View Full Version : Matrix article

04-08-2003, 02:17 PM

04-08-2003, 03:03 PM

I told my wife it's a good thing our wedding anniversary doesn't fall on May 15th... because I have plans.

04-09-2003, 12:38 AM

jin choung
04-09-2003, 02:35 AM

i Loooooooooooove the matrix! gotta be one of my favorite films in the last decade and it has re-articulated to me that there's only a point of doing something if it has something new in it.... whether that's stories, visuals, whatever....

and i too am going to be in line and giggling when that fateful day of may 15 2003 arrives.

and the animatrix stuff so far has been ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!


that was a long disclaimer for a small critique and observation on the matrix article:

you can get 90% of the way to what they've got with probably less than 1% of their budget with common techniques and affordable tools like lw.

sure, they go the extra 10% and eke out every ounce of verisimilitude that hollywood can buy and there is the unmistakable high budget sheen, but it's hardly as cutting edge as what bullet time was when it came out.

and the cut is that if you look at the superbowl trailer, you can STILL TELL that it's CG.... i thought so before i read the article but the article confirmed it.

you can tell mostly in the hands and in the faces. faces are still tough to get right in cg and darn it if it still doesn't show. don't get me wrong, it looks damn good but it still shows. at least to cg people.... i suppose most non geeks won't look at it twice except to oggle at the unbelievable spectacle.

for those of you who want to frame by frame it with me - the 'burly brawl' where keannu takes on the legion of agent smiths, in the slow mo where smith and keanu (with a pole) fly at each other, look at agent smith's hands... even that is what weaving was doing, an animator should have tweaked it cuz it looks BAAAAD... actually, what it looks like is that the animator simply did not bother to animate his hands at all! in that same slow mo framing, look in the background at an agent smith flying to the floor... small in frame but man, that looks cg. as the battle develops, most of the smith attackers have a cg look to them and although keanu's face emotes properly, it looks just a tad bit... cg.

as i said, for me, this is enthusiastic fx geek talk... i'm not trashing anything or anybody. all tiny niggling nitpicks by admission. and it still looks freakin' unbelievable.

in the shot on the freeway where an agent jumps onto a speeding car and smashes it into the pavement, the actor looks very very CG. but the car does not.... if that's cg, i would be impressed.


p.s. i think squaresoft's cg movies kinda miss the point. why limit yourself to reality when you're working in the medium of cg animation? in most of the conversation shots, i was thinking the whole time, why not just use a human actor?!?!?!

in fx shots for movies where cg is meant to look real, fine, go for real. but if you're making a cg animated movie about realistic, photoreal humans - and let's say they just sit and chat... what the F#$% is the point? it has value as cg r&d for the fx industry i guess - but not necessarily a shining example of the medium of cg animation.

along those lines, the mocapped sword fight in final flight of the osiris looked absolutely TAME compared to ANIME sword fights from other japanese movies! hell, take a look at the animatrix short 'the program'! they could have hand keyframed animation to really tweak and move those characters and go for the gusto....

instead, they opted for very real looking but pedestrian and stilted mocap.....


04-09-2003, 03:36 AM
Originally posted by jin choung
that was a long disclaimer for a small critique That's a small critique! I'd hate to see a long critique.

Sorry, I didn't read your critique after reading, " you can get 90% of the way to what they've got with probably less than 1% of their budget with common techniques and affordable tools like lw."

What about the 25 micron body scans? The 1 GB per sec uncompressed HD res face scans? The photogrammetry algorithms? The bidirectional reflectance distribution clothing scans? Did you even read to article? This makes the techniques used in the first Matrix look archaic.

Yeah, you might be able to get 90% of the way, but I think that the extra 10% will make all the difference in the world.

And why are you reviewing something that hasn't even come out yet?

04-09-2003, 04:57 AM
I hate to say things like this, but currently LW is not as competent tool as maya or xsi is. Be honest, maya`s strength is it`s open structure, and the almost infinite customizability. XSI is just fine as it is.

Maya is cool for assembling stuffs, because almost anything is connectable with anything. In LW it`s limited, and requires many plugins (most of them are not free)

If I collect all plugins, what I need in addition to LW I get a higher price than Maya Complete with Mental Ray. XSI is out of view with it`s $6700 price. But maya is affordable, and let`s say honestly, it`s future is more clear, and looks more stable than LW. I wish, if I could purchase modeller as a separate program...

But looking at stuffs, my friends are creating within weeks (Sudden Strike II`s anim (not the german release) were created with maya, within 50 days or so and ca 5-8 people was working on it). I think it speaks for itself...I saw their working style, and it wasn`t performable in LW. Currently LW`s only advance is it`s modeller, and the bone system`s flexibility. Maya has mental ray for free, and in the future version it will have many other render capabilities...

Sorry for the long post

04-09-2003, 05:25 AM
Well, at least we know why they call you Jester now.

04-09-2003, 07:47 AM
Jester, Maya is only$2,000 if you're happy with the stripped down version. Full version (unlimited) is $6,999. Even more out of reach then XSI.

04-09-2003, 10:48 AM
I know all that. But what do you mean stripped?
I`m a little pissed off by fanatical lw users, who think LW is ubermensch, and it knows everything other sw knows, but better and faster.

I think Maya complete is not so stripped comparing to LW. Maybe I am not so familiar with LW, but I couldnt solve one simple problem, for example. To scale an object along it`s local axis. I have very limited UV texturing tool, this ridiculous UV mapping requires usual unwelding merging, etc. It`s the best modeler ever, I couldn`t wish best in my life, but honestly, when it came to production, it lacks a lot of things. Spline animation, vertex animation, edge handling, etc, etc, etc. I do hope, that LW8 will be Maya killer, because I have my faith, that LW is among the best.

And I became Jester after my very first 3d character, a Jester...

jin choung
04-09-2003, 11:49 AM
hey takkun,

well, that was precisely the kind of hostile response that the disclaimer was aimed at defusing... oh well.

anyhoo, if you're gonna criticize, you really should read the whole post... especially since in the end, you end up pretty much agreeing with me, and i with you - i did indeed say that that last 10% adds and costs a great deal.

i'm not reviewing the film. i'm reviewing the effects shot(s) that i and you have access to from the web - goto whatisthematrix.com and download the superbowl trailer to see what i'm talking about.

yes, they have micron scanning stuff and yes, that's the final 10%.... but my point is that you can still tell it's cg.... and for the types of shots that i've seen so far, such expensive solutions may have been overkill. i would say the pores are never gonna register - even at film res. and their shots certainly don't get close enough in the 'burly brawl' to require it.

because you can still tell it's cg.

are you saying that from what you see in that shot, a talented modeler couldn't have done that stuff working off of a good photo?

as for the bdrf stuff.... well.... you can still tell it's cg.

yes i read the article. please don't get so worked up and defensive. have a look at the trailer and let me know if you think what i say is wrong.

especially since what i say comes not from malice but enthusiasm.


p.s. MOST fx end up being 'you can get 90% of the way there with less than 10% budget' in this day of cg. a lot of people at home can turn out shots that rival ILM stuff with literally 0% budget. and certainly, tv has been riffing on this principle for a while now.

sure, digital stuntmen were refined to an absolute art in TITANIC but they were still used in episodes of next generation for less. etc.

04-09-2003, 04:10 PM

I think your missing the point. The audience is never going to watch the matrix movies, frame by frame.

The illusion takes place at 24 frames per second.

I'm happy for you that you noticed that everything is CG, good for you. Keep up your hard work. :D

jin choung
04-09-2003, 07:35 PM
i miss nothing.

"i suppose most non geeks won't look at it twice except to oggle at the unbelievable spectacle."

i would say that in fact, you are being overly defensive for something that is NOT MEANT IN MALICE.

y'know, afficionado talk? like a bunch of car geeks bulling about the latest honda?

chill out. you didn't work on it did you? did your uncle? jeez....


04-09-2003, 10:06 PM
mmm, matrix, sucky movie, especially the stupid superman rip off at the end. Not to mention cheesy over exaggerated martial arts.

04-09-2003, 10:35 PM

That practically borders on blasphemy!:)

04-10-2003, 02:19 AM
Even not scanning frame by frame, that 'car jump' looked wrong somehow. It was the same with spiderman, it just seems "stretchy" if you know what I mean. Maybe it's because it isn't something we expect to see, so it's hard to define what would be "right"?

The big fight scene, some definite 'CG Actor' moments there, but certainly better than any close-up action so far. Though I think LOTR Helm's Deep is still my "what da?" moment. When I saw how many 'real' folk there were compared to CG fighters. Oops, straying off-topic here.

I think it is a sad fact of life that pursuing something means you lose some of the wonder of it. When I see a film with music in, it's painful to watch the guy "playing" the guitar. Also, watching a concert, if the guitarist hits a bum note, "ouch", I feel it. Mind you, it's good to watch these films and whilst we know they are CG, there is still that "talented bas*ard" thing going on! :p

05-15-2003, 08:14 PM
Hey, sorry to resurrect an old thread like this. Just wanted to apologize to Jin, I got to watch the Matrix Reloaded today and I got to say that Jin was right about the burly brawl scene. I really don't want to waste time over details, just wanted to publicly apologize.

cheers. :)

jin choung
05-15-2003, 09:12 PM

it's cool tak! no need to apologize for heaven's sake....

anyhoo, whatcha think of the movie.... as i said, i enjoyed it tremendously nonetheless....


05-16-2003, 12:08 AM
hehe, I just felt the need to apologize because I was a bit harsh to you before, you were so right dude. I still think that we can pull off dead-on realistic cg humans someday, that day isn't today.

Hey the movie was good (not great), it's great to know the truth about who the Oracle really is and the truth about Neo's purpose, and a bunch of other stuff (don't want to give anything away), I can't wait till part three. I guess you could say I was more impressed with the storyline then the visuals.

But as sequels go, X-Men 2 was much better. :D

05-16-2003, 01:27 AM
Kind of a late post but.... Isn't kind of tireing to see Maya come up again and again and again?

I tried to see one of the 5 special showings wednesday but ended up going to the early bird showing thursday. Good thing I bought the ticket the night before. Anyways I thought it was a great movie. It was not as deep as the first one until the last 45 min IMO but none of the less the effects were pretty good and the story was well structured. My favorites visual effects being at Zion. Also it was a strange place to put a To Be Concluded [Can't wait for November though].

Originally posted by j3st3r
I know all that. But what do you mean stripped?

To answer your question. Taken from the A/W web site

Maya Unlimited includes everything in Maya Complete™ PLUS:

Maya Fluid Effects™
Maya Cloth™
Maya Fur™
Maya Live™ MatchMoving

05-17-2003, 01:01 PM
Originally posted by WizCraker Also it was a strange place to put a To Be Concluded.

Yeah, that seemed like a TV show at that point. There were so many other places it would have fit better. Stopping where they did almost made you wait for the voice over saying ' Next week on The Matrix"

To answer your question. Taken from the A/W web site

Maya Unlimited includes everything in Maya Complete™ PLUS:

Maya Fluid Effects™
Maya Cloth™
Maya Fur™
Maya Live™ MatchMoving

I get to play Devil's Advocate here:

So what version of LW has:
Lightwave Fluid Effects™
Lightwave Cloth™
Lightwave Fur™
Lightwave Live™ MatchMoving

PFX interaction isn't Maya Fluid Effects
MD isn't Maya Cloth
Saslite isn't Maya Fur
Nothing is Maya Live

Truthfully, I would just love to see less restrictions on Saslite and better MD.

Elmar Moelzer
05-17-2003, 03:09 PM
Well, anyway, whether MAYA is better or not (for me it is not), you guys might want to know that LW was used quite a bit for modeling during the making of the effects for Matrix reloaded.

05-17-2003, 06:28 PM
Originally posted by Elmar Moelzer
Well, anyway, whether MAYA is better or not (for me it is not), you guys might want to know that LW was used quite a bit for modeling during the making of the effects for Matrix reloaded.

Isn't ESC Entertainment still looking for Lightwave artists? I saw it posted a couple weeks ago.

05-18-2003, 02:51 PM
i'm hoping CINEFEX does another MATRIX spread like they did when the first film came out.