Saturday, September 12, 2009

Puppets vs. CGI (Part II)

So now that I have taped into why puppetry exceeds anything that CGI can dish out, I feel as though I should give computer animation a fighting chance… because honestly, there are some horror movies that had pretty good CGI animation. Back in the earlier days of horror movies or even general movies, CGI was not computer generated but rather animation, cartoons. When you see lighting strike something, it was drawn into the cell so it was literally a cartoon. It wasn’t until the mid 90’s when compute animations began surfacing in the film industry.

The Positive Effects

With puppetry and matting, there is a limit to what you can show in the film, but with CGI you can show anything and everything. There is no limit and anything can be shown on the big screen… even your wildest dreams can be brought to life using CGI. With computer animation, it makes storytelling easier to visual but it does have its downfall.

If you have a good animator, than the CGI will look real and it will push the bar for the way that movies are made. In the mid and late 90’s, a movie like The Faculty would have been a huge step in the developing CGI world. Back then, those little aliens looked very real and then when you flash-forward to a movie like War of the Worlds, the CGI looks very real.

From Blogger Pictures

CGI requires a lot of time and patients but it does not require hours of grueling manual labor but rather time when it comes to designing the animation and rendering the animation. I guess, in perceptive, people would rather sit in front of a computer for hours rather than work on construction for hours.

The Negative Effects

When a movie had bad CGI, it falls hard. It looks terrible, it looks phony and it takes the audience right out of the movie… so the pressure is on the director to choose an animator that knows what he or she is doing. If you don’t, you get a movie like The Langoliers.

From Blogger Pictures

Pointless CGI has always been a huge issue when it comes to movies and horror movies. I have seen movies that used such crappy CGI in the most inappropriate situations when they could have just used a puppet or not use it at all. A lot of directors abuse this power and it ends up ruining the movie and turning into laughing stock rather than a serious.

It’s a lot harder for the actors to act with imaginary monsters, or landscapes or objects and it can look really fake. When you have a genre that demands it’s characters to interact with imaginary monsters or ghosts and you are using CGI, it’s very critical to have actors who know how to act… and this can be a huge problem for independent movies because the actors/actresses aren’t always good at performing.

From Blogger Pictures

One major problem that I had with CGI is that it takes away the fear of the unknown from a horror movie and rather than leaving it up to the imagination of the audience, it pampers them by saying, “okay, here is the monster.” Horror movies back in the earlier days of film relied only on the imagination and it was scarier when you don’t know what the monster looks like, when you have no idea what it’s doing because it keeps you on your feet. CGI is catering, sometimes, to a society that has lost all imagination.

BOTTOM LINE: I am not ripping on CGI, in fact, there are several movies that have computer animation that I like and computer animation is making the impossible possible… but what I don’t like is when there is a movie that could have been great with puppets but they blew it on CGI instead.

Look at movies back in the older days of Hollywood, or even as late as the late 80s… people lived good old-fashioned puppetry and matting and they never complained. Now, I understand that it is a generation thing and today’s kids love computer animation and I don’t blame them, but they despised puppetry when that’s all they had to work with back then. Their needs to be more appreciation of animatronics as there is appreciation for computer animation. 


Anonymous said...

In general, I think CGI may be OK for touching things up, or bringing in different effects, but it seems CGI characters/animals/monsters are rarely believable. CGI characters have a weird gloss to them that just makes them look... like CGI. Not like a puppet. You could reach out and touch a puppet.

Anyway: Is that "Crocodile"?? We heart "Crocodile".

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