View Full Version : 3d animation in film

rusty cooley
11-24-2005, 05:11 AM
Hi I'm new to this forum. I am studying digital media and this year i have to do a thesis. My chosen topic is "The influence of 3d animation on the film industry" anyone got any input for me like stuff i should include films and people i should contact. Any info will be greatly appreciated!

11-24-2005, 06:39 AM
Tron, The Abyss, Terminator 2, Toy Story were all benchmarks in 3d animation...

11-24-2005, 07:24 AM
Don't forget Drastic Park and Last StarFighter... Rusty, you need to look for Isaac Kerlow's book, from which you can just pinch his timeline etc... :D


11-26-2005, 01:16 PM
What about Polar Express? I know it wasn't a masterpiece or anything but it was the first animated movie of its kind. Now the director Robert Zemeckis wants to do the same thing with Beowulf.

11-26-2005, 02:03 PM
Well, so many influences...it has changed the way we do everything from matte creation, previz, to allowing stories to now be told that could not before. Do you think that we would have gotten the same feeling of Lord of the Rings without the mix of technologies...BTW, 3D by itself is not the most changing...it is with its incorporation with other techniques that has made it SO effective. Even with Pixar's stuff..it isn't just one technique.

Ben, I am so glad that someone mentioned Last Star Fighter...that was the first ALL computer 3D VFX for a feature film...it took guts, some major geeks and a mainframe to do it.

Now also look at what 3D is doing today...look at Sin CIty....one of the first ALL chroma keyed features...All the sets and worlds were keyed...using many technologies...including 3D tracking and 3D CGI and Comps.

The whole shift in stunts to digital doubles...used from scanning the actors...or the match framing of faces onto stunt people...there are so many new methods that use 3D technology... Some of the big things are like the stunt doubles...set extensions...environments. 3D matte painting...etc...not just the characters that we see in front... Add to that the whole major shift in previz of difficult shots...so to see how to achieve the Directors vision before shooting anything. Saving time and allowing them to experiment.


11-26-2005, 04:08 PM
CGI heavy films seem (to me) to fall into 2 broad categories: the experiment, and the bandwagons.

The experimentals are the few CGI heavy films that are pushing out unproven techniques, the likes of Tron, Sky Captain etc. Even though Jurassic Park was an experimental movie, its immediate predecessor Death Becomes Her is the actual experiment in that field, that is, the close-up rendering of skin textures composited into film.

The bandwagons are easy to spot, League of Gentlemen, Van Helsing, they're not doing anything experimental, they're just expanding on established techniques, sometimes to excess ;)

11-26-2005, 04:37 PM
Hi all agian,

There have been both good and BAD influences that 3d has made...

Look at two scary shark movies...

Jaws (which had NO 3D)...


The deep blue...Which had 3D all over the place.

Which one scared you the most? And made you feel the story and action?

I hope that you said Jaws...just cause we have 3D or what ever technique does NOT mean we should use it...It should be the story and the director's vision that should dictate that. Too often now some one says but that FX in there...when it has NOTHING to do to tell a good story...in fact to often it is because there is little to no story or believable characters that it is filled with FX. That's the down side...But go look at films like the Human Stain.

Are there any 3D fx in it?

YES...few if anyone will know that a couple of the porch scenes were shot on a green screen cause they were added after principle production had ended and the sets were gone...but they needed to shoot some additional scenes.
They did it by mapping shots of the original set onto geometry and shooting and compositing the actors into that 3D environment.


11-27-2005, 04:35 PM
Well the truth is, the only CG anyone 'sees' is bad CG. If its done well, people simply do not notice it. Take a movie like Revenge of the Sith (which, it is no secret, is filled with CG). Until you watch the featurettes, you probably have no idea how much of that film existed only on a server rack somewhere. General Grievous is easy to spot, but other instances, including characters, are less obvious.

I know a lot of people gripe about CG in movies and say things like "its not ready for prime time." I fully believe these people are looking at the past through rose colored glasses. Shooting practical, miniatures, or traditional animation looked just as bad or worse and costs more.

Jason and the Argonauts (timeless classic by the way) was WAY above normal in its effects, but do the skeleton warriors 'move' as fluidly as the ones in Pirates of the Caribbean? Sure, people talk about how easy it is to spot the CG in Pirates, but the f/x in Jason were easy to spot also. The big difference is that studios can afford to make a movie like pirates when using CG.

Or compare the CG in the more recent Star Wars to the origian ones from the 70's nad 80's (not the special editions....the originals). You had TIE fighter squares (boxes around the fighters where the CG was done), the bad blue screen in the Rancor Monster pit, seeing the starfield background through the characters, and jedi fight scenes that did not show how powerful they were. The objects Vader moved with the force in Empire did not seem to move right either.

Practical shooting has its list of limitations also, but people seem to easily forget that. Movie studios do NOT use CGI to irritate the fans, they do it to shoot things that simply would not be POSSIBLE without it.

Remeber Battlestar Galactica from the 70's. I swear they had like 3 fighter scenes that they used (and 3 more flip-flopped to look like 3 others), and that show was too expensive to keep despite having high ratings. Now space shows can have new scenes with new ships every week.

Sadly, some use this as an excuse to overlook the story, but that is another matter. From a purely effects perspective, computers are certainly pulling their weight.

rusty cooley
11-28-2005, 12:25 PM
Cheers guys.
You have fixed my biggest problem which was going off into great detail about this film and that film which my lecturer warned me not to do! You've all been a great help. Any more info would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks again!

11-28-2005, 02:19 PM
Not sure if you want to buy a book, but i'm sure you could get it at the library. If they don't have locally to you, we have this thing in England where the library HAS to get the book in for you (from wherever the book is in the country) from a different library. I bought this book when i did my A-levels and it helped immensely.

Industrial Light and Magic: Into the Digital Realm.

It has a huge amount of detail about the early history of effects and CG in film work. I find it rediculously useful for reference too. Just wish there was more in the book on Young Sherlock Holmes the film from the 80's. The Knight dude coming out of the stained glass window was just gobsmacking back then, and even now is creepy.