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Joss Delage

CGI full feature movies

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Yesterday, I downloaded and watched "Starship Troopers - Invasion", a CGI movie based loosely on the Heinlein book, and more closely to the movie from a few years ago (but it's much better). It's a fun action SciFi movie, and I recommend it to afficionados of the genre.

What's amazing is the quality of the CGI. Human faces are still not quite there, but everything else is nearly on par with live action movies (for a small screen at least). This can only get better and cheaper with more powerful computers.

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What will be really interesting to see in the future is when CGI films are able to breach the uncanny valley.

CGI humans are incredibly difficult to make realistic while still feeling alive. One of the reasons Avatar worked was not only because of amazing performance capture techniques, but also alot because the characters were not human. Polar Express showed very realistic humans but was extremely creepy to watch. Movies like Starship Troopers work because they're not realistic enough so they don't fall into the uncanny valley.

When CGI gets realistic enough that it becomes difficult to separate from reality it seems people get very sensitive to subtle deviations. Human characters start to look zombie-like; soulless creatures that for some are very unsettling to watch.

I think the best technology today is close, very close, but not quite there yet. Atleast not for full feature CGI movies. It will be very interesting to see how the technology develops and how movies will look when the technology and rendering power becomes more accesible.

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I haven't watched a lot of modern CGI movies. Do CGI models still move as if they aren't subject to momentum and inertia? No-acceleration falls/movement, large masses making sharp turns, jupiter gravity running etc.

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But yeah, I'd say scenery, effects, and models look a lot more natural and less glued-on than they used to, especially when they need to be combined with real footage.

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I haven't watched a lot of modern CGI movies. Do CGI models still move as if they aren't subject to momentum and inertia? No-acceleration falls/movement, large masses making sharp turns, jupiter gravity running etc.

Depends on the skill of the animators, and how they animate. As usual it's always the most difficult to make realistic humans. That's done by capturing motion data and letting animators refine it. There are limitations in how you capture data, the work that's done by the animators and also what types of movements you're animating. Like in some movements being guided by wires and rigs, just like in regular movie production. Stylistical characters are, atleast in that sense, easier to animate(and I say that with the utmost respect to the incredibly skilled animators). If you're making a Disney or Pixar type movie animators have alot more freedom to exaggerate and build up movements. Those kinds of animations are very much like traditional animations -like for instance this animation, by one of the greatest - Glen Keane -

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