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Old November 16th, 2007, 02:26 PM   #31
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The idea that we're just around the corner from being able to generate CG that is indistinguishable from real human actors is naive. Actually, this has been a goal for years... we were all supposed to go nuts over "Final Fantasy" because the hair looked so realistic. The movie was a huge flop.

The difficulty with the idea that we're going to just whip up holodeck movies al la Star Trek Next Generation, is that its been proven as humans we are very sensitive to facial expressions when it comes to observing our fellow humans around us. We are also very aware of skin tone and texture. Ever screw up on a white balance? "Is she suffering from heat stroke?" or "is he dead?" might be a couple of comments. Now imagine how difficult the problem becomes when you're working with a computer generated character. It not just about making CG characters "laugh" "cry" or "smile". Human actors bring all kinds of nuances and subtlety to their performances, that's why they are "good" actors. Its also why some of the most successful CG movies are about non-human characters, "Ants", "A Bugs Life", "Toy Story", "Finding Nemo". You can fool people with all kinds of moving images that are CG generated.. "that plane looks real"... and even with heavily worked CG stills of people, but as soon as you have moving people, there is no doubt as to wether you are looking at a CG character or a real person. Has anyone here ever watched a clear, close up of a CG "human" character and thought, "whoa, that looks like a real person?". I'm not talking about Orcs or robots, but human characters with a clear view of their face?
Studios have side stepped this issue by using caricatures instead of realistic attempts of human CG characters (Shrek, The Incredibles).
We've got a long way to go before we're going to be able to make it "indistinguishable" between humans and CG characters, but for me, the real question, is why would we want to? Actors always bring a bit of themselves to every performance, why will it be considered a "victory" when we can tell human stories about human beings, made completely with machines?
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Old November 17th, 2007, 06:03 PM   #32
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I enjoyed seeing it in Imax 3D yesterday--a lot of fun.

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Old November 19th, 2007, 01:49 PM   #33
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the reason why you still need a CG human is for visual fx. even with LOTR, when they run across the chasm or zoom out in digital realms, you KNOW they're CG. it's still not fluid enough. conversely, also in LOTR, the zoom outs of real live action actors in real life shots are solid. it's still yet to be replicated within digital fx.

we're really not "there" yet with human CG... but will be pretty soon. could be 2 years, 5 years 10 years. but that's pretty soon. time flies.

another benefit to CG humans for visual fx is for battle scenes. for negative budget moviemakers that want to make epics, they can finally more realistic battle scenes rather than hire thousands of extras.
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Old November 21st, 2007, 10:45 AM   #34
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I cant imagine Hollywood making a movie out of any ancient text without changing it significantly. Faithfulness just isnt in their vocabulary. Gladiator altered Roman history, Troy was painfully inaccurate to the Iliad and the Trojan War story.



I think a convincing CG human is possible or very close to being possible. The technology is there, but it takes alot of work, and a serious amount of knowldge about human behaviour and how things look, as well as the right lighting conditions(better indoors than outdoor sunlight).Plus the longer its on screen, the harder it is to maintain the illusion. It isnt practical in most applications--besides fx. I maintain the ultimate test would be to insert a cg human into a live action movie sequence and interacting with others. Or a celebrity recreation.

Where it would be very useful is in creating angel or superhuman characters--demigods, gods etc. A computer generated Apollo would probably seen less hokey than an actor in a toga.



Current motion capture technology isnt the greatest for tracking facial movement-but they have a new system that can track thousands of points on a face. That should produce better animation data.


Less is more. If they focused on a few shots as opposed to a 2 hour movie.

I have seen experimental heads done for the Matrix sequels that were pretty convincing(but wearing sunglasses).

Incidentally, I have worked on CG figures myself and I did a photomapped model test of a human --and when I showed the model to someone, he thought the reference photo was a fake too. Sometimes a photograph can make someone look very artificial.

I have heard that they were originally planning to go for a Frank Frazetta style oil painting look to Beowulf, would have been interesting, although maybe not suitable for 3D imax.

Incidentally, I havent seen a 3d imax film--is it really as revolutionary as they say compared with the old type, or just another gimmick?

It would seem to me that anything that requires the viewer to stick something on their face would be unlikely to catch on as a widespread public art experience, or replace traditional theatrical viewing. Too inconvenient for non glasses wearers.

And pop up books havent exactly replaced regular books.
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Old November 21st, 2007, 11:25 AM   #35
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i saw the film and loved it...i saw the 3d glasses version. Very well done and can see why they made it all CG rather than trying to mix CG and reality. I liked it much better this way. Alot of the 3d designed shots (aside the obvious poke something at you style) were very well done and kept me glued to the whole film. Hats off to Mr. Zemekis
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Old November 28th, 2007, 09:04 AM   #36
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Finally saw it last weekend (in Real 3D) with the in-laws over the holiday. Frankly it was better than I expected despite some obvious liberties with the original narrative... the story was compressed in the traditional "economy of film" process of squeezing a story into two hours, and to be honest I think I liked this version better than the literary one. Only some minor annoyances such as counting half a dozen "I am Beowulf!" cries, but my biggest gripe is that they appeared either to run out of CGI budget or had a contract with A.J. because Grendel's mother per the original storyline was supposed to be hideous, not beautiful. Thought they did a superb job with Grendel though.

Plus I had not yet seen the trailers for Cloverfield or The Omega Man remake, so those were nice treats too. Looking forward to more 3D,
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Old November 28th, 2007, 06:05 PM   #37
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I just saw it in 3D last night and I have mostly the same feelings. I should point out that Grendel's mother was hideous but her true form was only seen under the water. Overall I thought the movie was entertaining and well done.

I do agree to somewhat with the skeptics/critics in that the 3D animation does not adequately substitute for live actors. Much of the time they did a great job and the models were convincing. Unfortunately, sometimes it just looked like the model's expressions shut off and they turned to talking wax figures. I think they need to figure out new algorithms for the eye behavior.

On the good side, the overblown action was dealt with in that some of it was intended as fantasy and boasting by Beowulf and his companions. There was still a bit of liberty taken with physics, but it wasn't as bad as seen in many live-actor movies that use wire rigs and trampolines to make people flail about dramatically. I am particularly turned off by the wire reel that yanks people back 20 feet after they are shot in many action movies. At least in Beowulf the characters suffer the consequences of being thrown across a room or slammed to the ground.

Overall the story still had a bit of an ancient feel without seeming unsophisticated nor excessively verbose. It was one part Greek play, one part Shakespeare, and one part cheesy modern action movie. I think it worked much better than I anticipated.

If they tweaked the eye movement and cut down a few outrageous physics violations, this would be a great movie except for one obvious flaw. They can't get over the fact that shoving "3D" objects in the audiences faces doesn't work! It's a stupid gimmick that has been overdone in every single 3D movie since the 1950s and it never really works. The closest plane in the 3D format goes beyond what works and just looks unfocused and cheap. Most of the 3D in the mid ground and background works perfectly and I don't know why they don't stay within the confines of what works just for the sake of a gimmick.
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Old December 7th, 2007, 08:19 AM   #38
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kelly, watch the movie yourself. you might be pleasantly surprised. let us know. ALL adaptions take liberties. they have to, otherwise real is boring. that's the very reason why we escape to films... except for hardcore indies (which is a mirror to life's miseries, you know what they say about misery).

i didn't think the 3D was that distracting or gimmicky, the film works as 2D as well if you saw it in 2D. 3D is just more immersive when given the opportunity like this.

i was @a discussion afterwards and one of the points made is that if this were a live action-film, the boasting of beowulf and his past heroics would be LESS real and unconvincing. it's because these human characters were wax-like and blend in with the setting that we believe this is a heroic legend. stuff of legends should be told like it is a dream and this film achieved that in spades.
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Old December 7th, 2007, 08:22 AM   #39
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Talking of historical inaccuracies has anyone seen U571?
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Old December 7th, 2007, 08:54 AM   #40
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Hold it Dave -- don't hijack the thread -- that's a separate topic for another discussion!

;-)
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Old December 7th, 2007, 10:42 AM   #41
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I also noticed minor historical accuracy in one of the Xena episodes but these things happen. You can't make everything up!
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Old December 7th, 2007, 06:18 PM   #42
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I wasnt criticizing the practice of making changes per se, just saying that if Hollywood is willing to play loose with historical accuracy then they are going to do at least as much with works steeped in legend. Sometimes its understandable. Sometimes it isnt--and with historical content/figures it seems to encourage ignorance. Making Henry the 8th thin for example.

That's like making Abraham Lincoln a midget.
It also is lazy writing/storytelling.

BTW I Claudius was very faithful to the books(mostly abridged them) and the books were as accurate as they could be to the historical record. Boring they werent.

Anyway I havent seen Beowulf yet. I will--just dont know when.

That's funny about Xena--I assume the minor accuracy you are talking about is the episode where there is a poet competition and a young seeing poet named Homer gets up and says: "I sing of arms and a great warrior called...Spartacus!"

Then they proceed to show 5 minutes of Kirk Douglas and Laurence Olivier footage.

I am sure Classical studies teachers around the globe cheered!
;)
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Old December 7th, 2007, 06:46 PM   #43
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I saw it in 3d and i was blown away, the 3d in its self was worth it. Why is everyone so bothered about historical accuracy, Generally the real events are boring thats why they change them.....who wants to know that william wallace was most likely a bad b#####d, braveheart was a great movie......i know im scottish, You want accuracy watch the descovery channel.

the way i see it i'd rather of see this than not.

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Old December 7th, 2007, 09:10 PM   #44
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Discovery or History Channel?

Screw that--just give me a midget Lincoln!
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Old December 7th, 2007, 11:20 PM   #45
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Quote:
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Discovery or History Channel?

Screw that--just give me a midget Lincoln!

K...????, this world is truely a diverse place full of strange people
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