Alfred Stuart Urrutia (
Thu, 24 Feb 2000 15:45:51 -0800

Peter Savin wrote:

> I don't know if you saw the last few episodes of DS9 (yes, the B5 and
> SeaQuest stuff stunk), but the destruction of the USS Defiant was truly
> spectacular (for a cgi explosion), and quite realistic IMO. I've watched
> the thing many times, and just the sheer amount of detail is amazing (you
> can see lots of inner frame-work, little fires, etc...). There were a few
> other sequences from big Trek battles that were nearly as impressive. They
> can do it, and they have done it, they just need to spend the time....

Detail is not photoreal. Detail is fine, nothing sucks more than a
ship/car/alien/etc. that looks like it's only 3 inches high because of lack of
detail. Photoreal, on the otherhand (and I assume super realistic is similar)
is not about detail on its own. It is also not about *seeing* everything that
is in the shot. Photoreal is fooling the eye into not knowing what process
made the effect you are seeing because, as far as your brain is concerned, it
was filmed live. So, we all know there is no Deep Space 9 base floating in
space, we all know that you would not hear the Defiant fly by, etc. *But*,
those effects, on all those shows, are overly lit cg looking fluff. The
animation is bad. The worst that I've seen recently is Star Trek:
Insurrection. Good lord, is that shit bad.

Photoreal, when done correctly, will rob your team of an Oscar. Apollo 13
lost to Babe (this still kills me) because the voting members thought that we
had simply cleaned up old NASA footage. Not one shot was real, all of it was
models and cg additions and compositing. So we lose to a movie that has
animal mouth animation that's sliding over the animals' heads. We fooled the
astronauts who saw it.

If you see Disney's Dinosaur this year, you'll see a movie falling short of
photoreal. They claim it is. It isn't. We were told, continuously, to
"cheat" the lights forward, to the left, etc., so that the light could "rake
across the character's face". Why? Is the light not supposed to match the
filmed background. If it were actually photoreal... yes. No atmosphere added
between the distant painted backgrounds and the foreground characters.
Obviously, I could go on and on but I won't.

They may be able to do it, but they haven't (the TV shows you mentioned).
They have a style, a "look", but it ain't photoreal. And, depending on the
software they use, no amount of time will get them there, either.


"Atop his jet black, genetically engineered Horse of Doom, The Pope rides
 into battle against soldiers armed with mere conventional weapons.  He
 laughs as his army of cloned Jesus' (Jesi?) drive crosses into the
 chests of their enemy."
                                  - Excerpt from Clu's "War Popes" movie.

Alfred Urrutia - Digital Domain - 310.314.2800 x2100 - -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

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