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... heard any variants, but I am confident the "C" in CGI as I have heard it before has been Computer rather than Character.

Indeed, as CGI is used in both live action and anime, its often used to provide non-character imagery ... the spaceship in Farcscape, where the characters are actors, actors with make-up, actors with appliances, or muppets:

... or the submarine in Blue Submarine no. 6, where the characters are conventionally drawn anime:


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Apr 24th, 2010 at 02:43:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
CGI is distinct from blue/green screen, lith mattes, glass plates and other film process photography done in camera or lab. Glass plates are an example of the former and were used to add crowds to the stadium in 'Ben Hur', or distant houses in 'Gone With the wind'.

A large glass late is held in front of the camera, with the edges outside the camera frame. The added spectators (Ben Hur) are painted on the glass leaving a shape of clear glass through which the actual scene is visible. The master of this difficult work was Albert Whitlock"

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Apr 24th, 2010 at 04:07:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Neither of those above are film process.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Apr 24th, 2010 at 04:28:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm sorry, but you are wrong.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Apr 24th, 2010 at 04:42:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... Farscape's spaceship or Blue Submarine No. 6 from Blue Submarine No. 6? Or both?

I know for sure that Blue Submarine No. 6 was CGI - it was one of the earlier anime's to make heavy use of CGI, so I do not know how the CGI and the hand drawn material were merged. Nowadays most hand drawn anime is  drawn on computer, so CGI and 2D drawing are composed digitally.

I can't find the information on the Farscape spaceship Moya again, so I may have gotten it and the new Battlestar Galactica confused.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Apr 24th, 2010 at 06:35:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Er - I think you may be passing each other by.

As I read it, Sven meant that glass plates etc were film processes.

Although technically I think they're called opticals. Some are in camera, while others are literal optical effects created by doing strange things with celluloid strips, light sources, notors, mirrors and handpainted film frames. (E.g. the stargate sequence in 2001, which was partly a motor-driven effect.)

You can - of course - park a painted plate in front of a digital camera as easily as in front of a film camera. I'm fairly sure people still do this, although perhaps not as much as they used to.

The SF namechecks were both CGI (so far as I know.)

To confuse things further, CGI usually means - in practice - seamless photorealistic simulation.

Animations, especially when they're non-narrative eye-candy, seem to be called motion graphics - although this depends on the industry, to an extent.

In ads, if it moves it often seems to be called motion graphics. In movies, it's called CGI. In music promos it can be either.

There used to be a difference in styling between Hollywood/ILM CGI and the cheaper and more stylised effects you'd see in ads, but that gap has narrowed over the last decade.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Apr 24th, 2010 at 07:18:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... I was referring to the two examples I gave of CGI being used to provide non-character imagery when character imagery was provided by other means (video tape for Farscape, drawn anime for Blue Submarine No. 6), addressing whether the "C" in CGI is "Character" or "Computer".

On "motion graphics", I read what it says in the Wikipedia machine, and the best combination of clarity and persuasiveness is: "Since there is no universally accepted definition of motion graphics,"

In anime, "CGI" is used to indicate whether the original source material was drawn or modeled and rendered, with the latter referred to as CGI. In a video production like Farscape or Battlestar Galactica, it seems to refer to the stuff that is generated on the computer rather than shot with the video camera.

But as near as I can tell, it doesn't have to be motion graphics to be CGI - a green screened or computer composited still background can also be CGI.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Apr 24th, 2010 at 07:34:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's CGI if there's a computer making imagery that wasn't captured in-camera.

I think motion graphics started out from the graphic design side - i.e. titles and abstract elements - but converged with CGI as abstract elements became more closely integrated with live footage.

CGI can be as much about painting things out as painting them in. There was a (dire) film a few years ago called Twenty Eight Days later - post-plague apocalypse, etc, etc. In one of the scenes there are talking head shots inside a taxi driving along a motorway.

Obviously the director couldn't close the motorway, so CGI was used to remove the other cars that were in the raw footage.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Apr 24th, 2010 at 08:05:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... its an ongoing point in reviews of anime that incorporate CGI how seamlessly the CGI and drawn anime fit together (though I don't always catch the problem - I recently read Scrapped Princess being held up as an example of horrible composition of CGI into an anime, and I quite enjoyed it).

I've never seen a concern with which cels of the drawn anime were drawn by hand on the computer and which were drawn by hand the old fashioned way ... that is, whether the pen strokes on an electronic tablet were used to drive a drawing program or whether a cel was drawn in ink and then scanned into the computer. And the majority of frames will be drawn on the computer in any event - even if the key animator is drawing in ink with the cel being scanned in, the inbetweeners will be drawing on the computer.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Apr 24th, 2010 at 10:20:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Almost all animation today, whether cell on film or computer generated, is the result of a art/craft process that first establishes the look of characters and backgrounds in drawings, mood boards, and storyboards that are increasingly detailed. Main characters are often built in clay or other material. There may be hundreds of iterations of these before the characters, the worlds they inhabit and the story are 'fixed'.

The same processes are often used in live action movies. Many directors create complete hand-drawn storyboards showing every scene in the movie, including dialogue, before shooting. With a big enough budget, such as the Indiana Jones movies, the drawings are translated to fake life-size objects (e.g. fantasy planes) and remodelled locations.

The reason for these elaborate and expensive 'hand-made' processes in pre-production, is because (just look at the movie credits) so many people all have to be on the same page - including the producers. These processes also inform the final production budget.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Apr 25th, 2010 at 03:19:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was referring to anime where the individual frames are drawn. One I am following from the current "Spring" anime season is House of Five Leaves

Nowadays the hand drawn key animations are drawn on a computer artist's pad rather than drawn on cel and scanned into the computer, and in either event the inbetweeners do the inbetween work on the computer. But of course since the computer is being used as a drawing tool recording the animator's pen strokes rather than to generate the imagery, that is not called "CGI".


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Apr 25th, 2010 at 12:58:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You are right. I was referring to my 'above' ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Apr 25th, 2010 at 03:21:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... it was obvious that I had been too telegraphic when I wrote the comment ... knowing what I was trying to say once again being an impediment to reading what I had actually written.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Apr 25th, 2010 at 01:00:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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