Jun 19, 2014

"Why Do Practical Effects Get Replaced With CGI?" - An Appeal From The Practical VFX Industry

If you haven't heard of Amalgamated Dynamics (ADI), you ought to get educated - An offshoot of Stan Winston Studios that was born in 1989, the studio has specialized in delivering the highest quality practical effects to at least a few dozen movies you've probably watched, including this year's Godzilla, Xmen - First Class, the Aliens Franchise and many more over the years.

Celebrating their 25th year in business, they've created a new video to explain some of the challenges that practical effects studios are facing in this day and age, when producers and studio execs seek to up the visual ante by over relying on CGI. The most famous example of this is probably 2011's The Thing prequel, which was supposed to be entirely shot with practical effects as a throwback to John Carpenter's original 1982 feature. In a move that soured many fans, studio execs opted to apply a CGI treatment towards the end of production, overriding even the directors wishes.

In the case of that movie, what made the original The Thing so frightening was the fact that the practical effects were so grounded, and 'real' that it instilled a deeper fear in audiences than what a computer could accomplish. That choice had quite the opposite effect, drawing audiences out of the movie when the afflicted researchers turned into rubbery, overly motion blurred CGI monsters that had a loose grounding in that reality. As one artist we heard from put it best, the best VFX is a balanced marriage of practical and CGI - There's a reason movies like Jurassic Park and Starship Troopers still look so good today. Think about it.

The founders of ADI offer a compelling case as to how things have gone a little too slanted in the favor of CGI as of late, and I kind of have to agree...An overabundance of CGI in any film, no matter how well it's done has a nasty tendency to distract rather than immerse. For an idea of just how far animatronic technology has come since the 80's, I'd like to invite you guys to check out the mind blowing work that Gustav Hoegen did for Prometheus's engineers. 100% Practical.

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