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What's Wrong With CGI?

Discussion in 'General Movie Discussion' started by SegNerd, Sep 7, 2016.

  1. SegNerd

    SegNerd Rebel General

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    I tried to search for existing threads, but I couldn't find one. Sorry if this is a "repeat."

    Am I really the only person who likes computer generated imagery in movies like Star Wars? I think the effects look great, and they remove a lot of the limitations imposed by practical effects.

    Most of the arguments I've heard against CGI fall into one of three categories:

    1. "Some early CGI effects looked stupid."

    This may be true, but practical effects can go wrong too. For example, if you ever looked at a shot-by-shot comparison of the hand-drawn shadows for ships in ROTJ (original) vs. the computer generated shadows in the SE, the hand-drawn shadows are almost laughable in comparison. Yes, all special effects are susceptible to goofs, but I actually think that CGI has evolved much faster than practical effects and has become more realistic than practical effects have ever been.

    2. "CGI characters are fake!"

    Yes, they are. So are puppets. So are miniatures. So are actors playing roles. Star Wars is not a documentary.

    3. "CGI cheapens the story."

    It is possible to rely too heavily on special effects, at the expense of the story. Some people have accused the prequel trilogy of making this mistake, and while I personally do not agree, either way, this still has nothing to do with CGI. You can use too much CGI instead of storytelling, and you can also use too many practical effects instead of storytelling. The key to good storytelling is telling good stories. There is more than one way to do that.

    So maybe I'm alone, but I'm fine with Star Wars (and other Hollywood movies) using lots of CGI.
     
    #1 SegNerd, Sep 7, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2016
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  2. AstromechRecords

    AstromechRecords Jedi General

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    There's nothing wrong with cgi as long as it serves the story and does it well .
     
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  3. Bandini

    Bandini Force Sensitive

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    I'm really amazed of what they can do. That is an awesome job. Too bad I draw like a 3 years child.
     
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  4. AstromechRecords

    AstromechRecords Jedi General

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    Try tracing :p.
     
  5. Admiral Petty

    Admiral Petty Force Sensitive

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    Nothing wrong with CGI as long as it is utilized properly. It's just another way to create special effects. The problem with CGI in a number of big block busters nowadays, is that it is often over-utilized without the proper restraint being used by the people making the films. It's much easier for a director to go overboard with CGI than practical effects. That's when it becomes a problem, when effects(CGI or practical) start to trump story.

    The fact is though, there are certain things that just wouldn't be possible without CGI. Also of note, is the the fact that CGI is still a growing art form, one that has progressed by leaps and bounds since it was first pioneered. Just look at what Marvel has done with it recently in regards to de-aging Michael Douglas and Robert Downey Jr for key scenes in their recent films. As CG effects continues to advance, there will no doubt still be some growing pains here and there, but things will only get better and better with time.

    As for CGI in Star Wars. I don't mind it for the most part, however there are little things here and there that annoy me. Things like when the actors don't look like they are part of their environment, or when something practical might have worked better. Take the fight between Obi-Wan and Grievous in RotS. Watching that fight I always get bored because there isn't much going on due to the fact that one can't properly choreograph action sequences between a real life actor and something that is purely a special effect. Hence the reason their fight is so boring unengaging. A better solution may have been to create practically built arms for Grievous or something along those lines. Something that the actor could actually interact with in the frame, get battered by, and batter back, so on and so forth.

    Ultimately, CGI is a good thing, but it should be utilized properly, and not at the expense of practical effects when those may serve a scene better.
     
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  6. GingerByte

    GingerByte Jedi General

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    That's why I liked the magnaguard fights. They moved so realistically because the actors were capable of wielding staffs in real-time. The General Grevious motion cpature as you said was less impressive because the actor only had two arms to use, so a whole bunch of fight material had to be added in post-production.
     
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  7. AstromechRecords

    AstromechRecords Jedi General

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    Also they had a rudimentary (for its time) mocap system with the stunt actors but if they did it NOW it would only look so much better.
     
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  8. Kylo Solo

    Kylo Solo Force Sensitive

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    I honestly have no problem with CGI. I know the PT trilogy gets a lot of hate for being too CGI but I have no problem with it. I like it, for a change
     
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  9. Messi

    Messi Force Sensitive

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    The clonetroopers and the c3po factory scenes are examples when they use CGI effects in a bad way.
     
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  10. AstromechRecords

    AstromechRecords Jedi General

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    I LOVE this post from 2014 on TF.net forums:

    "I don't care about how dated they are myself. As I said that happens to all VFX but my point is the perception of what is and isn't is the key thing.

    If anyone gets a chance on the Criterion Godzilla release there is a commentary on the US Godzilla by David Kalat where he really gives an excellent overview of how the perception of effects works.

    One point he talks about is how for some Toho film (not Godzilla) that was done in the 70's and they used a US company to do the VFX but when they got them back the director threw them out because they were too realistic for him so they made ones less realistic but what he wanted for the story. He also points out that for various Godzilla films the directors specifically did what looks to us now as really dated with models and miniatures but that was the look they wanted. It was meant to be fantasy and they delivered on that.

    Visuals don't have to be realistic each time though what is realistic for Star Wars is just odd in the first place as opposed to something that is on Earth.

    If anyone feels that the VFX of the PT have dated fine but don't turn around and say the OT is "timeless" because it isn't. The PT is evidently far far ahead so if they PT is dated then the OT is truly ancient.

    Then as you point out some people will pull out this character argument. That is fine as a specific individual thing as long as they realize that is for them alone and is totally subjective and not at all objective.

    As I've said though the bogus arguments pulled out by people is for blasting how dated the CG is for this shot or this shot and I point out to them that there is either no CG there or it's only the enhanced elements while the rest is a set, model, miniature, matte painting or whatever.

    They perceive it as CG because they think that is the way it was done and not for any other reason then that is what they've been told. I find it interesting though of how many people don't really realize how even the OT was made. If they knew how much actual animation was in the films they might be puzzled because it's not really talked about much unlike how for the PT the CG was really talked up so that many perceived that was most of the VFX."
     
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  11. Admiral Petty

    Admiral Petty Force Sensitive

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    For what it's worth, the CGI has never been an overall sticking point for me with the PT. I think the movies look like they were made in their time, just like the OT looks like it is of its own time. Sure, there's bits where I think George went overboard and bits were a mixture of practical and CGI would have worked better, but overall, considering the time period when the films were made, most of the effects don't bother me much.

    What's worse is some of the changes George made in the Special Editions of the OT films. Sticking effects that stick out like a sore thumb in next to 70s and 80s era practical effects just looks unnatural and draws undue attention to the effects themselves.

    One classic movie I just watched again the other day was Jurassic Park. I'm still surprised at how well that movie has aged. Watching the making off features though, even though the movie used CGI, they still chose to mix it with a lot of practical effects. That's the way to do it IMO. As CGI continues to advance, it can be used for more and more things, but there are still gonna be times where you need to mix some practical effects in there too. The trick is for filmmakers to understand where each type of effect is appropriate and apply them as necessary.
     
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  12. CTrent29

    CTrent29 Rebel Official

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    For me, CGI is no better or worse than the old special effects. I do not understand why so many are getting worked up over it. I'm beginning to wonder if this is what happened when Hollywood switched from silent movies to sound. It's ridiculous, especially since sooner or later, something new will appear on the horizon.



    Nor did I have a problem with the CGI featured in the OT Special Editions. My only complaint about the SE was the addition of Luke screaming, while he fell down that chute in "The Empire Strikes Back". Even now, I'm beginning to wonder if all of this backlash began with Lucas touching up the OT's special effects with CGI.
     
  13. Admiral Petty

    Admiral Petty Force Sensitive

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    The scream has thankfully been removed in the latest release. The effects though stick out like a sore thumb, seriously, just rewatch ANH and tell me those CGI Storm Troopers actually look the same as the actual actors. The effects on those troopers look very much like they were made in the era of Windows 95. Worse yet, their addition adds absolutely nothing to the story. It's a case of George Lucas using special effects because he could, not because he should.

    I don't hate all of the additions, I think the Battle of Yavin is actually a little more exciting in the Special Edition, but silly things like adding CGI Storm Troopers to scenes that don't need them is a bad use of special effects. Not to mention his addition of a Jabba scene that reiterates points that we already learned in the Greedo scene earlier and also serves to make Jabba a less menacing character overall.
     
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  14. Grand Master Galen Marek

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    I don't think there is anything wrong with CGI, if it works for a scene so be it.,
     
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  15. WallyAllen52

    WallyAllen52 Clone

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  16. Bluemilk

    Bluemilk I AM the Senate

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    I like CGI to a certain extent but when it is oversaturrated and overkill on even simple things then I dislike it.
     
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  17. RoyleRancor

    RoyleRancor Jedi General

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    Agreed

    The CGI in the PT was just overdone, it didn't feel like an organic world. It felt clean and sterile. No one really seemed amazed by anything.

    If Lucas would have dialed it back from an 11 on the CGI use scale, it'd be a bit of a different story. I can forgive spot bad or dated CGI, but when the entire world you build is this, it gets harder and harder to.
     
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  18. SKB

    SKB Force Sensitive

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    'Whats Wrong With CGI?"

    Its fake, its distracting and it gets everywhere. ;)
     
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  19. Bluemilk

    Bluemilk I AM the Senate

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    Not as much as sand.
     
  20. Hudathan

    Hudathan Rebelscum

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    CGI will never make or break a movie. The story has and will always be the main reason whether a movie is good or not.
     
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