Aaron S. Hawley (aaronhawley) wrote,
Aaron S. Hawley

Pivotal CGI film history

Twenty years ago, in 1995, the first full-length digital movie, Toy Story, was released to theatres. In my opinion, here are some noteworthy uses of computer-generated imagery (CGI) in film for both technical and artistic reasons:

Westworld (1973) is the first film to use digital image processing to pixelate conventional motion pictures to show the point-of-view of the android gun-slinging character played by Yul Brynner.

Futureworld (1976) was the first movie to use computer generated 3D images. Animated models of the human hand and face were displayed on computer monitors to the actors who were playing scientists, including a polygon rendering of a topographic scan of actor Peter Fonda's face.

The original Star Wars (1977) rendered a hologram of the attack on the Death Star for a Rebel Alliance pre-briefing. The X-wing fighters also included vector displays in the cockpit.

Looker (1981) has the first realistic 3D computer image of a character with shading during a scene in the film during a body scanning of actress Susan Dey.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) has a sequence of space and an earth-like terrain built by Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) and using fractals.

Tron (1982) contained long sequences of 3D computer image scenes including the famous "light cycle race".

The hologram briefing of the attack on Death Star II, "the Endoor moon sequence", is built by ILM for Lucasfilm's Return of the Jedi (1983).

Ghostbusters (1984) includes various CGI enhanced scenes including, the short animated scene of a cloud covered "Zuul pyramid" inside the refrigerator of Sigourney Weaver's character.

The Last Starfighter (1984) contained the first use of 3D animation to present objects in long fight sequences between starships in space.

The film 2010: The Year We Make Contact (1984) included computer-generated cloud animation of Jupiter and the animation sequence of "monoliths" which eventually converts the planet to a star.

The Adventures of André and Wally B. (1984) was a digital short by LucasArts that contains the first use of complex 3D backgrounds, motion-blur and lighting.

Young Sherlock Homes (1985) featured the first animated realistic character, the "glass knight", that was rendered to the live action shots alongside the actors.

Dire Strait's "Money for Nothing" music video (1985) had computer animated 3D human characters and was produced by people who would go on to form Rainmaker Entertainment, Inc. (formerly Mainframe Entertainment).

Flight of the Navigator (1986) featured a computer generated starship inserted into the live-action shot that could reflect the surrounding environment.

The Abysss (1989) featured a non-terrestrial intelligence (NTI) that was a column-shaped, water-like creature that interacted with the actors on screen.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) featured computer generated scene elements.

Dick Tracy (1990) is the first movie to be recorded with digital audio.

Terminator 2 (1991) has sequences with computer-generated characters that mimic human motion, including one with the T-1000 that is capable of becoming liquid metal.

Jurassic Park (1993) contained computer-generated imagery of dinosaurs, with some motion inputs sourced from physical actors, and stunt double face-replacement.

Forrest Gump (1994) uses CG to integrate characters with archival footage, renders an actor as a leg amputee using blue-screen technology, and composes digital explosions with live actors during a Vietnam battle scene.

Toy Story (1995) is the first full-length CGI film starring animated anthropomorphic toys.

Star Wars re-release (1997) introduces digital characters and effects.

The Matrix (1999) features digitally enhanced special effects and introduces a digitally composed slow-motion tracking shot, or "bullet time".

The Mummy Returns (2001) would use gratuitous amounts of poorly executed computer-generated imagery in the final fight scene that was missing any semblance of artistic realism, thus liberating the film industry to use CGI without restraint.



Tags: film, software
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December 23 2015, 21:53:26 UTC 2 years ago

Great, but 1995 was twenty (not 25) years ago.
Indeed! Thank you for the correction!