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skywalker113
05-10-2009, 01:21 AM
I have been looking at how the old starwars movies were made and star trek films. They used alot of props for the spaceships instead of 3d models, and still looked pretty good.

When does real props overcome 3d graphics, and when does it not?

BigHache
05-10-2009, 11:05 AM
I think it can depend on the crew doing the work. If a crew rendering 3D is better than a particular model building crew, 3D overcomes.

toby
05-10-2009, 11:57 AM
There's also production cost, flexibility and the production pipeline that they consider, and a lot of it is simply what the director or producers want. Corpse Bride looks incredible, I'd love it if all animated features looked as good, but then there'd be less work for us :O

Dexter2999
05-10-2009, 03:51 PM
A "prop" is anything handled by the actor ( a glass, toolbox, gun, knife, etc...). Real props will always be better for how they are handled by the performer. You can enhance the appearance of some props with motion tracking and overlaying readout diplays or glowing lighting effects, but if you can do these things practiaclly again they will most likely look better because the appearance of weight and light and shadow are more consistent. Look at the augmented props in MINORITY REPORT of the newspaper and cereal box.

Anything on the set that a performer does not interact with is "set dressing".

jin choung
05-10-2009, 09:24 PM
imo, it's always better and more authentic to shoot with props. and for major productions, many times it's CHEAPER to do it that way. same goes for minis but a strong argument can be made that for hard body models without a lot of physics interactions (explosions, water, etc), it's better and cheaper to use cgi. cgi ships imo are much better and more flexible than shooting motion control against a bluescreen on pylons... you don't gain much if anything and you incur a lot of loss of flexibility.

but for low budge one man armies, you might not even be able to get your hands on a real ak-47 or be able to field it in downtown l.a. without getting shot by cops... so for such guerilla crews, cg becomes EVERYTHING.....

jin

prometheus
05-11-2009, 06:54 AM
I prefer the visuals given by real props, like the oldie starwars movies.

The newer movieīs has itīs charm but a picky trained eye usally findīs itself
screaming CG..CG

So in terms of heavy depth realism & lighting, prop models still wins over
Even extreme high poly models and great global illumination models.
Maybe some years ahead the cg migh surpass it.

however animation motion and physics, explosions and complexity of scene
is probably way beyond what you can achieve with props ( unless you have all the real thing and lotīs a money to blow it up severall times.)

Michael

lwaddict
05-11-2009, 08:14 AM
I've always said it's the marriage of the two types of fx that makes things pop off the screen.

Sadly, bad CGI, as in the latest Star Wars flicks, has given CGI a bad name.

CGI is the ultimate tool...
but people need to understand the tool to use it properly.

Your best props are made by people who not only understand thier tools, materials, lighting, and the camera...but how it will all come across onto film/video.

You CGI people should understand all this too and more importantly be able to say so
when the director starts with, "oh...wait...you know what would be kewl?"
This person must be found and stopped.

*Pete*
05-11-2009, 08:38 AM
real props and even miniature models are often better than cgi effects...

take a look at for example Lord of the Rings.
most static objects..the Minas tirith, the Magicians tower, the Elven fortress at Rivendale, trees, caves and so on were miniature modells and always felt real.

then you have the cgi additions, some of it was done flawlessly but most of what was animated was not perfect..the wolfriders and wolfs seemed to be too light and weak..many animations in the bigger battles were somehow too fast, horses fell too fast..the fight on the brigde at the keep between the two of the heros and countless numbers of enemies just seemed silly...

the reason for why CGI often looks false is that everything need to be replicated by the artist...it is not just a matter of modelling and texturing as it is with miniature modells, the light in 3D programs is false light and you have to recreate the natural behavior of light...and when you get to animating the stuff the problems double or tripple, there are so many variables to keep an eye on and failing in any of them will potentially give away a shot as CGI.

another example, real props...you could have smoke behave realistically, CGI you have to emulate the behavior of smoke.
CGI should not be used for the sake of it...it should play a minimal but important part in vital places to ensure quality, the Starwars movies are as mentioned a fine example of making a movie to seem as a computer game...and im not talking about Crysis here, its more like castle wolfenstein.

toby
05-11-2009, 10:34 AM
My biggest problem with cg is a result of being so flexible - vfx supes and directors can't seem to stop themselves from f***ing with every little thing, frequently ignoring realism and good quality in favor of personal taste or some physically impossible look that they want - "it's an invisible stealth car - but it has to be clearly visible even at night time... and I want a highlight right there" yada yada

jin choung
05-11-2009, 11:08 AM
My biggest problem with cg is a result of being so flexible - vfx supes and directors can't seem to stop themselves from f***ing with every little thing, frequently ignoring realism and good quality in favor of personal taste or some physically impossible look that they want - "it's an invisible stealth car - but it has to be clearly visible even at night time... and I want a highlight right there" yada yada

yeah. biggest give away for a lot of high budge effects these days is the niggling voice in your head that tells you that there was no way this could have been shot in real life....

jin

Mike_RB
05-11-2009, 11:36 AM
yeah. biggest give away for a lot of high budge effects these days is the niggling voice in your head that tells you that there was no way this could have been shot in real life....

jin

Thats why the mark1 sequence in ironman was so fun to work on. They did have a real suit and it had real working flamethrowers. But the dude could barely move. That where we came in, cg suit for all the falling down/getting up/ walking fast/ and pick up shots after they changed the narrative mid production.

jin choung
05-11-2009, 11:37 AM
Thats why the mark1 sequence in ironman was so fun to work on. They did have a real suit and it had real working flamethrowers. But the dude could barely move. That where we came in, cg suit for all the falling down/getting up/ walking fast/ and pick up shots after they changed the narrative mid production.

yup. and i could NOT tell that was cg.

:thumbsup:

jin

JBT27
05-11-2009, 12:26 PM
The great irony is that poor cgi, on film or TV, actually takes the audience back to the early days of 'special effects', ie. it's clearly faked but as good as they could do given time/budget/skill/talent/whatever.

There is a whole level of cgi that displays itself for what it is, but is still stylish and genuinely useful, and I'm talking about those shots and sequences in alot of documentary shows. I think it scores heavily there as a genuinely useful tool, if wielded well enough.

But on features, far more common sense needs to prevail, and I agree with Pete about miniatures, especially on the LOTR trilogy. That's the thing, miniatures, good and indifferent naturally have reality, because they are real, whereas cgi is a complete fabrication in a limited toolset that doesn't mimic reality at all. At times you wonder why it's such the 'in thing' - it'd help alot sometimes if people didn't get so excited about the 'unlimited possibilities' and took a reality hit on what it actually is good for.

Julian.