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Old 17-12-2007, 07:33 PM   #1
David
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Default Special Effects miniatures today

Hi everyone,

I'm sure that many of us have a big interest and fondness for special effects that are achieved using miniatures. Sadly, however, this seems to be a dying art nowadays and I just wondered what your thoughts were...

Will have a future of any kind?
Will it one day see a resurgence?
Will it die out all together and be replaced entirely by CGI?
Are miniature effects in the way Meddings used to do them EVER used nowadays? (meaning those "in-camera" effects")

Whats your thoughts?

Dave
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Old 17-12-2007, 09:39 PM   #2
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Within fifteen years, even actors will be replaced.
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Old 17-12-2007, 09:52 PM   #3
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Well, it will need to come a far way from the motion capture of today. I'm sorry, but that technique as it stands just gives me the heebie-jeebies.
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Old 17-12-2007, 11:10 PM   #4
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I thought there was a resurgence on already with the desire to use cgi where its absolutely necessary rather than "everywhere" and to use live action plus miniatures along with cgi in a better balance. I fear Eagle may be right. There are a couple of big films out now that are pure cgi ( eg.Beowulf) I can't stand that stuff as it will always look fake. Blended in to live action at particular moments it works well, but all the time it can't hold up.
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Old 18-12-2007, 05:06 AM   #5
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Um, Agent Crush anyone?
http://www.agentcrush.com
Miniatures designed by Mike Trim, crafted & directed by fans of the original Super-M series. Yea, I know this is an exception to standard Hollywood fare but it's head 'n shoulders above the CGI special effects that are (over)used in today's film & TV.
Ultimately, the general audience has come to expect a certain 'look' to their visual entertainment and CGI is the current, cost-effective method of creating the 'appearance' of realism. However, I concur with Eagle: CGI people give me the creeps also.
I suppose the deciding factor for each film production is the cost factor and what works on screen. The Lord of the Rings trilogy had a ton of computer effects but many of the structures were cleverly composited miniatures (Minas Tirith for example). So I suppose there's room for both art forms to co-exist...
GW
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Old 19-12-2007, 08:56 PM   #6
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Hi there yes ive been on the Agent Crush site, good behind the scenes pix too ,and if you look there are some familiar vehicles Shado mobile being one of them. Cant wait to see the movie
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Old 19-12-2007, 09:12 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thunderboy View Post
Hi there yes ive been on the Agent Crush site, good behind the scenes pix too ,and if you look there are some familiar vehicles Shado mobile being one of them. Cant wait to see the movie
And and SPV right along side it. Nice vehicles
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Old 21-12-2007, 11:00 PM   #8
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Is it just me or does Agent Crush himself look like Alec Baldwin? Carrying on the Supermarionation tradition of modelling puppets on well-known actors, perhaps.
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Old 22-12-2007, 01:22 AM   #9
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Default the death of mintures??

Well
I for one like the look of a good glass shot over cgi if (i ever get going on the project) the 44" minture of the eagle i will film it maybe use some cgi to "clean up" the shot
and or remove wires cgi for cgi alone is weak. Miss seeing the models in sci fi movies
not bashing cgi movies (the last starfighter) <-- that was the first to use as much cgi for it's day it had a blend, and a balance as far as i can i will "try" to keep the old ways alive
it makes for a better shot. the only way to (that i know of) is to do more "passes" than is needed as each layer addes to the cgi in this way it makes the image look "more real"
the simpsons cartoon takes three months to make for the 30min. show

Cgi is a tool it can be over used as for me i do like a blend of min, in camera,cgi
matte ect
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Old 26-12-2007, 04:03 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eagle View Post
Within fifteen years, even actors will be replaced.
thats the "bottom line" im afraid, as the technoligy develops it will indeed be cheaper and easier to use a CGI actor over the real thing, and the principle is the same , its cheaper to blow up a miniture/model than it is to blow up the real thing. cgi is just the next step in that process.
i dont think it will be long before we see the "new" john wayne westerns etc, and there will come a time when you wont be able to tell the difference between the two.
i was very impressed by gollum in LOR and dont see how else it could have been done.

its in its infancy now , but once it gets to the stage when you cant tell the difference between the cgi and the real elements, then cost wise cgi is the way to go.

technoligys change, colour TV doesnt stop me from enjoying and even appreciating an old B&W episode of Dr Who.
and ive just ordered the old capt scarlet DVD's because i am enjoying the "new" CS so much.
in the big picture its all good to me
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Old 26-12-2007, 05:09 AM   #11
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Ah, the old Captain Scarlet is lots of fun... you can't beat it. I know the cgi one has its place, but its not the real Captain Scarlet
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Old 01-01-2008, 08:43 AM   #12
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I think everything will have a purpose. ILM is always considered by many to be the bad boy of CGI in terms of them using it for supposedly EVERYTHING. But in reality they do still have a substantial in house department that does miniatures for set pieces and for use in other subtle ways. Even as good as CGI is, model work is still potentially better for some shots. When all the tools are used together (such as with the Skyfleet airliner in "Casino Royale"), the results are best.

In terms of cost and use, it will depend a lot on the artists behind the camera doing this stuff. Okay, CGI actors I can see, but somebody has to design and animate them. Somebody has to build CGI models and sets for filming and somebody has to edit all this stuff together and make it look cool. It will still take artistic talent to do all this. It won't do it by itself. Those with the most talent will do the best work.
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Old 07-01-2008, 06:06 AM   #13
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[quote=TerraForm1;45367]Um, Agent Crush anyone?
http://www.agentcrush.com

Whaaa??? Puppets? Futuristic vehicles? Comedy? Oh yeah! Bring it on!!!
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Old 11-01-2008, 05:02 AM   #14
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I agree with the idea of using both. Although a lot of cgi ships look like a bunch of unassociated shapes slapped together, and the poorly lit models look muddy, cgi models can be manipulated with tremendous freedom of movement. But a physical model most often has a more substantial look. In the end, yes, blending the two may be the best idea of all. On our little production, physical models were used (a lot of fun to build, too!) and computers were used to add movement and background. The results usually were pretty good, for a production with no money. In the end, though, there will always be room for both.
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Old 11-01-2008, 06:17 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JMChladek View Post
I think everything will have a purpose. ILM is always considered by many to be the bad boy of CGI in terms of them using it for supposedly EVERYTHING. But in reality they do still have a substantial in house department that does miniatures for set pieces and for use in other subtle ways.
Actually, they got rid of their model shop, which became KERNER OPTICAL. Same crew, but nolonger part of ILM. The benefit though is that the model shop can now work on shows independent of ILM, rather than only being one package.
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Old 11-01-2008, 09:09 PM   #16
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It's also interesting to note that the recent Star Wars prequels used MORE model shots than the original trilogy , despite criticism to the contrary .
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Old 18-01-2008, 05:27 PM   #17
David
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Smith View Post
On our little production, physical models were used (a lot of fun to build, too!) and computers were used to add movement and background. The results usually were pretty good, for a production with no money.
Cool! tell us more if you want.
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Old 01-02-2008, 06:21 PM   #18
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I think there is a resurgence in "low tech" special effects. Has anyone noticed the increase in stop-motion being used in commercials today? They show-up in the strangest of places where CGI or live action would have been quicker and probably cheaper.

Nothing beats a great model.
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Old 01-02-2008, 09:25 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MadMango View Post
I think there is a resurgence in "low tech" special effects. Has anyone noticed the increase in stop-motion being used in commercials today? They show-up in the strangest of places where CGI or live action would have been quicker and probably cheaper.
I've noticed that, and I think it's due to deliberate artistic choice rather than necessity.

Dunno if any of you are familiar with a series called 'Robot Chicken'? Apparently the brainchild of Seth 'Scott Evil' Green, it uses stop-motion to hilarious effect:

Star Trek

E.T. goes home

Darth Vader calls the Emperor

(Clips have some slightly distasteful language, but nothing obscene.)

Last edited by Dr Kane; 01-02-2008 at 09:27 PM. Reason: Typo
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Old 02-02-2008, 07:46 AM   #20
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Darth Vader calling the Emperor is one of my favs, but the whole Robot Chicken Star Wars special was hilarious!
The dvd collection of Robot Chicken's first season proudly proclaims "No damned CGI!" by the way.
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