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Are CG movie effects as terrible as we think?

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From explosions to car crashes to wild, citywide chases, modern blockbusters feature plenty of dynamic, realistic special effects. But, is the industry plagued by awful CGI? Should the industry re-invest in practical effects?

In a new visual essay, RocketJump Film School utilizes a supercut of films like Gravity, Mad Max: Fury Road, and Jurassic Park to tackle that question and demonstrates that CGI isn’t as terrible as some moviegoers might think. “I think the reason we think CG looks bad is because we only [notice] bad CG,” narrator Freddie Wong says. “Great visual effects serve story and character and in doing so, are, by their very definition, invisible.”

The key to great visual effects, according to the clip, is to understand the strengths and weaknesses of what the computer can achieve. And between superhero suits, animal fur, and Brad Pitt’s Benjamin Button – the good CGI is out there. 

“While it’s easy to sit back and cherry pick bad visual effects and blame the industry for making movies the way they are, you’re really not seeing the whole picture,” Wong suggests. “When we think about a great movie, I mean, what do we think about? We think about story, we think about character. And when the visual effects aren’t perfect, we forgive it.”

See the full argument below.

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