how can we best support our story and portray what we want to show the audience.

I also suspect that a lot of people would be surprised what's CG and what's practical and what's a mixture of the two. It's a common enough thing to hear in movie commentaries that filmmakers are amused because so often what audiences point out as poor CG is actually a practical effect, while hundreds of CG-enhanced shots go unnoticed because they've been successfully integrated. So part of it is, yeah, CG isn't perfect, but another part of it is that people make assumptions based on their biases.

 
 Posted:   May 12, 2015 - 7:14 AM   
 By:   Grecchus   (Member)

I was gobsmacked to hear, in the director's commentary for Gone Girl, David Fincher describing Rosamund Pike's wig as not being quite right. He says that wig technology has been essentially unchanged since shakespearean times. Okay, granted, there's a laugh there. To make sure the shot was convincing, the wig was CGI enhanced!

 
 Posted:   May 12, 2015 - 8:27 AM   
 By:   solium   (Member)

For me it is a problem when ineffective effects work bounces me out of the movie to think 'yeah, I see Captain America standing in front of that very fake looking giant aircraft hanger bay with the fake giant aircraft', that kind of thing. What is remarkable is that these studios are spending a quarter billion dollars to make movies, and the effects on the screen really are not showing that kind of investment, but money does not always equal quality.

I hear you. I have similar issues sometimes. For instance, recently I thought the effects in Dawn of the Planets of the Apes were crap -- but I kept reading how excellent they were. I guess it doesn't matter to me how well-rendered your ape is if it doesn't fit the background and doesn't move right. Then again, it's not really any different from a fakey-looking man in a rubber suit, or fakey-looking backgrounds during car rides in older movies -- any effects have their limits. A practical effect is limited by a number of factors -- and so is a CG effect. Just as a practical effect is restrained by the actual physics of its materials, a CG effect has problems in the opposite direction: it's virtually impossible to build a perfect physics engine into a program so that moving bodies move properly in themselves and in their environments. So in the end it comes down to: on this budget, how can we best support our story and portray what we want to show the audience.

I also suspect that a lot of people would be surprised what's CG and what's practical and what's a mixture of the two. It's a common enough thing to hear in movie commentaries that filmmakers are amused because so often what audiences point out as poor CG is actually a practical effect, while hundreds of CG-enhanced shots go unnoticed because they've been successfully integrated. So part of it is, yeah, CG isn't perfect, but another part of it is that people make assumptions based on their biases.


All the above is true. Also like anything else in film making the biggest limit is time and money. Yeah, they put millions into the effects, but with millions of effect shots some are not going to come out as good as they could have.

They've tried to cut costs by giving the effects jobs to India, South Korea, etc. (BTW where the majority of Avengers 2 was filmed!) But it still costs to much, and there are too many effects which can't be justifiably rendered.

 
 
 Posted:   May 12, 2015 - 1:14 PM   
 By:   Joe E.   (Member)

A symptom of CGI burnout might be that I spent way-too-much time during INTO THE WOODS wondering which things were CGI and which were not.

If it is true, then it is for no sensible reason that I'm disappointed. Hmm...

One good thing about watching old movies is that I can still look at the special effects and say "Wow, I wonder how they did that!"

There's one old movie I want to see from the 40's where the special effects are supposed to be pretty darned good. I can't wait…


I think this is a very good observation. Today we just assume an effect was accomplished with CGI. I've been learning a lot lately what I thought was CGI wasn't. Though obviously they do primarily rely on it.

But like you said in the old days or with older movies you wonder how an effect was done, but then you move on with the story.

Today our minds are trained to think it's all or mostly CGI so every frame of the film I'm just thinking, "CGI shot!", "And another CGI shot!"

I think I know the trick and it takes the mystery out of it.


Okay, but how much do you know about CG? I mean, with a lot of traditional effects techniques, I at least feel I could do them myself if given the right resources, but I certainly couldn't develop software to handle subsurface light scattering or whatever. Simply handwaving something away by noting "it's CGI" and moving on doesn't really explain much.

 
 Posted:   May 12, 2015 - 2:12 PM   
 By:   mastadge   (Member)

Seems apropos: http://www.cracked.com/blog/6-reasons-expensive-films-end-up-with-crappy-special-effects/

 
 Posted:   May 12, 2015 - 2:18 PM   
 By:   solium   (Member)

A symptom of CGI burnout might be that I spent way-too-much time during INTO THE WOODS wondering which things were CGI and which were not.

If it is true, then it is for no sensible reason that I'm disappointed. Hmm...

One good thing about watching old movies is that I can still look at the special effects and say "Wow, I wonder how they did that!"

There's one old movie I want to see from the 40's where the special effects are supposed to be pretty darned good. I can't wait…


I think this is a very good observation. Today we just assume an effect was accomplished with CGI. I've been learning a lot lately what I thought was CGI wasn't. Though obviously they do primarily rely on it.

But like you said in the old days or with older movies you wonder how an effect was done, but then you move on with the story.

Today our minds are trained to think it's all or mostly CGI so every frame of the film I'm just thinking, "CGI shot!", "And another CGI shot!"

I think I know the trick and it takes the mystery out of it.


Okay, but how much do you know about CG? I mean, with a lot of traditional effects techniques, I at least feel I could do them myself if given the right resources, but I certainly couldn't develop software to handle subsurface light scattering or whatever. Simply handwaving something away by noting "it's CGI" and moving on doesn't really explain much.


Before CGI the level of effects shots weren't possible and there was a lot more "real stuff" shot on film. What we have now are 2hr CGI demo reels. The problem is there's too much of it. Effects are supposed to supplement the film. This is one reason why it bores me and I shrug it off.

Also they make a lot of the same mistakes over and over again with CGI. Have you ever seen an establishing shot of a cityscape without a flock of birds flying across the screen? It totally screams CGI. It's in everything from Star Wars to Game Of Thrones. So it takes me out of the scene. Creators just showing off their tools.

(Sometimes we do learn in the art field. Photoshop has a lens flare filter. It was way overused by graphic artists when it was original incorporated into the program. You would be tared and feathered if you use that filter today.)

CGI is a tool like any other. Used well and artfully I have no issues with it. But it's often overused and there's a copy and paste mentality in the process.

Edit: Mastadge link goes into a lot more detail. wink

 
 Posted:   May 12, 2015 - 3:49 PM   
 By:   solium   (Member)

Seems apropos: http://www.cracked.com/blog/6-reasons-expensive-films-end-up-with-crappy-special-effects/

Love this response in the comments section by a character named Matterobject.
(This is the internet but I am assuming his remarks are truthful.)


Matteobject -

Let's get one thing straight.

I work as a digital artist in visual effects, in fact, I worked on a some of the movies in the article, and the big reason that CGI has no weight to it is the directors always wanting more s**t to happen faster.

You can't do it with a stunt double because you'll kill him, but there's no problem with having a CGI stunt double change direction at 18000g other than the fact it looks like ass. The faster something accelerates (ie changes direction), the less apparent weight it has.

They can't be bothered building spectacle or tension, the only thing they're interested in is continuing the CGI bukkake fest and throwing more and more FX splooge at their audience's eyeballs.

It has nothing to do with digital artists not understanding composition or physics, do you seriously think we don't understand that real world cameras or physics can't do this shit? It has everything to do with directors (and producers) overruling them in order to continue ejaculating pixels & particles as fast as possible onto the screen because that's what they think people want.

In the Hobbit example, it looks f*****g retarded because Legolas is hopping & falling faster than the stones (which also fail to react to him pushing off), which portrays a fundamental lack of understanding of both gravity & Newton's third law of motion, this is high school s**t, but try telling a director that what he wants isn't physically possible, they don't give a f**k.

Of course, this massive increase in the volume of work hasn't resulted in a corresponding increase in budgets. Those 4 minutes of CGI in Jurassic Park took a couple of years to produce, now studios are expected to deliver HOURS of CGI footage in less than six months. Yes, computers have gotten faster, but CGI is still incredibly labor intensive, getting it the last 20% to real takes 2/3rds of the time, so producers just say "fuck it" and stick the 80% shot in there. (also of note, directors will happily final a shot that most visual effects guys know looks like s**t and the producers are happy to let them do it because they're the ones paying for it).

You hate it, we hate, but it doesn't change the fact that the fault lies with the bean counters and the hacks behind the camera.

 
 
 Posted:   May 12, 2015 - 6:47 PM   
 By:   Joe E.   (Member)

A symptom of CGI burnout might be that I spent way-too-much time during INTO THE WOODS wondering which things were CGI and which were not.

If it is true, then it is for no sensible reason that I'm disappointed. Hmm...

One good thing about watching old movies is that I can still look at the special effects and say "Wow, I wonder how they did that!"

There's one old movie I want to see from the 40's where the special effects are supposed to be pretty darned good. I can't wait…


I think this is a very good observation. Today we just assume an effect was accomplished with CGI. I've been learning a lot lately what I thought was CGI wasn't. Though obviously they do primarily rely on it.

But like you said in the old days or with older movies you wonder how an effect was done, but then you move on with the story.

Today our minds are trained to think it's all or mostly CGI so every frame of the film I'm just thinking, "CGI shot!", "And another CGI shot!"

I think I know the trick and it takes the mystery out of it.


Okay, but how much do you know about CG? I mean, with a lot of traditional effects techniques, I at least feel I could do them myself if given the right resources, but I certainly couldn't develop software to handle subsurface light scattering or whatever. Simply handwaving something away by noting "it's CGI" and moving on doesn't really explain much.


Before CGI the level of effects shots weren't possible and there was a lot more "real stuff" shot on film. What we have now are 2hr CGI demo reels. The problem is there's too much of it. Effects are supposed to supplement the film. This is one reason why it bores me and I shrug it off.

Also they make a lot of the same mistakes over and over again with CGI. Have you ever seen an establishing shot of a cityscape without a flock of birds flying across the screen? It totally screams CGI. It's in everything from Star Wars to Game Of Thrones. So it takes me out of the scene. Creators just showing off their tools.

(Sometimes we do learn in the art field. Photoshop has a lens flare filter. It was way overused by graphic artists when it was original incorporated into the program. You would be tared and feathered if you use that filter today.)

CGI is a tool like any other. Used well and artfully I have no issues with it. But it's often overused and there's a copy and paste mentality in the process.

Edit: Mastadge link goes into a lot more detail. wink


I saw that and I agree with it, but it wasn't really germane to my question / point.

 
 Posted:   May 13, 2015 - 9:00 AM   
 By:   solium   (Member)

Sorry if I missed the point of your question. Let me try it another way. If the trick doesn't work it doesn't matter to me how it's made. In fact the more impressed I am with an effect the more I want to know how it was done.

 
 Posted:   May 13, 2015 - 11:52 AM   
 By:   DavidinBerkeley   (Member)

To me, it's not whether I know the "trick" but whether it looks good/convincing.

I'd call this jaded, but in a different way than what you are thinking.

 
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