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

Skaan
Lorien


Jun 16 2013, 3:40pm

Post #1 of 20 (862 views)
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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.


Arandir
Gondor


Jun 16 2013, 3:48pm

Post #2 of 20 (465 views)
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Re: horns [In reply to] Can't Post

Regarding the horn-like shapes we saw in the AUJ prologue, maybe they are retractable or can be raised when menaced - much like a cobra ... not really part of dragon-lore but you never know what to expect from PJ!Laugh

'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' Review

(This post was edited by Arandir on Jun 16 2013, 3:48pm)


Ham_Sammy
Tol Eressea

Jun 16 2013, 4:05pm

Post #3 of 20 (450 views)
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Not convinced [In reply to] Can't Post

That the Smaug in this early teaser trailer is in fact the actual rendering. I wouldn't be suprised if it's a digital placeholder until they finish the real one. They have 5 to six months to finish it. I know they are shooting pickups and Bo5FA now but honestly there is editing still to be done, a lot of editing I'm sure. We shall see.

Thank you for your questions, now go sod off and do something useful - Martin Freeman Twitter chat 3/1/13

(This post was edited by Ham_Sammy on Jun 16 2013, 4:06pm)


JWPlatt
Grey Havens


Jun 16 2013, 4:53pm

Post #4 of 20 (414 views)
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Smaug Reveal [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm going to repeat a post of mine here because it's even more appropriate to this thread:

If you notice, Smaug's head coming around the corner to find Bilbo looks a lot more like 2D animation planes being moved relative to each other than a 3D treatment.

Think cartoons - and how backgrounds move to give the foreground characters motion. It's a very unreal effect for live action and so I gather it's an unfinished effect. What I mean here is that it looks like Smaug has not yet been integrated or animated well enough to be in the same 3D space as Bilbo. He doesn't move appropriately relative to the rest of the scene. They probably cheated for time and will obviously finish it to better effect for the movie's release.


Skaan
Lorien


Jun 16 2013, 5:00pm

Post #5 of 20 (379 views)
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This i agree with [In reply to] Can't Post

And i'm hoping they polish it up a bit in the upcoming 5 months. It's easy to see in this GIF: http://img13.imageshack.us/img13/6628/jmu2.gif

Smaug's CGI looks great, just his implementation into the environments could use some more polish


BlackCountry
Rivendell


Jun 16 2013, 6:06pm

Post #6 of 20 (332 views)
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Chances are.... [In reply to] Can't Post

....Smaug's appearance will be tweaked upon much like what they did with King Kong in the trailer compared to the finished product while facing the T-Rex's.

I do not want what it is not mine.... I only want what comes from within....


bborchar
Rohan


Jun 16 2013, 6:45pm

Post #7 of 20 (332 views)
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I saw it in the theater... [In reply to] Can't Post

On the big screen, his head doesn't look flat or cartoonish at all because you can see all of the texture. He looks very good in the movie theater.


"Go on. Walk on. You must be destroyed."

"Good boy! That's the spirit! Bring my miserable line to an end. Up, up! Come, Scientist, destroy me! Destroy your creation! Come!"

~Frankenstein


The Mitch King
Rohan


Jun 16 2013, 7:25pm

Post #8 of 20 (287 views)
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I think he is perfect! [In reply to] Can't Post

His long head looks very long and wyrm like. Then he turns his head and you get a quick look at the width of his head and get a peek of how his face will move and show emotion. I have no doubts about Smaug's design anymore. It's all about BC's performance now for me..... but I love him in Star Trek Angelic


JWPlatt
Grey Havens


Jun 16 2013, 8:19pm

Post #9 of 20 (269 views)
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Smaug [In reply to] Can't Post

I said they used a technique used in cartoons, not that Smaug is cartoonish.

You can see basically see three planes, just like cartoons: Bilbo on a small set with the camera tracking around it, Smaug in a 2D projection of a 3D model, and the 2D background being shifted to make the appearance of camera movement in a 3D space within the scene. It doesn't quite match the camera movement on Bilbo or the separate camera movement on Smaug, if any. I am certain it will look better in the finished release when they get everything properly integrated.


(This post was edited by JWPlatt on Jun 16 2013, 8:22pm)


DanielLB
Immortal


Jun 16 2013, 9:01pm

Post #10 of 20 (271 views)
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I don't think it's Smaug's CGI which is the problem [In reply to] Can't Post

Look at the chamber background and pile of gold when Smaug's head moves round (and the shot changes). I think it's the green screen CGI that's the problem, and not Smaug himself. Good CGI on top of bad CGI just looks like bad CGI altogether.


Ham_Sammy
Tol Eressea

Jun 16 2013, 9:13pm

Post #11 of 20 (235 views)
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Cinema [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree completely it looked better in the cinema. I just went to MoS and the DOS trailer was shown (it was the last one they showed! I was glad because I thought we weren't going to see it). Smaug definitely looked better. I agree with JW though that this is not the final rendering and honestly that's by design. PJ is giving us a taste. He's not throwing out there the whole enchilada. He's saving that for the movie I'm sure. It's all good.

Thank you for your questions, now go sod off and do something useful - Martin Freeman Twitter chat 3/1/13


bborchar
Rohan


Jun 16 2013, 9:16pm

Post #12 of 20 (229 views)
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Oh, I'm sure they'll keep working on Smaug.... [In reply to] Can't Post

...and that he'll look spectacular in the finished produce. I just was assuaging the people who think he looks awful on the computer (or tv, if you watched it there) that he looks awesome on the big screen.


"Go on. Walk on. You must be destroyed."

"Good boy! That's the spirit! Bring my miserable line to an end. Up, up! Come, Scientist, destroy me! Destroy your creation! Come!"

~Frankenstein


xxxyyy
Rohan

Jun 16 2013, 9:20pm

Post #13 of 20 (247 views)
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Smaug CGI isn't finished. PJ wanted to see the reactions, I think. [In reply to] Can't Post

That last scene of the trailer is obviously not finished.
Is Smaug far-sighted? Or blind all together?
The trailer is just a test, and I guess PJ gathered important informations from it.

http://energyfromthorium.com/


Ham_Sammy
Tol Eressea

Jun 16 2013, 9:26pm

Post #14 of 20 (213 views)
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He sure does! [In reply to] Can't Post

Agree totally. He looked great today during the trailer. I loved it.

Thank you for your questions, now go sod off and do something useful - Martin Freeman Twitter chat 3/1/13


KasDel
Rivendell


Jun 17 2013, 3:30am

Post #15 of 20 (144 views)
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See the DOS relase first! [In reply to] Can't Post

Me thinks that the 'cook' shouldn't be admonished until AFTER the meal is tasted!

KasDel the Last

"Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger." Gildor


Ham_Sammy
Tol Eressea

Jun 17 2013, 3:37am

Post #16 of 20 (152 views)
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Smaug [In reply to] Can't Post

I think you are 100% correct.

Thank you for your questions, now go sod off and do something useful - Martin Freeman Twitter chat 3/1/13


JWPlatt
Grey Havens


Jun 17 2013, 5:47am

Post #17 of 20 (122 views)
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Cooking the meal [In reply to] Can't Post

Some of us smell the acrid smoke of a burned meal coming from the kitchen. Is that the smoke detector sounding the alarm? LOL

Golly, sometimes analogies are so abusable. Tongue

Welcome to the forums!


(This post was edited by JWPlatt on Jun 17 2013, 5:50am)


Yngwulff
Gondor


Jun 17 2013, 6:00am

Post #18 of 20 (123 views)
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+1 Me too [In reply to] Can't Post


Quote
I agree with JW though that this is not the final rendering and honestly that's by design. PJ is giving us a taste. He's not throwing out there the whole enchilada. He's saving that for the movie I'm sure. It's all good.



I think thats why they left it on the dark shadowy side in the trailer so if they wanted they could make changes and not give it all away too soon, and the shadow would leave it vague purposely.


Take this Brother May it Serve you Well
Vote for Pedro!


hobbitylass
Bree


Jun 17 2013, 1:47pm

Post #19 of 20 (101 views)
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For me the look of Smaug is fine, but sound of Smaug in the trailer is very strange [In reply to] Can't Post

When the head comes around the bend, to me it sounds just like the chain-pull on a wooden roller coaster, and that makes Smaug seem less like a living creature, more like a mechanical device.


Ham_Sammy
Tol Eressea

Jun 17 2013, 2:07pm

Post #20 of 20 (85 views)
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Smaug [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree. It's a vague rendering on purpose. It's all good and we'll see HRH Smaug in the film in all his glory.

Thank you for your questions, now go sod off and do something useful - Martin Freeman Twitter chat 3/1/13

 
 

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