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The Behind the Scenes Pic of the Day is going to the Toshi Station to pick up some power converters!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with today’s Behind the Scenes Pic!

Since I’m in catch-up mode, I’m picking a rather good Star Wars picture. One, I hope it’s cool enough that you forgive its tardiness and two I can pop it out, let the photo do all my blathering for me considering we’ve done a bunch of Star Wars pics in this column and there’s no shortage of Star Wars talk online.

So, I can get some sleep and leave you with this nice, embiggenable picture, courtesy of reader Yassine Belhadi.




Tomorrow’s Behind the Scenes Pic is beyond a shadow of a doubt one of the nicer pics in this column’s history!

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Readers Talkback
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  • April 23, 2011, 5:04 a.m. CST

    Still amazed at the amount of Star Wars making-of pics I haven't seen.

    by Super Joker

    This is great.

  • April 23, 2011, 5:06 a.m. CST

    More practical effects in movies please!

    by Dr. Egon Spengler

    And less glossy CG crap. Remember when special effects had that hand crafted feel to them? Sorry, 3D modeling whizes, your craft feels artificial and shallow when most of your work is done by a computer.

  • April 23, 2011, 5:50 a.m. CST

    This little model looked so much more real than anything CGI in the prequels...


    Why? BECAUSE IT WAS REAL! Why do so many filmmakers fail to see how fake 90% of CG looks?

  • April 23, 2011, 6:01 a.m. CST

    The scaling was fantastic in this shot

    by MotherPussBucket

    to my mind the sandcrawler was always absolutely massive.

  • April 23, 2011, 6:15 a.m. CST

    I couldn't agree more....

    by JaNath

    ... less CGI fakery and more of the real stuff. It's still done - see the peerless Zowie Bowie "Moon" for how good stuff like this still looks. That was done for budgetry reasons which begs the question, why do they spend more on effects that look worse? Agree with motherpussbucket - it always looked massive. I have deleted the prequels from my memory, and not 'cos of the CGI. Do something else George you cashing-in lazy bastard.

  • April 23, 2011, 6:24 a.m. CST

    they just don't make 'em like they used to.

    by leonardo_dicraprio

  • April 23, 2011, 6:25 a.m. CST


    by King Sweyn Forkbeard

    Can we have some pics from new films instead of the same ones over and over?

  • April 23, 2011, 6:28 a.m. CST

    Effects like that age better...

    by ChickenStu

    Any CGI looks dated six months later. Yet stuff with practical effects still looks mindblowing. Because someone put love and care into a REAL model of it. Was watching "Independence Day" the other night, which has surprisingly little CGI in it. That movie is nearly 15 years old, yet looks like it could've been made yesterday.

  • April 23, 2011, 6:45 a.m. CST

    "CGI's fake! Boo!" - asshats...

    by irishraidersfan

    I'm fucking sick of this! I remember a friend of mine after Clones - "It was so fake! Like a cartoon!" "Oh yeah? Whatcha think of the clonetroopers?" "Yeah, great design." "You know not one of em was real? Barring Temeura Morrison's head and voice?" "What? Don't be stupid!" When folk know it's CG, they give out yards about it. When they don't, or think it shouldn't/couldn't be, they often don't notice. I love practical effects, but everything has its place. Coruscant would have been impossible practically speaking.

  • The humble design of the Sandcrawler itself crossed with the execution of the shots just completely planted it in the real world. You had it George, you fucking had it.

  • April 23, 2011, 7:36 a.m. CST

    AOTC does not exist in this dojo

    by Cobra--Kai

    irishraidersfan, top o' the morning t'ya. I believe part of the reason why AOTC looked like a cartoon / photoshop was because it wasn't shot on film like the previous movies, it was done on digital. And yes, the clone troopers did look pretty shitty. It was a frankly bizarre decision not to make ONE SINGLE CLONE TROOPER COSTUME - not even for the close ups??? Lucas shoulda learned from LOTR. CGI orcs and Uruks for the long shots but keep things real when you're up closer. STAR WARS always had that ancient 'lived in' feel to it - and that vibe is lacking in AOTC and ROTS.

  • April 23, 2011, 7:39 a.m. CST

    by Cobra--Kai

    Oh yeah... and TOSHI STATION WHORES WILL LICK YOUR OUTER RIM! -see previous pic of the day thread-

  • April 23, 2011, 7:42 a.m. CST

    When I was a kid, I wanted to fuck the sandcrawler.

    by Professor_Monster

    I'm not joking.

  • April 23, 2011, 7:44 a.m. CST

    Christ I miss when they used actual models in films

    by AlienFanatic

    I know, I'm old. But damn if there wasn't a special quality to models. It took enormous skill to properly scale them and film them to make convincingly real, but when it was done (as with the Sandcrawler) it was absolutely seamless. (Unlike the model work in 1941, for example.) Great pic.

  • April 23, 2011, 7:50 a.m. CST

    Even a model when they reshot it for the SE

    by TheSecondQuest

    Even though the shot of the sandcrawler coming over the dunes in ANH was replaced for the Special Edition, they brought out the model from storage to shoot the new footage with.

  • April 23, 2011, 7:57 a.m. CST

    Practical will always be better than digital...

    by Stale Elvis

    irishraidersfan - how would Coruscant been impossible to create with paractical effects? The Death Star, Cloud City, Dagobah - all created with practical effect/matte paintings - how would Coruscant be any different? True there wouldn't be as many dynamic establishing shots but with a calculated number of establishing matte or model shots cut around the live action sets Lucas could have pulled it off. But without all of the digital eye-candy he'd have to focus on something else. Like character development. Or dialogue. Digital effects allow the camera to be unrestrained from the practical limitations and fly around vistas ina way not previously possible. This can take the audience out of the movie when they become aware that the directors trying to wow/blind them with effects them rather than tell a story. Or something.

  • April 23, 2011, 8:09 a.m. CST


    by Lobanhaki2

    I'm old enough to have grown up both in age of Opticals, and the age of Digital, and young enough to have seen some of my first movies with Optical effects I remember a time when you knew the creature effects had started because the person or the thing in question started getting that stop motion jutter. Those who were kids in the eighties know what I'm talking about. I remember a time where the special effects had their own special shots. I remember a time when people complained that special effects looked fake, and the models looked like models The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. The trouble here is that we have selective memory. We remember all the movies that were well done, where the effects were carried out with care, rather than done slapdash. The trouble is we remember only the result, not the trouble it took to get them. The trouble is, many of us don't have a real perspective on what we've gained in terms of scope, range and realism, and many of use don't have a serious grasp of what the actual limitations and problems of CGI are. And the problem is, some of us would be complaining about how fake the special effects whatever the technology was behind them, for whatever reason. Well, that's my two cents for now.

  • April 23, 2011, 8:18 a.m. CST

    awww look, the baby sandcrawler is learning to crawl...


    come here little buddy, come here....that's right...awwwwwwwww!

  • April 23, 2011, 8:19 a.m. CST

    everybody stay back...


    he's got to do this on his own. if we touch him, we'll get our scent on him and his mother will reject him and he'll die. if he dies because we didn't help him, well, that's just the circle of life on Tatooine.

  • April 23, 2011, 8:23 a.m. CST

    There's no substitute for in camera fx shots

    by alienindisguise

    Miniatures and models will always outshine the far more expensive cgi that everyone's gay for. It'll take 10-20 more years for the majority of cg shots in movies to not look like dog shit. Until cg people don't look like lifeless rubber, cg is a fail.

  • April 23, 2011, 8:25 a.m. CST

    by Cobra--Kai

    lobanhaki, it's true. And also important to note is how much cinematography contributes to the fx dept. The most impressive practical / modelwork FX sci-fi movies (the likes of ESB, BLADE RUNNER, ALIEN, 2001) also have great cinematography.

  • April 23, 2011, 8:33 a.m. CST

    cgi will continue, and weill look more and more clean.


    why? because everything is digital now. everything is made so that when it sells on overhyped blu-ray it is crisp and painful to look at because that's what joe schlub has been told is good to see. give me awesomely crisp colorful images on a planet earth documentary, but with movies, i don't care. it DOES become painful and distracting. what about mood? i used to complain that CG fx stuck out as 'too clean' as well. things are too plasticy, glossy, not lit right, don't move right, or whatever. two big things practical effects have over them is texture and weight. crazy thing is, our movies are shot super crisp and clean now but the CG STILL manages to look cleaner and stick out. so now to solve that, movies like the prequels and TRON 2 make the whole world CG so nothing 'sticks out'...but now the people do. Everyone in the prequels acting suffered because they weren't LOOKING at anything and probably hadn't even been shown concept art of what they were supposed to be looking at or talking to. love it or hate it, the last good green screen and CG environee movie was SIN CITY. it understood that CG can be used to create a style and mood and doesn't always have to be used to attempt ultrarealism, which it continues to fail at.

  • April 23, 2011, 8:42 a.m. CST

    This one made me chuckle.

    by iakobos

    I knew the Jawa's crawler had to be a model but never realized just how small it was till now. :)

  • April 23, 2011, 8:45 a.m. CST

    it would have been funny if in the outtakes


    the original shot looks huge and massive and then you see a giant goat's walk through the shot and lucas scream CUT!!!!!

  • April 23, 2011, 8:59 a.m. CST


    by BSB

  • April 23, 2011, 9:01 a.m. CST

    Thie movie looks cool, when does it come out?

    by Stereotypical Evil Archer

  • But I chalked it up to the different physics of a faraway galaxy.

  • April 23, 2011, 9:12 a.m. CST

    CG fails when you notice it

    by bah

    Which you don't most of the time. I recently started working for a CG shop, and I've been blown away by learning what's CG. I agree CG can be overused, especially when zipping around and doing crazy aerial swoops. I've heard it argued that if you couldn't do it with a real camera, you shouldn't do it with a CG camera. But for every example of terrible CG, I can show you an equally bad example of practical. And you know that. So don't act like practical is automatically superior.

  • April 23, 2011, 9:15 a.m. CST

    Star Wars prequels were full of model shots...

    by frankenstone

    The Star Wars prequels had a lot of CGI, but they also had a huge number of physical models shot with motion control, possibly more than any other films in history. (Pick up some back issues of Cinefex and see for yourself.) Shortly after Revenge of the Sith, Lucasfilm sold off the model unit, ending an era in motion picture history.

  • April 23, 2011, 9:16 a.m. CST


    by Horgy

    The camera adds a few pounds, huh?

  • April 23, 2011, 9:23 a.m. CST

    This will look awesome in 3D!

    by I_Snake_Plissken

    Hopefully Lucas will throw in a bunch of 3D lizard creatures running around the base of the sand crawler since that was his "original vision" all along. Last week I had dinner with a friend who still works for the Lucas Empire (as I did myself for five years) and when I asked him about the 3D versions he started laughing out loud and rubbing his thumb and finger together saying, "more money from the lemmings - Star Wars is like running a printing press for cash."

  • April 23, 2011, 9:28 a.m. CST

    It's cool,

    by wattos new hat

    in the scrap pile inside, when R2 reunites with 3P0, you cn actually see Wattos new (old) hat from episode II. I wonder what happns to Watto?

  • April 23, 2011, 9:35 a.m. CST

    This is from a deleted scene where the jawas meet 'GOD'

    by PeanutButterSlut

    A giant appears, smug looking yet young. You can tell he knows one day he will have a mighty gobble neck, one that will cast a shadow so large over Tantooine that even the mighty Bantha will cower before it's gobbly-ness. The Jawas sand crawler lurches to a halt before their mighty god. What gifts should they bestow? Hamburgers? Fries? Stuffed JARJAR BINKS DOLLS!? The gobble neck, angry, swatted down with smite upon the sandcrawler, yelling 'CUT!' and demanding a turkey club sandwich. The jawas then discover the origin of Darth Maul and have a CGI battle. The scene was eventually cut from the film. ~PBS

  • April 23, 2011, 9:38 a.m. CST

    Actors are the problem

    by Emperor_was_a_jerk

    If actors have nothing to look at with a CG movie/set, it is the problem of the actor- not the effects. They are ACTORS. It is their job to pretend and convince me what is happening is real. If they can't do that, they are bad at their job. Stage actors do it all the time. One man shows, all black sets- these actors use their imaginations in order to convince the audience. Film actors have it way too easy. They don't act- they react. If they can't be convincing in front of a green screen, they need to get a new job.

  • April 23, 2011, 9:46 a.m. CST

    You can waste time with your friends later

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    CGI sandcrawler can't beat the real thing.

  • April 23, 2011, 9:47 a.m. CST

    emporer - exactly.

    by PeanutButterSlut

    In that deleted scene I was talking about, Lucas had a hard time coaxing a good performance out of the midgets who played the Jawas. He'd be all like 'HEY YOU FUCKING MIDGETS, DUCK! LASERZ ARE INCOMING!' and the midgets would be drunk as per usual, but film midgets are like that. You know that bitch who played Dorothy in the wizard of oz? Ol' whats here face? Yeah, well she knew that midgets can't green screen act for shit, she's old school and has been dealing with drunk ass rowdy midgets since the beginning of modern fucking film! She was quoted saying "...midgets are fucking assholes. Drunk worthless shits. I gotta go put on my mocap suit. Bye!" SHe was a real trooper back then. They used to have to staple the mo-cap balls on, and they had to throw real monkeys off of a cliff to simulate the flying. A real brutal era if you ask me. Good chat man...

  • April 23, 2011, 9:55 a.m. CST

    emporer is on to something


    maybe we should just digitally scan an actor's face and skin it onto a cg model. then have the actor do voice work. oh wait we already do that, and it's creepy and soulless? well, maybe we can just feed in all the words that actor has ever said into a machine that will chop it up and do the voice work for them. we pay an actor for his likeness (unless we alter it, then no deal) and send them a small royalty check for the vowel sounds used in the process, and we will have the next wonderful age of cinema. fake people, fake voices, blended seamlessly into a fake environment.

  • April 23, 2011, 10:03 a.m. CST

    I do think CG has a tendency to become a crutch...

    by Chewtoy

    ...but there is no doubt that people tam out of their asses about how great older effects look. Many times, you're just more forgiving. Old composite shots are far from seamless... Look at Luke's fight with the Rancor (in the original version at least... No idea if they changed it up for the special edition.) Even as a child when it first came out I could have given you a play by play of the scene... "Now it's stop motion, now it's a puppet, now it's a life sized hand that Hamill is riding, now he's facing a projection..." I didn't care, because I was more than willing to let my imagination get caught up in it. For some reason, people expect CG to be 100% convincing all the time when practical never meet that criteria. That said, there are definitely times when practical work is simply more convincing, and this sand crawler is a good example.

  • April 23, 2011, 10:37 a.m. CST

    Hooray For Forced Perspective Shots!

    by NeonFrisbee


  • April 23, 2011, 10:41 a.m. CST

    A 1978 issue of Cinefantastique has a lot of pix like this.

    by v3d

    There's a cool reverse of this taken later in the day wherein chief model maker Grant McKune is poking the sandcrawler with a long pole to adjust it's path in the sand.

  • April 23, 2011, 10:50 a.m. CST


    by Shaner Jedi

    "Real model of it". Do you realize how silly that sounds? It's all fake.

  • April 23, 2011, 10:55 a.m. CST

    CGI is not bad.

    by Atomike2

    Just think about Luke's landspeeder. Yeah. Those practical shots were great. Love that big blurry mess under it. People love to bring up a BAD CGI shot, not realizing the 10 good shots they didn't notice. Ever watch a sports fan that thinks he'd make a better NFL coach than the real coach? Yeah - don't be that guy.

  • April 23, 2011, 11:03 a.m. CST


    by Shaner Jedi

    The most BS is when people are whining about the CG in the prequels not realizing Episode One by itself had more actual models and miniature environments built for it than the entire classic trilogy combined. So some of these armchair fxperts are bitching about "CG crap" shots that in all likelihood had some miniatures. It's all a lie.

  • April 23, 2011, 11:03 a.m. CST

    Geek alert: Isn't it Tosche Station?

    by photoboy

    Rather than Toshi?

  • April 23, 2011, 11:07 a.m. CST

    CG work is soulless and boring...

    by Dr. Egon Spengler

    Like most work on a computer. Instead of being able to participate in a cool shot (like the above pic) as a practical effects guy, instead, some CG dude is stuck behind a desk staring at a monitor all day, or someone in a mo cap suit. The former sounds much more fun to me.

  • April 23, 2011, 11:28 a.m. CST

    What was Uncle Owen farming in the middle of a desert?

    by Artemis Webb

  • April 23, 2011, 11:29 a.m. CST


    by nolan bautista

    i cant abide the smell of these Jawas..disgusting little creatures..

  • April 23, 2011, 11:34 a.m. CST

    I watched some nice model work last night

    by SmokingRobot

    I watch 'Space Precinct' for two reasons, it's fun to watch the model work and Simone Bendix is about the most beautiful woman ever.

  • April 23, 2011, 11:38 a.m. CST

    Sandcrawler shaped building for Lucas amimation

    by Tacom

    Theyre going to build it in Singapore:

  • April 23, 2011, 11:54 a.m. CST

    "Independence Day"

    by Mike

    chickenstu, I watched "ID4" for the first time in ten years or so and was amazed with how well it aged. One thing I loved when I was younger was watching making of specials because I always wondered "How'd they do that?" Now I know it's just some dweeb in front of a Mac book.

  • April 23, 2011, 11:56 a.m. CST

    Uncle Owens farm

    by Dave underwood

    Artemis, they were moisture farmers, somehow got the moisture out of the ground. What they then did with it, I don't know.

  • April 23, 2011, 12:03 p.m. CST

    The amount and quality of model work in the Prequels is insane --

    by MooseMalloy

    -- just watch the DVD extras for proof.

  • April 23, 2011, 12:11 p.m. CST

    moosemalloy I agree. All the worlds had modelwork

    by Tacom

    The Naboo palace and city, The Geonosis Arena, the pit world in ROTS and Mustafar were all these huge models.

  • April 23, 2011, 12:14 p.m. CST

    I do thing CGI has began to look better the past 3 or 4 years..

    by grendel69

    I would prefer a blending of both technologies. But I thing CGI is best used when done to enhance FX, not when they are the FX.

  • April 23, 2011, 12:44 p.m. CST


    by Keith

    "But I thing CGI is best used when done to enhance FX, not when they are the FX." Agree 100%.

  • April 23, 2011, 12:45 p.m. CST

    rdeckard: They pulled moisture out of the air.

    by Royston Lodge

    The farm's "vaporators" pulled out what little moisture there was in the atmosphere and collected it. Luke never repaired the vaporators on the south ridge. There was hell to pay.

  • April 23, 2011, 12:46 p.m. CST

    Independence Day had amazing FX.

    by Royston Lodge

    Shame they were in such a shitty movie. The way they shot the wall of flame running down the streets of Manhattan was simply inspired.

  • April 23, 2011, 1:02 p.m. CST

    That Sandcrawler remote went pretty damn fast

    by strosmer

    Certain I read that in "Making of...", but can't remember exactly. They made it pop wheelies and everything.

  • April 23, 2011, 1:31 p.m. CST

    I wish movies were still made this way.

    by Cap'n Jack

  • April 23, 2011, 1:36 p.m. CST

    stale elvis

    by William

    Many of the buildings on Coruscant WERE miniatures. And so was the majority of Utapau, and Mustafar(which is one of the largest and most complicated miniature ever built. Even the lava was practical). There were more miniatures in The Phantom Menace that in the entire original trilogy. I think there were instances of the newer films using "too much"(the clonetroopers looked fine...but...why?) but let's keep this in perspective. Just sayin... lobanhaki2 has the most enlightened post in this talkback. He knows what he's talking about.

  • April 23, 2011, 1:47 p.m. CST

    Cobra-Kai, I take your point, but...

    by irishraidersfan

    What I mean is, my friend didn't notice the clone troopers were not real - he thought they'd a few and digitally 'cloned' them. The look on his face when he realised not one of them was 'real'! Sure, I love Endor, and Dagobah, and the Death Star. That said, I genuinely believe the level of complexity of Coruscant could not have been achieved without CG effects.

  • April 23, 2011, 1:53 p.m. CST

    Prequels rant.

    by Ditko

    Blah blah blah. yes. they still suck.

  • April 23, 2011, 1:54 p.m. CST

    "NO, we're not gonna fucking do Stonehenge!"

    by Dr Gregory House

  • April 23, 2011, 1:59 p.m. CST

    Agree about people getting on their high horse...

    by Gabba-UK

    About practical effects pissing on CGI. For every simply fantastic old school practical shot in an old movie you can usually find one that's truly awful. As has been mentioned the cinemaphotgrapy has a huge part in making practical work well. That said films like Van Helsing failed in their effect work because CGI was everywhere and a lot of it is poor. CGI comes into it's own when used sparingly or to augment practical effects. David Fincher is a master of that.

  • That's because that wasn't CGI, that was done with pratical, pyro, and minatures...

  • To watch the OT now (the first two films) is amazing. To have such SHITTY prequel films do everything they can to ruin the originals, and fail, shows how great star wars and empire are. Lesser films would have been tarnised by those shitty prequels. In my world, much like the Alien series, there is only two Star war films... the other don't exist in this Dojo.... too bad the Matrix never got a sequel....

  • April 23, 2011, 2:54 p.m. CST

    Since PSN is down...

    by Geofruben

    Think I'll watch Star Wars again. Gr8 Saturday afternoon escapism!

  • Just brilliant in composition, lighting, scale, and perspective. It holds up even today and really fools the eye. For the longest time I believed it really was a full-scale model it was so convincing. Great work!

  • April 23, 2011, 2:57 p.m. CST

    The Star Wars prequels would have sucked

    by funkylovemonkey

    whether they were done entirely with practical effects or not. I think one of the reasons so many people complain about CGI is they know how it's done. It's like knowing the secret of a magic trick, once you know how it's done it's far less interesting. I remember watching Lord of the Rings with a friend who hates CGI, and at one point he started complaining about a shot that he thought was computer generated. I told him that it was actually a miniature. He refused to believe me until I showed him in one of the "making of" documentaries. A lot of people's recollections of how great practical effects were are firmly couched in nostalgia for the old magical feeling they had when they weren't quite sure how they did it. Now everyone thinks they know, and even if they're wrong and it isn't CGI but model work or something else, it takes them out of the moment. But even in the best movies before CGI there were all sorts of things that just looked fake, like a claymation monster superimposed on a scene where the lighting doesn't match at all, matte lines, bad green-screening (of the non-cgi variety), or poorly done models. People used to complain about practical effects too.

  • April 23, 2011, 3:18 p.m. CST

    digital effects vs. practical effects

    by lv_426

    I have always loved practical effects: models, miniatures, animatronics, puppets, special make up FX, man-in-suit creatures, etc... I do however, find that digital is also good at times. Overall though, the best practical effects look better to me than the best digital effects. Even with something like Avatar, which I liked a lot and thought had great effects, I still prefer the practical effects. It will be interesting to compare the effects of Avatar to Aliens in ten years. I bet for the most part, Aliens visual effects will have actually aged a bit better. Although, a movie like Avatar sorta makes sense to do so much digitally because of the abundance of stuff that Cameron wanted to create for the world of Pandora. Aliens was also designed the way it was to fit in more with Alien so he had to sort of keep it consistent while expanding on it at the same time. I think the biggest factor with practical effects, when done right, is that they are real things that are actually shot by the camera. Just as actors on a set or on location are real entities interacting with real light and atmosphere, so too are practical effects. All the money in the world and rarely do digital effects have the capability to recreate the way that real light interacts with real objects. They can get damn close, but I always find practical to win in that regard. What I don't understand is that for some films, going with practical effects and maybe enhancing them a bit digitally (like combining motion control passes or removing wires) seems to be a great way to go to save money. Maybe not for every effects shot, but for some why not? I understand a lot of directors like the flexibility that digital effects offer because they can rework things in the computer. Thing is there is only so much of that they can do before they start to creep past their time and budgetary limitations. At least we still have WETA who will probably be using practical effects on The Hobbit films, but the sad thing is that with everything going digital, there are not many practical effects houses around anymore. This means that the craft of miniatures, prosthetic makeup, animatronic creatures, etc. will eventually die with the last people who still know how to do all that stuff. Look at traditional matte paintings. Those are all done on the computer now by combining photos in Photoshop and After Effects. Now, maybe sometimes a more realistic matte painting using real photos is the best option, but show me a 2D digital matte painting that has the mojo of the traditionally done matte paintings of a film like Blade Runner. I kind of hope the eventual irony will be that in another decade or so, audiences might start to grow tired of every movie having wall to wall digital effects so that practical effects actually have a chance of making a comeback.

  • April 23, 2011, 3:39 p.m. CST

    much of the "CGI" in the prequels were models

    by Billy_D_Williams

    people really have no idea how much model work was used in those movies, it just has a CGI gloss over it, making it look all like CGI.

  • April 23, 2011, 3:49 p.m. CST

    different strokes for different folks

    by lv_426

    Whatcha talkin' about Willis? I don't think that every director or every film should be completely digital or completely practical in terms of effects. TRON Legacy makes sense to be done completly with digital effects because of subject matter. Same thing with The Matrix films, although they did use some miniatures. Compare those to something like Moon, or the Lord of the Rings films which blended practical effects with digital techniques. Someone mentioned Sin City as a super stylized green screen film with the digitally created backgrounds. That is a great example of using the proper effects techniques to achieve a very specific look. Where as Moon used miniatures to be done on a small budget and the effects looked pretty darn great. If Moon were a Ridley Scott or Steven Spielberg directed film, the budget would have been 100 million bucks and they would have had access to all the digital effects tech and toys... meaning probably no practical effects. It is sad that Hollywood has been slowly killing the practical effects industry just because CGI and digital effects became the hot new toy in the early 90's and because we get a few spurts of digital effects innovation every 10 years or so (The Matrix in 99) and now Avatar less than two years ago. They fail to realize that The Lord of the Rings trilogy smartly used a combo of practical and digital effects to achieve some great imagery that wouldn't have been possible using just one technique alone. If practical effects were not thrown under the bus so carelessly, then they probably would have had their own innovations during the past 20 years and would now be more compatible and more relevant in relation to digital effects. It is the same with the way the film industry is going now in terms of 3D trying to kill 2D. Of film being killed by digital cinematography. Of the push to have 48 fps replace the 24 fps standard. Instead of these kinds of decisions being left up to the filmmakers, the studios will eventually be telling them how to shoot and at what frame rate, etc. Choices are a good thing, especially in art.

  • One thing I miss from the older effects was there almost seemed to be some dirt or grime in the effects work, which made it seem a little more tangible. ILM's more recent work often looks a little too painterly, especially in the prequels. Compare that to WETA's work in PJ's films. The lighting on Gondor as the camera takes it all in- it's the kind of lighting that would make a 7 year old believe that towering place existed, as much as a 7-year-old would believe that the Jawas drove a towering Sandcrawler. Ok, I've geeked out enough.

  • April 23, 2011, 4:16 p.m. CST

    Why do you retards keep saying "CGI?"

    by Mel

    No one says that anymore because of the confusion with CGI web directories. Everyone says CG. As smart as you people try to act, you'd think that you would have noticed that only mongoloids and retards say "CGI" anymore. Look around. Anytime someone says "CGI" it usually means they have no idea what they're talking about. its the kind of stupid shit Mario Lopez might say.

  • April 23, 2011, 4:47 p.m. CST

    by Cobra--Kai

    melgibsoncalledmethenword, CG? Are you referring to Centigrams? The center of gravity? Chaotic good in RPG'S?? The Coast Guard? Or perhaps the International code for the Republic of Congo? Pls clarify, because from here it just looks like you're a fucking retard?

  • April 23, 2011, 4:51 p.m. CST

    by Cobra--Kai

    In a discussion about computer generated imagery when someone says CGI I don't think - 'ooh they must be talking about a common gateway interface web server'. Understand context dear boy. It's what seperates us from the apes (or the mongoloids - of which you are one).

  • April 23, 2011, 5:37 p.m. CST

    when people say they like miniature stuff better

    by Georgepeppard

    It's a short, easy way of saying it looked better to them without all that computer spooge all over everything. Don't be such a fucking lawyer, prequelheads.

  • April 23, 2011, 5:38 p.m. CST

    None of you whiners

    by Shaner Jedi

    know a shit thing what you're talking about. What do you mean "there aren't that many practical fx houses anymore" when you claim ILM is all digital. That's incorrect. They still use miniatures for their films from Kerner Optical, which is the old ILM model shop.

  • April 23, 2011, 6:17 p.m. CST

    Stop runing my childhood! The Sandcrawler was 70ft tall damn it!

    by Orionsangels

  • April 23, 2011, 6:20 p.m. CST


    by Billy_D_Williams

    actually ROTJ has some of the best FX in the OT...the end space battle alone still hasn't been topped in terms of sheer artistic accomplishment with regard to visceral remains the best action sequence in cinema history (my personal opinion)

  • April 23, 2011, 6:20 p.m. CST

    Stop raping my childhood!

    by Arafel

  • April 23, 2011, 6:23 p.m. CST

    Alien 3 had some awful practical effects

    by successor

    <p>Like the optically-composited alien rod puppet in the tunnel chase. Every time it moved it looked fake. Even Richard Edlund said the effect didn't look that good.</p> <p>Or Star Trek V with the awful shuttlecraft shots.</p> <p>And although I like the '84 version of Dune, it had some really bad practical effects like the shot of the Guild Highliner appearing in orbit of Arrakis and some of the models and explosions looked fake even for the 1980's.</p> <p>My point is that practical effects can look just as bad as CGI, if not worse, when they aren't done well.</p>

  • As a CG artist by profession, I actually find that rather insulting. First off, let's address quality. It's easy to say that only 1 in every 100 CG effects (or whatever) actually looks amazing and the other 99 suck ass. Too easy to say that. Why? Because the same exact charge can be levied against practical effects. For every "Star Wars", there must be 100 or more lazy looking "Battlestar Galactica" (original) or "Buck Rogers". It isn't even about money either. It's about the artists. No amount of money can make a bad artist better. Films like "Star Wars" are exceptional BECAUSE they defy convention. They break all of the rules and raise the bar all thanks to the creative geniuses behind them. For every "Toy Story" or "The Incredibles", you've got a dozen uninspired looking crapfests like "Valiant", "Robots", or "Space Chimps." There's enough bad quality visuals in both camps. Don't blame the medium. Blame the artists. That's like criticizing your kid's finger paint bullshit because it doesn't look as good as the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Second, practical effects have had.... How many years has it been? How many years have practical effect had to evolve? It's been 84 years since 1927's Metropolis. How long has it been since Tron? 29 years. Want a fair comparison when it comes to evolution of the art? Let's compare "Tron Legacy" to "Godzilla Raids Again." I think that it's safe to say that, in those same 28 years (1927->1955 and 1982->2010) that CG has advanced a hell of a lot more. Can you imagine how digital effects might look in 2066? Hell, imagine how much more amazing CG will look by 2015. With certain exceptions, practical effects have largely reached a logical stall in their evolution. The art continues to evolve, but not nearly in the same dramatic, drastic fashion. It's highly unlikely that we'll ever see a "Star Wars" level upgrade in practical effects again. CG is still evolving at a rapid enough pace. Finally, it's particularly insulting to suggest that computers do all of the work. Only somebody who doesn't actually do it doesn't understand this. CG artists aren't pocket protector wearing technicians at who sit around comparing AD&D stats while numbers bounce around the screen. We're painters, sculptors, conceptual designers, and so forth. We are artisans not just craftsmen. I can most certainly guarantee you that computers do NOT do the work for us. There is no "Make 3D" button. A CG app like Maya, Cinema4D, or Photoshop is a tool that is subject to the whims and talents of the artist using it. It is no different than a paintbrush or a chisel. Saying that "most of the work is done by the computer" is ignorant. A character artist can easily spend 14 hour days sculpting a digital maquette in ZBrush. It's not unusual for CG artists to work 72-90+ hour weeks. CG artists end up doing far, far more work than the computer itself. Computers don't sculpt the character. Computers don't animate your favorite robot transforming either. Computers don't paint the rich textures on your CG aliens. Computers certainly don't build those magnificent digital mattes that populate so many non-CG movies nowadays. Computers render. That's pretty much it. Even then, there's an artists holding its cold hand at every step. If a CG effect looks bad then it's because the artist was bad, the deadlines didn't allow for the anything better, or the audience was expecting too much. A computer is nothing more than a tool. I wouldn't trust it to "automatically" build my characters any more than I'd trust it to raise my nephew. The "whose is bigger" competition is asinine. While we're at it, why not slam the Da Vinci's Mona Lisa in favor of Michelangelo's David. Fair enough. Right? BTW, imo, it's not just about knowing the limitations of each medium. It's about the limitations of the artists more than anything else.

  • April 23, 2011, 7:40 p.m. CST

    Alien 3 defintely has some crappy effects shots

    by lv_426

    But Jaws? Sure it may not be the pinnacle of practical effects anymore, but the way it actually looks onscreen due to clever editing is still awesome. The film is actually better because of Bruce (the mechanical shark) not working and causing them to go for a less is more approach in slowly revealing the shark to the audience. As for us advocating that miniatures and practicals completely take over for digital effects, I don't think that should happen. Nowadays there can be a best of both worlds result for some shots I would say, as a lot of the things they couldn't deal with back in the day like matte lines and the overall hardship of doing optical composites is much more precise and can be done more seamlessly with digital compositing software. That is why I mentioned Lord of the Rings and the work that WETA did on those films. They used miniatures plus motion control and digital compositing tools to blend multiple pass shots of the miniatures and background elements. Inception is also a good and more recent example for using both practical and digital effects, depending on the shot and what the director is going for. As for practical effects looking crappy sometimes, sure that happens too. I wasn't saying practical effects always look better. I was arguing that when comparing the top tier practical effects against the top tier digital effects, that the practical effects have almost always looked more real and believable to me. Of course, there are examples where digital looks way better. Compare the original Battlestar Galactica effects to the ones from the re-imagined series. I suppose on the mega-budget films the cost of doing pretty much all digital effects is not that big of a deal, but something like Moon makes a strong case for indies and lower budget sci-fi and fantasy films using practical effects to get a bit more bang for their buck. Of course, this is something that the director would have to decide whether it was the right technique for their film's effects.

  • April 23, 2011, 7:44 p.m. CST

    rsanta74 - CG kills all the fun of action movies.

    by Mel

    CG is easy, let's be honest. There's no difficulty. you create a model, you texture it, you animate it, and then you render it. There's no stunt challenge. None whatsoever. It makes film making lifeless. Action movies arent action movies anymore. There's no real action. Its all processed on a computer. That's why it's lifeless....because it was just a guy sitting in front of a computer. I dont care if he was's still just drawing on a computer when you get down to it. When a computer is rendering something that's not will never be perfect. Never as perfect as actually shooting something. What I find problematic about CG - particularly CG characters, is that they always look too soft. They never seem textured enough. Take Gollum for example. His skin looks very smooth whereas you would expect him to have very dry scaly skin. The same goes for JarJar.

  • April 23, 2011, 7:45 p.m. CST

    modern effects are incredible and amazing


    the only time they are a liability is when they are used as the selling point of a film and the film's story/dialogue are awful.

  • April 23, 2011, 8:17 p.m. CST

    The CG bashing thing is getting so old

    by MoffatBabies

    and the idea that most of the work is "done with computers anyway" is like saying that most of stop motion is "done with armatures anyway". It's still ALL hard work and most CG work looks astoundingly good and light years beyond most practical effects of the past. Your nostalgia, beyond making me nauseous just on principle, is clouding your judgment. I think old films should be left alone, but new films (when they ARE good) look much better. Stop bitching about CG and start bitching about remakes more.

  • April 23, 2011, 8:17 p.m. CST

    anyone who thinks it's easy

    by MoffatBabies

    just doesn't know what goes into it. Not trying to be insulting, but you just don't know.

  • April 23, 2011, 8:19 p.m. CST

    I'm not suggesting that CG be used for everything.

    by cookepuss

    There's a time and a place for everything. If it's too impractical to convincingly pull off an effect using practical work then CG is the "go to" guy here. If it is simply too time consuming or cost prohibitive to do something in CG then you can always fall back to practical effects. There's a right tool each job. I've seen lots of artists over think a problem when the simplest, most obvious solutions are staring them in the face. It's the Ozcam's razor of effects. When you have two competing methods that arrive at the same conclusion, the simpler method is the better one. CG tools won't always be as primitive as they are today. They'll grow to be more ergonomic and intuitive. That won't eliminate those 14 hour days, but it will narrow the functional gap between traditional and digital mediums. We'll eventually get to the point when the "uncanny valley" truly gets crossed and CG is predictably and reliably indistinguishable from reality. In some regards, we're already there or damn close. Still, when that day comes, the deciding factors between practical VS CG will simply be time and money. Now, having said that, it will become an issue of power VS responsibility. Just because a VFX team can go overboard doesn't mean they should. Just because they can create the most photorealistically absurd FX sequence doesn't mean that it'll service the story or the audience. The problem with current CG in movies isn't always that it's "bad" per se. It's that there's nobody exercising any sort of common sense or restraint. Usually, the best CG effect is the one you don't notice. Nine times out of ten, most of you wouldn't even question the matte work in an establishing shot. It could be digitally painted or CG rendered and you might not blink twice because that type of effect enters in the back door of your brain. However, when you see Jeff Bridges de-aged by 30 years your brain flips out. You notice how the facial animation is shit or how the compositing is off because of bad lighting. You notice dead eyes or bad skin shaders. That stuff sits in the front of you brain. It's so obvious, especially given the fact that we know Mr. Bridges to already be 30 years older, that we're unwilling to accept it. A good effect shot should never be noticed as even being an effect shot. Perhaps Clu should've been a combo of CG and makeup, in the spirit of X3. Perhaps they should've "reconfigured" the avatar to a new actor. Whatever the case, it was a bad effect because we noticed it. The same goes for the over the top antics in flicks like 2012 or Die Hard 4. Writers, directors, and VFX teams need to show that common sense and restraint I was talking about. They need to bring story back into the forefront and make VFX the supporting player instead of the main attraction. Just like Star Wars. I know that it's asking a lot, but this is what has to happen. It's a huge problem with CG as well as practical effects nowadays. Nobody knows when to say, "This is the line and we just crossed it."

  • April 23, 2011, 8:21 p.m. CST


    by lv_426

    "It's still ALL hard work..." I agree. Both practical and digital effects artists have to work their butts off to produce good eye candy for any film's storytelling needs.

  • April 23, 2011, 8:28 p.m. CST

    dr gregory house

    by DrPepperPHD

    Bwaha. Good call. I think the problem may have been that there was a sandcrawler model on the ground that was in danger of being crushed by a dwarf.

  • April 23, 2011, 8:33 p.m. CST

    "CG is easy, let's be honest."

    by cookepuss

    And what do YOU do for a living. Obviously, if it's so easy, you should have a multi-Oscar winning studio all your own. The fact is inescapable. CG is NOT easy. Were that the case than everybody could do it. I've been doing CG since I was 15. I'm almost 37 now. To be a modern CG artist, you have to be a painter, sculptor, architect, and (yes) a bit of a scientist. It truly does push you on many levels. I often put in 72-98 hour weeks. If you think that there's no challenge and that computers do all of the work then you're either naive or outright stupid. As far as "still drawing on a computer" goes, given the toolset of a modern CG artist, you somehow also manage to disrespect every traditional artist since the beginning of art. I don't know what you think we do, but I don't spend my days just clicking a mouse and entering numbers. I'm sculpting and painting like any other artist, albeit with a Wacom. That is no less valid than me cutting out bits of wood or metal, greebling pieces onto a model, and airbrushing it by hand. You can't simply accept one form of VFX and dismiss the other. It doesn't work like that. I get that you don't like CG. Just don't shit on it.

  • April 23, 2011, 9:26 p.m. CST

    CG vs Practical Effects

    by bohdi71

    CG vs practical doesn't really matter if the story and character developement is rubbish. A good example of doing it right I think was Peter Jackson with Lord of the Rings trilogy, where they used every trick in the book to get the effects shots they wanted. For example they tried to do things practical like forced perspective for the hobbits to appear child size, but if that failed then they went with cg...

  • April 23, 2011, 9:34 p.m. CST

    I never watch new "making of" docs either

    by Chief Joseph

    "How'd they do that?" Cut to some fucking dork sitting at a computer rendering. "Wow." The only practical effect CG has really surpassed is stop-motion. That's about all it's good for, creatures, morphing, and digital erasing.

  • April 23, 2011, 9:58 p.m. CST

    Stop me if you've heard this before

    by Raggles Wimpole

    Isn't it funny that Lucas used technology that is now outdated (not worse, mind you) to create a Trilogy that takes place after a Trilogy whose technology is supposed to be ahead of the original movies? Does that make sense? So if Lucas had made Episodes 1-3 first using stop motion & physical effects & whatnot and then made Episodes 4-6 decades later using the technology that everyone claims ruined the saga, would Star Wars be as relevant as it is? I find it ironic that filmmaking tools used decades ago are more appealing to the eye than the groundbreaking CGI used today.

  • April 23, 2011, 10:15 p.m. CST

    chief joseph

    by Billy_D_Williams

    lmao, pretty funny, i know what you was magical when you saw hippies with beards getting their hands dirty trying to create FX, now it's been reduced to some kind of Office Space-esque desk job.

  • April 23, 2011, 10:18 p.m. CST

    I don't know if anyone saw The Adjustment Bureau

    by successor

    <p>But I thought it was a recent film that had some very good effects. Maybe it was because they were used sparingly and didn't call attention to themselves.</p> <p>Star Trek: The Motion Picture also had bad practical effects with the obvious matte lines on the Klingon spaceships in the beginning.</p> <p>One of my favorite "bad" practical effects is in Aliens when you can see the hole in the floor where Bishop's lower half is hiding. Some flaws like that can actually be endearing and make the film seem more real in a strange sort of way.</p>

  • April 23, 2011, 10:22 p.m. CST

    seeing these kind of fx is waht got me interested in the craft of filmmaking

    by Anakin_Piecocker

  • April 23, 2011, 10:23 p.m. CST

    he never did get those power converters

    by Anakin_Piecocker

  • April 23, 2011, 10:27 p.m. CST

    Models look worse than CGI once they reach their limitations.

    by CeejayNightwing

  • April 23, 2011, 10:33 p.m. CST

    I just saw this model in an exhibit!

    by Seven_of_Borgnine

    It's on display at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle until May 8th, with lots of other awesome SW artifacts. I'm still reeling. The detail on the large-scale Millennium Falcon model is amazing. There are some funny easter eggs on it... a Champion spark plugs logo from a car model kit here, another goofball decal there, lots of little blaster scars. Just awesome!!!

  • April 23, 2011, 10:36 p.m. CST

    the problem with CGI is this...

    by Billy_D_Williams

    you're taking a non-live element and sticking it in a live element, so texture wise and even visually they dont blend together very well...its why MOST CGI FX in movies these days instantly take you out of the movie...your brain knows they dont go together...practical effects, no matter how shoddy they looked at least tricked the brain into believing the images, because they were two live action elements blended together.

  • April 23, 2011, 11:44 p.m. CST

    anakin_piecocker: 2 thoughts

    by lv_426

    "seeing these kind of fx is waht got me interested in the craft of filmmaking" Same here. "he never did get those power converters" Don't tell Lucas, because if he hears you then we'll get another "new" scene added to Episode IV when the Blu-ray is released this fall.

  • April 23, 2011, 11:46 p.m. CST


    by lv_426

    "Isn't it funny that Lucas used technology that is now outdated (not worse, mind you) to create a Trilogy that takes place after a Trilogy whose technology is supposed to be ahead of the original movies? Does that make sense?" No. It doesn't make any sense as to why Lucas would do it that way. I suppose we can justify it by saying that technology went backwards because the Empire was so oppressive that technological progress was halted and more stuff broke down and was never fixed or improved upon.

  • April 24, 2011, 1:17 a.m. CST

    I think that colossalgoatfuck69's point is

    by cookepuss

    Imagine if the episodes were filmed in numerical sequence and we actually got Episode 1 in the 1970s. Now, further assume that that very first episode had its VFX handled in the same fashion as the original trilogy. Jump ahead to 1999 and film A New Hope and so forth using the CG tech of the day. The questions then become.... 1. Would Episodes 1-3 succeed because of the advanced 70s practical effects and in spite of the lackluster story telling? 2. Would Episodes 4-6 be seen as failure because of the extensive CG (over practical) and in spite of the awesome story? I don't think that history might have played out the same, but I don't think that the either trilogies would be viewed a failure. I think that Episode I-III might be regarded more highly since the standards for sci-fi were a tad lower in the 70s and early 80s. Lucas' VFX would still have been just as groundbreaking. We would've missed out on the classic surprises, such as the betrayal of Han or shocking revelation of Luke's parentage. That might have dulled the shine of Empire a bit. At the same time, I think that the original trilogy might actually have been regarded even greater than it already is. You never know though. Given some of the cheese in the 2nd trilogy, we may never have seen the original trilogy get made later on down the line. Far superior sci-fi flicks would've likely stolen the limelight from Eps 1-3 and made their cultural relevance that much smaller. They would've been lauded by VFX enthusiasts, but sci-fi fans would have likely moved on to greener pastures and to films with true characterization instead of caricaturization.

  • April 24, 2011, 2:17 a.m. CST



    watch the original Superman, the scenes where he's flying at the end. You know, the scenes with the sped up film that for some reason look like it's 8 frames per second? Then come back here and repeat your statement that computer generated effects are bad because they bring you out of the movie.

  • April 24, 2011, 2:43 a.m. CST

    Luke's line about the power converters

    by Keith

    It's the single most whiny line in the movie. Maybe in movie history.

  • April 24, 2011, 3:25 a.m. CST

    rsanta74 does not exist in this dojo

    by Cobra--Kai

    rsanta74, good post and always nice to hear opinion from someone in the fx industry. I'm a mere consumer but i'll offer my view. The reason why this CGI vs PRACTICAL always comes back to STAR WARS, is because you can do a like for like comparison. They had the top practical fx artists working on the original trilogy in the 70s/80s. They had the top CGI fx artists working on the prequel trilogy in the 90s/00s. Your argument of blame the 'artists' can be negated in this instance. The presumption has to be that these guys are the best in their field. So let's take the middle films of the trilogy and do a like for like FX comparison, and see which looks better. Hoth environment vs Geonosis environment - winner OT Snowtrooper vs Clonetrooper - winner OT Asteroid chase vs asteroid chase - winner OT Cg yoda & CG dooku duel vs luke & vader duel - winner OT At-At walkers vs Droid army walker - winner OT Chewbacca vs Jar Jar - YOU KNOW THE ANSWER!!! rsanta74, I submit the evidence to you and I draw this conclusion. The top end practical/modelwork/costume fx are BETTER than then the top end CG fx. That's the way it is now. However with the rapid increases in computing and tools by the time you reach retirement age my friend you will undoubtedly be creating some truly awesome shit, and I hope to see some of it there up on screen!

  • April 24, 2011, 3:31 a.m. CST

    by Cobra--Kai

    And I didn't even play my trump card of that CG abomination Dexter character in the American diner scene of AOTC. Christ, that photoshopped fucker looked like he'd wandered in from MONSTERS INC - like in ROGER RABBIT where you have a cartoon in live action. So jarring and fake. Just terrible.

  • April 24, 2011, 3:53 a.m. CST


    by Larry Sellers

    Dude I don't know if you're referencing that skit from the '99 MTV movie awards or not. But if you are...kudos.

  • April 24, 2011, 3:59 a.m. CST


    by Larry Sellers

    I actually did read something a little before the ROTS release about how Lucas (it was quoted from him) intended to explain how technological progress was halted when the Empire took over. I swear I read that somewhere and it wasn't supershadow. But I've never been about to find it.

  • April 24, 2011, 5:29 a.m. CST

    Jesus, Cobra - kinda surprised at you!

    by irishraidersfan

    For every "OT wins - fact!" (and it is just your opinion), there's a dianoga, which looked like shit. Or Max Reebo. Or hell, any of the original cantina aliens. My point? If you just pick and choose in your favour, course you'll 'win'. Clonetrooper vs. Snow trooper. For fuck's sake!

  • April 24, 2011, 9:45 a.m. CST

    CGI has its place

    by sonnyfern

    When done right a(LOTR's, Jurrassic Park) it can be downright inspiring....just like any tool, you have to know how to use it.

  • April 24, 2011, 9:47 a.m. CST

    MO CAP

    by BSB

    Mo problems.

  • April 24, 2011, 10:11 a.m. CST

    The mark of a great effect

    by maxjohnson1971

    I never really thought about how the sandcrawler was filmed. Just a convincing shot that sucks you into the believability of the movie and the universe it creates. Wish we'd see more of this.

  • April 24, 2011, 11:12 a.m. CST

    I agree

    by Sprinky

    A lot of people making excellent comments about CGI and practical effects. One thing though: Making a movie whether it's done with CGI or practical isn't enough, everything around it have to be just as good. Take for instance that sandcrawler. At one time we might have believed that it was a real and big as it was showed on screen. But more importantly we believed that it was part of that Tatooine world. It was was a great introduction that started with those 2 droids that leading them to Luke and Obi wan and the rest of the rebellion. It's the story that does it, the effects enhances it. ANH and TESB are the best examples in the Star wars universe combining story and effects to maximum use. The Prequels however are a different story. As much as i can appreciate the technical work on the Prequels it doesn't have the total package. If you have the most talented people making models, creating worlds and what not for the Prequels except there's no interesting story to tell, no characters you genuinely care for, nothing that makes you truly excited. Everything is just static. All the CGI, practical effects etc. in the world couldn't help make the Prequels watchable. It's a big turd with a capitol letters.

  • April 24, 2011, 11:45 a.m. CST

    The 'power converter' line was there for a reason

    by OutsideChance

    It was to demonstrate that Luke was still a teenager, still prone to acting like a teenager and bored as hell by being a farmer. Something to demonstrate both his desire to get off Tatoonie and his increased maturity as the film went on. Owen wanted Luke to stay home and Luke, like a lot of teenagers, immediately (and without much thought) whined and tried to justify goofing off with his friends even though it was a half backed rationalization.

  • April 24, 2011, 1:53 p.m. CST

    The Tunisian desert makes any model look better.

    by UltraTron

  • April 24, 2011, 2:32 p.m. CST

    king sweyn forkbeard

    by catlettuce4

    The answer is no. We cannot have pictures from new films, because behind the scenes pictures from new films are almost always boring as shit. What would you like, a guy sitting at his computer workstation rendering graphics?

  • April 24, 2011, 3:11 p.m. CST

    by Cobra--Kai

    irishraidersfan, i'm glad I suprised you! But I was trying to pit ESB's fx against AOTC's fx in as fair a way as possible.... as 'like for like' as possible. The Dojo believes in fair play. I don't think any of the comparisons loaded the dice in favour of either film. But I still believe ESB's fx 'look better' than AOTC's. And it was made 2 decades earlier! That's got to mean something...

  • April 24, 2011, 4:02 p.m. CST

    The interesting thing with this debate

    by lv_426

    is that maybe we are implying that practical effects might be good supplements to digital effects, especially considering they are cheaper. So maybe a big film uses both, but has the miniature effects or practical effects team take off some of the pressure from the digital effects dept. Moon being done for so cheap is an interesting example. Apply this to a large budgeted film. Have the practical/miniature effects team work on the shots that don't need to be done on the computer (besides some compositing), and then let the digital effects guys concentrate on the shots that truly need to be created completely in the computer. This way we could get better digital effects because they aren't spending so much to create some of the simpler shots and wasting the time that is needed to do the absolute best work with the heavily digital stuff. Sort of like the military has the infantry troopers, but then small recon and sapper teams operate independently and are efficient and effective because they are small and not tied to such a large force. Each has a different mission that adds up towards accomplishing one final goal. Doing the same with effects, that means the film industry might then have small but skilled practical effects teams that can design, build, film, and composite their effects independently from the larger army of digital effects artists. I suppose this is how WETA is doing things, but why not the rest of the visual effects industry as well?

  • April 24, 2011, 4:07 p.m. CST


    by lv_426

    I really did not like the digital Jabba. It didn't look right to me. Also, showing him in A New Hope hurt the trilogy because it lost that sense of wondering what the hell Jabba the Hutt looked like during the first two films, and then having that great payoff when we finally got to see him in Return of the Jedi. Only seeing Jabba sitting around, basically thinking he is so big that he is immobile actually added a lot of weight to his character. Not as in physical weight, but weight as in knowing this alien gangster is so powerful that he just sits in his harem and has his goons do all the work. All that is lost when we see him slithering around in A New Hope.

  • April 24, 2011, 4:57 p.m. CST

    WETA & more Lucas

    by krylite

    WETA used sets and miniatures as much as possible because Peter Jackson is honest about efx and wasn't trying to push efx and kiddie marketing like Lucas did for the prequels. Lucas knew he was a hack and while he came up with the story, a lot of other people were responsible for ANH and ESB's success. for example the academy awards for editing for ANH , Mr. Chu, Marcia Lucas academy awards 1978 presented by Farrah Fawcet you can see on youtube. When I saw the first production logs for TPM my hopes sank when I saw Lucas just walking around saying he was looking for a story. 15 years, and not having a story for the prequels. And as Mr Plinkett says, looks like the scripts for TPM, AOTC were done in a week and the lowest priority. It was more like Lucas' prequel mission was to prove SW fans were gullible and childish and he set out to make the prequels "made for kids" and to market more to make up for his underdeveloped film skills. More important were the kiddy and dopey designs. Doug Chiang did better more sinister designs for the Sith and dark aspects of SW, but Lucas only accepted the dopey childish designs we saw for the CGI muppets and robots, and kiddie toys we saw in the prequels. Even the Mustafar designs looked like a kiddie tour through a theme park. Jackson and his friend, that bespectacled guy of WETA , I forgot his name, cared more about creating the Tolkien world than making commerical toys. For the Hobbit, Jackson and his crew spent 10 hours a day for many months, and continued working on the script for a year for the Hobbit which was already 2 years ago. A lot of preproduction sets, and giant miniatures have already been built by last year and principle filming has just started last week. Looks like they are doing the same care and quality for the Hobbit as they did for LOTR. Hope it turns out well. No matter what, the hobbit movies will be better than all the prequels. I'm looking forward to watching "the people vs. George Lucas".

  • April 24, 2011, 6:31 p.m. CST

    How Star Wars Should Have Ended......

    by wackybantha

    Owen: Luke, before you go waste time with your friends, I need to tell you something. Your father is Darth Vader. Sorry. Luke: Darth Who? Owen: Darth Vader. Look it up on the Internets? Luke: Inter-whats? Owen: Luke, you truly are an idiot. Luke: What do you mean? (Blaster sound) Owen: Young fool. Only now at the end do you understand. (Beru walks in) Beru: Hey, Owen, remember when I was cute back in Episode II? I was hawt!

  • April 24, 2011, 6:46 p.m. CST

    TPM had more models than all 3 OT movies combined..

    by darthwaz1

    Watch the dvd making of, they address that.

  • 30 minutes later he was having a pint at Mos Eisley.

  • April 24, 2011, 8:52 p.m. CST

    Jurassic Park

    by dodgethis27

    has still not been topped in my opinion when it comes to combining CGI and practical effects. I love that movie so much.

  • April 24, 2011, 10:25 p.m. CST

    I thought power converters had something to do with speeder racing

    by HornyForHarry

    and having fun with his friends later meant racing with the new converters

  • April 24, 2011, 10:53 p.m. CST

    Fuck You, You Fucking Whiners

    by Queefer Sutherland

    Good CG is every bit as convincing as miniatures these days. But you fucking geeks have to pretend to be superior and to be able to notice the difference. The fact of the matter is, I could always tell that models were models, and that they were only a few feet tall. So suck my dick you little fucking bitches. You don't know a goddamned thing and I'm sick of you pretending that you do. You're all a bunch of goddamned basement-dwelling motherfuckers who don't know fuck-all about special effects but like to act like experts. I worked in the world of miniature special effects, even helped build models for some movies, and computer graphics, when done well, are just as convincing. But you dumb pricks won't admit that, because your lives are pathetic and you need to act like you know something so you can feel a little bit special. Well you're not. Your existence is irrelevant. Your opinions are uneducated and ill-informed. If I could, I would drown you all in buckets of my vomit.

  • April 24, 2011, 11:30 p.m. CST


    So um. What is the argument for using "practical effects"? They are more realistic looking and seamless? I fucking call BULLSHIT! CG is JUST as seamless and immersive, ESPECIALLY the environment art. Case in point, Avatar. Not only is it just as if not more realistic, it also opens up an infinite amount of possibilities that aren't achievable with practical effects. When you guys start these arguments I bet you're totally unaware of the millions of effects shots you saw in movies but you were COMPLETELY unaware that the scene was altered/constructed with computer effects.

  • April 25, 2011, 12:31 a.m. CST

    top 3 topics everytime there's a Star Wars BTS pic...

    by KGB3317

    1. CGI sucks 2. Geroge Lucas is an idiot 3. 1001 reasons why the prequels sucked

  • April 25, 2011, 3:43 a.m. CST


    by GWARHOL

    Killed classic cel animation. That's reason enough to wipe it from history, right?

  • April 25, 2011, 4:37 a.m. CST


    by white_vader

    Way to go, genius. CGI wiped something out so we should wipe IT out. Oh the irony! Make the same mistake you're complaining about! That'll learn 'em! But slightly less jokingly, the people you're after are Michael Eisner and Jeffrey Katzenberg. The blame can be laid squarely at their feet. You have my permission to take 'em both out, the fucking arseholes.

  • April 25, 2011, 6:28 a.m. CST

    Braindrain - The Clone Troopers were CHARACTERS?

    by Super Joker

    They were just cardboard cut-outs. At least in the OT the Storm Troopers has something about them. I would have loved for George to explore the Clone troops a bit more, and show more of their own individual personalities despite their oppressive regime. The ones who started original thought would become disenfranchised and they would be the ones that would allow the Rebellion to properly kick off since they would have a small army of specially trained Rebels with good intel and survival instincts necessary for such a rebellion to survive for twenty plus years. Just something interesting that would link in with the idea of the rebellion being a collective of enlightened individuals fighting against homogenisation and corruption, starting with a runt collective of clone troopers. It didn't have to be just about the fall of the Jedi. The OT was just as much about the rebel alliance and their plight running parallel to Vader's redemption as a story arc.

  • April 25, 2011, 7:05 a.m. CST

    Super joker - come on, now!

    by irishraidersfan

    I take your point about doing something interesting with the clones, but stormtroopers having something about them in the OT? They were cannon fodder! And they couldn't shoot for shit. Much like the clones :)

  • April 25, 2011, 9:25 a.m. CST

    Sandcrawler robot made a cameo on the death star

    by Arcadian Del Sol

    it was the same prop used for the 'lil scooter droid' that zipped around the floors of the death star. and seriously tho - wth was that little thing's purpose. They built a battleship the size of a small moon, and with all the over-engineering that goes with such a thing, they need a shoebox sized droid that darts in and under your feet.

  • April 25, 2011, 10:08 a.m. CST

    Gwarhol is only half right. CGI didn't kill 2D animation

    by v3d

    But it did wound it. I know a animator who just spent several month working on the new Winnie the Pooh movie.

  • April 25, 2011, 11:19 a.m. CST

    Even when models are used today... IT'S THE GRADING...

    by SK229

    ...and the compositing effects that are added that then make it look too digital. It's true that models are used a lot more than we think, even today, but then the compositors take over and it seems like they try to make it look like a digital effect. They mix the two elements together and get mud. Personally, I think many elements of digital have ruined movies and especially in the lower budget world, there are just too many technical people on set now telling you what you can and can't do, everything has to be shot in a misinterpreted version of 'flat' so the color grader can ultimately decide the look of the film... it's a fucking mess. A lot of spontaneity is gone because of digital when that was supposed to be the POINT of digital. It's fucking easier to shoot film, imho, having shot on 35, than it is to use that goddamn Red camera and all the inherent post production bullshit that goes along with it. Then you have the modern equivalent of the wizard of oz, THE COLOR GRADER, with his knobs and his 'amazing eye', making all movies look the same and basically many cinematographers now don't know their ass from their elbow and a lot of shit winds up looking like a soap opera because no attempt was made to get anything in camera. Wally Pfister is one of the shining few who understand how the religion behind digital is actually giving D.P.'s less of a say in how the film looks. I also agree with what others say about this phony, ultra digital, too clean look... I shoot a lot of formats (and edit) and some of these cameras look more like film when they're NOT trying to make them look like film, if that makes any sense. If you just pick it up, use some practicals and a china ball for an interior, you might have some noise or something blown out, but it adds character and makes for an interesting shot. Even the little HDSLR's, especially the Canon cameras, have a really nice fall-off and a creaminess to highlights that the regular audience loves. But the techies on set are worried about what other techies will think about the image, not about whether or not it works for an audience or as part of the narrative. I feel like this isn't even asked anymore... "does this look interesting, does it look real?" Way too much emphasis is placed on what can be done in the grading suite at the end, whether or not the FX guys can do their work, and a bunch of other things that I believe negatively affect being able to tell a compelling story. Digital (and this means all forms, cameras, FX, grading, etc.), unless you're working with someone who knows where to put it, like Roger Deakins or a director like Peter Jackson, Duncan Jones, Spielberg, etc., has put the horse before the cart. It's a case of 'me-too' syndrome, where the people who know how to use it just get on with it and don't let that bullshit overwhelm the storytelling aspects (like Fincher on Zodiac) and go against conventions, but I see way too many up-and-comers letting the tech-heads on set steamroll right over them.

  • April 25, 2011, 11:22 a.m. CST

    Not really v3d

    by white_vader

    See my previous post. It was Eisner and Katzenberg that decided CG animated features were it once they smelled the money from Pixar. And considering the positions they held at Disney and Dreamworks, it was almost a self-fulfilling prophesy, no matter how ridiculous (obviously Miyazaki fans pay it no mind). CGI itself has nothing to do with it by itself. So for instance Disney fired most of the 2d guys when they did Dinosaur because apparently CG was "it". When that didn't work they blamed the CG animators and fired them too (not just talking about the usual seasonal layoffs). Then the 2d stuff tanked and they fired the 2d guys AGAIN. It's all there. Katzenberg even recently with the success of KFP and HTTYD said he realised they'd pimped themselves out and would concentrate more on originals now. 5 minutes later there was a KFP sequel and a planned series for Dragon, and a TV series too. Whatever. They're both full of shit, but for a time they had the power to make it happen. Ironically it's Lasseter at Disney trying to bring the 2d stuff back.

  • April 25, 2011, 11:32 a.m. CST

    This TB is funny.

    by white_vader

    If cg wasn't handcrafted too, then why the fuck do the vfx credits go on for so damn long? "Drawing on a computer" eh? Where's my facepalm emoticon? Jesus Christ I'm tired of hearing whining from morons who can't even be bothered to do their homework to actually find out exactly what IS involved, yet feel they're experts. And even the people here with good intentions are mixing metaphors and getting stuff wrong across the board. The Geonosis arena was a practical model. Not just scanned for raw info and digitally achieved with photogrammetry (like the majority of the Ep 1 podrace). It was shot as a model too. And the special ed sandcrawler cresting the ridge is a CRAP shot - the overcranking was miscalculated and it DOES look like a model. Same technique, same model, worse result. It could be argued that the same is almost true of the flopped shot (to account for the model only being finished on 3 sides) along the cliff wall but that one is just on a decline and it's dark, so that helps too. Point is, Geonosis and Hoth are apples and oranges. Sandcrawler cresting the ridge is apples to apples because the original shot is much better than the S.E. (they should have just repainted the scale of the ridge itself a bit). Have any of you actually looked at that S.E. shot before spouting off about prac vs cg? The whole fucking thing tilts as it goes over and ABSOLUTELY looks 2 feet in size. Something as big as it's supposed to be would have just crushed the low wall beneath it to a degree. Why couldn't they have left well enough alone? I hate that shot! Oh - but it's models so it must be good... On Naboo, those extensive and beautifully detailed practical models looking so glossy has a lot more to do with plain old colour grading and candy-like cinematography (I think they were going for Max Parrish) than some magical mysterious cg crap you guys haven't even bothered to check before spewing forth your supposed expertise. And even though the overwhelming majority of nerds thought it was all digital where it wasn't needed there were things as old as using overcranked salt on velvet comped in for waterfalls and underwater stuff shot dry-for-wet. Yep, I'm old enough to know there was just as much shit in the old days and yes I put my money where my mouth is and went into the industry because of SW too, but you don't even have to go to digital in SW to see some crappy misjudged stuff. I'm glad though that after literally YEARS of spouting the "more practical miniatures on ep 1 than the O.T. combined" on these talkbacks that it's finally catching on… The one thing in CG's defence is that it enables you not to have to curb the STORY like you do with practical. Having any character walk across a room shouldn't even be a consideration. But with practical it's still a ridiculously time consuming and expensive request - so usually it's written out or contrived into a long/wide shot with a guy in a suit that is not only obvious but also breaks the type and tone of the shots up to that point. Just because a director whizzes the camera all over the place CG doesn't mean it's CGI's fault - that's ludicrous. It's the director's fault - if it doesn't suit the tone or the language of the moves built up so far. We just have to wait out the novelty period.

  • April 25, 2011, 12:36 p.m. CST

    Sorry SK

    by white_vader

    Didn't see your post before my grading comment. I think you're being pretty defensive though (understandably of course - I remember discussing stuff with you in years past). Back in the old days the Cinematographer would tell the lab what to do right? How is it the grader's fault or digital's inherent fault that you're getting crap though - surely the blame lies with the cinematographers (young OR old) themselves if they're not involved with that step of the process, considering it IS ostensibly the lab these days. You even got at it in your last sentence. Digital didn't do anything by itself. It just sits there until someone picks it up. Do you see how your own comments are just as emotional and biased? Rail against the idiots who don't learn the essentials of picture-making in the first place. All the silent guys bemoaned the lack of visual thinking and storytelling when sound came in, and the limitations it out on the camera and the actors. When colour came in all the black and white guys whined about inept balance/separation and composition just when B&W was really singing. When digital came in the film guys whined about disingenuous stuff like digital noise and made the hypocritical argument about grain looking so much better when in fact grain as a storytelling tool for an intentional patina was a fairly new thing and stock makers had been working to overcome it for the best part of a century (point is, they were arguing an inherent chemical side-effect as a plus but the nascent digital side-effect as a minus). We're still in the transition and everyone's pretty heated again. Maybe the new REDs will be more to your liking - apparently the top end is way ahead of the last gen (I hate the discolouration on highlights on some digital too, never mind the blowouts even). It's all coming along damn quickly compared to film, and I'm sure you see the analogy between your views on film vs digital and the practical vs digital VFX argument… like I say, make the argument apples to apples. We're hardly out of the twenties if you're talking film vs digital shooting. All the things you're angry about seem more like stupid PEOPLE things. Nice to see you here again btw mate!

  • April 25, 2011, 1:39 p.m. CST

    some good points but made in such a fucking condescending - know-it-all ' tone, they get ignored

    by Hey_Kobe_Tell_Me_How_My_Ass_Tastes

  • April 25, 2011, 2:03 p.m. CST

    white vader

    by SK229

    You're right, it's more of a people problem, but people make movies and I actually love shooting digital. The problem I'm describing is more when the tech-heads get a hold of everything and story and the ultimate point of all this goes right out the window. I think it's a law of diminishing returns when you focus too much on, for instance with the HDSLR's, aliasing, moireing, codecs, color space, etc., and neglect the most important thing, which is the story you're trying to tell. There's just too much focus on the microscopic differences between all these cameras, lenses, toys, if you will, rather than on how it frees you to tell the story. As a side note, if I see one more goddamn Phillip Bloom or random youtube guy with a shiny new Sony F3 travelogue style 'tone poem', I'm going to blow my brains out. I think it's important to learn the technical stuff, but I think with digital, on the lower end, the sheer amount of technical jargon and noise is sort of taking over and instead of freeing people, it's enslaving them in an endless discussion and waiting for the next big thing instead of the important work, which is having a great script and working closely with your actors. Of course image is important, it's a visual medium, but you can read Robert Bolt's script for Lawrence of Arabia and the words are the equal to images... well, almost ; ) As far as color grading, I think it's both the D.P. and the grader's fault when it either gets out of hand or takes on the soap opera look. I think it's definitely become a crutch and heavily overused. Many times, very little is needed or should be needed to make that image the final image. Balancing color, perhaps adding a bit of contrast is fine, but I think it's been taken way too far in most cases. The artificiality creeps in, especially with too much vignetting/scaffolding, and I do think the audience can subconsciously tell that something is off or unnatural about the image. I think grading is an amazing tool in the right hands, but I also think it's sort of taken the discipline off the set and also created some odd lighting choices because of the 'shoot flat' mantra that no amount of correction can fix. I remember early on when digital was coming in, there was advice being thrown around not to trust your eyes with regard to the monitor even though this was about a thousand times better in terms of WYSIWIG than film, where you really need a D.P. who knows how the image will translate. On Zodiac, again, Savides told Fincher "The only reason you have me here now is for my taste." I just find that many people want to take this technology and rein in the freedom that it gives you by throwing out all this so-called professionalism/technical jargon, where truly, a person with a Canon 7D could go shoot a beautiful movie and the photographic/expense limitations are largely kaput. Now, more than ever, we need to focus on telling better stories. As far as digital effects, your examples of Naboo are almost always exactly what I'm thinking of when I say they take models and then make them look digital. I felt that was done quite a bit in LOTR too. But it shouldn't look like a model either and shouldn't scream practical, it should serve its purpose in the story... you could probably argue that we'll focus more on bad CG, bad compositing, or bad practical effects when the story itself sucks or doesn't hold our interest. I think CGI, done right, can be just as magical as practical, it not moreso at times, but this has been very rare since its inception, I think. I can only think of a handful where it really amazed me... Jurassic Park, District 9, The Matrix, parts of LOTR, Iron Man (I thought the flying suit was amazingly well done, but replacing the practical suit in a few standing still scenes was stupid, I thought) and even a few things in Revenge of the Sith. However, I always say there's a charm to a well done practical effect and even some not-so-well-done practical effects that comes across. And there are times when it works where it truly feels like a fever dream (nearly all of Empire Strikes Back, The Dark Crystal... hell, even up to today with certain practical effects in Moon), as opposed to CGI done right which usually just equals realism. When CGI looks like shit, it tends to REALLY look like shit, take you out of the story, remind you of the crassness/hype of the movie, and ultimately makes the movie forgettable. I can't even explain these phenomenon, but clearly they happen, and in some ways it seems unfair to the people who work their asses off to create this stuff. Last thing I wanna say is a lot of bad effects come down to the eye of the director... if you have a director who doesn't let too much shit get through his filter and rides herd on the FX guys, you'll wind up with much more believable shots. Sometimes it may come down to lack of budget, but on big budget movies like Wolverine, I honestly think a lot of it comes down to the director. Another example would be the Harry Potter movies... I have no idea why there's such a variation in quality between visual effects shots, but holy shit...

  • April 25, 2011, 2:54 p.m. CST

    by Cobra--Kai

    white_v and sk229, nice posts. It's guys like you that make me keep coming back to this site! And white_v i'm with you on TPM I have no prob at all with the fx in that movie. It's the other two prequels that I think poorly used and abused the CG. Sk229, don't know if you've seen the latest HARRY POTTER but fx aside the sets they built for that - particular the ministry of magic - are fantastic. Up there with the best of Gilliam.

  • April 25, 2011, 3:26 p.m. CST

    Gotcha SK

    by white_vader

    Yeah, I totally understand the forest-for-the-trees thing. Especially when the stuff takes that sort of concentration. I work in both pre and post and it's always sorta scary when people can't take themselves back out to see the big picture, as it were. The tone and context. I do get that it's hard and fall victim to it myself, but you gotta be self-aware in the first place I think. I got a bit snappy myself about the TBers even because of exactly that - forest for the trees stuff. Always arguing straight logic in an illogical context. Know your stuff, but know where and how it fits too I guess. I see what you're getting at with the 'flat' stuff too - can't think of any specific analogy but it's the old " I MUST have it in this format" sorta thing because they're not flexible enough themselves to deal with curve balls. It'll go away soon though I think when allowances don't need to be made so much. I do like the Gordon Willis sorta plan though for exactly the thing you were talking about as far as getting most of it and not pushing stuff way too far on the back end. And where that grading's concerned I sorta felt they went so far with the 'watercolour' look on LOTR sometimes (especially with the blues) that it felt like a really 'thin' duotone. But in that case it's my subjective view and I fully believe it was completely intentional on Jackson's part and DOES look very true to some of the Lee artwork. I also don't personally go for the crazy swooping camera down into the mines stuff either but again can respect it wasn't some Steven Sommers bullshit and Jackson's intent WAS to have it be this sickening lurching thing which was thematically appropriate. I totally respect that, even if it's not my bag. On Gollum especially on the second film (talking VFX now) where he was jumping around and they didn't always worry about making the hair fly because the eyes were more important - that stuff doesn't matter to me as much as the performance itself. Eyes first, then face, then hands, then other stuff I reckon. People accuse me of being too biased with that stuff but it's exactly as you said - I only pick at stuff if the story doesn't hold me. And Amen on 'realism' being a dead end. I mentioned the one thing CG has going for it is freeing up writers' imaginations (who then must step up in that regard) - but in terms of 'realism' it's not the be-all and end all and in fact will NEVER truly be achieved - the more fantastic the story and situations the less likely we can suspend our disbelief just by virtue of the premise or situation being inherently unbelievable. And this will always be so. Not that it shouldn't be strived for where required of course. They really need to nail eyes though, that's the biggie to me. Even just better sclera would be great with the right dropoff rather than the overlit monstrosities we usually get. Then maybe a good brown eye (heh) to get the contrast, then lighter colours to nail detail. An eye for an eye is what's required - and may have something to do with the same team doing Benjamin Button and then a coupla years later Young Flynn/Clu actually being WORSE! On that note I have no problem with Clu because a digital look is absolutely cool in the context of the character and story, but in terms of using it for Young Flynn I think the criticisms were/are totally valid because the tone and context is a real world one. I think Fincher's idea of what looks "right" has a lot to do with it the same team producing different results. Bad news when you're on that initial over-the-shoulder shot and things are giving themselves away like the mouth and cheek muscles/nasolabial folds. I couldn't believe it when I found out about cg eyes being lit internally and so on - surely if you're trying to imitate reality you'd fake a lipstick spot on them instead if you want that much of a read? Context! In terms of fx the reason I liked Avatar's stuff so much wasn't the designs (which looked great but where eyes are concerned had more latitude for stylisation) and certainly not story (although there I was frustrated by some story elements being extremely well done and the rest bloody awful), but the breakthrough/real acheivement for me was that there was no disconnect in the cinematic language of the moves and cuts when it came time for so called fx or even stunt/action sequences. That's never happened before and as much as I adore say Raiders, even there we go from a certain vocabulary of angles and moves to all of a sudden rears/reverses and wide shots, and a different rhythm of cuts where everything is contrived to keep from seeing it's Vic Armstrong rather than Harrison Ford on the truck. I do absolutely agree about keeping a discipline, but that sort of contrivance-through-necessity would have been avoided if possible even then. Same goes for vfx sequences in the old days. I love JP too, but if you're talking realism, I think it's a triumph of shot design rather than actual realism on the cg characters (or prac ones for that matter) - if you look closely the stuff really doesn't hold up at all and they DO use every trick in the book like darkness (that daytime bronto and rex are pretty rough in retrospect), rain, particulate stuff and so on. It 'cheats' absolutely everywhere it can! But apart from the deus-ex machina ending that betray's Spielberg's most iconic telegraphing, the story and the way it's told are incredible, for sure. My fave stuff is a mixture of techniques in the service of story/character and blurring the seams maybe from one shot to the next so that people give up second-guessing and go back to the story where they should be. Don't know which shots you mean on Iron Man. I remember something about the garage where they decided to go for a more extensive suit and added digital onto the limbs that didn't have prac suit or whatever and the difference couldn't be picked. Or do you mean the second film where it was all about RDJ's comfort? Back to the apples and oranges, it is a bit unfair that people compare the cream of practical - which has risen to the top as the vast majority of middling and crap work isn't in the public consciousness nor even available any more these days - to digital where it's pretty much all current/remembered and the dirty laundry's right up there in our minds with the good stuff. makes the ratio seem more different than it should. Not to mention Practical's Eighty-odd year head start in maturation. Anyway thanks for the great posts dude gotta run for now.

  • April 25, 2011, 3:26 p.m. CST

    I so didn't want to see that...

    by Jaka

    ...magic, gone. Siiiigh.

  • April 25, 2011, 3:34 p.m. CST

    Models versus CG, Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    by ZodNotGod

    I'm glad not everyone on here is a shit-eating moron. It's well known, to true Star Wars fans anyway, that the prequels had more practical effects and models use than the originals so now, cram that noise. You are a deliberate liar if you say otherwise.

  • April 25, 2011, 3:35 p.m. CST

    Heya Cobes!

    by white_vader

    How goes it man?! On TPM there's a lotta cool stuff although I do loathe things like Maul coming off the speeder - but that's down to Lucas who wanted something ridiculously fast that ignored mass and momentum in a very different way to say Spidey or Hulk's defiance of those things in the service of the storytelling/character. Also the boring battles and stuff - many war movies have stuff take place on fairly flat open fields and it sure its more exciting than that… But there's a bunch of cool stuff too no doubt. Sorry I gotta run - dawn is cracking its hairy arse.

  • April 25, 2011, 3:36 p.m. CST

    Which is why Zodnotgod

    by white_vader

    I made the old/new sandcrawler argument!

  • April 25, 2011, 3:45 p.m. CST


    by ZodNotGod

    The prequels are just fine, lets bitch about those awful Lord of the Cock Rings eye rape.

  • Yeah, the movies are all a lot of fun, but for fuck's sakes!!

  • April 27, 2011, 4:13 a.m. CST

    Only took you like 3 decades to get sick of it Asi!

    by white_vader

    Even my Mum was sick of my Star Wars zealotry in 1978!