Models or CGI?

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

?

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. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2011
    Location:
    "Who are you?"
    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.
     
  2. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2004
    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.
     
  3. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Location:
    Walking distance from Starfleet HQ
    I did say "or stunt performers". :)
     
  4. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    May 10, 2005
    Location:
    The visitor's bullpen
    Hulk is a mutant created via massive doses of radiation. Why would one expect his skin to look 'natural' in any way? ;)
     
  5. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2011
    Location:
    "Who are you?"
    :sigh: 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.
     
  6. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Location:
    Walking distance from Starfleet HQ
    They'd be better off putting an actor in makeup and clothes which have the right look (skin tone, etc.) that they want, and shooting him/her in situ so they can see what the actual lighting does in that environment, then use that as a reference to make sure the CGI version of the character looks real.
     
  7. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2011
    Location:
    "Who are you?"
    I don't know if they did that or not (or tried to), but I think that's a great idea.
     
  8. Richard Baker

    Richard Baker Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2008
    Location:
    Warrior, AL
    IMO the CGI Characters just do not work well when you get close to them. The skin surface is over textured mostly so all you see is dynamic wrinkles, no matter how much money you pour into creating them. Yoda and JarJar really looked bad to me.
    CGI for ships is getting much better, from a detail point of view they can have detail and lighting beyond what you could pack into a large filming model. I think it works best when the two mediums are mixed together like they did Voyager. Not a perfect match, the most obvious is the windows at the trailing edge below the Shuttlebay where they could not get bulbs small enough to light them on the physical model but lit them with the CGI version.
    Use the best technique for what you need in a particular shot, just do not use CGI because it is 'supposed to' be the way everyone is doing things these days.
     
  9. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2004
    I did a short piece for CFQ on the Ang Lee HULK VFX and the thing that hamstrung ILM originally was the idea that due to density his skin would not have any translucency, except around the ears. So no matter how 'natural' you make it, it is going to look at best like a foam prosthetic, because without translucency it just ain't gonna live.
     
  10. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2004
    I think that is always the ideal, but again, since HULK's skin is not supposed to be like a human's, you can only take the general lighting info rather than the detailed stuff. If you cover the actor with makeup that eats the light, he is going to look just as 'wrong' as when they cg over him.

    I think it is more a matter of either rethinking the approach or just making peace with the differenceness of it all.
     
  11. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2009
    Whatever works best. It would have been the worse decision had they not used CGI in Jurassic Park, and instead stuck with stop motion.


    CGI in The Expendables 2 annoyed me. There is a scene where a motorcycle crashes into a helicopter. Then a couple of shots with a tank firing at the heroes. And a plane crash. All of those were done with very obvious CGI. But in Die Hard 4.0, there's a scene of a real car crashing into a real helicopter. In Saving Private Ryan (or any other war movie) there are real shots of tanks firing. And in Con Air, there was a similar plane crash using a model. All of these looks superior to the crappy CG quality in Expendables 2.


    Another thing I noticed... I think I've grown to like the desaturated colors of 80s science fiction films. Someone explained in another thread that due to the nature of bluescreen filming, (Industrial Light & Magic) spaceship shots were pretty desaturated. That was when it HIT me like a train why I find the Star Wars prequels visually less appealing. They are WAY too colorful for me. Just way to much saturation.
     
  12. publiusr

    publiusr Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2010
    I also voted for both.

    There is still room for improvement in explosion effects. Remember the scene from the opening credits of BRAIN GAMES, where those two words were made of a constellation of smaller objects hanging from wires (that in itself may be CGI, as with the wireless TV commercial where you see supermarionation send ups with the family members "supported" by wires that don't seem to have any weight.

    I would make a Borg cube in segments aft sections near the ceiling, mid section, then the front of the ship near ground level, with the camera underneath.

    You set off the explosives farthest from the camera, and bring the blast in.

    The illusion is of an explosion travelling through a massive ship towards the camera.

    Also--

    Have a model with explosives on a stand. One one side, a disposable camera set up.
    On the other side of the model, a fireworks gun is pointed at the camera. Set off the two blasts together, and the result is better than just the model going up.
     
  13. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2004
    Your suggestion makes me think of how a 'black box' miniature might work for this. You line up a black version of the craft so it matches the actual one, just seen reflected through a 2way mirror to the taking lens. The bomb on the black one tears through and opens the dark model, so you have the front of the black model silhouetted as it gives way to the blast, giving texture and dimensionality that grounds the blast in the ship, instead of just seeming superimposed. You'd need to take the lights down on the hero model while this happens, though, be tricky.
     
  14. Maxillius

    Maxillius Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2007
    I *hate* shaky-cam! If I wanted to watch a movie and not be able to focus on what I'm watching, I'd stick Spaceballs on my iPod and go ride a bus, not spend $20 to sit in a theater.

    HATE! IT!
     
  15. publiusr

    publiusr Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2010
    There are lots of things that can be done with physical models. Casts of models done in explosives--chilling models very cold so they shatter better. I'd still do a little CGI in post, to make the fragments themselves come apart if too large, etc.

    How about a green screen itself that uses that painted silver explosive from Mythbusters?

    Put that on a bridge screen for a set with crash test dummies in uniforms. Matt the exploding model footage you suggest, and as the screen explosion reaches its maximal extent--set the screen off--as if the blast from another ship blew right through the bridge window/viewer.

    Oh, to do a movie with Zuckerberg's money
     
  16. TheAdmiralty

    TheAdmiralty Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2014
    Location:
    Florida
    Depends on your budget. If you have lots of money to do CG right, then it's the best. But models are better than cheap CGI, and aren't bad in their own right.
     
  17. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2009
    CGI is not always cheaper.
     
  18. TheAdmiralty

    TheAdmiralty Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2014
    Location:
    Florida
    ^Didn't say it was.
     
  19. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2004
    For certain creatures that can't be handled FARSCAPE style, yeah. But spaceships? Pretty rare that I'm convinced by a CG spacecraft, though it is finally beginning to get very close (cough GRAVITY gasp gasp!)
     
  20. Kail

    Kail Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2002
    Location:
    Ga.
    From my exclusive Doug Drexler interview:
    [COLOR=Blue]STA.com:[/COLOR] With CG, movies can do anything. Do you think we have lost anything in the process? Although CG can do impressive things, I miss model work. Do you?

    [COLOR=Maroon]Doug Drexler:[/COLOR] Everyone loves to have a toy right in front of them. Who doesn't? Imagine a kid being given a picture of a toy on Christmas rather than the physical toy. Not gonna cut it. If you look at it from the POV as a child, the child in you will show disappointment. I know that from my own experience. But If I look at it realistically, I see that we have gained enormously from CG, and I also know how many lives it has saved. Making big models requires extensive use of toxic chemicals. I have personally lost friends due to toxic fumes and their cumulative effects.