CGI Revolutionizes Hollywood Films


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The first movies hit the big screen in the 1890s. Since then, movies making techniques have evolved. Filmmakers and producers of Hollywood are constantly finding new ways to feed the active imaginations of their consumer audiences. One of the tools they are now using to create these fantastical, in-depth scenes is called CGI.

CGI stands for computer generated imagery. With it, animators and film designers can use computer software and programming to insert a computer-enhanced image into a scene. In order to create CGI, a lot of time, energy, and money goes into the process. This process starts in the pre-production phase of a movie or media program where script writers, producers, and other members of the crew plan out where they will use CGI. Then, scenes are shot using real actors on a soundstage.

How the effects will be used impacts how the scene is set up. If CGI is going to be used to alter the appearance of an actor, for example, that actor will usually have to wear a motion capture suit to record their movements and mannerisms, which helps makes the character more authentic. If CGI is being used to create the setting, the entire set may be covered with green screens or blue screens. CGI is then inserted into these scenes in whatever manner was decided in pre-production by a team of animators and computer software professionals in order to bring the scene to life.

Some may say that this sounds like a very fancy and more elaborate version of animated film, but the main difference between CGI and animation is the use of real people. In animated films, the entire film is created by computer software and technology, and the only use of real people is in their voice acting to give the characters on screen a way to speak. In movies where CGI is in play, parts of real life people and places still exist.

The key to good CGI is to strike a balance between the real aspects that people can relate to and the fantastical world that they thought could only exist in their minds. This phenomenon first became successful in 1993 with the original Jurassic Park, where audiences saw the blending of real-life actors and computer-born dinosaurs on the same screen for basically the first time ever. CGI continued to evolve, and with new discoveries and techniques being shared in the film community, by the time 2009 rolled around, we had full length movies with CGI in every scene, like the movie Avatar, which is set in a dystopian future where humans are inhabiting another planet. The planet’s native inhabitants, giant blue aliens, are all created in painstakingly detail with computer software.

Some of the most popular releases in 2018 largely relied on CGI to create their believable characters, sets, and overall tone in the final cut of the movie. Avengers: Infinity War and Black Panther, both released in early 2018, are a part of the Marvel Studios franchise. While their films are known for their impressive CGI work, movies like Avengers: Infinity War set the bar higher than any other movie. The main villain in the movie, Thanos, was a mad Titan who appeared in almost every scene of the movie, and he was created nearly all by CGI. In Black Panther, the same can be set for the use of CGI to create a believable recreation of an African country that is extremely technologically advanced. Other 2018 releases besides that of Marvel Studios championed and relied heavily on CGI to help their plot lines come to life. These include Venom, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, and Bumblebee. 2019 will be no different in the use of CGI to tell a story.

Movie releases and trailers for films like Aquaman and Avengers: Endgame feature heavy use of CGI that has audiences at the edge of their seats as the release dates for these movies loom closer. Some trailers like The Lion King, set to be released in July 2019, are fully created by CGI technology.

With the use of computer software and the imagination, it is truly amazing to see what the human mind is capable of bring to life. Who knows what the future holds for Hollywood, CGI, and exploring the boundaries of the human mind.