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The CG Argument

Bailey Kalesti

Over the past few years, I've heard a lot of criticism of computer generated visual effects in movies. Some people talk about how practical effects are better than modern movie magic techniques. And, overall, there seems to be a lot of nostalgia for a time when props were the thing. But this insistent love for practical effects is often misguided. Pretty much every movie has computer generated imagery in it nowadays. And when visual effects artists are doing their jobs well, no one even knows it was made digitally. On top of that, tools continue to advance, and people continue to get better at their craft. This means that at the top level it's getting harder and harder to spot what's practical and what's not.

So, for years I've been frustrated whenever someone confidently tells me how CG effects are worse than practical effects. It's such a broad and dismissive statement that, as a digital artist, I've felt the need to educate them on the facts and calmly explain that computer generated images in of themselves aren't bad. Digital tools are just tools, and it's up to the artist to deliver something good. However, my words don't always properly convey what I want to say.

But the fine folks over at RocketJump Film School have just released a new video that breaks down this argument. And they do it beautifully:

"Are computer generated visual effects really ruining movies? We believe that the reason we think all CG looks bad, is because we only see "bad" CG. Fantastic, beautiful, and wonderfully executed CG is everywhere - you just don't know it. Truly great visual effects serve story and character - and in doing so are, by their very definition, invisible."

Thanks again to Freddie and company for entertaining and educating. I've been a big fan of their work for many, many years. Check out their work if you haven't already.

Bailey