Why CG Sucks (Except It Doesn’t)


Transformers (2007)
Director: Michael Bay
VFX Supervisors: Scott Farrar, David Prescott, Richard Kidd Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999)
Director: George Lucas
VFX Supervisors: John Knoll, Dennis Muren, Scott Squires Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
Director: Steven Spielberg
VFX Supervisor: Pablo Helman Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)
Director: Rupert Wyatt
VFX Supervisors: Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon Avatar (2009)
Director: James Cameron
VFX Supervisors: John Bruno, Joe Letteri X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)
Director: Gavin Hood
VFX Supervisors: Eric D. Christensen, Erik Liles, Pat McClung Jurassic Park (1993)
Director: Steven Spielberg
VFX Supervisor: Dennis Muren The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Director: Christopher Nolan
VFX Supervisor: Paul J. Franklin Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
Director: George Miller
VFX Supervisors: Andrew Jackson, David Nelson, Katherine Rodtsbrooks The Mummy Returns (2001)
Director: Stephen Sommers
VFX Supervisors: John Andrew Berton Jr., Brad Kuehn I am Legend (2007)
Director: Francis Lawrence
VFX Supervisor: Janek Sirrs Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
Director: Steven Spielberg
VFX Supervisor: Pablo Helman Forrest Gump (1994)
Director: Robert Zemeckis
VFX Supervisor: Ken Ralston Game of Thrones (2011 – )
Showrunners: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss
VFX Supervisor: Joe Bauer The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2011)
Director: David Fincher
VFX Supervisor: Eric Barba Lone Survivor (2013)
Director: Peter Berg
VFX Supervisor: Jesper Kjölsrud The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2011)
Director: David Fincher
VFX Supervisor: Eric Barba Various TV & Film
Stargate Studios Virtual Backlot Reel (2012) Independence Day (1996)
Director: Roland Emmerich
VFX Supervisors: Volker Engel, Douglas Smith The Avengers (2012)
Director: Joss Whedon
VFX Supervisors: Eric Nash, Janek Sirrs, Colin Strause, Greg Strause, Nigel Sumner, Guy Williams King Kong (2005)
Director: Peter Jackson
VFX Supervisors: Joe Letteri, Scott E. Anderson, Tim Hawkins, Ben Snow Lucy (2014)
Director: Luc Besson
VFX Supervisors: Nicholas Brooks, James Pastorius Lone Survivor (2013)
Director: Peter Berg
VFX Supervisor: Jesper Kjölsrud Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Director: Anthony Russo & Joe Russo
VFX Supervisors: Dan Deleeuw, Brian Grill, Peter G. Travers Lone Survivor (2013)
Director: Peter Berg
VFX Supervisor: Jesper Kjölsrud The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2011)
Director: David Fincher
VFX Supervisor: Eric Barba The Avengers (2012)
Director: Joss Whedon
VFX Supervisors: Eric Nash, Janek Sirrs, Colin Strause, Greg Strause, Nigel Sumner, Guy Williams Iron Man (2008)
Director: Jon Favreau
VFX Supervisor: John Nelson Rango (2011)
Director: Gore Verbinski
VFX Supervisor: John Knoll The Avengers (2012)
Director: Joss Whedon
VFX Supervisors: Eric Nash, Janek Sirrs, Colin Strause, Greg Strause, Nigel Sumner, Guy Williams Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001)
Director: Hironobu Sakaguchi
Animation Director: Andrew R. Jones The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
Director: Andy and Lana Wachowski
VFX Supervisors: John Gaeta, John DesJardin, Dan Glass, Kim Libreri, Mike Schmitt, Janek Sirrs The Matrix Revolutions
Director: Andy and Lana Wachowski
VFX Supervisors: John Gaeta, John DesJardin, Dan Glass, Kim Libreri, Mike Schmitt, Janek Sirrs The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)
Director: David Fincher
VFX Supervisors: Eric Barba, Tim Hawkins Game of Thrones (2011 – )
Showrunners: David Benioff and D.B. Weiss
VFX Supervisor: Joe Bauer Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)
Director: Rupert Wyatt
VFX Supervisor: Dan Lemmon Kon-Tiki (2012)
Director: Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg
VFX Supervisors: Hege Anita Berg, Arne Kaupang The Abyss (1989)
Director: James Cameron
VFX Supervisor: John Bruno Titanic (1997)
Director: James Cameron
VFX Supervisor: Robert Legato Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013)
Director: J. J. Abrams
VFX Supervisor: Roger Guyett Edge of Tomorrow, I mean, LIVE DIE REPEAT (2014)
Director: Doug Liman
VFX Supervisors: Nick Davis, Christian Kaestner, Matt Middleton Godzilla (2014)
Director: Gareth Edwards
VFX Supervisors: Jeff Capogreco, Darren Poe, Katherine Rodtsbrooks, Jim Rygiel, Ged Wright The Social Network (2010)
Director: David Fincher
VFX Supervisors: Adam Howard, Charlie Iturriaga, Shahana Khan, James Pastorius, Fred Pienkos, Edson Williams The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2011)
Director: David Fincher
VFX Supervisor: Eric Barba Elysium (2013)
Director: Neill Blomkamp
VFX Supervisor: Peter Muyzers District 9 (2009)
Director: Neill Blomkamp
VFX Supervisors: Matt Aitken, Dan Kaufman, Trevor Adams, Patti Gannon Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)
Director: Rupert Wyatt
VFX Supervisor: Dan Lemmon Gravity (2013)
Director: Alfonso Cuarón
VFX Supervisors: Richard McBride, Timothy Webber Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
Director: George Miller
VFX Supervisors: Andrew Jackson, David Nelson, Katherine Rodtsbrooks Transformers (2007)
Director: Michael Bay
VFX Supervisors: Scott Farrar, David Prescott, Richard Kidd The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
Director: Peter Jackson
VFX Supervisor: Jim Rygiel Boardwalk Empire (2010-2014)
Showrunner: Terrence Winter
VFX Supervisors: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0979432/fullcredits/ Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999)
Director: George Lucas
VFX Supervisors: John Knoll, Dennis Muren, Scott Squires The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
Director: Roland Emmerich
VFX Supervisors: Karen E. Goulekas, Ian Hunter X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)
Director: Gavin Hood
VFX Supervisors: Eric D. Christensen, Erik Liles, Pat McClung Zodiac (2007)
Director: David Fincher
VFX Supervisors: Eric Barba, Charlie Iturriaga, Jerry Pooler Life of Pi (2012)
Director: Ang Lee
VFX Supervisor: Bill Westenhofer Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977)
Director: George Lucas
VFX Supervisor: John Dykstra The Invisible Man (1933)
Director: James Whale
VFX Supervisors: John P. Fulton, Frank D. Williams Jaws (1975)
Director: Steven Spielberg
Special Effects: Robert A. Mattey Jason and the Argonauts (1963)
Director: Don Chaffey
Visual Effects: Ray Harryhausen Clash of the Titans (1981)
Director: Desmond Davies
Visual Effects: Ray Harryhausen Labyrinth (1986)
Director: Jim Henson Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)
Director: Chris Columbus
VFX Supervisors: Nick Davis, Jim MItchell Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
Director: James Cameron
VFX Supervisor: Dennis Muren A.I. (2001)
Director: Steven Spielberg
VFX Supervisors: Scott Farrar, Dennis Muren Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006)
Director: Gore Verbinski
VFX Supervisors: Alex Frisch, John Knoll, Lance Wilhoite, Flubber (1997)
Director: Les Mayfield
VFX Supervisors: Tom Bertino, Peter Crosman, Sandra Ford Karpman Dragonheart (1996)
Director: Rob Cohen
VFX Supervisor: Scott Squires Jumanji (1995)
Director: Joe Johnston
VFX Supervisors: Stephen L. Price, Ken Ralston The Matrix (1999)
Director: Andy and Lana Wachowski
VFX Supervisor: John Gaeta The Frighteners (1996)
Director: Peter Jackson
VFX Supervisors: Wes Takahashi, Andrew Adamson Minority Report (2002)
Director: Steven Spielberg
VFX Supervisor: Scott Farrar Forrest Gump (1994)
Director: Robert Zemeckis
VFX Supervisor: Ken Ralston Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006)
Director: Gore Verbinski
VFX Supervisors: Alex Frisch, John Knoll, Lance Wilhoite Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)
Director: David Yates
VFX Supervisors: Tim Burke, Chris Shaw Tomorrowland (2015)
Director: Brad Bird
VFX Supervisor: John Knoll Iron Man (2008)
Director: Jon Favreau
VFX Supervisor: John Nelson Star Wars: Episode VI – The Force Awakens (2015)
Director: JJ Abrams
VFX Supervisor: Roger Guyett The Mummy (1999)
Director: Peter Jackson
VFX Supervisors: Wes Takahashi, Andrew Adamson 300 (2006)
Director: Zack Snyder
VFX Supervisor: Chris Watts Batman Begins (2005)
Director: Christopher Nolan
VFX Supervisors: Dan Glass, Janek Sirrs Star Trek (2009)
Director: J. J. Abrahms
VFX Supervisor: Roger Guyett A Trip to the Moon (1902)
Director: George Méliès Iron Man (2008)
Director: Jon Favreau
VFX Supervisor: John Nelson Transformers (2007)
Director: Michael Bay
VFX Supervisors: Scott Farrar (ILM), David Prescott (Digital Domain), Richard Kidd Notice any mistakes in our citations? Tweet them at @rjfilmschool and we’ll fix em!

100 thoughts on “Why CG Sucks (Except It Doesn’t)

  1. take the movie VENOM…..way too much CGI…..📽😫….now that I think of it, just a total crap movie from start to finish 😪😪…..so over hyped 🤑….2 hrs stolen from my life!

  2. Yes I enjoyed your video I learn more about CGI and have a new prospect on how I view movies now,,,, thank you

  3. As long as the story, actors and Direction is good it doesn't matter if there's a lot of CGI as long as you can keep people invested in the drama!!!FACT!!!

  4. "Got better by the third Matrix movie"

    Didn't the second and third movies come out the same year though?

  5. Look at dunkirk, not enough planes. Then look at the mighty eighth trailer, way more planes. CGI can fill in the blanks.

  6. Fury road was the best example of how cgi should be used? Weird because visually the road warrior is way better!

  7. When you can use practical effects in a scene (and still make it look good), then you should do that, because it’ll always look more real.

  8. CGI, as it has been used – particularly big blockbusters and comic book movies, makes images look more real but feel less real. The Jason and the Argonauts skeletons, to me, feels more real than any group of CGI creatures I see today. There’s something tangible there, you know if you reached out you could touch it. When it’s all CGI and it’s noticeable, you get this uncanny feeling that you can’t touch it, that it’s not real – you feel detached from what you see. The new Ninja Turtles don’t feel real, I don’t feel like I could feel the texture of their skin or masks, whereas with the 1990 movie that used animatronics, those feel like real things you can interact with and it doesn’t make you feel as detached. Directors/Studios need to not be too lazy or afraid of spending time, money, and energy on creating the most immersive visuals they can – which most of the times, means practical effects with CGI to enhance or to show what is actually impossible to create practically. Imagine if 2001 was made today, they would give up on a lot of the shots they wanted and just did them with CGI and you wouldn’t get such innovative shots as the centrifuge or the star gate sequence because they would’ve been seen as dangerous, expensive, or impossible – and before then, they were! But Kubrick innovated and as a result, that movie holds up just as well if not better than the CGIfest it would be today. Also going off of Kubrick, the Shining hallway wouldn’t even be tried today, it would maybe be a hallway and everything else would be CGI and not nearly as believable. I guess the point is, I’m just afraid that CGI is the end of creative problem solving and innovation in film because now there is only one obvious answer to every single problem that “saves” time, money, and energy even though to make it believable you still need plenty of all those things. Like Disney could shell out a few extra bucks for a practical Iron Man suit that is refined, not covered completely up with CGI, but that takes time and creative problem solving and RDJ doesn’t want to wear it, so they’ll just have VFX artists working to get under tight deadlines

  9. I agree, particularly with your summary at the end.
    I have always maintained that, in the main, film makers
    have become too reliant upon cgi & have tended to substitute
    it for good, or better, story telling/script.

    Whereas when such effects are used wisely as an enhancement tool,
    rather than as a paint roller to paint over the cracks & plot holes, you tend
    to see much better results in terms of movie going experience.

    A fabulous example of why less is more, as often as not, is the second
    Star Wars prequel Attack of the Clones. It has the most ubiquitous cgi usage
    of any of the 1st 6 movies & is objectively by far the poorest of them all.
    All the cgi in the SW universe couldn't paint over the plot holes in that flick.
    Admittedly it wasn't helped by the weak acting from Hayden Christensen either.

    A great example of getting it right is the current DC series Swamp Thing.
    It has cgi so good that it looks like the very best of animatronics & cgi all in one.
    It looks like John Carpenter's The Thing ONLY BETTER.! 😉

    PS:

    Also if there was ever a stronger case for the Darth Jar Jar theory than
    the meaningless Count Duku twaddle from AOTC then I've yet to hear it. (& I love Christopher Lee)
    Worst SW film by ACTUAL Lucas Film ever. Disney is Disney. 🤦‍♂️ Sadly.

  10. I think CG should only be used if you need it not because they're just lazy and going to make the whole movie look like you're watching a video game

  11. I think, as you said, that as far as inanimate objects are concerned, nobody has anything to say (like the background city in the highway scene in Deadpool), for animating "living" things, I think the major issues are lighting and the excessive fluidity of certain animation that make it appear weightless

  12. I think for the most part the last point is true, about how people don't mind bad cgi if the movie is good. That's mostly true. However, there are times when it's so garish and bad that in my mind it does detract a bit from an otherwise good movie. Such as the Mummy, which was referenced multiple times in this video. The CGI in it, for the most part, is not the best. It looks fine, and that's alright because it's a fun movie. However, I'd say it's also distracting when you're watching it, and the scorpion king comes out, and he looks God awful. Even as a kid it took me out of the moment.

  13. CG sucks WHEN it sucks. Used well, it's awesome. It can't be a means to itself or just a gloss applied to a crap movie to make it glossy crap.

  14. “CG artists are so focus on their work and money that they never asked what they should do it or not”
    -My angry comment with CATS movie

  15. I still can't believe how good Transformer looks.
    Best CGI ever created IMO.
    Never doubted for a sec the autobots and deceptions were real

  16. I highly suggest watching some of the Corridor Crew channel. Those guys are CGI artists, and they can differentiate between good CGI that looks bad and bad CGI. Definitely worth a watch!

  17. CG doesn't suck, it's the movies that abuse the hell out of it when it doesn't need to be used that suck.

  18. To some degree a bit like the illusions found in magic. You can see when a trick goes wrong and because youve then seen how the trick works you can appreciate the time required to pull it off. You would then (unfairly) label that person as a bad magician. HOWEVER, its the illusions that are pulled of perfectly that are the issue. You know theres a trick involved but dont know how long the magician has been practising to pull it off.

  19. So much of this is also applicable to sound design too! Time/Money, people not noticing if you do it well, etc. There's a lot of beginner filmmakers though that absolutely have no idea how many times an audio editor/designer/mixer/recordist/Foley Walker/etc has to watch the same chunk of film in order to get all the layers together and make them sound right.

  20. Combining practical with computer generated is the way to go. Depends on the circumstance and references in the shot.

  21. CGI doesn't suck, bad CGI sucks. Just like how there is both great practical effects and atrocious ones.

  22. Most of CGI failed scenes were cause by rush of deadline, the CG artists don't have time to polish the scenes or the directors are too easy with low quality CGI scenes.

  23. but not noticing it is the point. black hawk down had effects but i didnt notice for years because they were simple even back then. star wars jar jar binks not so much…..

  24. CGI artist are often underpaid compared to other movie professions. Yeah and also rushed to finished by director/producer.

  25. Its a shame the last mad max movie looked amazing but had the worst plot I've ever seen. A HUUUUUGE chase through the desert to get back to where you came from. Nothing mattered and it sucked.

  26. Its a shame the last mad max movie looked amazing but had the worst plot I've ever seen. A HUUUUUGE chase through the desert to get back to where you came from. Nothing mattered and it sucked.

  27. What a hack!!!! by the way, CGI really sucks, just because you need to defend your income source, you don't need to denied the truth

  28. The ultimate problem here is that each movie has a VFX budget… for X amount of shots as pre planned in pre production and prepped… It spirals out of control when they start shooting because its so common to hear creatives on set say 'we'll fix it in post' – I am talking Booms, shadows, unwanted flares, crew in shot, equipment in shot – all these things to fix because there is no time to fix it on the day or someone messed up.

    To get the movie into an editable standard weighs on the shoulders of VFX (their time and budget) – then starts their contracted work of CG shots.

  29. Although there are some valid points in here, the reason I think CG is ruining movies was not addressed. CG garnishes in a movie are not the issue. The problem is when CG takes center stage, even if its well done. Thanos or hulk from Avengers are good examples of what I mean. These characters are extremely well done, but my brain knows that they simply cannot be anything other than CG. This ruins the effect for me. Thanos was not intimidating at all to me, because it was too obvious that he, as a character, could only have been computer generated. Iron man worked, because my brain could see a real actor, and the plausibility of his suit was at least distantly possible. Sandra Bullock was the same thing.

  30. The problem isnt visual effects, its the way some directors rely entirely on them to be lazy and not have to do anything practically

  31. CG has literally ruined it the horror genre I don’t think I’ve actually been scared of a movie in years now you just watch it for the pathetic plot

  32. But too much good CGI would make it obvious that there’s too much CHI which is why original filmmaking is MUCH more realistic especially since they use real props.

  33. One of the main points, budget — quality costs money. A great story can be ruined by bad actors, bad CG etc etc etc. But on the flip side, a lot of studios dump a pile of money into a film and it turns out to be garbage.

  34. Brother show some respect to cg. Try to make 3d models by your own and make sure that the render results look real and then speak.

  35. It's not that the effects themselves ruin the movies – but the fact that CGI is generally so good these days that lazy filmmakers use them to try and distract the audience from a weak story.

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