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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Smaug's design and CGI


Jun 16 2013, 3:40pm

Views: 861
Smaug's design and CGI Can't Post

So, i was probably not the only one who has very surprised to see that they had revealed Smaug's head in the trailer. My first reaction when i saw him was something like "Hmm, is that it?". I knew they were planning to give Smaug a classic European dragon look, but i still thought his design looked a bit too generic, and i also had the impression that his CGI wasn't really topnotch. But, as i said, those were just my initial impressions. I think the reason why this was my first reaction, was because i was rather shocked to find out that i was actually seeing Smaug's head in the trailer, wich in return caused me to basically not pay much attention to Smaug himself (because my mind was full of OMG IT'S SMAUGShocked).

Now, after having watched the trailer like 5000 times already and paying close attention to Smaug (and seeing multiple screenshots and GIFs), i have come to the conclusion that i actually like his design a lot, and i also think his CGI looks great. But i realise lots of people still aren't convinced of Smaug's design and CGI.

But what causes people to not like his design and CGI?

I think one of the biggest reasons is the angle at which the scene is shot. If you quickly glance over commonly posted screenshots of Smaug such as this one: http://img28.imageshack.us/img28/5853/f0m8.jpg it kinda looks as if Smaug has a long, pointy nose (almost like a typical witch nose). But if you look at screenshots such as this: http://img560.imageshack.us/img560/9756/3o70.jpg his head already looks quite a bit different than your initial impressions. He doesn't look like he has a long pointy nose anymore, and he also looks a lot more fierce (pay attention to the right side of his face, the side that's in the dark).

Another reason on why some people may think he looks a bit cartoony, is because Smaug's head should be capable of lip sync while talking, deliver facial expressions and show emotions through eye movement. People aren't used to the idea of seeing a live-action dragon/reptile (such as the ones in Reign of Fire, Jurassic Park and PJ's King Kong remake) display facial expressions and emotions. Therefore they immediatly think of cartoons/animated movies as soon as they see emotion on the face. In the trailer, Smaug seemed to have a pretty arrogant/cocky look on his face. And right before the scene ends, you can see him moving his eyes, nose, lips and tongue a bit as if he was about to talk (you can see it in this GIF: http://img849.imageshack.us/img849/6058/7qu.gif ).

Lastly, his glowing eyes may also be a reason on why some find him to look a bit cartoony. For example in this pic (wasn't made by me): http://img593.imageshack.us/img593/6350/welz.jpg it shows Smaug without his eyes, and his CGI already looks a lot more realistic, almost animatronics like. It might be that Smaug is able to turn the glow on his eyes on and off, (wich might explain why they weren't glowing in AUJ) so this might also be a non-issue in the scenes where his eyes aren't glowing.

I made this thread mostly to try and convince some people that Smaug's CGI and design does look good, but i realise most of it boils down to opinions, so i won't be able to change everyone's mind anyway. But for those who are still not convinced, keep this in mind aswell:

We haven't seen his full body and scale yet
We haven't seen his gold-encrusted belly yet
We haven't seen his full face yet (if you look at this GIF, it looks like he has a crown of horns on the back of his head that we aren't able to see in the trailer yet: http://img13.imageshack.us/img13/6628/jmu2.gif )
And we haven't seen him talking yet or heard his dialogue/voice

Basically, even though it's just a teaser, i think the trailer just didn't do a good job on showing Smaug to the audience. But i still have pretty high hopes that Smaug will become the highlight of this trilogy, and will be another one of WETA's major achievements such as Gollum in LOTR and Kong in King Kong.

Feel free to discuss anything Smaug related aswell.

Subject User Time
Smaug's design and CGI Skaan Send a private message to Skaan Jun 16 2013, 3:40pm
    Re: horns Arandir Send a private message to Arandir Jun 16 2013, 3:48pm
    Not convinced Ham_Sammy Send a private message to Ham_Sammy Jun 16 2013, 4:05pm
        Smaug Reveal JWPlatt Jun 16 2013, 4:53pm
            This i agree with Skaan Send a private message to Skaan Jun 16 2013, 5:00pm
                Chances are.... BlackCountry Send a private message to BlackCountry Jun 16 2013, 6:06pm
            I saw it in the theater... bborchar Send a private message to bborchar Jun 16 2013, 6:45pm
                Smaug JWPlatt Jun 16 2013, 8:19pm
                Cinema Ham_Sammy Send a private message to Ham_Sammy Jun 16 2013, 9:13pm
                    Oh, I'm sure they'll keep working on Smaug.... bborchar Send a private message to bborchar Jun 16 2013, 9:16pm
                        He sure does! Ham_Sammy Send a private message to Ham_Sammy Jun 16 2013, 9:26pm
                            See the DOS relase first! KasDel Send a private message to KasDel Jun 17 2013, 3:30am
                                Cooking the meal JWPlatt Jun 17 2013, 5:47am
                                    +1 Me too Yngwulff Send a private message to Yngwulff Jun 17 2013, 6:00am
                                        Smaug Ham_Sammy Send a private message to Ham_Sammy Jun 17 2013, 2:07pm
    I think he is perfect! The Mitch King Send a private message to The Mitch King Jun 16 2013, 7:25pm
    I don't think it's Smaug's CGI which is the problem DanielLB Send a private message to DanielLB Jun 16 2013, 9:01pm
    Smaug CGI isn't finished. PJ wanted to see the reactions, I think. xxxyyy Send a private message to xxxyyy Jun 16 2013, 9:20pm
        Smaug Ham_Sammy Send a private message to Ham_Sammy Jun 17 2013, 3:37am
    For me the look of Smaug is fine, but sound of Smaug in the trailer is very strange hobbitylass Send a private message to hobbitylass Jun 17 2013, 1:47pm


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