April 9, 2019

A Complete History of CGI in 3 Minutes

CGI got its start in the 1950s, in Hitchcock's Vertigo, but since then each year has marked an incredible leap forward in the technology. This video essay comprises CGI's history and its mark on cinema. 

While doing a deep dive for an article, I found this amazing and comprehensive website COMPUTER ANIMATION HISTORY-CGI, which lists over 250 examples of the first instances of every CGI method ever. The website chronicles all of them and even provides video examples. They even have a YouTube channel that can take you through the vast history of CGI. 

But what if you don't have time for that? 

Vashi Nedomansky of Vashi Visuals took that website and made an incredible mood reel that captures all eighteen of the significant leaps forward in computer-generated imagery. 

But what does CGI really mean? 

'Tron' (1982)

From Vashi's website: 

"Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) is one of many tools that talented artists and filmmakers use to help better tell their stories. CGI is not created by the push of some magic button. It is the culmination of careful thought, design, experimentation and the pure creativity of artists. The impossible becomes reality and when done well, evokes wonder and awe as it transports the audience deeper into the story…Let’s quickly clarify the difference between CGI and computer animation. CGI encompasses both static scenes and dynamic images, while computer animation only refers to moving images."

Now that we have that cleared up, let's take a look at the video they put together showing the greatest leaps forward in CHI history. Check it out! 

It's amazing to see how far we've come today, from Vertigo to Captain America: The First Avenger. It's even more insane to think about where we're going, as Ang Lee just announced his new movie has a completely CGI Will Smith running around and acting within it. 

What's next? Use CGI for your establishing shots

Establishing shots are used everywhere, from movies to television to documentaries and the news. But how can you take a boring and overused shot and make it interesting again?  

The age-old lesson in film and television is "show, don't tell." This is especially true as you switch and establish scenes within a larger production. You always want the audience to know where they are and what they're looking at. That's where establishing shots come into play. 

But what is an establishing shot? 

Click the link to find out!      

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