Excellence in Practical Effects (Full Version)

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King of Kafiristan -> Excellence in Practical Effects (3/4/2012 6:46:33 PM)

I've started this exclusive thread to highlight the wonders of practical effects wizardry, an art form that has brought to us some of the most stunning screen images of all time. Sadly these days the philosophy on set is "we can do it in post", and the skill and know how required to properly integrate these FX into a given shot or scene has fallen by the wayside.

CGI is a wonderful tool that allows a skilled filmmaker to realize artistic visions that would never have been possible before the advent of digital imagery. With that said, it's all too often used as a crutch for those without the imagination to bring these creations to life without a swirl of pixels. A true filmmaker like Del Torro knows the strengths and weaknesses of CGI, and can use CGI subtly, in the background, to cover the seams and bring life to his practical effects. Unfortunately, that seems to be the exception rather than the rule. Most of the time CGI is needlessly placed front and center and as a result films end up feeling weightless.

In the end, the eye knows what's real and what isn't. It's why Stan Winston's ROBOT REX from JP still inspires awe, as if Spielberg had brought a living dinosaur to the set, while 15 odd years later, the CGI REX gets at best a golf clap for the sense of weight in it's animation. One held up, one didn't. What is real will always be real, where as a computer simulation will look outdated as soon as more accurate modeling algorithms are devised.

Most of the best shots people remember are shots of the Robot T Rex, not the CGI one:

The Robot rex looking at Lex and Tim through the SUV window, blowing Grant's hat off, and crushing the SUV into the mud while it roars (Or almost any shot of it roaring) are all done using a rubber Robot.

It's hands down one of the most amazing things I've seen in a film. Not for one second does it look like anything other than a living creature.

[image]http://i1149.photobucket.com/albums/o581/sekandergul/t-rex-1.jpg[/image]

In the age of CGI, the only thing I'd possibly do differently would be to take the robot head and torso and extend them digitally.


Stunning footage of the robot in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v5Co3A3fLBo&feature=player_embedded#!


At the 1:10 mark is one of the more astounding shots, a personal favorite, as the robot roars and then crushes the Jeep into the mud with it's foot, all in the same shot!


Anyway, I had to start us off with Stan Winston's greatest triumph, but I'll be posting up more of my favorites soon, and I look forward to seeing what you guys consider to be the BEST OF THE BEST OF PRACTICAL FX! [:)]




Spaldron -> RE: Excellence in Practical Effects (3/4/2012 7:08:37 PM)

[image]http://geektyrant.com/storage/post-images/Alien%20Queen.png[/image]




DancingClown -> RE: Excellence in Practical Effects (3/4/2012 7:28:45 PM)

No, I have to disagree. Not that Stan Winston's T-Rex doesn't look fantastic - as it obviously does - but the fact you say the CGI doesn't stand up. Of course it does. It's used sparingly in that first scene and is blended almost seamlessly with the practical effect. I've heard many people agree that the CGI in Jurassic Park, although comparitively 'primitive', still looks better 19 years on than a lot of modern-day blockbusters. Maybe not in its realism, but certainly in its application. It wasn't overused. And to me it still looks stunning.

There's that shot where Grant & Malcolm are looking up at at the T-Rex from their car and the head is practical, and then the camera pans down to windcsreen level and the shot of the Rex moving towards the other car is CGI. The transition is flawless and for me it's one of the best special effects shots ever. So while I understand the compulsion to deify practical effects (and as a movie-child of the 80s I adore practical effects) I think it's a little unfair to dismiss the CGI in this case. It was groundbreaking. But as is almost the case with pioneering others ran with it and overused it and fucked it up.




Dpp1978 -> RE: Excellence in Practical Effects (3/4/2012 8:30:54 PM)

The failure of this argument is that those espousing this view invariably take the very cream of physical effects and compare them to ropey CG shots.

You have to compare like with like. The very best practical shots should be compared to the very best in CG. Otherwise it is about as valid a criticism as comparing the stop motion from The Evil Dead to Davey Jones from the Pirates of the Caribbean sequels.

Yes the T-Rex anamatronic was staggering in close and medium shots, but as soon as you want to go wide you have a problem. It had finished at the haunches: it had no legs. Similarly if you wanted it to move across the frame you can't. It was a static unit. You could fudge it with angles for some shots: like the one you admire so much of the car being crushed, but it is a serious limitation.

My favourite shot of the whole sequence is the one starting at the 48 second mark of the video you posted. Everything except the background plate and the kids is entirely CG. It still looks great.

Jurassic Park had a few ropey practical shots too. I have never liked the shot of the T-Rex testing the electric fence, and the less said about the "clever girl" who jumps out at Bob Peck the better.

They were planning to use go-motion to shoot the dinosaurs and comping them in. That is a practical effect but just as artificial as CG. If you've seen the test footage done by Phil Tippett and compared it to the final CG shots there really isn't anything between them. If anything the movement in the CG shot is a little more "real".

I appreciate old school effects as much as anyone but I'm not blind to their limitations.

Anyway in the spirit of this thread I'd nominate the puppet of Murphy from the uncut version of Robocop. You can see it from 2.50 on in this clip.

Click me





darthbane -> RE: Excellence in Practical Effects (3/4/2012 9:11:43 PM)

Personally I feel that both CGI and practical effects can be a mixed bag and quality is generally down to the film maker. I would look at a very specific area, and that is "shark" effects. I believe that if Steven Speilberg had been able to use the CGI available to him on Jurassic Park, whiles't making Jaws, he would have been able to correct the one thing that is widely considered to be a problem with Jaws, namely the rubber shark. A great example of a CG shark would be in the movie Deep Blue Sea, which itself is a mixture of the pixel and the practical. Certainly in the first half of Jaws the shots, or lack of shots, of "Bruce" are perfect and the limitations add to the movie, in that fear is created by the unknown/unseen. However seeing Robert Shaw bitten in half by a puppet could have been improved had CGI been available.That's not to say that DBS is a better film, far from it, but the CGI does work.




DancingClown -> RE: Excellence in Practical Effects (4/4/2012 12:10:19 AM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: Dpp1978

Jurassic Park had a few ropey practical shots too. I have never liked the shot of the T-Rex testing the electric fence, and the less said about the "clever girl" who jumps out at Bob Peck the better.

Click me



Now that I think about it I never liked the side-shot of the Brachiosaurus as its head leans in to eat the plants from the tree that Grant and the kids are hiding in. Something just didn't seem right.

But in the spirit of the thread I'd like to nominate the At-At walkers from Empire Strikes Back. The unique design, the execution, their majestic audacity, I still find them mesmerising.




grucl -> RE: Excellence in Practical Effects (4/4/2012 7:23:42 AM)

I'd like to throw in Total Recall (the elder).

It was the last big budget Hollywood movie before the advent of CGI. It uses all the tricks in the book available up until that point.

The animatronic work is fantastic:

[image]http://membres.multimania.fr/marsetsf/tr/kuato.jpg[/image]

[image]http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-dLz3FPSBVFU/Ti5-T8l9iOI/AAAAAAAAA1A/igU8s3eIEeQ/s1600/Total+Recall+-+head.jpg[/image]

[image]http://therealsasha.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/total_recall_01.jpg[/image]




jonson -> RE: Excellence in Practical Effects (4/4/2012 7:59:32 AM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: darthbane

Personally I feel that both CGI and practical effects can be a mixed bag and quality is generally down to the film maker. I would look at a very specific area, and that is "shark" effects. I believe that if Steven Speilberg had been able to use the CGI available to him on Jurassic Park, whiles't making Jaws, he would have been able to correct the one thing that is widely considered to be a problem with Jaws, namely the rubber shark. A great example of a CG shark would be in the movie Deep Blue Sea, which itself is a mixture of the pixel and the practical. Certainly in the first half of Jaws the shots, or lack of shots, of "Bruce" are perfect and the limitations add to the movie, in that fear is created by the unknown/unseen. However seeing Robert Shaw bitten in half by a puppet could have been improved had CGI been available.That's not to say that DBS is a better film, far from it, but the CGI does work.


I just threw up out of my nose. [:'(]


I think good practical effects shots - realllly good effects shots, show that sometimes you only need CGI for background or scale shots (tens of thousands of orcs for example). American Werewolf in London and the original The Thing prove that. The Robocop example above is excellent also.
Despite being critised for CGI, the prequel to The Thing has some utterly amazing practical effects, far more than I noticed while watching it.




Whistler -> RE: Excellence in Practical Effects (4/4/2012 8:29:52 AM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: darthbane

Personally I feel that both CGI and practical effects can be a mixed bag and quality is generally down to the film maker. I would look at a very specific area, and that is "shark" effects. I believe that if Steven Speilberg had been able to use the CGI available to him on Jurassic Park, whiles't making Jaws, he would have been able to correct the one thing that is widely considered to be a problem with Jaws, namely the rubber shark. A great example of a CG shark would be in the movie Deep Blue Sea, which itself is a mixture of the pixel and the practical. Certainly in the first half of Jaws the shots, or lack of shots, of "Bruce" are perfect and the limitations add to the movie, in that fear is created by the unknown/unseen. However seeing Robert Shaw bitten in half by a puppet could have been improved had CGI been available.That's not to say that DBS is a better film, far from it, but the CGI does work.


I never saw that as a problem. The fact that they considered using stop motion at one point, I think it came out pretty damn well.




DancingClown -> RE: Excellence in Practical Effects (4/4/2012 8:38:18 AM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: darthbane

However seeing Robert Shaw bitten in half by a puppet could have been improved had CGI been available.


No fucking way. That scene is horrifying. Having a fake CGI shark would be no more effective than having a fake practical shark. Most of the horror comes from the fact that we love Quint and don't want him to die, how he's having what he described so graphically before happen to him now. That and Robert Shaw's performance. That scene is far more effective than any of the death scenes in Deep Blue Sea with their 'improved' effects.




darthbane -> RE: Excellence in Practical Effects (4/4/2012 8:44:50 AM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: jonson


quote:

ORIGINAL: darthbane

Personally I feel that both CGI and practical effects can be a mixed bag and quality is generally down to the film maker. I would look at a very specific area, and that is "shark" effects. I believe that if Steven Speilberg had been able to use the CGI available to him on Jurassic Park, whiles't making Jaws, he would have been able to correct the one thing that is widely considered to be a problem with Jaws, namely the rubber shark. A great example of a CG shark would be in the movie Deep Blue Sea, which itself is a mixture of the pixel and the practical. Certainly in the first half of Jaws the shots, or lack of shots, of "Bruce" are perfect and the limitations add to the movie, in that fear is created by the unknown/unseen. However seeing Robert Shaw bitten in half by a puppet could have been improved had CGI been available.That's not to say that DBS is a better film, far from it, but the CGI does work.


I just threw up out of my nose. [:'(]


I think good practical effects shots - realllly good effects shots, show that sometimes you only need CGI for background or scale shots (tens of thousands of orcs for example). American Werewolf in London and the original The Thing prove that. The Robocop example above is excellent also.
Despite being critised for CGI, the prequel to The Thing has some utterly amazing practical effects, far more than I noticed while watching it.



I agree with this, but in my opinion the shark in Jaws is sometimes, not a good practical effect.

To quote Marty Mcfly, "Shark still looks fake".

This is only a few times in the film and it doesn't make Jaws any less of a masterpiece. I just think Spielberg is one of a few filmmakers has the ability to employ CGI perfectly and probably would have done if the tool had been available to him back in the day.
This isn't to say that I would want to see any E.T. style remaster
[:'(]




darthbane -> RE: Excellence in Practical Effects (4/4/2012 8:57:09 AM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: DancingClown


quote:

ORIGINAL: darthbane

However seeing Robert Shaw bitten in half by a puppet could have been improved had CGI been available.


No fucking way. That scene is horrifying. Having a fake CGI shark would be no more effective than having a fake practical shark. Most of the horror comes from the fact that we love Quint and don't want him to die, how he's having what he described so graphically before happen to him now. That and Robert Shaw's performance. That scene is far more effective than any of the death scenes in Deep Blue Sea with their 'improved' effects.


I know I should really stop digging this hole, but...

Yes Quint's death is a brilliant scene, and both Shaw and Spielberg do an amazing job with limited effects. My argument is that if CGI had been available at the time, Spielberg would have used it and he would have the skills it make it look brilliant




DancingClown -> RE: Excellence in Practical Effects (4/4/2012 9:47:20 AM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: darthbane


quote:

ORIGINAL: DancingClown


quote:

ORIGINAL: darthbane

However seeing Robert Shaw bitten in half by a puppet could have been improved had CGI been available.


No fucking way. That scene is horrifying. Having a fake CGI shark would be no more effective than having a fake practical shark. Most of the horror comes from the fact that we love Quint and don't want him to die, how he's having what he described so graphically before happen to him now. That and Robert Shaw's performance. That scene is far more effective than any of the death scenes in Deep Blue Sea with their 'improved' effects.


I know I should really stop digging this hole, but...

Yes Quint's death is a brilliant scene, and both Shaw and Spielberg do an amazing job with limited effects. My argument is that if CGI had been available at the time, Spielberg would have used it and he would have the skills it make it look brilliant


I know we're going to go round in circles here but I really don't see how you think a CG shark in that scene would work. It's a bright daytime scene that requires physical interaction with a writhing, screaming human. It's prolonged. The death scenes in DBS are quickly edited, vicious, and mostly underwater where it's dark and murky which aids the suspension of disbelief because they're so utterly unrealistic. In Jaws the shark is fake, yes, but in that Quint scene a CG shark would surely look faker as various other elements might have to be CG as well, including Quint. The practical shark occupies physical space and has a visual weight that just couldn't be replicated no matter how great your CGI or your director. But...luckily (hopefully) we'll never get to find out. [;)]

Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of Deep Blue Sea. They use practical effects as well, of course, and the huge shark in that scene where Stellen Skarsgard loses his arm looks brilliant and has an "ouch" factor that I think is a lot more effective than some of the more OTT stuff later on. Sam Jackson's demise is brilliant, of course, but certainly not because of its realism.




King of Kafiristan -> RE: Excellence in Practical Effects (4/4/2012 10:27:47 PM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: DancingClown

No, I have to disagree. Not that Stan Winston's T-Rex doesn't look fantastic - as it obviously does - but the fact you say the CGI doesn't stand up. Of course it does. It's used sparingly in that first scene and is blended almost seamlessly with the practical effect. I've heard many people agree that the CGI in Jurassic Park, although comparatively 'primitive', still looks better 19 years on than a lot of modern-day blockbusters. Maybe not in its realism, but certainly in its application. It wasn't overused. And to me it still looks stunning.

There's that shot where Grant & Malcolm are looking up at at the T-Rex from their car and the head is practical, and then the camera pans down to windcsreen level and the shot of the Rex moving towards the other car is CGI. The transition is flawless and for me it's one of the best special effects shots ever. So while I understand the compulsion to deify practical effects (and as a movie-child of the 80s I adore practical effects) I think it's a little unfair to dismiss the CGI in this case. It was groundbreaking. But as is almost the case with pioneering others ran with it and overused it and fucked it up.



quote:

ORIGINAL: Dpp1978

The failure of this argument is that those espousing this view invariably take the very cream of physical effects and compare them to ropey CG shots.

You have to compare like with like. The very best practical shots should be compared to the very best in CG. Otherwise it is about as valid a criticism as comparing the stop motion from The Evil Dead to Davey Jones from the Pirates of the Caribbean sequels.

Yes the T-Rex anamatronic was staggering in close and medium shots, but as soon as you want to go wide you have a problem. It had finished at the haunches: it had no legs. Similarly if you wanted it to move across the frame you can't. It was a static unit. You could fudge it with angles for some shots: like the one you admire so much of the car being crushed, but it is a serious limitation.

My favourite shot of the whole sequence is the one starting at the 48 second mark of the video you posted. Everything except the background plate and the kids is entirely CG. It still looks great.

Jurassic Park had a few ropey practical shots too. I have never liked the shot of the T-Rex testing the electric fence, and the less said about the "clever girl" who jumps out at Bob Peck the better.

They were planning to use go-motion to shoot the dinosaurs and comping them in. That is a practical effect but just as artificial as CG. If you've seen the test footage done by Phil Tippett and compared it to the final CG shots there really isn't anything between them. If anything the movement in the CG shot is a little more "real".

I appreciate old school effects as much as anyone but I'm not blind to their limitations.

Anyway in the spirit of this thread I'd nominate the puppet of Murphy from the uncut version of Robocop. You can see it from 2.50 on in this clip.

Click me





I just want to take a moment to apologize for my tone in addressing the CGI effects in JURASSIC PARK. I come from an American film world where many people I know are fond of claiming that not only are JURASSIC PARK's CGI effects revolutionary, masterful and beautiful, they're still somehow objectively THE MOST REAL CGI EFFECTS of all time. These people claim that no CGI creature has looked more real since.

I am used to tilting against the windmills of that argument, and so I was trying to preemptively cut it off at the knees with my initial post.

What cannot be denied though is that the JP CGI effects were perfectly used and the animation holds up without a doubt. The Phil Tippet people who assisted ILM in the animation had a background in claymation and physical effects. CGI was a new technology, and so painstaking care was taken to ensure the movement of the REX looked perfect.

In years since, many CGI creations fling themselves about weightlessly, looking for all intents and purposes like a live action cartoon rather than an animal or creature that could possibly exist in the real world. For the JP CGI REX, however, months were spent studying lions and how they move, hunt and stalk prey. People familiar working with clay ensured that the CGI wireframe models were imbued with a sense of weight that has rarely been matched since.

All I was trying to state with my criticisms of the CGI, such as they were, is that they no longer appear "photo real". They work perfectly in the scene and any limitations in rendering can easily be excused given the age of the film, I was just saying that they don't fool your eye the way the robot still can.

Anyway,

As stated in my initial post, CGI is a wonderful tool. It allows for shots that would be impossible by any other means. In modern films I just wish it were used more sparingly, and better integrated into the action. JP does it perfectly, using the robot whenever possible, and the CGI in order to bring it to life outside of the close ups and 'trick shots'. Given the miraculous advances of CGI over the past decades, I'd love to see more films that take masterfully assured practical effects and cover the seams with perfectly blended CGI to extend background, bodies, ETC, in ways that were not at the time possible in JP. Today, for instance, you could have the ROBOT REX HEAD staring down Lex and Grant, in a full view wideshot, with a CGI body matched up. Your eye would be drawn to the head, with the water dripping off the snout, the steam from the nostrils, but the camera would be allowed the freedom to shoot it in such a way that they wouldn't have to worry about covering up the parts of the dinosaur not created practically.

Also, you're right, practical isn't always the way to go. Shot's like the ROBOT REX's arm testing the fence don't quite work, and that's a place where CGI would be perfect if you were making the movie in 2012. It just pains me to see the 'ALL CG, ALL THE TIME' approach that is so often the fallback in today's FX world. Practical has it's advantages, CG has it's strengths, and true movie magic can be achieved when the two are properly blended. It's a shame that with all the advances in technology, this craft is little used in today's film world.






King of Kafiristan -> RE: Excellence in Practical Effects (4/4/2012 10:42:30 PM)

Just a quick shout out to some of the effects posted up thus far. The ALIEN QUEEN, a large scale puppet, is another excellent effect that is truly unsettling in motion!

Here's one not many people think of when they think "mind bending practical effects":

DANTE'S PEAK, a film VFXHQ.com declares to have "one of the best miniature disaster sequences in cinema history".

Miniature water effects are extremely hard to do right. Even by 2002 and TWO TOWERS, there are moments where the "water filmed in slow motion" technique used to stage an imitation deluge doesn't always look quite right. Everyone instinctively knows how water looks in motion, and so when your using a smaller volume of water to simulate a flood, often times you're left with water that doesn't quite react properly with the right sense of weight or scale.

Not the case in DANTE'S PEAK.

Excerpted from an article titled IT'S A LITTLE HARD TO HIDE A MINIATURE SET THAT'S SO BIG (click):
quote:


The largest of the many mini sets at the airport was divided into two separate sections. On the right, a 30-foot-long bridge allowed toylike cars to cross a churning river. Off to the left, a 25-foot-tall dam blocked the river's path.

Perched above both sets was an expansive water tank filled with milky, murky water. On the opposite side of these sets, nearly 500 feet away, a larger tank sat empty. It waited, ready for the flood.

The water team was responsible for moving 780,000 gallons from the top of each set to the opposite side in only five minutes.

``We had to move about 140,000 gallons per minute. That's more water than all the water rides in California pumping at once,'' said Dean Miller, a special-effects supervisor who handled all the water work and engineering for the film.


When the water was finally loosed, it was felt for miles and struck with the force of a 3.0 earthquake.

In the wake of the JAPAN TSUNAMI, of which hundreds of hours of HD footage exists, it's harder than ever to pull off a convincing flood effect on film. Now everyone knows just what the worst case scenario looks like in real life. Though Eastwood's HEREAFTER had an admirably staged tsunami scene, our eyes could still tell that we were watching a clever effect.

With the bridge sequence in DANTE'S PEAK, however, which I rewatched for the first time in years last week, I was initially unsure how on earth they'd pulled off the shots I was watching. "By gods, I can hardly believe this!"

In the end, the only part of the scene that doesn't hold up are some wonky composites for shots where we're inside the cars looking out. The wideshots themselves are utterly impeccable:

[image]http://i1149.photobucket.com/albums/o581/sekandergul/cf405075.jpg[/image]

[image]http://i1149.photobucket.com/albums/o581/sekandergul/2b12f055.jpg[/image]




King of Kafiristan -> RE: Excellence in Practical Effects (4/4/2012 10:48:08 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: DancingClown


quote:

ORIGINAL: darthbane

However seeing Robert Shaw bitten in half by a puppet could have been improved had CGI been available.


No fucking way. That scene is horrifying. Having a fake CGI shark would be no more effective than having a fake practical shark. Most of the horror comes from the fact that we love Quint and don't want him to die, how he's having what he described so graphically before happen to him now. That and Robert Shaw's performance. That scene is far more effective than any of the death scenes in Deep Blue Sea with their 'improved' effects.


Bruce never worked properly, Spielberg hated him, and I can believe that as long as you didn't go overboard with movement and thrashing, a CGI model might have been an improvement for that shot. It works just fine as it is, but if the CGI shark had been capable of a smoother more natural motion, it couldn't have hurt. (IMHO)




Hood_Man -> RE: Excellence in Practical Effects (4/4/2012 10:59:00 PM)

Kalrisian you are a LEGEND! Yes, Dante's Peak, some absolutely incredible work in there! I was watching 2012 earlier and the moment when the earth blows up and you see the ash clouds and fireballs going up in the air immediately made me think of Peak, and Peak definitely comes out on top. Absolutely stunning!

I've seen some behind the scenes footage from The Matrix, and the scene where Neo wakes up in that gooey slime filled bathtub and finds himself full of plug sockets, I'm sure the shots of him grimacing in pain are puppet work.

Even though I've seen the puppet in action behind the scenes, I still can't see those "seams" that give these shots away once you've seen how they're done.




darthbane -> RE: Excellence in Practical Effects (5/4/2012 8:47:41 AM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: King of Kafiristan


quote:

ORIGINAL: DancingClown


quote:

ORIGINAL: darthbane

However seeing Robert Shaw bitten in half by a puppet could have been improved had CGI been available.


No fucking way. That scene is horrifying. Having a fake CGI shark would be no more effective than having a fake practical shark. Most of the horror comes from the fact that we love Quint and don't want him to die, how he's having what he described so graphically before happen to him now. That and Robert Shaw's performance. That scene is far more effective than any of the death scenes in Deep Blue Sea with their 'improved' effects.


Bruce never worked properly, Spielberg hated him, and I can believe that as long as you didn't go overboard with movement and thrashing, a CGI model might have been an improvement for that shot. It works just fine as it is, but if the CGI shark had been capable of a smoother more natural motion, it couldn't have hurt. (IMHO)


Exactly [sm=happy34.gif]




Dpp1978 -> RE: Excellence in Practical Effects (5/4/2012 9:31:12 AM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: King of Kafiristan


I just want to take a moment to apologize for my tone in addressing the CGI effects in JURASSIC PARK. I come from an American film world where many people I know are fond of claiming that not only are JURASSIC PARK's CGI effects revolutionary, masterful and beautiful, they're still somehow objectively THE MOST REAL CGI EFFECTS of all time. These people claim that no CGI creature has looked more real since.

I am used to tilting against the windmills of that argument, and so I was trying to preemptively cut it off at the knees with my initial post.


Show them this.

quote:

What cannot be denied though is that the JP CGI effects were perfectly used and the animation holds up without a doubt. The Phil Tippet people who assisted ILM in the animation had a background in claymation and physical effects. CGI was a new technology, and so painstaking care was taken to ensure the movement of the REX looked perfect.

In years since, many CGI creations fling themselves about weightlessly, looking for all intents and purposes like a live action cartoon rather than an animal or creature that could possibly exist in the real world. For the JP CGI REX, however, months were spent studying lions and how they move, hunt and stalk prey. People familiar working with clay ensured that the CGI wireframe models were imbued with a sense of weight that has rarely been matched since.


Phil Tippett is a gifted animator. It was his meticulous attention to detail, in both preparation and execution, that created such good results. A good animator will use every reference they can find to create a believable performance, that is irrespective of whether they are using hand drawn frames, physical models or indeed CG.

As with any film-making technique it is the artist and how much time and money they have to work with that is important, not the tools they use.

quote:

All I was trying to state with my criticisms of the CGI, such as they were, is that they no longer appear "photo real". They work perfectly in the scene and any limitations in rendering can easily be excused given the age of the film, I was just saying that they don't fool your eye the way the robot still can.

Anyway,

As stated in my initial post, CGI is a wonderful tool. It allows for shots that would be impossible by any other means. In modern films I just wish it were used more sparingly, and better integrated into the action. JP does it perfectly, using the robot whenever possible, and the CGI in order to bring it to life outside of the close ups and 'trick shots'. Given the miraculous advances of CGI over the past decades, I'd love to see more films that take masterfully assured practical effects and cover the seams with perfectly blended CGI to extend background, bodies, ETC, in ways that were not at the time possible in JP. Today, for instance, you could have the ROBOT REX HEAD staring down Lex and Grant, in a full view wideshot, with a CGI body matched up. Your eye would be drawn to the head, with the water dripping off the snout, the steam from the nostrils, but the camera would be allowed the freedom to shoot it in such a way that they wouldn't have to worry about covering up the parts of the dinosaur not created practically.

Also, you're right, practical isn't always the way to go. Shot's like the ROBOT REX's arm testing the fence don't quite work, and that's a place where CGI would be perfect if you were making the movie in 2012. It just pains me to see the 'ALL CG, ALL THE TIME' approach that is so often the fallback in today's FX world. Practical has it's advantages, CG has it's strengths, and true movie magic can be achieved when the two are properly blended. It's a shame that with all the advances in technology, this craft is little used in today's film world.





The biggest problem with the puppet, and any large animatronic for that matter is how it moves. It has to use motors and hydraulics which by their nature have a very mechanical way of moving; especially when they change direction. It tends to either be too smooth and precise or too jerky.

They are expensive to build and difficult to operate, not to mention potentially incredibly dangerous. These days the only equity in having something like the big T-Rex on set would be for the actors' benefit. If you are going to comp in a CG body you might as well comp in the whole thing. It'd probably be less work for the animator too.

As to all CG all the time, practical effects and miniatures are still incredibly useful tools. Even the Star Wars prequels (the poster children for "CG overload") used a massive amount of miniatures: each individual prequel had more model work than the original trilogy combined. ILM and Weta still use practical effects for shots where it would be easier and cheaper than CG. It is just their capture and compositing tools are digital rather than analogue.

It comes down to what is the best way to do something. It is still far easier, and far more effective to build a practical miniature and blow it up than to render an explosion in CG. The fact is most of us can't tell whether we are looking at a model, CG or a combination of the two when looking at an effects shot, which is exactly how it is supposed to be. Sometimes we don't even notice we are looking at an effects shot.

Just because we assume everything is CG these days doesn't make it true.

Another example of flawless old school effects work.

Click me.




DazDaMan -> RE: Excellence in Practical Effects (5/4/2012 9:46:05 AM)


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ORIGINAL: darthbane


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ORIGINAL: King of Kafiristan


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ORIGINAL: DancingClown


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ORIGINAL: darthbane

However seeing Robert Shaw bitten in half by a puppet could have been improved had CGI been available.


No fucking way. That scene is horrifying. Having a fake CGI shark would be no more effective than having a fake practical shark. Most of the horror comes from the fact that we love Quint and don't want him to die, how he's having what he described so graphically before happen to him now. That and Robert Shaw's performance. That scene is far more effective than any of the death scenes in Deep Blue Sea with their 'improved' effects.


Bruce never worked properly, Spielberg hated him, and I can believe that as long as you didn't go overboard with movement and thrashing, a CGI model might have been an improvement for that shot. It works just fine as it is, but if the CGI shark had been capable of a smoother more natural motion, it couldn't have hurt. (IMHO)


Exactly [sm=happy34.gif]


No.

I'm going to throw my hat in the ring here, regarding CGI vs practical shark effects.

CGI sharks simply don't work well enough. The programmers take the same view of these that they do when creating CGI fighter planes - they make the movements too quick, unrealistic, and even faker than what they would normally look.

Even the shitfest that is Shark Night 3D actually looked half-decent when the director resorted to using animatronic sharks for certain sequences (the cage scene, for instance). A good puppeteer (or whatever you want to call them these days!) can create a realistic movement, but a great one can make something seem alive.

Another sequence from Jaws that would NOT have worked when done in CG was, funnily enough, the shark-cage scene. Bruce charging the cage and smashing the shit out of it while Hooper was trapped in it - fucking scary shit. CGI shark charging a CGI cage with a CGI diver in it? Not so much.




st3veebee -> RE: Excellence in Practical Effects (5/4/2012 10:56:18 AM)

Regarding Jaws: I think adding a cgi shark for the moments when he swims by instead of just planking along would improve it. Other wise I am quite happy with Bruce.

I agree that the T Rex is still phenomonal, along with the Alien Queen. There really never will be another Stan Winston.

I also love the Dilophosaurus in JP as well. The movements remind me of my dog [:)]




st3veebee -> RE: Excellence in Practical Effects (5/4/2012 10:57:04 AM)

Oh before I forget: Audrey 2 in TLSoH is still fantastic.




DazDaMan -> RE: Excellence in Practical Effects (5/4/2012 11:13:03 AM)


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ORIGINAL: st3veebee

Regarding Jaws: I think adding a cgi shark for the moments when he swims by instead of just planking along would improve it. Other wise I am quite happy with Bruce.



I don't know. The shot where Bruce swims by the Orca (as seen from atop the crow's nest) gives you a sense of how fucking HUGE that shark really is, and the fact that he hardly moves as he goes by makes him look more majestic. The sequences where the shark's fin powers through the water without effort makes the strength and power of the shark much more impressive.

If it was CG'd, it would be jerky and, OK, realistic, but that's NOT what was intended, I think....




vader100 -> RE: Excellence in Practical Effects (5/4/2012 11:25:19 AM)


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ORIGINAL: darthbane


quote:

ORIGINAL: DancingClown


quote:

ORIGINAL: darthbane

However seeing Robert Shaw bitten in half by a puppet could have been improved had CGI been available.


No fucking way. That scene is horrifying. Having a fake CGI shark would be no more effective than having a fake practical shark. Most of the horror comes from the fact that we love Quint and don't want him to die, how he's having what he described so graphically before happen to him now. That and Robert Shaw's performance. That scene is far more effective than any of the death scenes in Deep Blue Sea with their 'improved' effects.



I know I should really stop digging this hole, but...

Yes Quint's death is a brilliant scene, and both Shaw and Spielberg do an amazing job with limited effects. My argument is that if CGI had been available at the time, Spielberg would have used it and he would have the skills it make it look brilliant


Because he used CGI to such good effect in Indy 4 didn't he? The shark works perfectly. What do people want from it, facial expressions?

The works on the LOTR with the "bigatures" and perspective filming were far better than any of the CGI effects, Gollum excepted.





superdan -> RE: Excellence in Practical Effects (5/4/2012 11:36:56 AM)


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ORIGINAL: st3veebee

Oh before I forget: Audrey 2 in TLSoH is still fantastic.


Agreed. Amazing bit of work.

I think the only thing that matters is whether the effect is convincing or not, regardless of it's source. Taking Jurassic Park as the OP's example, the animatronic Rex works great, the animatronic Brachiosaur not so much. The CGI Rex/Velociraptor bit at the end still looks great, the bit with the raptors in the kitchen not so much. It's not an either/or thing for me, though like Del Toro and Ridley I prefer to see practical effects used as much as possible as I personally think it's more convincing (both to look at and in the way actors interact with them).




NCC1701A -> RE: Excellence in Practical Effects (5/4/2012 11:37:35 AM)

Has people have said CGI sharks just don't work. How can you be scared of some thing that looks like it has been done in a computer. I have to say that I do like Bruce the Shark and thank god that Spielberg is not like Geroge Lucas  who is busy marking  the Star wars  original trilogy look like the prequel trilogy. Jaws really would suck with a badly done CGI shark. 




superdan -> RE: Excellence in Practical Effects (5/4/2012 11:38:47 AM)


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ORIGINAL: NCC1701A

Has people have said CGI sharks just don't work. How can you be scared of some thing that looks like it has been done in a computer. I have to say that I do like Bruce the Shark and thank god that Spielberg is not like Geroge Lucas  who is busy marking  the Star wars  original trilogy look like the prequel trilogy. Jaws really would suck with a badly done CGI shark. 


Fair point, Jaws' Bruce looks better than the CGI sharks in Deep Blue Sea (and is far more terrifying).




OPEN YOUR EYES -> RE: Excellence in Practical Effects (5/4/2012 11:40:08 AM)

The CGI Sharks in deep blue sea are pretty terrifying imo.




UTB -> RE: Excellence in Practical Effects (5/4/2012 11:43:23 AM)


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ORIGINAL: OPEN YOUR EYES

The CGI Sharks in deep blue sea are pretty terrifying imo.


I think its inconsistent. Some of the CGI is immense and other parts are fucking awful. You can see where they've spent more time in one scene than they have elsewhere.

The scene where a particular actor gets eaten after a stirring speech is laughable - his whole body is CG and his hands are blocks, like a GTA game or something.




OPEN YOUR EYES -> RE: Excellence in Practical Effects (5/4/2012 11:45:47 AM)


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ORIGINAL: UTB


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ORIGINAL: OPEN YOUR EYES

The CGI Sharks in deep blue sea are pretty terrifying imo.


I think its inconsistent. Some of the CGI is immense and other parts are fucking awful. You can see where they've spent more time in one scene than they have elsewhere.

The scene where a particular actor gets eaten after a stirring speech is laughable - his whole body is CG and his hands are blocks, like a GTA game or something.


Maybe I'm thinking of the (terrifying) scenes instead of the thing itself,If that makes any sense.[&:]




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