Computer-generated imagery (CGI) has largely replaced physical effects in Hollywood filmmaking during the previous few decades. CGI is being used by modern filmmakers to create amazing views, astonishingly lifelike inhuman creatures, and breathtaking virtual warfare. Animatronics, pyrotechnics, and miniatures still look better than digital special effects, despite the amazing things that can be done with them.
That isn't to suggest that CGI isn't important in current cinema. If digital special effects artists couldn't make Iron Man's armor and Superman's flight look credible, the present superhero movie boom wouldn't have happened. Quality practical effects, on the other hand, produce films that are unrivaled in their realism.
Here are three reasons why physical special effects are superior to CGI in movies.
1. Creative Solutions are Necessary for Practical Effects
A violent great white shark threatens a peaceful New England island in Steven Spielberg's 1975 thriller "Jaws." The picture was a tremendous $470 million hit upon release, thanks to its excellent acting, sharp direction, and brilliant high concept. Indeed, cinema historians credit the film with launching the blockbuster genre, which is still popular today.
The picture was also known for being one of the most troublesome films of its time because that monster, created by creative director John Alves and special-effects artist Robert A. Matlin, was particularly difficult to control.
A strong polyurethane shell, a tubular steel skeleton, and a pneumatic motion system were used to create the creature for the film. The animatronic beast was designed to have the terrible appearance and actions of a real shark, according to the production crew. Unfortunately, Spielberg shot his breakout film on the salty coast of Martha's Vineyard. As a result, the mechanical monster's electrical systems were constantly flooded, necessitating routine maintenance.
As a result, the director and his crew had to improvise to work around their technological issues. Instead of appearing in 300 shots as planned, the antagonist in "Jaws" barely appears in a few. As a result, the brief passages in which the great white appears have a visceral impact that still chills viewers to the bone.
Hollywood producers now spend millions of dollars on cutting-edge CGI to make their movie monsters smoothly creep around the screen. However, by doing so, directors overexpose their monstrosities, undermining their terrifying character. Furthermore, current filmmakers spend so much time focused on the skin texture and hair movement of their characters that they fail to consider how to maximize their appearances on screen.
So, while the massive CGI shark in 2018's "The Meg" appears better than the one in "Jaws," it has a tenth of the visceral punch of its predecessor.
2. Performances are harmed by too much CGI
Peter Jackson's "Hobbit" trilogy disappointed fans of his incomparably superior "Lord of the Rings" films for a variety of reasons. For one thing, the more current series has a long-run length that doesn't match its underwhelming story. Worse yet, the films' heavy reliance on CGI makes them less emotionally engaging than Jackson's original J.R.R. Tolkien adaptations.
Jackson and his team produced the "Rings" films in the late 1990s, although they were released in the early 2000s. Because of the technical limitations of the time, as well as money restraints, the production used CGI sparingly. Models, matte paintings, forced perspective, and a plethora of prosthetics were used instead to bring Middle-earth to the big screen.
The trilogy's extraordinary effects, when combined with the breathtaking vistas of rural New Zealand, grabbed the imagination of a generation of moviegoers.
Unfortunately, when making the "Hobbit" movie, Jackson and his team had far more financial and technological resources. As a result, the trilogy portrays a Middle-Earth that is mostly created using green screens and computer animation. Regrettably, the new concept of the mythical kingdom appears and feels phony.
Indeed, the world was astonished by the "Rings" movie's pioneering depiction of the all-CGI character Gollum. In a world full of computer-generated creatures, however, the distorted hobbit lost his uniqueness.
3. The Uncanny's Mysteries
Steven Spielberg's "Jurassic Park," which was released in 1993, enthralled spectators with its breathtaking vision of genetically bred dinosaurs. The director and his crew used a blend of CGI and physical effects to bring the 65-million-year-old animals to life. While the Tyrannosaurus Rex and raptors were able to chase down their victim's thanks to computer animation, the animatronics brought them to life.
The famed Sam Winston Studios constructed a 43.5-foot-tall Spinosaurus that moved thanks to 43 separate hydraulic cylinders.
Furthermore, the team applied a beautifully textured foam surface to the prehistoric animal that mimicked the skin and musculature of a real creature. The effects studio also added a tail capable of creating 2 Gs of force to the 1,000 horsepower mechanical beast.
The Spinosaurus has undeniable real-life weight and force thanks to the studio's painstaking work. As a result, the cast of the film didn't have to envision coming face to face with a dinosaur; instead, they could just respond to the creature in front of them. As a result, Spielberg's resurrected dinosaurs have an odd sensibility that makes the viewer wonder.
In comparison, only CGI saurians appear in "Jurassic World," the 2015 reboot of the "Jurassic Park" franchise. While its prehistoric creatures have a great range of motion, they aren't particularly tactful. As a result, the dinosaurs in the new version never feel as menacing or awe-inspiring as they should.
Effects artists have been able to generate stunning CGI renderings because of recent developments in processing capabilities and storage capacity. Computer images, however, do not appear as good as practical effects when used alongside humans in a real-world setting.
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