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View Full Version : What Happened to 3D in Movies?



Teruchan
10-20-2009, 02:19 AM
Is it just me or does it seem like as computer technology advances, and 3D software gains more and more features, allowing creatives to do more, CGI in movies is actually getting worse?

Don't get me wrong, there is some amazing work being done these days, and I realize that the producers always want it in a shorter time with a lower budget, but it seems like absolute realism went out the window quite some time ago. What happened to seamless, photoreal CG that could actually fool the audience.

Occasionally you do get your Davy Jones, but even ILM has been doing work lately, that is not crossing that realism line. I don't mean to say any of this work is bad. Some of the latest movies feature some of the best looking CG work I have ever seen. Unfortunately, it is also the best CG looking work I have ever seen.

SO what happened? Any comments?

Nemoid
10-20-2009, 02:27 AM
IMO some high level quality will hopefully return with Cameron's Avatar. Also, hope to see some new Weta productions at LOTR level. MAybe next Hobbit movie will have some interesting stuff inside.

OnlineRender
10-20-2009, 02:51 AM
I miss real live action , for example THE BLUES BROTHERS look at the detial and co-ordination in the street chase , now if you were to remake that now , it would be CG .
but you still don't get that impact / wow factor of going " damn thats alot of cars they smashed up " but now you say " wounder how long it took to render that scene " It's a shame alot of stuntmen /woman "lets be pc here " are out of work because of artist like us ,It's not our fault just technology moves fast and audience scream for faster and more realism .

I have friend who makes minitures for a living and he's strugglin bad , so now hes moving to ZB to make cash .

Peace

biliousfrog
10-20-2009, 02:59 AM
On the one hand you've got films that feel the need to include CG elements just because everyone else is...whether it actually enhances the film or whether the budget is sufficient to create something that works well is less important than actually having it there.

On the other hand we're straddling the uncanny valley which can make even the most advanced, photo-real CG actors stand out like a sore thumb.

I also wonder whether some directors purposely make the CG elements and VFX more noticable...they've spend millions of dollars on them so why should they be invisible.

...and perhaps more controversially, maybe some of the people currently working in the industry are so used to seeing 'fake' that they don't know how to produce 'real'? You're only as good as your references and I sometimes wonder whether things are becoming diluted. Everyone has an idea of what an explosion looks like but when was the last time anyone saw a real one?...are we all just referencing the work of someone else who referenced someone else...etc?

SBowie
10-20-2009, 05:21 AM
Something I notice is that an effect which is fairly convincing (i.e., the compositing seems relatively seamless) on the movie theatre screen stands out as if it were made of painted cardboard on even an SD television. Actually, I don't think this is anything new - just to say the cg work can look better at times on the more forgiving projection systems.

Mike_RB
10-20-2009, 06:23 AM
A lot of people had no idea there was a CG Mark1 suit for Iron Man. I'd say we did ok on that one. Not too shabby on the mech from District 9 either....

gordonrobb
10-20-2009, 06:28 AM
I don't think this is the case at all. I watched Angels and Demons the other night (not a great film in my opinion), but watching the extras it was interesting how much of it was CG that was not obvious. The scene when they run down the steps to the helicopter only had the steps, the chopper body, and a few people. The rotors the massive crowd and vatican square where all added with CG.

I think there are example of bad CG, but that is the same with aspect of film.

LazyCoder
10-20-2009, 07:00 AM
Personally I think bad CG nowadays comes from cheaper software being utilized by less experienced companies, emphasis on the companies part.

lwaddict
10-20-2009, 07:10 AM
Nah...
well, some.

But from what I've seen and experienced it's more the fault of the producers...

we want it NOW,
we will make changes as you go...DRASTIC CHANGES so deal with it...
we will nitpick like you have all the time in the world,
and we will change the deadlines as we go (only to shorten them mind you).

It takes a solid director/producer teamed with good writers to get the workflow solid and at a pace to get quality down the pike...
"we don't need storyboards"...OMG are you kidding? I've actually seen loads of smaller productions going for broke without storyboards and laughing when the topic comes up.
"no time for animatics"...Really? But we'll have time to do it over and over until you're happy right? Right.

Albeit this is mostly tv stuff like SciFi Channel but geez if it doesn't appear to have brutally overflowed into the cinema circuit.

It's about money, bottom line. Producers kick down but want it all back and fast.

SBowie
10-20-2009, 08:54 AM
I don't think this is the case at all. I watched Angels and Demons the other night (not a great film in my opinion), but watching the extras it was interesting how much of it was CG that was not obvious.I can agree that subtle CG work can pass muster wherever it is displayed, but I do think the display medium accentuates certain shortcomings.

OnlineRender
10-20-2009, 09:18 AM
A lot of people had no idea there was a CG Mark1 suit for Iron Man. I'd say we did ok on that one. Not too shabby on the mech from District 9 either....

you slide that into the conversation smooth there ! LOL admitily the work there was impressive and without people with your skills most movies now-would be boring , its a tight line between real and over-realistic !

ps nice work (",)

biliousfrog
10-20-2009, 10:00 AM
you slide that into the conversation smooth there ! LOL admitily the work there was impressive and without people with your skills most movies now-would be boring , its a tight line between real and over-realistic !

ps nice work (",)

Agreed.

Some of my favourite effects work was in Fight Club, it still blows me away and most people wouldn't know what was or wasn't CG.

Dexter2999
10-20-2009, 10:17 AM
I agree with mostly everything said thus far except the cheap software comment.
Medium does play a role. BUT the largest factor by far is Producers choosing fast and cheap as their preferred two options on the Production Triangle. You only get to pick two.

I think also we will see some more cheaper effects creeping into the market with the facilities in India and China growing. Not to slight them but the level of experience isn't there yet.

So, for the decline in quality that you are seeing I blame the Producers. For the blurry, super fast paced shots that you can't tell what you just saw...I blame Directors.

My two cents.

doimus
10-23-2009, 04:58 AM
My main gripe with CGI is poor directing it often gets. Everything's exaggerated out of proportion when done in CGI. For most recent example look at the 2012 trailer. I can't stand that stuff. Nowadays, movie heroes can't just grab a rope at the last moment. No, nowadays the world must collapse under them as well.

Anybody remember the famous T-Rex chase scene from Jurassic Park? And do you remember the T-Rex chase scene from King Kong?
The first one was novel usage of CGI in movies. The other is exact example of mind-raping the audience: bigger dinosaurs! bigger guns! giant ape! even bigger dinosaur! even more bigger dinosaur eats that one! aaaargh!!

shrox
10-23-2009, 07:42 AM
The worst CG in a movie award goes to..."Ultraviolet".

Titus
10-23-2009, 07:51 AM
Don't get me wrong, there is some amazing work being done these days, and I realize that the producers always want it in a shorter time with a lower budget, but it seems like absolute realism went out the window quite some time ago. What happened to seamless, photoreal CG that could actually fool the audience.

Even my grandmother knew what a green screen is. Today audiences are aware of how FX in movies are done, for me this is like the magician showing the trick.

Nemoid
10-23-2009, 09:51 AM
Believability is totally possible, but obviously production choices are what make better CG possible.
Sometimes, directors are what's important, if they know how to manage sfx.

They ask for some good level of accuracy, and realism. Ron Howard, for example, the Angels and demons director, also made movies like Cocoon, and others in the past which required good sfx.
I didn't see Angels and Demons, but i saw The Da Vinci code and it was pretty awesome from a sfx POV.

Same for Cameron he usually likes to have great and beliavable sfx in his movies and also reach the next level, just because he was a sfx maker too at the start of his career. So he knows how to manage them when making a movie.

BTW, other productions aren't at the same level so artists have less time to accomplish their work. Perfect quality isn't exactly best friend of hurry...

Same could be said for direction too, There are directors that always want to be compelling and blow away viewer minds so they just "throw" things at them(usually to cover bad scripting and direction): explosions, complex and furious camera movements, frenetic editing, neverending action...:D

doimus
10-24-2009, 12:18 AM
Same for Cameron he usually likes to have great and beliavable sfx in his movies and also reach the next level, just because he was a sfx maker too at the start of his career. So he knows how to manage them when making a movie.


Yes, T1000 from Terminator 2 was so obviously made around "liquid metal" special effects (from Abyss), but it was perfectly integrated into script that nobody really noticed that. One of the most badass movie villains ever.

OTOH, babe-terminator from T3 was so obviously designed around boobs. Everybody noticed it = ruined suspension of disbelief.

Nemoid
10-24-2009, 01:07 AM
OTOH, babe-terminator from T3 was so obviously designed around boobs. Everybody noticed it = ruined suspension of disbelief.

hahahahaha you made my day !

erikals
10-25-2009, 08:14 AM
A lot of people had no idea there was a CG Mark1 suit for Iron Man. I'd say we did ok on that one. Not too shabby on the mech from District 9 either....

i didn't notice, still hardly can, the giveaway 4me is some of the sss etc on the man inside the suit.
edit: correction, it was the eyes, as seen at 0:43 in the "breakdown" video.

--------------

it has always been movies that suck, and still will be.
reasons for why they do vary.
taking hulk for example, i got annoyed that the Hulk's face didn't look anything like Edward Norton.
heck, even Edward has heavier eyebrows than the Hulk...

Mike_RB
10-25-2009, 08:30 AM
i didn't notice, still hardly can, the giveaway 4me is some of the sss etc on the man inside the suit.

Haha, what SSS....

You can't even see the guy inside really. :) Eye glints mostly...
http://www.theembassyvfx.com/qt/im_breakdown.html

Or are you talking about the d9 mech? There's very little CG Wikus. Infact, only 2 shots I think, both where's hes almost completely obscured.

Kuzey
10-25-2009, 08:53 AM
Looking at that now, I can see little odd things...like him moving too easily while wearing a ton of metal. And the heat from the flamethrower should burn his hand :D

Kuzey

erikals
10-25-2009, 09:55 AM
heh, ;) based it on memory, jepp, the eye was what caught my attention...
(i had seen the video a couple of times before i noticed...)
not saying it is bad, more of a heads up till next time...

no, i haven't seen D9 yet... :o (runs away and hides)

Mike_RB
10-25-2009, 02:34 PM
heh, ;) based it on memory, jepp, the eye was what caught my attention...
(i had seen the video a couple of times before i noticed...)
not saying it is bad, more of a heads up till next time...

no, i haven't seen D9 yet... :o (runs away and hides)

As long as it kicks butt on 1st viewing in a theater... the rest doesn't matter. You can pick apart anything on loop. :) I just like that other than the flying bit a lot of people didn't know there WAS a 3d mark1. If you watch the blu-ray there is a rotation of each suit. We're the only ones that did it using scene lighting and comp work, looks killer. The other suits look meh (on the rotation thing on the disc).... funny thing was that the HD frames for that rotation and zoom in to sections was more frames than we rendered for the film. hahahaha.

It's a testament to LW that it looked so good. Our work on Iron Man was essentially a lightly treated beauty pass, what you see is what came out of the renderer.

erikals
10-25-2009, 03:27 PM
yes, LW renders are sweet :)
i post some LW render previews on YouTube every now and then,...

http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=36DAD32935586C03

Titus
10-25-2009, 03:30 PM
That Mark1 suit in Iron Man looks perfect. Can't tell if it was CG or not - then again...

Agreed, I didn't notice it was CG.

george49
10-25-2009, 04:43 PM
James Cameron has been mentioned several times in this discussion, and I thought I'd point at that the current issue of the New Yorker magazine has an excellent story about him. His next film, Avatar, is coming out in November and will be in 3D, and based on the NY article it should be a real corker!

LazyCoder
10-26-2009, 11:37 AM
James Cameron has been mentioned several times in this discussion, and I thought I'd point at that the current issue of the New Yorker magazine has an excellent story about him. His next film, Avatar, is coming out in November and will be in 3D, and based on the NY article it should be a real corker!

I thought it's coming out in december...

Bill Carey
10-26-2009, 01:09 PM
I think some of it is that CG has hit the point of diminishing returns. You can make it perfect for a price, you can make it good enough a lot cheaper. Once the effefct gets to the point that the normal audience (which doesn't include anyone here, we're looking for it) is carried along you can stop throwing money at it. Seamless being more important than perfect. (Not counting the SciFi movies, those are just terrible)

Mike_RB
10-26-2009, 07:15 PM
You can see more of the CG mark 1 in my newer reel:

http://www.elementvfx.com/reel/evfx_reel_09.mov

BigHache
10-27-2009, 09:32 AM
As long as it kicks butt on 1st viewing in a theater... the rest doesn't matter.

It achieved exactly that for me. I have not watched "Iron Man" a second time yet, but I remember thinking in the theater, "Oh neat they built a real, full-size suit." I was very surprised when I found out how many shots were CG. So yes, kick butt it did. :2guns:

Mike_RB
10-27-2009, 12:37 PM
It achieved exactly that for me. I have not watched "Iron Man" a second time yet, but I remember thinking in the theater, "Oh neat they built a real, full-size suit." I was very surprised when I found out how many shots were CG. So yes, kick butt it did. :2guns:

The practical suit stuntman could barely move. :) So ours was used for falling down/ getting up. And for 'retakes' when they decided to change the narrative later on.

erikals
10-27-2009, 01:46 PM
The practical suit stuntman could barely move...

LOL http://forums.cgsociety.org/images/smilies/grin.gif

BigHache
10-28-2009, 01:26 PM
I'm sure the stuntman could fall down okay… unless he really couldn't move enough to even fall down.