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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
I just realized something cgi vs makeup
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Yngwulff
Gondor


Aug 17 2013, 2:45am

Post #1 of 37 (1676 views)
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I just realized something cgi vs makeup Can't Post

I was looking at the pic of Balin in front of the secret door at Erebor and even though in the still shot you an see a minor flub in the makeup ie the glue line on his cheek/beard, the prosthetics and make up still look great and you'd probably never notice when the movie was rolling.

This is largely because of the digital hi def filming.

Then I looked at Azog and the other digital goblins in Goblintown.

I realized that was what made them look so ... whats the word ... cartoonish to the point of being cheeky.

I think if you film in hi def you need prosthetics because the cgi doesn't work as well as an actual 3D person in makeup and the crispness of the picture makes it look less realistic.

I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.



DwellerInDale
Rohan


Aug 17 2013, 3:36am

Post #2 of 37 (851 views)
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With just prosthetics, you get the opposite problem with hi-res. [In reply to] Can't Post

You can tell easily that it's someone wearing a mask. In LOTR the goblins could only be shown for a second or two at a time, and they had fixed facial expressions, whereas in The Hobbit Grinnah could speak and react as a normal character.


Fellowship of The Ring goblin: obvious mask after more than a few seconds


The Hobbit: Grinnah


Grinnah can show different expressions

Don't mess with my favorite female elf.




Yngwulff
Gondor


Aug 17 2013, 3:53am

Post #3 of 37 (780 views)
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Like I said [In reply to] Can't Post

in the still shots yes but not so apparent with the moving pictures

It's easy to pick out flaws in the stills you can peer at indefinately, but when its moving they seem more real to me.

Almost like an impressionistic painting vs a photo if that makes sense

I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.



DwellerInDale
Rohan


Aug 17 2013, 4:55am

Post #4 of 37 (761 views)
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Three inline movie clips is beyond our technology [In reply to] Can't Post

Just to clarify, what I was trying to illustrate with the stills (I can't include 3 inline movie clips) was that (for me at least) it was often obvious in FOTR that the goblins were people in masks-- watch the Balin's Tomb fight sequence to see what I mean. That is why many of the goblins were wearing two-part helmets that covered their faces, and why none of the goblins' faces could be shown for more than 2 seconds without it being obvious that it was a mask.

Thus we have the tradeoff. A guy wearing prosthetics will always have an equal or better "3-dimensional" look under hi-res, but a CGI mo-cap face will be able to show a lot more range of facial expressions and emotions, and won't look like an actor wearing a mask..

Don't mess with my favorite female elf.




Yngwulff
Gondor


Aug 17 2013, 5:23am

Post #5 of 37 (694 views)
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Trade off true [In reply to] Can't Post

But if, like the Uruk Hai cheiftain Strider killed at the end of FOTR, the masks/prostethics can be done so they can show facial expression I think its a better way to go and looks more realistic.

I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.



Skaan
Lorien


Aug 17 2013, 12:48pm

Post #6 of 37 (591 views)
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Lurtz didn't really have any range of facial expressions though [In reply to] Can't Post

All he could do was look angry and open his mouth.

But i get what you're saying though, i prefer prosthetics over CGI aswell.


Morok Cloudkeeper
Rohan


Aug 17 2013, 12:56pm

Post #7 of 37 (578 views)
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LOL [In reply to] Can't Post

Since when is digital hi def and film isn't?

Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle.



QuackingTroll
Valinor


Aug 17 2013, 12:58pm

Post #8 of 37 (634 views)
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The Mordor fights particularly suffer from this... [In reply to] Can't Post

Many of the masks in the background are quite loose-fitting and look a bit cheap Halloweeny. This isn't a huge problem, but I think with a 4K camera it would have been much worse.

I actually prefer the CGI goblins. I realise they look a little computery, but I think they fit Tolkien's descriptions much better and also have a much less human feeling about them which makes them more creepy. I find them delightfully repulsive and genuinely scary (which I never got from LotR's orcs)

Another exception, though are the Uruk Hai, which just NEEDED to be prosthetics. I think the goblins and the Uruk Hai spawn from different fears, the goblins are a fear of the inhuman, the dark, the diseased and the disgusting - more suited for CGI. The Uruk Hai have a more human fear of pure intimidation. And it's hard to be intimidating with CGI, as I think Azog proves. So the prosthetics worked perfectly.

Hope I'm not rambling too much Smile


(This post was edited by QuackingTroll on Aug 17 2013, 1:00pm)


QuackingTroll
Valinor


Aug 17 2013, 1:07pm

Post #9 of 37 (561 views)
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Think UHD would be more accurate [In reply to] Can't Post

Film starts to look bad after around 2K, so they're both high-def, but The Hobbit is much higher def.

This is why I'm not looking forward to the 4K format. All the old films will need to be digitally up-scaled, which to me feels like they're messing with the original image. Frown


Morok Cloudkeeper
Rohan


Aug 17 2013, 1:15pm

Post #10 of 37 (553 views)
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35mm film can be scanned to much more than 4k. [In reply to] Can't Post

Let alone 70mm film.

Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle.



QuackingTroll
Valinor


Aug 17 2013, 1:26pm

Post #11 of 37 (538 views)
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Really? I hope you're right [In reply to] Can't Post

Someone told me that scanning anything other than IMAX film at a 4K resolution has a similar effect to projecting it on a wall 4 times too big, it looks faded and blurred, so they need to digitally enhance it to make it look good.

Perhaps we were discussing a higher resolution and I got confused Crazy


Morok Cloudkeeper
Rohan


Aug 17 2013, 1:54pm

Post #12 of 37 (513 views)
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Some film prints have been known to be scanned at 8k [In reply to] Can't Post

In fact, it has yet to be agreed upon at what point you no longer extract additional detail from a 35mm film. Can you then even imagine 70mm film? That's how much detail is in film. Of course, 70mm film is INCREDIBLY expensive.

Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle.



QuackingTroll
Valinor


Aug 17 2013, 2:05pm

Post #13 of 37 (519 views)
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I've been googling... [In reply to] Can't Post

The common suggestion is that 35mm should be scanned at 6K and displayed at 4K because (somehow) it eliminates aliasing. But I can see it's still open to debate.

I'm glad it's not as clear-cut as 35mm = 2K 70mm = 8K. I love new technology and was worried about 4K being overkill or a gimmick, but it actually seems like a perfect resolution. So now I'm really excited Smile

I'm not sure if I've actually seen a 4K projection before. I saw The Hobbit in HFR and it said 4K, but I'm not convinced it was, because it looked like HD to me and I've heard no UK showing was in 4K. So I think my cinema got it wrong. And the only IMAX thing I've seen was their Tom Cruise Space Station demo, but the film was so dirty and scratched it looked terrible. Frown


(This post was edited by QuackingTroll on Aug 17 2013, 2:07pm)


QuackingTroll
Valinor


Aug 17 2013, 2:11pm

Post #14 of 37 (495 views)
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Once again, Morok, you made me go way off topic :P // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


Morok Cloudkeeper
Rohan


Aug 17 2013, 7:30pm

Post #15 of 37 (408 views)
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Haha, that happens quite often out here. :) [In reply to] Can't Post

 

Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle.



Loresilme
Valinor


Aug 17 2013, 8:48pm

Post #16 of 37 (407 views)
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You're on to something there [In reply to] Can't Post

 

Quote
Another exception, though are the Uruk Hai, which just NEEDED to be prosthetics. I think the goblins and the Uruk Hai spawn from different fears,

the goblins are a fear of the inhuman, the dark, the diseased and the disgusting - more suited for CGI.

The Uruk Hai have a more human fear of pure intimidation. And it's hard to be intimidating with CGI,

as I think Azog proves. So the prosthetics worked perfectly.
...
Hope I'm not rambling too much Smile


Absolutely not rambling at all! I never thought of it that way. Taking this further, it would also apply to Gollum, e.g., and how CGI works so well there vs. Lurtz who was so menacingly and excellently portrayed as a physically overpowering, very real person.


I think you really nailed it with that observation.


Ziggy Stardust
Gondor


Aug 18 2013, 1:31am

Post #17 of 37 (349 views)
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I think they should use prosthetics regardless of hi-def or not [In reply to] Can't Post

Prosthetics gives a more "realistic" aspect to the film. You can see it's there, and it really is. The CGI looked cartoonish to me also, especially because they wanted to make some of them look really weird. Crazy They could have at least used prosthetics on Azog, he might've looked better. The way he was designed in CGI, I thought, made him look like a videogame orc, or D&D orc thug.


Ziggy Stardust
Gondor


Aug 18 2013, 1:34am

Post #18 of 37 (352 views)
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Wasn't Grinnah motion-captured? [In reply to] Can't Post

That would explain why he had good expressions. The masks and prosthetic the Moria goblin is wearing looked like it was too stiff, which could be blamed on the make-up artist who did it. Otherwise, if done right, (by the make-up artist) a person wearing prosthetics can make expressions.


DanielLB
Immortal


Aug 18 2013, 8:46am

Post #19 of 37 (306 views)
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It's trade-off. [In reply to] Can't Post

10 years ago, CGI looked a bit "iffy", and so prostheses (and models) did a far better job.

Today, prostheses and models look a bit "iffy", and because of the advancements in CGI, it now does a far better job.

With all the improvements in resolution, a prosthetic or a model city would just look rubbish on a massive cinema screen. I agree that it's a real shame, but there's also a trade-off.

Wouldn't we all be moaning at rubbish masks if they had gone down that route? Wink



vinsanity
The Shire

Aug 18 2013, 9:31am

Post #20 of 37 (290 views)
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.... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
"Today, prostheses and models look a bit "iffy", and because of the advancements in CGI, it now does a far better job.
"

Hmm no, go see Pan's Labyrinth to see great prostheses or even Pacific Rim for models.

"With all the improvements in resolution, a prosthetic or a model city would just look rubbish on a massive cinema screen"

Again, not true.

"Wouldn't we all be moaning at rubbish masks if they had gone down that route?"

I haven't saw rubbish masks on LOTR.


DwellerInDale
Rohan


Aug 18 2013, 10:02am

Post #21 of 37 (284 views)
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Yes, he was. [In reply to] Can't Post

Not quite sure of your point here...mo-cap is 100% CGI, because none of the original actor's face remains in the finished product, and they wear no prosthetics. In the case of the goblins their bodies were often those of the real actors, while the faces were mo-cap.

Don't mess with my favorite female elf.




DanielLB
Immortal


Aug 18 2013, 10:14am

Post #22 of 37 (281 views)
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It may or may not be true. [In reply to] Can't Post

But that is my opinion. Smile

I didn't explicitly say that the prostheses in LOTR were rubbish - I thought they were extraordinarily well done. Like others have pointed out, though, facial expressions are limited when using a mask. At least CGI faces allow for more more motions and positions of the muscles beneath the skin of the face. These movements convey the emotional state of the character and is, therefore, an important form of nonverbal communication. All of which is limited when using a mask, hence why I said "iffy".

The sets and costumes for Pan's Labryrinth and Pacific Rim were great. However, neither of them were filmed at 3D and 4k resolution and 48fps. Because of this, any imperfections are going to be obvious - for instance, people dislike a number of wigs used.

If they spent enough resources (time and money) they could have used miniatures and masks. However, in this day and age, it's cheaper and quicker to replace with high-quality CGI. Obviously, CGI is at its best when it flawlessly blends in with real action. Just because they can use CGI, doesn't mean they should. Take the Helm's Deep and Minas Tirith sets - they're better than any CGI set today, 5 years ago, and 20 years ago.

Since you didn't answer my last question, I'll give you my opinion. Whether they had used real masks and sets versus CGI faces and sets would have always split people - whatever route they had chosen, people would've complained. It's a trade-off.



(This post was edited by DanielLB on Aug 18 2013, 10:22am)


DwellerInDale
Rohan


Aug 18 2013, 10:20am

Post #23 of 37 (299 views)
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Pan's Labyrinth [In reply to] Can't Post

The Faun in Pan's Labyrinth, Lurtz in FOTR, and Vincent in Beauty and the Beast were, as they say, "exceptions that prove the rule". In those cases you had one focal character on whom the story could concentrate, and thus justify having a guy sitting in a makeup chair for 5-6 hours a day (Doug Jones used the time to learn his lines in Spanish). FOTR also lucked out with Lawrence Makoare; most of the other Uruk-Hai looked like guys in masks. Even so, all 3 of those characters were limited in their facial expressions by the makeup. For large groups of such characters, CGI is pretty much the only way to go.



"Boy, this sucks!"

.


Don't mess with my favorite female elf.




(This post was edited by DwellerInDale on Aug 18 2013, 10:21am)


vinsanity
The Shire

Aug 18 2013, 3:50pm

Post #24 of 37 (234 views)
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.... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
"I didn't explicitly say that the prostheses in LOTR were rubbish - I thought they were extraordinarily well done."

If you think they were extraordinarily well done, why the assumption that would be rubbish in the Hobbit?

"Like others have pointed out, though, facial expressions are limited when using a mask."

That doesn't necessarily removes the suspension of disbelief of those characters, like most CGI does.

"At least CGI faces allow for more more motions and positions of the muscles beneath the skin of the face. These movements convey the emotional state of the character and is, therefore, an important form of nonverbal communication. All of which is limited when using a mask, hence why I said "iffy"."

I still haven't seen a CGI character with that freedom of movements and motions that brought the same emotional connection to an audience like ET did which is by your words: an "iffy" model character with limited movement and action, only Gollum and Caesar came close.


"The sets and costumes for Pan's Labyrinth and Pacific Rim were great. However, neither of them were filmed at 3D and 4k resolution and 48fps."

Not on 3D or 48fps but in the case of Pan's Labyrinth it was shot on film and film is also shot in 4K resolution, the same for Pacific Rim that was shot with the Red Epic cameras, the same that PJ used. And shooting in 3D and 48 FPS was for me a huge mistake from PJ

"If they spent enough resources (time and money) they could have used miniatures and masks."

They had the time (pre-production started in 2008) and the money to do it ($500 million dollar budget) it was an artistic decision, not financial to go digital instead of prosthestics and practical models or bigatures.

"However, in this day and age, it's cheaper and quicker to replace with high-quality CGI."

It's quicker, probably, is it cheaper, not necessarily true, if you look to the list of most expensive movies, many of them use a lot of CGI stuff, look at Prometheus, who build gigantic sets in Pinewood, and used very minimal CGI, cost only $100 million. Even Ridley Scott said filming in greenscreen is not necessarily cheaper than building the set: http://www.crazyontap.com/topic.php?TopicId=177986

"Obviously, CGI is at its best when it flawlessly blends in with real action. Just because they can use CGI, doesn't mean they should. Take the Helm's Deep and Minas Tirith sets - they're better than any CGI set today, 5 years ago, and 20 years ago. "

Agree 100%.

"Since you didn't answer my last question, I'll give you my opinion. Whether they had used real masks and sets versus CGI faces and sets would have always split people - whatever route they had chosen, people would've complained. It's a trade-off."

If they made real masks and more practical sets and bigatures like they did in LOTR and with the same quality or better, people would have not complained and we probably would not be having this conversation, on the contrary, they would had commended PJ for not going down the path "go digital" on almost everything like Lucas and Cameron did. So, that's my answer.




sharpened_graphite
Rivendell

Aug 18 2013, 9:19pm

Post #25 of 37 (208 views)
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Pan's Labyrinth (as well as Hellboy 2) actually used prosthetics... [In reply to] Can't Post

...touched up and accentuated by CG. So they compliment each other with both their strengths (prosthetics for making it as tactile as possible and CG for creating the more dynamic elements such as the mouth, accentuating eye movements, spittle et cetera... or just parts of the costume that couldn't be done physically (the Faun's legs for example)). Basically taking the best of both worlds. CG can match prosthetics in tactile feel but requires more work and attention to achieve that (the Kaiju in Pacific Rim and the suits in Iron Man are a good example).

The Hobbit's CG is technically as good as Pac Rim or Iron Man, but suffers from weird colour and lighting choices that make EVERYthing appear far too smooth and artificial (the Great Goblin for example is rendered down to the finest fuzz on his skin, but because he's lit and coloured in the manner that's usually present in food commercials to make pastry appealing, he doesn't quite convince despite the artistry and detail of the model), and the Wargs in TTT actually have more grittiness and texture to them than those in AUJ, even though the latter are techincally better AND a superior design. Generally, the colour choices really hurt the CG in AUJ in my opinion, especially with the insane level of craft and artistry that went into it.

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