Models or CGI?

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by Shat Happens, Jun 26, 2014.

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CGI or Models?

  1. Models!

    21 vote(s)
    27.6%
  2. CGI!

    8 vote(s)
    10.5%
  3. both are good!

    47 vote(s)
    61.8%
  1. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    Well yes and no, the dinosaurs in JP which came out in 1993 still hold up well today, ROTS was what 2005 over a decade later.
     
  2. JJohnson

    JJohnson Captain Captain

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    I agree with you. I'm utterly tired of shaky cam all over the place - it's a sign of bad cinematography on the part of any director or producer in my book. And I'm also sick to death of lens flares! It's overdone and overused! Move on to character depth, story, plot, pacing, instead of such action, action, explosion, action, run, run, jump, action, explosion all over the place.

    I do enjoy some good CGI though. Compare the original 1960s Enterprise to what deg3D or Vektor produced in the last 8 years, or what TOS Remastered did, where you could look INSIDE THE WINDOWS to see it's a real starship. That is immersive. When we saw just white lights - that looks like a model to me and to me, takes me out of the suspension of disbelief each time now that we've got such good CGI. Models had their day, and in some instances are good to use even now, but I want some good CGI for my starships - so good that I can see inside Ten-Forward as the Enterprise scrolls past on my screen, and I can see crew quarters, lounges, labs, etc. from our vantage point, just like we could in TOS-R.
     
  3. Lance

    Lance Commodore Commodore

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    IIRC, Jurassic Park used a combination of CG and physical effects. Which is really how it should be. No one set of effects is better than the other, both have things they do better than the other.

    When the Dave channel revived Red Dwarf a couple years ago they found that while they wanted to do model shots, it was practically impossible to find an effects house that would quote them a reasonable price for them as they'd all switched over to CG and overheads on shooting with physical models had shot thru the roof since the old days compared to the relative cheapness of CG. So that's another factor, some studios just aren't equipped for full scale motion control photography anymore.
     
  4. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

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    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.
     
  5. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  6. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

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    My admittedly vague understanding is that the charge for stage time is enormous ... and yet I also know that for the FROM THE EARTH TO THE MOON miniseries they shot motion control miniatures for EIGHT MONTHS, and that was on a fairly meager budget (the whole series cost 65 mil, and you're talking a lotta hours.)

    The klingon shot took longer than most because it was shot frontlight/backlight, a process that Dykstra's group wasn't totally at ease with (Trumbull's group WAS), but was needed because they couldn't keep a bluescreen behind the model throughout the big move. That involves at least one whole other pass, and that is for each ship, since it was the same model being used for all three craft.

    The spinner-landing-on-police-precinct-roof sequence in BLADE RUNNER took a full week of stage time, a good-sized hunk of time on a show that had something like 3 mil to spend on ALL the vfx.
     
  7. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    Something I discovered while watching the extras on Man of Steel that blew my mind - they're even CGI-ing costumes on actors now! :wtf: - I mean, I realized it back during Iron Man, and the IM armor was one thing, but in Man of Steel, Zod's costume was CGI! The hell!?
     
  8. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk The Real Me Premium Member

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    I think Abrams prefers old school physical models and sets when ever possible.

    From this interview
     
  9. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I prefer CGI, but if models are necessary, I have no real problem with them.

    What I do have a problem with is a knee-jerk reactionary hatred of either one.
     
  10. Metryq

    Metryq Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    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.
     
  11. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  12. dub

    dub Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    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.
     
  13. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

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    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.
     
  14. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

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    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.
     
  15. trekshark

    trekshark Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    both have their place. What's more important is that which ever is used is well done.
     
  16. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    If you can't tell if something is CGI then it's well done CGI
     
  17. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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).
     
  18. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The second looks utterly fake. The first looks like makeup and a bad wig, but at least it looks real.
     
  19. SoM

    SoM Commander Red Shirt

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    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).

    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.
     
  20. Metryq

    Metryq Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    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.)