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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
The "unfinished/polished" CGI Issue
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Jun 12 2013, 5:45pm

Post #26 of 34 (231 views)
I'm not PJ's biggest fan [In reply to] Can't Post

But i just can't believe most of the shots in this trailer are the finished article. Smaug the design was fine but the CGI looked terrible and i would be amazed if this were to be the finished product on a film that has taken years to make.

Yeah i just can't accept these shots are finished - some looked great, others looked bad - by release date, hopefully all will look great (and colour saturation will have been toned down a little).

'What's the matter with you?' - J.R.R. Tolkien


Jun 12 2013, 5:47pm

Post #27 of 34 (236 views)
CGI can look good. [In reply to] Can't Post

But it takes time and that means man hours for the computer design/art team.

For some people who judge a movie by its highlights, this is a non-issue that is easily ignored.
For others who take an average over the whole, those few handwaved overlooked frames bring down the average.
For the most critical who judge the entirety by the lowest frame and perceive all the rest through that hole, possibly because it jarred them out of their reverie / suspension of disbelief - it ruins the whole thing.

My thought is simply this, if you are going to use the CGI then go ahead - but do it right every time you use it or don't use it. I think CGI is awesome because it removes the physical barriers that impede a really good fantasy tale from taking flight. Elves can actually be faster than a man would be, the ethereal light associated with the highest elven lords can be there in an awesome way. It can be obvious that someone is under the influence of the one ring just from computer effects applied post-production that can be adjusted at will. But to do that well, someone needs to sit there and make those adjustments and an artist with a good eye needs to take their time to tweak the models and such.

If it isn't possible to go through this for every frame of the movie then it is better to be more discerning about when and how the CGI is used. Using it to de-age the returning actors is brilliant so long as it is done well. Using it on characters like Gollum and Smaug is also brilliant.

Does it need to be used on all the elven warriors and goblin/orc warriors instead of using doubles?
Well - I'd say either you need to pay people for their time as doubles - or you need to pay for extra hours in the computer art department. Because the computer doesn't do it well by itself. I think that the way it works (kind of guessing here) is that the required time is highly front-loaded. Loads of time spent early on good modelling can save time later and make it easier to make adjustments if the models are coded the right way that make a change across all scenes require a tweak in one place. But there is no replacement for checking each frame and holding all of it - every frame - to a high standard.

Unlike a video game, the value in this is completely in the graphics. In a video game, it is possible to get away with a lot more oopsies and lightly attended frames since the primary value is in playability. So it may be fine if a video game drops suspension of disbelief for a moment - but when that happens in a movie, it affects the whole experience for certain people (I'm not one of them - but I have heard enough of them speaking up to realize they are out there).

So - here are some specific changes I brainstormed"
Azog: rough up some of the skin in some places - it will make him look less like he is made of plastic - also watch the loincloth (that's not what I mean! Shocked) so that it looks like clothing more.
Jumping elves - I loved Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - but this does look video-gamey and like it would be resource-intensive to get right on a computer. So I would try being more subtle - you don't need to show all the elves completely to point out that they are there. Most likely, the Mirkwood elves were/are quite good at camoflauge so the subtle way really serves the story itself more than the CGI here. Or try combing with some motion capture on real people moving a little bit more if you need to show them all. Or maybe show those frames much more quickly so that there is a "corner of the eye glance obscurity" bonus to cover over any deficient resources to perfect those parts.


Jun 12 2013, 5:48pm

Post #28 of 34 (239 views)
Other opinions on CGI [In reply to] Can't Post

Just showed the trailer to my 13 year old brother and by about 30 seconds in he asked - "Is this a video game?"

Says it all really.

Tol Eressea

Jun 12 2013, 6:35pm

Post #29 of 34 (197 views)
Children [In reply to] Can't Post

The voice of reason sometimes Wink

Vous commencez m'ennuyer avec le port!!!

Tol Eressea

Jun 12 2013, 6:49pm

Post #30 of 34 (182 views)
Out of the mouths of babes... // [In reply to] Can't Post


"Choosing Trust over Doubt gets me burned once in a while, but I'd rather be singed than hardened."
Victoria Monfort


Jun 12 2013, 7:24pm

Post #31 of 34 (162 views)
Totally a bear! [In reply to] Can't Post

I think! If it's a dog, one of Beorn's dogs, and it's THAT huge, think of how big Beorn must be then! Haha, but he has the teeth and snout of a bear.

Best photo I could find as a comparison Tongue


Jun 12 2013, 10:43pm

Post #32 of 34 (119 views)
About the bear / dog? [In reply to] Can't Post

I think it looked like a clear bear - I thought so at the time and still think so now, especially after looking at the still shots.

But I can see how some people might be wierded out by it because the bear face does get distorted when the door is slammed on it!


Jun 13 2013, 3:29am

Post #33 of 34 (88 views)
It's a Bear [In reply to] Can't Post

I've seem plenty of them.

Beorn was described as being a huge bear and at BO5A he is even larger due to his rage.

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


Jun 13 2013, 6:02pm

Post #34 of 34 (57 views)
Not a Middle Earth film but... [In reply to] Can't Post

Jackson's King Kong trailer had tons of unfinished CGI shots in the debut trailer. The Bronto stampede (which honestly didn't look to great in the final product anyway) had some very spotty animation, and WETA used a scrapped design of Kong for the final shot (since the actual design had not yet been finalized).

Also, while the CGI shots in the ROTK trailer were technically finished, there are several that were heavily altered in the final film. The mumakil in the trailers didn't have their warpaint, the shots of the Battle of Pellenor fields wasn't color graded (it looked way to dark and overcast in the first trail and more autumnal and red in the final cut) and I'm pretty sure Shelob moved/looked differently.

Frankly, this kind of stuff happens in a lot of CGI heavy films these days. Heck, the first teasers for The Avengers showed shots of explosions that would only later have the Chitauri composited into them.

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