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sideways
2003-Sep-17, 10:01 PM
Am I the only one who's noticed that even the "best" and most recent special effects aren't always as good as FX from older SF shows? For example, the disintegration effect. To me, the disintegration effect in shows like the newer Treks and Stargate SG-1 look like fake effects. But the disintegration effect from The Day the Earth Stood Still looks (at least to me) very realistic. And I'm like, "Hey! They didn't have CGI back in the 1950, so how come Earth Stood Still's disintegration effect looks real while Stargate's disintegration effect looks fake?" Any comments on this and other related themes?
:-?

mike alexander
2003-Sep-17, 11:46 PM
Maybe in part because Hollywood is still so enamored of all the neat things that can be tried with the current special effects generation. A bit like getting a new camera that has a zoom lens that you never had before. All you do is zoom, zoom, zoom. It's a bit of childish glee: look what I can DO!

As a counterexample, watch some prime Chuck Jones cartoons: Coyote and Roadrunner will do. Since it's a cartoon, he could have shown ANYTHING. But notice how often the really wild effect happens offscreen, or so far in the distance there are no details at all. Like Coyote falling off a cliff and going down...down... down... with a small puff of dust and a tiny, distant thud.


Sometimes less is a lot more.

captain swoop
2003-Sep-18, 08:07 AM
Am I the only one who's noticed that even the "best" and most recent special effects aren't always as good as FX from older SF shows? For example, the disintegration effect. To me, the disintegration effect in shows like the newer Treks and Stargate SG-1 look like fake effects. But the disintegration effect from The Day the Earth Stood Still looks (at least to me) very realistic. And I'm like, "Hey! They didn't have CGI back in the 1950, so how come Earth Stood Still's disintegration effect looks real while Stargate's disintegration effect looks fake?" Any comments on this and other related themes?
:-?

Compared to old fashioned animated and model effects CGI is cheap. Look at the level of effects in SG1 and remember this is just a TV show. CGI gives movie level effects at relatively low cost. Even on cheapo BBC sitcom budgets Red Dwarf had a higher level of effects than Dr Who because CGI allows for cheaper effects.

Glom
2003-Sep-18, 09:41 AM
SG1 has cool effects though.

Iain Lambert
2003-Sep-18, 10:50 AM
A prime example of this is to see the original and Special Ed. versions of Star Wars side by side. The 1977 model effects look far more 'real' than 1997 CG ones now; the '97 effects have dated horribly in the last 6 years.

jokergirl
2003-Sep-18, 11:08 AM
The new CG stuff often strikes me more as "artificial" than older, more mechanic models. Why?

The new "creatures", "robots", and whatever move too smooth! Yes, they have inertia in the parts feathering back in a move, but it looks as if they had no kind of gravity or friction effects on them whatsoever. They move with wonderful, graceful movements, as if each and every muscle (or moving part, for the robots) were a frictionless spring.

Some movies where this struck me most were Dragonheart and the new Matrix movie. Come on, a beast the size of a tank and yet it moves gracefully like a cat? How does it ever get off the ground without breaking its bones? And I really want to know what those matrix guys grease their Mechas with...

;)

gethen
2003-Sep-18, 12:45 PM
One CGI effect that really got me during Star Wars Episode 1 was the crowd shots during battle. Yes, you had the impression of thousands of troops moving, but as the camera "pans" across this scene, there's a very unpleasant sensation of the image crawling across the screen. Almost made me dizzy. I didn't notice this effect during LOTR battle scenes, but maybe that was just because the movie itlself was more absorbing.

captain swoop
2003-Sep-18, 01:51 PM
One CGI effect that really got me during Star Wars Episode 1 was the crowd shots during battle. Yes, you had the impression of thousands of troops moving, but as the camera "pans" across this scene, there's a very unpleasant sensation of the image crawling across the screen. Almost made me dizzy. I didn't notice this effect during LOTR battle scenes, but maybe that was just because the movie itlself was more absorbing.

If you watch the 'making' docu thats included on the 'fellowship' extended DVD it shows how they did the big armies. Instead of a simple 'repeat' of standard figures each one had an 'independant' life of its own. They set up a small battle between a bunch of Orks and Elves and each character moves and attacks in a different way. Quite impressive.

Musashi
2003-Sep-18, 04:38 PM
IIRC, they gave the soldiers morale, and I heard in one of the tests, that a bunch of the soldiers ran away.

ToSeek
2003-Sep-18, 05:46 PM
IIRC, they gave the soldiers morale, and I heard in one of the tests, that a bunch of the soldiers ran away.

I heard that, too. I also heard that if you look very closely at the movie, one of the Orcs stops, pulls out his cellphone, and answers a call.

OscartheGrouch
2003-Sep-19, 05:07 PM
IIRC, they gave the soldiers morale, and I heard in one of the tests, that a bunch of the soldiers ran away.

I heard that, too. I also heard that if you look very closely at the movie, one of the Orcs stops, pulls out his cellphone, and answers a call.
Pretty good! The only alleged bloopers in FOTR I've been able to confirm are:

After the hobbits and Aragorn leave Bree, one of them asks, "where are you taking us?" Aragorn looks back and says, "Into the wild," looks resolutely ahead again as he is marching up the hill, and smacks his bow against the camera, knocking it just a bit off-line. He also seems to assume a "busted" look a frame or two before the cut.

When the Fellowship first walks into Moria and you see them silhouetted against the light from the door, look on the floor and you'll see the electric cord trailing from Gandalf's staff.

About the original question, yes I too have noticed that CGI is not NEARLY as convincing as Hollywood seems to think. The old-timey effects were a lot better in most respects. However, progress is happening sometimes, like with the dragons in Reign of Fire, and I thought some of the aviation sequences in Pearl Harbor were quite well done. If only they didn't have Zeros exploding in places where they have nothing to explode. :-?

Stuart
2003-Sep-19, 05:29 PM
However, progress is happening sometimes, like with the dragons in Reign of Fire, and I thought some of the aviation sequences in Pearl Harbor were quite well done. If only they didn't have Zeros exploding in places where they have nothing to explode. :-?

Of course, having 1940s Japanese aircraft bombing 1990s US Navy Spru-cans didn't help........

Perhaps Berman and Braga managed to sneak their temporal displacement machine onto the set.

Humphrey
2003-Sep-19, 07:38 PM
Even almost 11 years on, the dinosaur animations for jurassic park are nearly hands down better than anything we have today for monster or creature animation.

darkhunter
2003-Sep-19, 08:02 PM
However, progress is happening sometimes, like with the dragons in Reign of Fire, and I thought some of the aviation sequences in Pearl Harbor were quite well done. If only they didn't have Zeros exploding in places where they have nothing to explode. :-?

Of course, having 1940s Japanese aircraft bombing 1990s US Navy Spru-cans didn't help........

Perhaps Berman and Braga managed to sneak their temporal displacement machine onto the set.

The Final Countdown almost had them dogfithing a modern carrier air wing--then the sideway hurricane looking thing had to show up again....