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Cool Videos: Is the overabundance of CG effects ruining movies?

08.04.2015

What used to be created from silicone or lumber or a highly skilled stunt person can now just as easily be created in a computer. As summer blockbusters continue to grow bigger and more numerous, it's easy to point at them and say that CG is ruining movies; but is it really? A new video-essay from the folks at Rocket Jump Film School explains how modern movies use CG and why it's being blamed more and more for bad films.

It's often said that when CG is done well, you should never even notice it's there; while I do agree with that to a certain extent, I also know that Frodo Baggins isn't really talking to Gollum, I know that he's a wonderfully realized CG effect driven by a talented actor, but that never spoils my enjoyment of the scene because I'm invested in the story and character.

CG can fly under the radar, the Rocket Team's video definitely shows off a few examples of "I didn't realize that was CG" type effects, but it can also create amazing worlds that, despite knowing it's merely an effect, still has the power to astound and amaze us. It's been said many times, but CG is simply a tool in a filmmakers bag of tricks; nothing more, nothing less. The effectiveness of CG depends on the artist wielding it and the purposes behind its use. As specified in the above video, we're more likely to forgive bad effects if they are supported by a good story and good characters; perhaps the reason why there's so much "bad CG" nowadays is that there are so many movies which offer us nothing else.

Which film do you believe has used CG most effectively in support of its story?

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7:42AM on 08/06/2015
I used to work for a post production company and CG is like any other tool. Common Sense man hit nail on the head and is the point of CG. Its the effects you do not notice that work the best. The best director who comes to mind for this is Chris Nolan.
I used to work for a post production company and CG is like any other tool. Common Sense man hit nail on the head and is the point of CG. Its the effects you do not notice that work the best. The best director who comes to mind for this is Chris Nolan.
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7:59PM on 08/05/2015
Great video. And I totally agree the best CGI you never notice. Its just when they get lazy and are like hey we will just fix it in post, or when you get SyFy channel level CGI, then it blows. But environmental tweaks, or grading, goes largely unnoticed, and I have no problem with it if you can't tell its CGI.
Great video. And I totally agree the best CGI you never notice. Its just when they get lazy and are like hey we will just fix it in post, or when you get SyFy channel level CGI, then it blows. But environmental tweaks, or grading, goes largely unnoticed, and I have no problem with it if you can't tell its CGI.
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2:44PM on 08/05/2015
I think we are at times overly harsh about cgi, yes. I do judge good movies for their overraliance on cgi. Sometimes. Gollum was a great character, brought to life really well. But the Battle of Pellenor Fields in Return of the King was a computer-generated mess.

Right now, my big pet peeve is cgi fire. I give Fincher props for augmenting his with real fire, but I watched The Imitation Game, and every time they cut to the war, wasn't a bit of that burning rubble that was legit.
I think we are at times overly harsh about cgi, yes. I do judge good movies for their overraliance on cgi. Sometimes. Gollum was a great character, brought to life really well. But the Battle of Pellenor Fields in Return of the King was a computer-generated mess.

Right now, my big pet peeve is cgi fire. I give Fincher props for augmenting his with real fire, but I watched The Imitation Game, and every time they cut to the war, wasn't a bit of that burning rubble that was legit.
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10:06AM on 08/05/2015
these special effects are a tool, a means of telling a story but without a good story special effects are a pretty boring thing. To para phrasing George Lucas there.
these special effects are a tool, a means of telling a story but without a good story special effects are a pretty boring thing. To para phrasing George Lucas there.
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4:55AM on 08/05/2015
CGI hasn't always been the problem but the question is, should I use CGI? Some films want to make the movie more grand with more this and bigger that - the whole 9 yards! When in reality the film could be just as good without the grandiose look. CGI should compliment or enhance the film visually as well as the story line but sometimes it's used to save cost or this theory that if it has CGI in the movie it must be good.
CGI hasn't always been the problem but the question is, should I use CGI? Some films want to make the movie more grand with more this and bigger that - the whole 9 yards! When in reality the film could be just as good without the grandiose look. CGI should compliment or enhance the film visually as well as the story line but sometimes it's used to save cost or this theory that if it has CGI in the movie it must be good.
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+2
11:00PM on 08/04/2015

Nice....

That was a really good presentation. I was surprised about some of the CGI I didn't know about in films. He's got a great point about us noticing because the movie sucks and our brains are starting to nitpick (or we're so immersed in a good movie, we don't notice the little things).
That was a really good presentation. I was surprised about some of the CGI I didn't know about in films. He's got a great point about us noticing because the movie sucks and our brains are starting to nitpick (or we're so immersed in a good movie, we don't notice the little things).
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10:43PM on 08/04/2015
Dude has a good point, people don't complain as much about the CG if the movie, as a whole, is good. Like it or not, CG has been around for a long time and will always be a part of cinema, and it's not gonna go anywhere anytime soon.
Dude has a good point, people don't complain as much about the CG if the movie, as a whole, is good. Like it or not, CG has been around for a long time and will always be a part of cinema, and it's not gonna go anywhere anytime soon.
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10:35PM on 08/04/2015
I'm really fucking sick of these self-satisfied elitist YouTube film analysts like Freddie W. and Tony Zhou and whoever the fuck else, who constantly critique other people's methods and practices in an attempt to pigeonhole things as "good, bad, ugly, right, wrong."
I'm really fucking sick of these self-satisfied elitist YouTube film analysts like Freddie W. and Tony Zhou and whoever the fuck else, who constantly critique other people's methods and practices in an attempt to pigeonhole things as "good, bad, ugly, right, wrong."
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8:40AM on 08/05/2015
I'm really fucking sick of these self-satisfied elitist JoBlo commenters like HaloFett and whoever the fuck else, who constantly critique other people's methods and practices in an attempt to pigeonhole things as pigeonholing things.
I'm really fucking sick of these self-satisfied elitist JoBlo commenters like HaloFett and whoever the fuck else, who constantly critique other people's methods and practices in an attempt to pigeonhole things as pigeonholing things.
-1
10:34PM on 08/04/2015
Even though CG has become a lazy shortcut, it's not what's ruining movies. Putting practical effects as a priority over plot and characters is just as bad. At the end of the day, what matters is that a movie, even if it's not a claassic, can be re-watched and enjoyed by future generations. Bad effects by modern standars will make it feel dated. Bad effects that were bad at the time of its release will make it feel bad. Good effects that don't age mixed with bad directing, writing, acting, etc.
Even though CG has become a lazy shortcut, it's not what's ruining movies. Putting practical effects as a priority over plot and characters is just as bad. At the end of the day, what matters is that a movie, even if it's not a claassic, can be re-watched and enjoyed by future generations. Bad effects by modern standars will make it feel dated. Bad effects that were bad at the time of its release will make it feel bad. Good effects that don't age mixed with bad directing, writing, acting, etc. will make it feel bad too.
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10:23PM on 08/04/2015

Great Point of View

I agree with this video as long as the story has been good we don't nitpick. CGI has always been part of cinema. It just has not work for many films.
I agree with this video as long as the story has been good we don't nitpick. CGI has always been part of cinema. It just has not work for many films.
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10:16PM on 08/04/2015
A lot of the CG he's arguing for sucks.
A lot of the CG he's arguing for sucks.
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1:06AM on 08/05/2015
aaaaaaaand this video is basic talking about you.
aaaaaaaand this video is basic talking about you.
2:23AM on 08/05/2015
Apologies for having taste.
Apologies for having taste.
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