On CGI Icebergs and geometric sun-spots (Starbursts and Lens Flares).

It is so easy to target the tip of the spear, and the suficial aspects of the titular Titanic iceburg…
But one just has to go to a clip like the yearly “stargate studios” portfolio (2009, CSI:NY, Driving, 2010, Defying Gravity)  reels (or now “Blue-Bolt“, and all that Game of Thrones madness [Cello is officially a wicked awesome instrument that ought to be used in all music mashes ar mish])… and see what the CGI tool means in the long run (and in the ‘small game’). This is a short period of perceived “ugliness”… where we are so immersed in this transition, that we don’t appreciate how truly incredible (and rapid) some of the leaps have been.

When Nog got his first colour… he abused it… used too much, overdid the tints, made garish hand-print art… blah blah… all tools will be abused… but that doesn’t mean all tools cause abuse.

Orange and blue colour correction, HDR, Time/FrameRate-manipulation, Super slow, super-fast, the list can be continually added to (nuclear technology anyone?) tools WILL be abused… that doesn’t mean that you are an iconoclast for laconically lamenting the downfall of all civilization based on “overuse of CGI”… it isn’t the “CGI” that is “ruining” anything; what does bother any given person is a game of guesses, but CGI is a tool that is finding it’s equilibrium.

Moderation is a virtue.  Not everyone is virtuous all the time, right?


Chill out.  Give time.  Or, iconoclastically declare that you are the ultimate arbiter, and that everything “today” sucks (have you re-watched days of thunder recently?  Or that everything that once was “real” is now “fake”… see how absurd that reads?)

It means I don’t have to go to Rome, and rope off this one street in my head (the street need not even exist), when I make that one movie about the story where there is a vaguely inconsequential scene in Rome, but I would prefer to have it in the movie, but travel is simply not in any budget, or I can let my imaginary sandwich-compensated unprofessional actors concentrate on acting, rather than keep butting in for some easily fixable visual hindrance “the light looks all wrong, and there is supposed to be rain on the windows!  Yes, I hate actors, and long for the day when I have the tools to operate a puppet that can input actions and wrap those movements onto any character model (customizable) I choose.  Also set designers are terrible people, who I dream of replacing with a massive shared and open library of real life 3d image based rendering models of spaces (sarcasm, those people are all wonderful, and tech is not at this point, but it is coming closer, so we should think about it, and be ready, and not simply reactionary but it will open a new world of stories, both smaller, more intimate, and far grander…

I measure “cgi” against what it follows from: ADR. Yes, early ADR was occasionally excessive, and, to a ‘knowledgable folk’ it was clearly fakery (please read the tv tropes page on “The Coconut Effect” (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TheCoconutEffect), and it actually took a long time to even make it feasible, not to mention worthwhile, or even valuable to a production.

But, like CGI, ADR, and “sound-design”, all are means of “extending” (beyond the “theatrical/stage” realities) the scope of a production. An augmented reality. If you think story telling (in book, novel, ebook, tome, epic, short story, cgi animation, stop motion, live action, tv, movie, film, video) is anything other than using the tools at hand to share an augmented reality… you have a very ingrained idea set on what it means to share thoughts. Sharing thoughts is nigh impossible, even with a tool set as large as a modern dictionary/encyclopedia and thesaurus… it is still tragically common to have misunderstandings, miscommunications and misleadings, all in daily interactions… now transpose that into telling made up, even counter factual fictions…

In the long run these tools will brings story telling back to where it was thousands of years ago… to the hands of capable minds, to the individuals… you lose the context of a writers words as you transliterate them to the screen… but so too do you lose a directors vision, or a screenwriters imagining as you incorporate the hundreds of people used on modern film sets… this is not to say that the massively multiplayer collaborative works which are our modern film projects aren’t beautiful, and unique, and interesting… I just think that it will also be really neat when the loner can have a chance of crafting a visual experience, and it has only the creators input (this is not to set the two ideas against each other, only to say that it will be nice to see both forms of creativity… as a new breed of musicians arose with the advent of the home/personal/mobile digital studio, and with digital stills, where a learner could practice, learn and experiment with infinitely disposable “digital images”…. And not be on the hook for processing, printing, studio expenses…

The world of visual motion expression is coming to the individual, and unlike the cynics, I don’t forsee this as fostering some ME ME ME superculture… the whole point of creating is, yes, as catharsis, but moreso… for an audience, to share ideas, and concepts.

Now, 12 angry men, and many of the follow-on “one set”/”bottle movies“/stage pieces actually are things I love.

But I wouldn’t love a world where all movies were limited to this. It is about balance, moderation. It was a virtue way back when, and it continues to be so.

Next time; Talking about greenscreen and CGI; or why what everyone complains about in the “new” Star Wars is not actually the CGI, but rather the MODELS (BYRONICALLY, all of the rended garments and laconic lamentations on “the downfall of star wars” [doom doom domm], I might one day argue it is physical models and their greenScreening in which people find flat and unimpressive… not the CGI, which, I might try to argue, is less often noticed [what people don’t like about The Binks character has to do with it speaking ENGLISH… he needs to be ADR’ed with a mix of “duck” and an algorithmic modulation…

It isn’t the “cgi” of the character that makes it feel forced or fake… it is the window dressings.  Please make your laconic lamentations more accurate.  PSA for accuracy in laconic lamentations.  Next Week; Accuracy in laconic lamentions about religion in discussions on the internet.  Once we work on accuracy, perhaps we can move on to The difference between Accuracy and Precision.