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View Poll Results: CGI or Models?
Models! 21 27.63%
CGI! 8 10.53%
both are good! 47 61.84%
Voters: 76. You may not vote on this poll

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Old June 28 2014, 07:08 PM   #31
MacLeod
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Re: Models or CGI?

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
trevanian wrote: View Post
Motion control model shoots were always expensive, I just haven't ever figured out WHY ... and I've asked a lot of folks at various fx houses this exact question since the late 90s, when the wholesale rush to do everything CG really knocked visuals down a few pegs.
Did it have to do with the time it took? With one hero model, there's no such thing as divide-and-conquer, right? You cannot throw more computers at the problem to increase the number of frames per day that you produce. IIRC, it took weeks to do the first shot of the three Klingon ships passing underneath in the opening of TMP. That is, the one model shot under three different trajectories with multiple passes for each trajectory.

That's sort of my understanding as well it can take several passes to capture all the elements of a model on a film. And if you only have one model and you need to use it reperesent multiple ships, then you have to repeat the process for each ship. But you are using the same bit of film each time so one mistake and hours/days of work is essentially wasted.
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Old June 28 2014, 11:30 PM   #32
dub
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Re: Models or CGI?

I prefer either when done well.. There is CGI even today that looks really bad, but other CGI looks amazing. Same for model work in the '80s and '90s.

I'm not a fan of CGI when it's overdone, which it often is these days. Just because you can make your fake camera move like that doesn't mean you should. Just because you can add more layers of flashy crap doesn't mean you should. Just because you can make anything explode doesn't mean everything needs to explode.

The more people do with CGI the more I appreciate subtle, understated work. A lot of CGI is impressive, no doubt. But just like poorly executed CGI, too much CGI (even good CGI) can take me out of the story. That's what's so great about model work -- it is limiting. The challenge can make people more creative instead of running crazy wild with every idea you can throw on the screen.
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Old June 29 2014, 03:11 AM   #33
trevanian
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Re: Models or CGI?

MacLeod wrote: View Post
But you are using the same bit of film each time so one mistake and hours/days of work is essentially wasted.
No, only on held-take stuff or real rush jobs (like the vger overflight in TMP) are all elements done on the same piece of film.
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Old June 29 2014, 03:21 AM   #34
trevanian
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Re: Models or CGI?

Metryq wrote: View Post
Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
What I do have a problem with is a knee-jerk reactionary hatred of either one.
Bingo. CGI technology is long past the glossy plastic stage. Textures, depth-of-field, motion blurs and highly realistic lighting are available in even cheap consumer software. As with miniature photography, any failings in the shot are due to the artist (including budgets, deadlines, etc.).

Don't blame the technology, old or new. Sometimes, less-than-real is a directorial choice and not a failure.
On the last part, I definitely agree, directors can mess up stuff with their choices, and not just in rush situations. Back on ALTERED STATES, Ken Russell actually preferred sloppy bluescreen matting, so some of the shots look more fake because he thought it was more striking (he must have loved shots of Michael York in the tube shuttle in LOGAN'S RUN!)

My problem is that for most of this century, we have been stuck with CG ONLY as an option, since there hasn't been a way for the industry to support conventional vfx due to economics (which also doesn't make sense, because you spend the same or more, you just get a higher volume of shots, usually at somewhat lesser quality.)

You can push a particular technique too hard ... getting too close on cg models still almost never works for me. Look at SERENITY, the work is less credible than a lot of the series work, even though the same people did most of it. But they pushed in way past the point of credibility on the ship, and the only way that would have worked would have been to use a miniature (and it makes me wish they'd actually used the physical crash miniature for when the ship makes rough planetfall for some of the close space shots.)

For me, I don't think a hero miniature can be beat, but I also realized my 'allergy' to CG, whether it is due to overexposure or colorblindness or some other factor, makes me more sensitive to CG deficiencies than most. Then again, I also HATE how good model shots are ruined when scanned at too low resolution (2k), because in the final comp they wind up looking like they were substandard CG, which defeats the whole point of building the miniature in the first place.
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Old June 29 2014, 08:28 PM   #35
trekshark
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Re: Models or CGI?

both have their place. What's more important is that which ever is used is well done.
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Old June 29 2014, 08:34 PM   #36
MacLeod
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Re: Models or CGI?

If you can't tell if something is CGI then it's well done CGI
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Old June 29 2014, 10:49 PM   #37
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Re: Models or CGI?

As to Kerner Optical (now 32-Ten Studios) on ST '09 it's possible they did blue and or greenscreen work with actors or stunt performers rather than model work, since they have a rather humongous standing greenscreen stage (I was there about 10 months ago).
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Old June 29 2014, 10:50 PM   #38
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Re: Models or CGI?

Shat Happens wrote: View Post
border-topic:

The second looks utterly fake. The first looks like makeup and a bad wig, but at least it looks real.
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Old June 29 2014, 11:31 PM   #39
SoM
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Re: Models or CGI?

Remember, the Hulk's proportions are meant to be inhuman, especially the face (the nose is meant to barely pass the eyes. Avengers didn't make it small enough for me).

King Daniel Into Darkness wrote: View Post
...sometimes models look hollow and fragile (when most TNG ships explode, it's immediately apparent that they're hollow shells).
Would that they were. Most explosions just involve them cutting away from the model to a firework, with no debris from it at all.

But yeah, even when they did blow up a sacrificial model, it rarely looked great - even besides the lack of interior, they never got small enough pieces (it's a bit like water, I suppose - it's impossible to shoot a splash in minature, because the relatively-humungous droplet size is a giveaway).

Then again, physical or CGI, Hollywood's obsession with explosion=fireball doesn't help.
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Old June 30 2014, 01:06 AM   #40
Metryq
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Re: Models or CGI?

dub wrote: View Post
Just because you can add more layers of flashy crap doesn't mean you should.
Now that's a pitfall of digital compositing—not normally considered "CGI," but certainly a close relative. Cel cartoons had the problem of "bluing" caused by multiple layers of plastic. If one element of a scene changed stacking order, the color would shift. Then there's the ubiquitous "pop" in exposure at the start of dissolves. And any kind of multi-generation shot (as opposed to latent image exposures) had artifacts of its own.

Digital compositing can be so invisible that an artist can get carried away—especially with those space battles or orc battles that are intended to overload one's senses.

(A fine example of "invisible" digital compositing is the VFX reel on the home video for the movie RED.)
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Old June 30 2014, 01:13 AM   #41
CorporalCaptain
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Re: Models or CGI?

One of the main problems with the CGI Hulk pictured above is that his skin texture is unnatural. Another is tone and color. He looks like an oil painting. Proportions are of secondary, or lesser, importance.
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Old June 30 2014, 02:03 AM   #42
trevanian
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Re: Models or CGI?

Maurice wrote: View Post
As to Kerner Optical (now 32-Ten Studios) on ST '09 it's possible they did blue and or greenscreen work with actors or stunt performers rather than model work, since they have a rather humongous standing greenscreen stage (I was there about 10 months ago).
Possible, but unlikely, since you'd figure anything involving live-action (especially involving stars) would have photo documentation, or somebody remembering it happening. The correspondence I've had with folks there who date back that far is all of the 'I don't remember, let me ask so&so' variety.
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Old June 30 2014, 02:24 AM   #43
Maurice
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Re: Models or CGI?

I did say "or stunt performers".
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Old June 30 2014, 05:11 AM   #44
Mr. Laser Beam
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Re: Models or CGI?

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
One of the main problems with the CGI Hulk pictured above is that his skin texture is unnatural.
Hulk is a mutant created via massive doses of radiation. Why would one expect his skin to look 'natural' in any way?
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Old June 30 2014, 05:19 AM   #45
CorporalCaptain
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Re: Models or CGI?

True, one can always plead artistic license. But, if I have to think of excuses like that, there must be a better way to do it. At the time it came out and as imperfect as it was, I was more impressed with the look of Ang Lee's Hulk than either of the Hulks that followed at the times I saw them. I feel like they're trying too hard in some areas and not hard enough in others. I seem to be getting fewer wows per buck these days.
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