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 Message
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com
 Subject: Re: JMS: On visual effects...
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 9/18/2005 8:53:16 PM  

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Thunder, Agent '005 wrote:
> I was reading in the most recent Star Wars "Homing Beacon" about how one
> of the visual effects people said it was far cheaper to do cgi versus
> traditional models and blue screens. I can see the practicality, but is
> this really so (in terms of cost)? I would think it would cost just as
> much, if not more, to have a team of people doing effects on computer
> for months at a time. Granted, he was talking movies (as opposed to TV)
> but I was just wondering what your take on this is.
>

It is cheaper, definitely, and can be more utilitarian...you can do
things with CGI that are very difficult and time-consuming with models.
There's also the surrounding tech that you have to use for models,
such as motion control equipment and stuff that doesn't come into play
so much when using CGI. On a cost-per-shot basis you can get a lot
more bang for your buck with CGI than models.

Which is not to say, however, that CGI is always the way to go. All
too often, because something *can* be done with CGI it *is* done, and
that isn't always the best solution. For instance, on the remake of
"The Haunting of Hill House," they went nuts with the CGI, doing all
this spiffy looking stuff because they COULD. But because they were
intent on showing off the tech, the point of the movie...to scare the
bejeezus out of you by making things mysterious and
other-worldly...went right out the window.

And there are times that the eye can't be fooled by CGI and requires
something solid. The Lord of the Rings movies used the perfect
combination of large-miniatures (if that makes any sense) and CGI for
its cities, with the result that they just look and feel more real.

While I'm on the topic of cgi, by the by...a friend working in Maya
called the otehr day asking if I knew anyone who was a technomage level
expert in Maya (or close, anyway). If there's anyone who really knows
that program inside and out, drop me an email so I can forward on the
information.

jms

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