10 Facts About Computer Graphics Imagery (CGI)
Ever since Jurassic Park hit the theatres worldwide nearly two decades ago, we had been ushered into a new world of make believe stuffs coming into life before our eyes. Then a lot of highly successful films like the Titanic, Avatar and hundreds more followed we could barely remember. The downside was that whenever a low budgeted film comes to theatres to persuade us of an interesting sci-fi plot, we are annoyed when we realize some clumsy, makeshift props are employed leaving us in disgust that we couldn’t remain seated inside the theatres until the movie ends. The magic of film making was revolutionized by the introduction of computers which in turn brought us Computer Graphics Imagery (CGI).
1. Computer Graphics Imagery (CGI) as defined is the utilization of computer graphics particularly 3D graphics to attain special effects in films. Its early use started in 1973 with a technothriller film “Westworld”, written and directed by Michael Crichton.
2. In 1976, Edwin Catmull and Fred Parke of the University of Utah created a computer generated hand and face which was featured on Westworld’s sequel “Futureworld”.
3. George Lucas’ space epic brainchild “Star Wars” in 1977 was the third film on the evolution of CGI technology which featured wireframe Death Star and targeting computers on the X-Wings spaceships used in the film.
4. In 1979, two films, “The Black Hole” and “Alien” utilized raster wireframe models to depict the appropriate space scenario required on the course of the story depicted on the film.
5. In 1982, another two films “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” and “Tron” were produced which advanced further CGI developments in film making.
6. “Tron” (1982) and “The Last Starfighter” (1984) were the first two films to make a solid 3D use of CGI. In “Tron” a hacker was figured into a world of computer where a gladiator-like game is being played in a circuit like surface. “The Last Starfighter” tells about a videogaming boy recruited by a visitor from a galaxy being invaded by aliens requesting to put his gaming skills to the test as that galaxy’s only hope against total annihilation.
7. The film “The Abyss” in 1989 with Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and Ed Harris who were on a deep sea quest to search for a missing nuclear submarine and coincidentally met a colony of deep sea aliens featured photo realistic CGI adapted into scenes.
8. The 1991 film “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” featuring the T-1000 cyborg with shapeshifting capability played by Robert Patrick utilized heavy use of CGI followed by “Beauty and the Beast” which both earned recognition. The former won an Oscar for Best Visual Effects and the latter became the first animated film nominated for Best Picture.
9. The 1993 release of “Jurassic Park” featured CGI dinosaurs synchronized with hydraulically controlled life-sized puppets. What happened next is history as we see how realistically dinosaurs came into life before our eyes.
10. The 1995 success of the first fully computer-generated animated film, “Toy Story” signalled the start of a new era in film making. Film production companies realized the necessity that enabled each to establish their own film studios dedicated to carry out CGI enhancements in films. Thus we learned of “CGI armed” studios like Pixar (Disney), Blue Sky Studios (20th Century Fox), DNA Productions (Paramount and Warner Bros), Sony Pictures Animation (Columbia Pictures) and Dreamworks SKG (founded by the trio of Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen).