Is CGI Getting Worse?

#Is CGI Getting Worse?

I’ve noticed an uptick in VFX bashing recently. It appears that the idiots that yearn to pay money to watch a knackered print are taking ill of CG as a whole.

One such loverly piece is this “Ten reasons the quality of CGI is on the decline” nice classy title there. cough Clickbate headlines have improved journalism significantly right?

I Digress.

#1. “CGI has transitioned from a complimentary dish to the main course.”
Apparently there are legal limits as to how much CGI you can have in a movie. Anything more and it’s not considered good. Despite praising Gravity, which is basically a 3d animation with some live action Bullock pasted in (Trust me, I was there….)

The overwhelming perception is that VFX is some sort of black box. Apparently after the film is shot, you say to the VFX Producer “Here is $15 million, and some blank scenes, go make me some VFX. Nope, I don’t care what it looks like.”

Putting aside the sheer farce that production staff/DoP/Director don’t look at dailies/weeklies and demand 54 revisions. How do they think a movie is made? Do they think that past a certain budget they go “fuck making storyboards lets just freestyle this shit, I’m sure the money men will be cool with that”

You can’t VFX your self out of a plothole (Actually you can...). A shit movie is shit because the story sucks. Not because the VFX is “over the top”. Clerks is great not because its shot in black and white, but despite of it.

#2. “The physics are off.”
Oh dear oh me.

After the success of movies like Terminator 2 and Jurassic Park, it became apparent that CGI was > the best way to create realistic effects. One of the main reasons CGI outshined techniques like > stop-motion was movement. It got the physics right.

No, its because it didn’t look like shit. Yes, yes clash of the titans. Name me another stop motion FX heavy movie that’s actually good?

Now, over 20 years later, Hollywood has lost the concept of realistic movement with CGI. Scenes > from movies like Matrix Reloaded or Catwoman showcase stunts that are impossible to perform with > an actual human. Movies have abandoned the concept of physics and with it goes the audience’s perceptions of reality.

Oh for fucks sake. The whole point of hollywood is to indulge in fantasy. You don’t go to a movie to be remoselessly reminded about the boring constraints of reality. Are the muppets real? Can Kermit really ride a bicycle?

Did the publishers of H.G. Well’s The Time Machine studiously demand all reference to a time machine be deleted because its not physically accurate? Can we assume that because the original [Ghostbusters] ( got 97% on rotten tomatoes its 100% physically accurate? I assume it must be the case, other wise I’d be slipping on ectoplasm all the time.

To back up their silly point they choose a clip from Resident Evil Afterlife

Which isn’t even the best in the series, let alone the genre. The silly thing is, that stunt is actually fairly easy to achieve with practical effects(Miniature for the first part, wire rig for the landing). It’d still look physically wrong not because they used VFX, but because it was deliberately staged that way.

Even more silly is that it did use practical FX. All the close shots with the landing gear are physical rigs.

#3. “CGI has put us in a state of denial.”

CGI’s purpose should be to make a stunt or effect look more real. Whenever we see good CGI, we >shouldn’t realize it’s good CGI. We shouldn’t even notice it at all. It should be so real and >grounded that it pulls us into the story instead of distracting us.

Thats just good movie making. Its called suspension of disbelief. The writer really should go down to a local studio and just look at how vast and realistic modern sets are for period pieces like the Great Gatsby:

or Lincoln Yup, total CGI. All those crowd shots, CGI, Buildings? VFX, Streets? VFX. You get the picture. There are so many VFX shots in all movies that its almost impossible to tell.

#4. “The move to HD and 4K make CGI less convincing.”

CGI is far from perfect. But when the delivery format was celluloid and SD, it masked the >imperfections of CGI and made everything look more realistic. Filmmakers furthered the illusion >by purposely compositing CGI into poorly lit scenes and behind elements like smoke and rain. Now >with the stunning clarity of 2K and 4K (and even more so with HFR), we’re starting to see the >cracks in the pavement. As resolution increases, CGI is becoming less convincing.

Firstly you really need to actually learn how a movie is made before you start throwing accusations like this around. Here is a bullet point list of problems:
* 35mm is capable of being 4k
* the delivery format for the last 10 years has been at least 2k.
* Batman begins was delivered in 8k I was there man, before 64 bit nuke
* High Frame Rate doesn’t expose CG fog and rain, that shit is trivial to do.
* Poorly lit scenes are shot by crap DoPs. thats not a CGI fault, that’s hiring the wrong lighting/camera people
* 4k isn’t new. Prince Caspian was shot on film, and mastered at 4k.

#5. “Stylized grades and CGI don’t mix.”

The over-saturated color scheme blooming with every conceivable tone of orange and teal is >ruining CGI. CGI needs all the help it can get when composited into a scene. When you splash a >hyper-realistic grade over the top, it makes everything look fake including the CGI. This is why >Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Jurassic Park look incredibly real. They incorporated CGI into >scenes that had realistic lighting and color.

Do you even know what grading is? What the fuck is a “hyper-realistic grade”? Watch this and tell me which one is hyper-realistic. The reason why Dawn of the Planet of the Apes looks good was because it the DoP knew what they were doing. Jurassic Park was to early for Grading as described above. I suggest you learn yourself some more before spouting more bollocks.

Also, yes, teal and orange sucks balls. but thats a different issue.

#6 “There’s no restraint.”

Christopher Nolan shows incredible restraint with CGI. If it’s too expensive or just not feasible >to capture in camera, he’ll rely on CGI to recreate the effect realistically. Hollywood doesn’t >know how to show restraint with CGI. Their mentality is ‘Because we can, we will’. They want it >faster, bigger, brighter, more colorful, and 10X as epic as the last time.

Yes, he does show restraint. He’s the only director that I know of that always finishes on time. I assume its because he actually knows what he wants. instead of asking for 158 revisions of the same shot.

However as for his “I try to make everything practical” that is patently bollocks. That interstella Blackhole NONE OF IT IS REAL. its not even physically accurate. (I was there maaaan, I had to nurse the poor file system that simulation bumfucked)

Mr Noland is hollywood. I mean, like he’s got Oscars and shit. What your confusing here is risk aversion with good story telling. Something the studios are doing.

#7. “CGI-driven action is sequel-oriented.”
Let me correct you there. Movies in general are sequel-oriented. That’s because they make money. The film industry is just that, an industry. It needs to make money. Taking risks cost money.

#8. “CGI is dangerous.”
Well not physically, quite the opposite….

CGI is paralyzing the film industry. It’s taking over production time, budgets, story, and even >replacing real characters. It’s making films worse. If we allocated the amount of resources we >spend on CGI toward hiring better writers, creating cooler set designs, and minimizing post >production, we’d have better cinema. Because of the damage done by CGI, Hollywood can only >finance CGI-fest films with bloated budgets. The people demand CGI and the only way to keep the >demand up is to increase the dose of CGI.

Nope. Hollywood finances one of Four types of movies:

  1. A Sequel
  2. A book adaptaion
  3. A vanity project to keep the film talent happy
  4. An animation only if its Pixar, or full of famous voices

The rest either come from TV funding, or independent financing. They are then tarted round film festivals in the hopes of snaring a buyer. Once again you need to learn how films are financed before you start throwing bullshit like that around.

The reason why there is lots of CGI is because currently all profit making movies are comic book movies. End of. If they were adaptions of 19th century novels then we’d not be having this conversation. In fact we’d be talking about how we need to bring back Superheros and CGI to revive the flagging film industry.

Don’t confuse business decisions with CGI. Correlation is not causation…

#9. “CGI encourages lazy filmmaking.”

Well yes, there is a certain “fuckit fix it in post” but then you know “we’ll fix it in the edit” has been around since Georges Méliès. Who by the way had excellent facial hair.

CGI has put filmmakers in the ‘we’ll fix it in post’ mindset. It has made them incredibly lazy. >There’s no dedication to the craft when you can endlessly fix imperfections on a computer screen. >Why go the extra mile to capture a stunt in-camera when you can hand it over to ILM to recreate? >Take Jurassic World for instance. They recently released a raptor training scene. There are so >many opportunities to use animatronics in this scene, but they didn’t. Even the closeup shots >were CGI. Where’s the passion? Where’s the commitment to realism? It’s a shame, and it’s so lazy.

Seriously? do you have any idea how fucking hard it is to make decent looking VFX? its not like CSI, where the DoP shouts enhance and the operator magically finds the button for “build and texture, animate and compose, (with hair sim) a realistic fucking dinosaur”

Do you know how shit animatronics look when you try and do anything other than a simple closeup on a head? DO YOU? no. So shut the fuck up and go out an try it before making stupid fucking statments about passion and realism.

unless you’ve tried making a realistic interaction between an angry Dino and a stressed human, in a long unbroken tracking shot, using only animatronics. Before you answer, No, you haven’t. Try it, then come back to me.

#10. “CGI has made us complacent.”

CGI is like a drug. The more we keep exposing ourselves to it, the less effect it has on us. >We’re chasing the dragon, so to speak. A collapsing practical indoor set isn’t cool anymore. You >know what’s cool? An entire building collapsing! A chance encounter with Darth Vader on Cloud >City? Lame. We need a 12 minute duel filled with over the top action on a volcanic planet costing >70,000 man hours to create.

What this has lead to is a complacency with traditional movie drama. It leaves us less impressed >with real life situations and settings. It makes us yawn at authentic dramatic tension because it >doesn’t contain a sweeping CGI destruction shot.

thats because the story line is shite numbnuts. Look, 90% of all movies are shit. They always have been, always will be. Its not because of CGI, its a multitude of other things.

Hollywood is a buisness, which means that instead of letting movie makers get on with things, they are “guided” by people who stare at spreadsheets all day. By serendipity, they happen to have astable coke dealer and access $500 Million a quarter. This means that what every stupid shit they ask you to do, you have to do it.

“I’m currently having sex with x, one of their firends is a ‘talented’ writer, go make a movie with them”

“The focus group say they want more explosions, can you put more destruction in pride and prejudice”

“Twitter is really viral, can we integrate that into the plot of something”

“Veterans are really hot right now. Can we make a movie that glosses over deliberate shooting of civilians and make it look like they asked for it. ”

#In Conclusion.
Basically the problem with hollywood is that to get big bucks you need to cede creative control to idiots. Having a decent plot is second fiddle to having famous film stars. An original idea is an expensive risk, which can only be taken by 5 select directors

Basically TV is where anything iteresting is getting made. The rise of HBO, netflix et al should yield some gems.

#Further more
If you’re going to critique film making, at least have a go at it before to mouth off. Its obvious that you know shit all, so don’t try and cover it up with phrases you half understand. Mind you that applies to most things in life.