The Future of CGI

In my final year at the University of Wollongong, I am undertaking BCM325 as a part of my Digital and Social Media major. Future Cultures is an exciting subject for me as it will introduce me to different theories of the future of our world as well as giving me insight to what people see in the future, which is very interesting and intriguing. The topic I will be investigating for my Digital Artefact this semester will be a fan’s perspective of CGI (computer-generated imagery) and determining the differences between good and bad CGI.

In terms of my target audience, I will be aiming my digital artefact at those who are avid fans of Sci-Fi/Superhero movies like Star Wars and the MCU series. There are great examples in these movies of both good and bad CGI and giving the fans a chance to express their opinions could greatly help my investigation. According to TheWrap.com, Avengers: Age of Ultron was relatively good in terms of CGI but Iron Man would come into a scene and he would look like an unrendered deleted scene model from the first Iron Man movie. It will be interesting to see what the perspectives of the fans would be considering I am a fan myself and can notice the difference between good and bad CGI, which I noticed in The Black Panther in a few scenes towards the end of the film.

The future of CGI is concerning and exciting at the same time, I will be asking fans via Reddit of what they think the future of CGI will look like as well as giving them examples to consider. I will also be giving my own input into the investigation I will be undertaking as it will give my Digital Artefact the flexibility by having multiple opinions available to assist the research. An article written by Jesus Diaz of Fast Company states that “Most CGI in movies–natural landscapes, weather phenomena, buildings, and all kinds of objects–is now indistinguishable from reality.”. I will be using this quote as well as many other forms of research as a foundation for my investigation into the future of computer-generated imagery.

Reddit is a huge platform and the fact that it has 330 million monthly users means that there is room for a lot of social interaction, which is perfect for an investigation of the future of computer-generated imagery. A 2019 statistic posed that posts with questions receive the most comments with these types of posts getting twice the amount of replies as regular posts. All of the posts I make on Reddit will be questions because they receive more comments which means more research and data available to use in my investigation. It is an exciting approach as I will be able to interact with a lot more people and will make me confident about my overall approach to my digital artefact.

Hopefully you all stay tuned to the progression of my digital artefact and I am very excited to see how my investigation turns out.

Thanks for reading! 😊

11 thoughts on “The Future of CGI

Add yours

  1. Hey Jack,

    This is a really interesting idea, I’m a big fan of Sci-Fi and superhero movies so I’m really interested in what you find out. I like how you have utilised the prediction technique that we were looking at in week 3 to come up with this project of predicting how CGI will continue to develop into the future.

    You mentioned you will also be investigating the topic and adding in the information that you find, I recommend that you research the history of CGI up until this point so that you can obtain knowledge on how it has developed this far, this will help you predict what kind of development may occur. Here is a website that provides examples of CGI throughout history from simple animations to the body replacement of Captain America in the first film of the marvel Captin America series, https://vashivisuals.com/the-ultimate-history-of-cgi-movies/ .

    I think that it would also be beneficial for you to not just limit yourself to Reddit. I think that you could design a quick survey with some of the questions you wanted to ask people and post it to other platforms like Twitter and/or Instagram. Also try asking some of your peers, that way you will have some definite audience interaction in case you don’t get a lot of traction on Reddit or other platforms.

    You could also provide a brief background or explanation of what CGI is to those you are surveying, that way they can better understand the topic if they are unfamiliar with the term, it also allows you to ask questions to those who may not be a big fan of the genres you mentioned previously so that you can get a larger range of answers from your questions. Even if you used something basic like this https://www.sciencedaily.com/terms/computer-generated_imagery.htm

    If you find that you need to broaden your topic you could look at using CGI as an animation technique in films to try and predict what the next big breakthrough would be in filming techniques. Or you could try and use the information you obtain to predict the impact CGI will have in the future and if it will be used more widely then just for backgrounds and effects in films. For example, there are many debates online about whether CGI will replace actors, you could talk about things like this and maybe look at the impact this technology will have on people. This link is an article talking about the concern of human actors becoming obsolete and how this could happen https://medium.com/@brenn.a.hill/the-death-of-all-actors-5e8921467d10

    Overall I think this is an excellent use of the prediction of trajectories that we looked at in week 3, this will allow you take the information you obtain from audience interaction and attempt to make an accurate prediction about CGI in the future.

    Good luck!

    Like

    1. Hi Jack,
      I just wanted to add to my original comment on some topics that you could look at from the lectures when creating your DA. I mentioned previously how there was a fear of what CGI could do in the future by replacing actors. If you look at Carrie Fisher and Star Wars and how they managed to recreate her through CGI you can use the concept of imaginaries, by looking at this particular event or ones similar you could imagine how the future of CGI would look if it is let to continue in the same manner undisturbed.

      Also, you could use some of the points that Wendell Bell mentioned in our week 3 lecture. For example, when you are investigating what the future of CGI maybe you could think about how it would developed without and with any sort of interventions( whether it be legal or moral) or even extreme plausible futures. Just because it isn’t happening or it seems unlikely doesn’t mean it won’t.

      Like

  2. Hi Jack, I think your idea of focusing on CGI is unique although I’m a bit confused about the format your DA will be taking – my understanding is that you are going to be posting questions on reddit for users to answer? You might want to consider supplementing this with short videos posted on YouTube to demonstrate what you’re talking about. Films and CGI are such visual mediums that showcasing scenes and examples would be extremely important when discussing the future of CGI.

    In terms of the future of CGI, I found this website which explores some of the ways CGI has been used in films and how it can replace actors (https://www.esquireme.com/content/37409-is-cgi-going-to-replace-all-actors-in-the-future-an-investigation). Since you mentioned being interested in superhero movies I though this source may interest you as they address the scene in Iron Man 3 which used CGI to replicate Tony Stark. In addition this scholarly article (https://www.wittenberg.edu/sites/default/files/media/alcf-2019/Wahl.pdf) addresses the ethical implications of CGI in films such as digitally recreating deceased actors such as in Furious 7. The ethical implications of future uses of CGI could be an interesting topic to explore in conjunction with lecture material. I didn’t pick up on what lecture theories you are incorporating into your exploration of CGI, but you could make one of your posts in relation to novums (week two lecture) in sci fi and superhero movies and explore how CGI is used to help make these plausible and how they assist in creating imaginaries in society. For example iPad like novums in movies like star trek helping us to not only create that technology, but understand how to use it.

    Overall I think your idea for a DA is unique and could be quite interesting. I hope some of my feedback has been useful, and I would really recommend creating short videos since you seem to be quite effective with communicating on camera! Best of luck!

    Like

  3. Love this DA, I’m a big film fan, and CGI is a great place to start exploring because there’s a lot of misunderstanding about its function and application.

    Picking specific genres of film to look into is also a good approach. Both superhero film and science-fiction films make heavy use of CGI, and there’s a lot of similarities in the ways that they’re applied but key differences which makes the comparison worth investigating. Picking science-fiction also gives you the advantage of drawing on the texts’ watched in class and opening up the comparisons to practical effects a la the earlier texts.

    Your research practices are also solid, a good range of insider knowledge and audience responses; the two sides of the CGI coin that one needs to consider.

    One thing I will note is that while you are focusing on science-fiction and superhero films it is worth drawing upon films beyond that genre for research, especially into effective CGI applications. As this video essay by kaptainkristian (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QChWIFi8fOY) notes, David Fincher makes prolific use of CGI in his films, but these often go without note because of:
    1) genre
    2) sublimity
    By looking beyond science-fiction and superhero films you will be able to find a great deal of information on effective uses of CGI, which will inform your criticisms in your genres of choice and help you create projections that are more likely to develop into novums. (Another helpful resource is this Wired article on The Irishman, specifically the unconventional process involved in creating the de-aging technology https://www.wired.com/story/the-irishman-netflix-ilm-de-aging/)

    What was unclear to me, both in the video and the accompanying essay, was how you were then going to present your research. Is there going to be a platform that you host your content on such as podcast, video essay series, or blog posts? Your video made it seem that reddit might be the primary platform, and while that certainly comes with an easy target audience. As your topic is inherently visual, what format you pick is essential, and I do wonder if reddit (assuming that is the platform you’ve chosen, and I’ve just overthought this) if reddit is the best place to communicate visually dependant data.

    What is also still slightly vague is the audience for your project. Again, which format you settle on will influence this as each will entice a slightly different audience and influence the way you present your findings.

    Another question that remains unclear is how you are going to market your project. Again, knowing the format will influence this. You already have some groundwork laid with reddit as it is a great place not only for research but promotion of niche ideas.

    Once you select a format, I suspect a lot of things will fall into place. I’ve attached some info on different formats you might chose. I’m really keen to see how this one turns out!

    Making video essays: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZ9JCZececc

    Making podcasts: https://www.npr.org/2018/11/15/662070097/starting-your-podcast-a-guide-for-students

    Making an academic blog: https://www.hamilton.edu/academics/centers/writing/writing-resources/writing-academic-blogs

    Also, Film School Rejects runs a twitter account called One Perfect Shot. Something similar could make for a nice complementary object for your main project: https://twitter.com/OnePerfectShot

    Like

  4. Hey Jack,

    This is a great topic to explore as the use of CGI is only going to become more and more common so you’ll have a lot of material to work with, especially when comparing when CGI was first used to a more modern movie such as avengers.

    However, I feel like you could massively expand this idea from the confines of “good vs bad cgi”.

    For example, you could talk about CGI in an ethical sense in terms of Fast and Furious or the latest Star Wars where the used CGI to portray a character who’s actor had passed. You could explore whether people think that it’s respectable or whether people thought it was too far. If you want to explore that area a bit more this article could help you get started: https://mediaethicsinitiative.org/2019/02/13/the-ethics-of-computer-generated-actors/

    Additionally, you could also talk about CGI outside of movies too!

    CGI is being used for a lot of concerts nowadays, and some concerts are even revolving around CGI, with characters such as Hastune Miku. If you want a good read to understand Hatsune Miku check this out:

    https://www-tandfonline-com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/doi/full/10.1080/14626268.2017.1381625

    You could probably find a bunch of examples on Youtube too.

    Your idea has a strong foundation because it can expand into so many different avenues, and I think focusing on the perspectives on fans is an awesome idea!

    Like

  5. Hey Jack,

    I think is an interesting DA idea and I am looking forward to seeing how you go with executing it. CGI plays a massive role in so many films these days – not just the superhero and sci-fi genres you’re paying particular attention to – and I think that it will certainly be interesting to see what your research reveals about the future of CGI. I also think the fact that you have incorporated something you enjoy into your DA will really benefit the way that you not only approach the DA but will ensure that your final result is something that you are really happy with.

    The research method of using Reddit to communicate key ideas and gain feedback from your audience is a fantastic one. I think it will enable you to effectively engage with the audience your DA is most directly aimed at and will allow for a great level of interaction and engagement for any future research it might inspire.

    I think one potential idea that would be beneficial to your DA is to incorporate some form of history of CGI in relation to the genres you are focusing on just so that any people that are outside of the specific superhero and sci-fi fan audience will be able to relate to and understand the DA. I think that either just referencing or showing past examples of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ CGI will give your DA greater depth. I think that this article (https://www.depauw.edu/sfs/backissues/98/abbott98.html) will help serve as a starting point for referencing the history of CGI in sci-fi as it discusses the unrealistic past of CGI and how the execution of ‘good’ CGI lies in the ‘realness’ of the images it creates.

    An aspect of your DA that I think needs to be addressed is the form or presentation that it will take. You provide excellent detail on how you will go about researching your DA and gaining feedback for it but do not provide information on what form the final product will take. I think your DA could work really well as either a website or a video essay series because these forms will enable you to visually show what constitutes as ‘good’ and ‘bad’ CGI and will be able to show your audience what you the future of CGI will look like based on your extensive research. This website is really great for learning how to make video essays: https://ecu.au.libguides.com/video-essay/how-to-do-a-video-essay.

    I’m really looking forward to seeing how your DA progresses as I really do think it is such an interesting topic. Good luck with it!

    – Alana

    Like

  6. Hey Jack!

    I think that this idea of the future of CGI is one that will forever be prominent in the film industry, and there are only more ways we will develop the technology to improve each decade.

    As a person that has always been a fan of Marvel, I believe this would be a great example to contrast and explore the future of CGI in these films.

    One of the harsh critiques I have over these new CGI blockbusters is their lack of care towards cinema in many instances as some focus more on computer generated visuals.

    An example of this you can use was When Martin Scorsese proclaimed Marvel films as “Theme Park films” and “Not cinema”. As much as I’d like to disagree with him, he is right!

    In his most recent film, The “Irishman”, he uses CGI for most of the actors faces to achieve anti ageing. This was an example of where it adhered to the project but did not maintain a heavy role in making the film.

    If you looked back upon older superhero films, you can understand and see the minimal use of CGI as most Directors implemented practical work as CGI was only used where practicality was not possible.

    The final fight within Black Panther you mentioned was terrible. It was as if you felt disconnected with the film as a viewer, it was almost transcending into watching a video game. A comparison to this would be the fight between Spider-Man and Doc Ock in Spider-Man 2 on the train. As you can see Director Sam Raimi exchanges CGI moments with practical moments making it more believable. This is my perspective of how CGi should be used within Filmmaking.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: