View Full Version : CGI- Subtle or Flashy?

12-21-2004, 08:54 AM
Do you think CGI is better when it is subtle, when it doesn't interfere with the rest of the image, or is it better when it is impressively complex, and attracts the most attention to the scene?

I prefer subtlety, like the scene in Armageddon where both shuttles are lifting off at the same time.

Martin Adams
12-21-2004, 05:56 PM
I personally think that CGI has two very distinct mediums. Take something like Toy Story, it would be compared to being a cartoon as the target audience is for kids with bright and fictional characters. This allows the animators to play around with the usual stretch and squash which conventional filmmaking doesn't really cater for.

Take something like The Last Samurai. When I saw that movie, I walked out the cinema thinking that it was nice to see a good solid film which didn't have to rely on CG to do the difficult bits. But later I discovered that CG was used in that film and I never noticed. This is when CG really works well. If the viewer has to take a moment to look and admire the CG, they are not really believing the story as they are focused on something else. For what I remember, the end of Blade 2 had some awful CG characters jumping around. It just wasn’t convincing CG and hence, the story wasn't believable.

Now there comes a time when you watch a movie and you just know its CG because of the complexity of the scene. I guess Spider-Man 2 with Dr Octopus climbing across the buildings. Watching that I did think about the CG, not because it stood out, but because it seemed like the only way they would have done it. And yes, that does distract from the scene.

I guess if the CG is going to be impressive, the filmmaker should impress the audience first, and then get on with the movie. Who wants to have a reality check in the middle of an epic story? Not me, that's for sure.

12-21-2004, 11:47 PM
i also like CG that adds extra omph into practical effects. like sharpnel or debris from real pyrotechnic explosions are added in to give more detail.

12-22-2004, 08:21 AM
I have to agree with Martin, that there are almost 2 different mediums with CG. With the exception of movies that are obviously supposed to be CG, I think the less it is noticed the better. CG should be used to compliment a movie, not to make the movie. I think that anything that draws you away from the story, or pulls you out of the moment essentially detracts from the movie. I think really good CG in a movie almost goes unnoticed, except in those cases when it's obvious it can't be real.

12-22-2004, 02:39 PM
I defnitely agree with the 2 mediums statement, and I have always thought the
best CG was the work you didn't know was CG in a film. I only recently saw
"Van Helsing" which is a lot of CG and of course compositing.....now even though
I knew it was CG it seemed that because it was so consistently done that I sort of
forgot that fact and enjoyed the film anyway....if that makes sense, sort of like watching "Toy Story", or something similiar. But is it because we are animators,
and digital artists that we already pay attention to this sort of thing more than the
average viewer. or is the average viewer watching the special effects how to's on the DVD's now and becoming as educated as we are?

12-23-2004, 07:27 AM
It's like the 2 kinds of FX. First, there's the spaceship and space kind. Then, there's the FX you don't see. Like matte paintings, set extensions, etc. Personally, I love 'em both.

12-25-2004, 12:09 PM
There probably isnt a movie made these days that doesnt get touched 'digitally' in some way. This is especially true with TV. :)

12-27-2004, 08:28 AM
Talk about CGI destroying a film- just look at "Brotherhood of the Wolf". Not the greatest film in the world but it certainly would have had a lot more impact if the CGI would have not fallen so flat. Especially in the sequence where the beast is first seen attacking the cabin and its occupants. The jerkiness of the CGI just killed the overall effect of the entire film for me.

So CGI that is blends INTO the story rather then BECOMING the story is, in my opinon, a proper use of 3D CG.