CGI: What the hell happened?

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Someone already showed a picture of what I was about to say, but short version: a lot of the stuff in Jurassic Park was animatronic. That said, I know exactly what you mean. As someone who does this stuff, I'd like to point out that budget and deadlines are the biggest issue.

Yes, some companies do better work than others, but beyond that, it's budgeting. The more money you can throw at it, the more hours/people we can put on the job.

That said, I still prefer projects where physical models/costumes/animatronics are combined with CGI. There are some things that just come across better physically, and for the shots that can't be done that way, there's us. Using a 100% CG character in every shot causes occasional shots where it's much more/less obvious that the character or environment isn't real, and that inconsistency is incredibly frustrating to me...

yay... it double posted...

Jurassic Park did many things unique at its time.

I mean this movie had cctvs... Which where nothing mainstream at this age,unlike today. Only governments used this technology.

Well it was raining on JP1's T-Rex, so that could attribute to it looking better..

Sleekit:
have look here folks

that "CGI" T-Rex almost ate someone...

https://www.stanwinstonschool.com/blog/jurassic-park-t-rex-robot-almost-eats-crewmember

image

Interesting read, thanks for the link.

Its not that CGI got worse their budget did.

cojo965:
I think you mean Apatosaurus when you say Brontosaurus although I do like the latter name better

IIRC, Brontosaurus technically isn't a thing. It was a mislabelled Apatosaurus skeleton that was identified as a Brontosaurus, although popular media preferred the word Brontosaurus for some reason (I guess it seemed more Dinosaury). You seem like the sort of person that would know that sort of thing, but it's an interesting bit of trivia.. if I'm correct at least.

OT: I don't think it's an objective statement of fact that it IS worse now. Even in those two clips. I think the problem wasn't the CGI itself, but the direction of the scene. The best looking CGI is in dark, obscured places, and almost all the major CGI scenes in Jurassic Park take place in darker areas. That scene in Jurassic Park 3 was in broad daylight, and I always found the dinosaurs looks horrible in the daylight, at least the CGI ones, even in Jurassic Park 1.

in the early 90s, CGI was technically difficult, so it was used as sparingly as possible. It's become much easier now, so it's used a lot more, and when there's more of it, and it's not just used in the points when it's absolutely required, then of course the quality overall is going to suffer. But that ease also makes it possible for people to use CGI on a lower budget to sometimes good effect. It just takes a lot of time to do it right, and I think most CGI effects that people consider bad are just unfinished. Another layer of work could have been put on the top to bring it more correctly into the real world, or make sure whatever realism algorithms your computer has run are looking good, and the best movies will use practical effects before computer effects. That's why lord of the rings is, from a technical standpoint, much better then the star wars prequels, and why even the original star wars movies have a much more engaging feel to them - practical effects ftw.

Altorin:

cojo965:
I think you mean Apatosaurus when you say Brontosaurus although I do like the latter name better

IIRC, Brontosaurus technically isn't a thing. It was a mislabelled Apatosaurus skeleton that was identified as a Brontosaurus, although popular media preferred the word Brontosaurus for some reason (I guess it seemed more Dinosaury). You seem like the sort of person that would know that sort of thing, but it's an interesting bit of trivia.. if I'm correct at least.

Actually the name Brontosaurus was handed to a dinosaur that got the wrong skull put on its body. It was an Apatosaurus body that got a Camarosaurus head put on it. As you can tell the error was eventually rectified but the name Brontosaurus is still popular.

There's a lot more bad CGI because there's more CGI. And it's done as a cost-cutting method a lot, not artistic development.

Stavros Dimou:
Jurassic Park did many things unique at its time.

I mean this movie had cctvs... Which where nothing mainstream at this age,unlike today. Only governments used this technology.

The Zucher brothers were doing it before that point.

Here's my rebuttal: video games are CGI. As far as i can tell, their quality has been improving over time. Therefore, I do not think all CGI has seen a decrease in quality.

Bitch please, this is how you monster.

No CGI, just a really badass rubber suit. And this movie i got the picture from, Godzilla vs. Destroyah, had less than a 6th of Jurassic Park's budget and looks just as good.

surg3n:
CGI takes time and money, a lot of time and a lot of money. Now a movie like Jurassic Park is a trailblazer for CGI - some people had reputations to protect and expand with that film, it had to make high quality CGI a viable option.

Dare I say it... it had to make up for the CGI in Alien3.

What CGI? Are you talking about the alien that looks teal most of the time because it was done as a physical puppet in front of a green screen and nobody who was working on the movie had heard of color-correction?

Elect G-Max:

surg3n:
CGI takes time and money, a lot of time and a lot of money. Now a movie like Jurassic Park is a trailblazer for CGI - some people had reputations to protect and expand with that film, it had to make high quality CGI a viable option.

Dare I say it... it had to make up for the CGI in Alien3.

What CGI? Are you talking about the alien that looks teal most of the time because it was done as a physical puppet in front of a green screen and nobody who was working on the movie had heard of color-correction?

Well all of it really, puppet masking, computer modelling, it just didn't work - the Aliens in the previous movies were much more effective. Even dudes in Alien costumes looked more believable. I'm not saying it was a bad movie, the atmosphere was great, I liked how dark the plot was, just the alien could have been done a lot better. As a third-in-series movie, it stands up well against other third-in-series movies.

I am a sucker for practical effects myself. I definitely miss the days of watching something unfold on screen and thinking to myself "How the hell did they manage to do that!".
I never get that feeling from watching long stretches of nearly all CGI. It just doesn't do it for me. I am not impressed and I am very rarely immersed. The best CGI is the stuff I don't even know its there. Typically to assist with practical effects.
The problem now though is that most people use CG because it is cheaper and faster than practical effects or filming on location and such. Therefore, the fast and easy way out is to film in front of a green screen. Yawn.
OT: It isn't getting worse, trust me. That is just a bad example, especially since a lot of the T-Rex scenes were a mix of CG and robotics. It looks better because something is physically in front of the camera to be seen and for actors to interact with. Solid practical effects will always be more convincing than CG, even after we reach a point where it is near impossible to tell the difference, simply because the actors have something to react to.
But I am old and lame, and I hate movies now, so what do I know.

Somewhat related - does anyone else think that in the new Hobbit trailer, Smeagol looks genuinely worse than he did 10 years ago? Not sure if it's because he's meant to look younger, or the flashy new cameras are causing issues, but something about him just looks off to me.

it's strange, the second clip's CGI has better 'graphics' as it were, but i was much more aware that it is CGI than the first clip.

Okay, sorry to necro this, but I have a fresh perspective. Having recently[1] watched all three films, the CGI in the third one is far and away better than the CGI in the first two. I'm not sure why it looked worse in those youtube clips, but on the DVDs it's definitely got the best effects of the trilogy. If I had to guess, I'd say it was something to do with the transfer -- I noticed one of the effects reels in the extras section had some wonky looking effects, which I chalked up to the brightness of the transfer screwing up the matting. Which means puppetry with the same transfer problems would look at least as bad.

[1] Technically I'm currently watching the third one, but I've seen enough for this purpose

I dunno, I watched JP in Imax 3D, and it still holds up phenomenally well.

Soviet Heavy:
I dunno, I watched JP in Imax 3D, and it still holds up phenomenally well.

I saw it the same way. I think all three movies hold up today. "Best" doesn't mean the others are bad.

Edit: Oddly enough, the DVD of the original was more believable than the Imax 3D version. Not sure why, but some of the dinos (especially the Tyrannosaur) were really obvious puppets in some shots of the 3D version in the theater, but were believable on the 2D DVD. I'm watching the Ultimate Edition transfer, for reference.

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