Sunday, 17 October 2010

My two pennies worth: What’s with all this CGI stuff?

After my article on Wallace and Gromit, a fine example of a more traditional animation technique, I thought I would turn my attention to the matter of CGI.

I grew up in the 80’s and 90’s on a steady diet of classic hand-drawn animation, stop-motion and puppetry; however, as time went on, more and more computer-generated work started appearing. These days, animation is awash with this stuff because, compared to other forms, it is cheap.

My problem with CGI is that it leaves it looks and feels synthetic. For me, more traditional techniques deliver a richness of colour, warmth and feeling of artistry that CGI simply can’t match. Proponents of it often comment on its ‘realness’ but nothing could be further from the truth to my mind. As a regular guy who has watched an awful lot of animation, I would argue any day of the week that the physicality of something hand-drawn or sculptured communicates a far stronger feeling of ‘realness’ to the viewer.

In many ways I think CGI should come with a restraining order as used here and there – not everywhere - in subtle ways it can be a powerful tool in an animator’s arsenal. Then again, there are always those production costs I guess.

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