Special and Visual Effects : Interesting article on why special effects aren't special anymore...

Interesting article on why special effects aren't special anymore...

http://www.mikeymo.nl/index.php/movies/articles/546-the-day-the-specia l-effect-died.html

Do you agree or disagree with the assessment? I, personally, agree.

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Whose idea was it for the word "Lisp" to have an "S" in it?

Re: Interesting article on why special effects aren't special anymore...

I basically feel the same, kids have taken over the toy store and all.
It seems to me there was a shift in the late 90's early 2000's from a low amount of quality shots to just volume based.

Films were promoting heavily how many VFX shots they had and it's gotten to a point were people just don't care, I think Transformers is a great case of spectacle without substance.

There are a few fighting the odds though, Duncan Jones used miniatures on 'Moon' and Darren Aronofsky utilized micro-photography of chemical reactions for 'The Fountain' and they both looked stunning.

Re: Interesting article on why special effects aren't special anymore...

That's true. It's all about "look what we can do" as opposed to simply trying to make a good film with an interesting plot and good performances. CGI has become the bane of filmdom, in my opinion, because of how reliant the studios are on it and how only a rare few these days care about the elements that make for truly great cinema. It also gets on my nerves when i see films like the stuff Robert Zemekis works on these days, where CGI is used for no good reason but to yet again express a "look at our amazing ability!!!" Why use motion capture to render...normal human beings? CGI has also ruined the animation world. beautifully illustrated classics like the stuff Disney used to produce have gone the way of the Model T car, all in favor of these awful looking CGI toons that lack the tender loving care of hand drawn animation. I am sorry, but no matter how perfect Toy Story makes their cartoonery, it just doesn't impress me even half as much as the world of hand drawn animation which requires tried and true artistic talent on every level. CGI just leaves me feeling hollow when all is said and done. It has it's place at times, but everyone is fdar too dependent on it and the end result is endless amounts of unimpressive, uninspired, non-entertaining schlock.

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Whose idea was it for the word "Lisp" to have an "S" in it?

Re: Interesting article on why special effects aren't special anymore...

I don't agree with that article at all. I find that scapegoating CG as a lazy tool, is lazy criticism. An over-reliance of any effect, practical or CG is just dull film-making. In terms of 'wow' factor, the seamless integration of heavy use of CG in a film like Children of Men -- where an unbroken 8 minute shot has as much mayhem and destruction as a Transformer film -- is perfect use of the tool. Environments and carnage are so carefully realized that it's almost impossible to tell what was filmed and what added in post. SUNSHINE (2007) made perfect use of CG without it feeling gratuitous and showoff-y. Even HUGO made some great integration of live and CG. Yes, the 'look at me' effects of the work of someone like Zemekis comes off more like a demo reel than a movie, but you can hardly fault the technology for being misused by a misguided filmmaker.

Re: Interesting article on why special effects aren't special anymore...

You say you don't agree the article, but then your reasons why say you do.
The destroyed environments in Children of Men are great example of CGI being used as a tool to enhance and not dominate.
The key driving force in that scene is the people and the distress they are in while the VFX help drive that sequence, with Transformers the focus is on big shiny robots punching each other.

Re: Interesting article on why special effects aren't special anymore...

I don't agree with the article. If Zemekis is abusing CG it's him I blame, not CG corrupting a once gifted filmmaker. As for crap like Transformers, there have always been films where the visuals, be it CG, or the set design, advanced puppetry and animatronics or other visual effects dominate and the script and characters take a back seat. Lay blame where it belongs, on the filmmaker.

Re: Interesting article on why special effects aren't special anymore...

I am laying blame on the filmmaker, they overused, abused and leaned so heavily on CGI they ruined the spectacle of it.

Re: Interesting article on why special effects aren't special anymore...

Bad CGI example is the mixing of Green Screen CGI with live actors. The actors are in a green room with nothing else around them. that's fine when it's just a background, but (eg in Star Wars prequels) there is characters, ballistics (eg laser bolts, etc), ships, monsters and other props. The actors seem like they have no idea what is going on around them. Try watching Sy Fy originals for bad cgi, some are so bad, they are actually comedy.


originally posted by TheSolarSailor
no matter how perfect Toy Story makes their cartoonery, it just doesn't impress me even half as much as the world of hand drawn animation which requires tried and true artistic talent on every level.

Actually i think Toy Story is an example of Good CGI, convincingly rendering things that would be difficult in traditional animation.

Re: Interesting article on why special effects aren't special anymore...

Indeed. One of the best things about the pre-CGI era was the arguments we had about how effects were done. Today though there is no dispute, because it's all done through digital animation.

For instance, I read only the other day about how they did the wall-of-flame effect in Independence Day, the huge fireball moving along the streets. What they did was build a model, then tipped it sideways, so that when the fireball of their pyro explosion moved up, it looked like it was moving along the streets. Fantastic! Somebody actually had to figure that out.

Re: Interesting article on why special effects aren't special anymore...

As a CGI animator who puts my heart and soul into every single frame of my work, I read statements like this and just cringe:


Nowadays they would just have a 3D model and render the scenes with him in it on a computer. An animatronic wouldn't be necessary, no little people would be required, and the possibilities would be endless as well; want him to fly? No problem. Want him to run, make a slow motion jump and stab someone? Here you go. Just have your actor he's stabbing in front of a green screen and the entire room will be generated as well.


Because it's just that easy!! Yeah, the computer just poops out fully rendered special effects... "All you do" is just push a button and it's there! It's not like someone has to model, rig, light, and render the damn thing to make it fit with the live action environment or anything... yeah, you can just push the "fly" button and he's up in the air!

So what does this guy think animators do? Mow the lawn? What a load.


20-30 years ago directors had to tackle the problem of having an effect put on screen realistically.


Yeah, dude, they still have to tackle that today with CGI...


Effects in a movie that simply are there to please crowds weren't new, but with CG being able to create an awesome shot with ease and on a relatively low budget it sometimes is as if a kid has just gotten the key to the toy store; They run wild with all the toys while we're just watching how everything becomes a mess.


Yeah... low budget... that totally explains why all these CGI heavy movies cost $200 million+ to produce.

And this dude seriously thinks CGI is "easy"? Maybe he should try it sometime. See how far he gets.


Motion capture was introduced with Gollum in Lord Of The Rings and is the basis of movies like King Kong, Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, Avatar and a string of cg-movies by Robert Zemeckis. All that does is record an actor's movements and use those movements to animate a wire frame model. Basically this is the same way Jurassic Park created its Dinosaurs; with wire frame models. The only difference is they were animated by a guy behind a computer instead of a guy in a suit full of little balls. Another exception I can think of was Avatar which introduced a new generation of 3D to the world, but ever since then I haven't watched another movie in 3D. It's a nice effect, but it doesn't add really something to the experience if you ask me.


That's.... not how it works at all.

Personally, coming from a CGI animation background myself, I think the writer is full of crap.

Re: Interesting article on why special effects aren't special anymore...

I totally agree with the article.

The CGI was good in Titanic (1997) and some other places, CGI does have a place, but beyond about 1998 it just got too full on to the point that it was all over the place.

"Block Buster Movies" now look like computer games...I hardly ever got to theatres anymore.

If I remember correctly, the first time CGI really got on my nerves was the 1993-96 submarine television series - "seaQuest DSV/seaQuest 2032" - where the sub in question was nothing more than a bad looking CGI creation! It partly wrecked the whole series!

Give me miniture effects any day!

Re: Interesting article on why special effects aren't special anymore...

I completely agree as we'll. I particularly like the bit about 3d effects and how they don't add and depth (forgive the pun) to a movie. If a director found a way to exploit the technology to express tone, purpose, or feeling, I would be impressed

Re: Interesting article on why special effects aren't special anymore...

It's more of an uninformed article than it is a written one. Clearly written by a schmuck who has no idea about the complexities and magic behind digital effects.
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