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Sci-Fi Star Wars Prequels Entertainment

1977 Star Wars Computer Graphics 271 271

Noryungi writes "The interestingly named 'Topless Robot' has a real trip down memory lane: how the computer graphics of the original Star Wars movie were made. The article points to this YouTube video of a short documentary made by Larry Cuba, the original artist, that explains how he did it. In 1977."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMeSw00n3Ac

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1977 Star Wars Computer Graphics

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  • Better Then CGI (Score:4, Insightful)

    by doroshjt (1044472) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @02:11PM (#30146496)
    CGI has ruined movies, they are so in your face that you can't enjoy the movie. What made the original star wars great was the animitronics for all the characters instead of jar jar binks super imposed cartoon characters.
  • Star Trek sucks (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @02:16PM (#30146556)

    Everyone knows that Babylon 5 is better.

  • Re:Better Then CGI (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MozeeToby (1163751) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @02:26PM (#30146684)

    Agreed. Look at the Hitchhiker's Guide movie. The scenes where the Vogons are done with puppetry are amazing, the scenes where they're CGI are 'meh'. Same goes for the original Alien vs the A v P movies, as soon as I see CGI (especially for characters/animals) the emotion center of my brain says 'nope' and shuts down.

  • Re:Better Then CGI (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @02:30PM (#30146746)

    What made the original star wars great was the animitronics for all the characters instead of jar jar binks super imposed cartoon characters.

    What made JarJar obnoxious was not how his image was created for the film. That's like blaming YouTube for the abundance of noisy idiots on-line.

  • Re:Better Then CGI (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Big_Monkey_Bird (620459) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @02:36PM (#30146834)
    Funny about Space 1999. the scariest thing I ever saw on TV as a kid was the monster in Dragon's Den. I used to have nightmares. Seeing it years later, it was just a flashlight and foam rubber.
  • Re:Better Then CGI (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gad_zuki! (70830) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @02:39PM (#30146872)

    >CGI has ruined movies

    Are you kidding? Yoda looks like a rag doll in the originals. The cantina puppets are pretty bad and Jabba's palace is a B-quality muppet showcase. If anything, CGI is producing a seamlessness that is impossible with the old techniques.

    If you cannot suspend your disbelief then thats your problem, not anyone else's.

    >jar jar binks super imposed cartoon characters.

    Thats an implementation issue, not a technological one. There's tons of CGI in those movies that looks amazing. In fact, I suspect its so good you dont even know its CGI. Blame Lucas and his people for skimping out when it came to their ridiculous Jamaican amphibian. If anything, it was probably a design decision to make JarJar look more cartoony and less realistic than the other CGI.

  • Re:Better Then CGI (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @02:47PM (#30147000) Homepage Journal

    CGI has ruined movies, they are so in your face that you can't enjoy the movie

    It's not just the graphics, it's the film-making.

    Did you notice on this one how the initial shots of the Death Star graphics are a wide shot showing all the pilots slouching around listening to the briefing? That was the point, not the graphics.

    Today they would have framed that shot tight on the graphics with the speaker on one side. But by not focusing on the graphics they're more powerful - in this universe, it's just commonplace, nothing that needs highlighting (until the detail is small enough that the audience wouldn't be able to follow, so they zoom in then). To somebody watching in 1977 the effect is heightened.

    The point here is the briefing and the reactions of those assembled to highlight just how ridiculous and impossible (without an assist from the "more powerful than you can possibly imagine" Ben Kenobi) the task is. But they're going to try anyway because humans fight to be free.

  • Re:Better Then CGI (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CannonballHead (842625) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @02:50PM (#30147048)
    Gollum was pretty good, IMO.
  • Re:Better Then CGI (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kimvette (919543) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @03:16PM (#30147340) Homepage Journal

    No, AOL was to blame for that.

  • Re:Better Then CGI (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Disgruntled Goats (1635745) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @03:37PM (#30147592)

    Even if there was no CGI used in the prequels they still would have sucked. Jar Jar wouldn't be less annoying and less unfunny had it been an animatronic. Hayden Christiansen's stilted acting would have still sucked had the environments not been CGI rendered scenes. The midichlorian angle would still have been stupid. The failings of the prequel trilogy had almost nothing to do with the CGI and all to do with a poorly written story with piss-poor acting by many of the main actors. Using animatronics and non-digital effects wouldn't have somehow made this different.

  • Re:Better Then CGI (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Disgruntled Goats (1635745) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @03:41PM (#30147642)

    but at least the puppet is tangible, striking better emotional cues amongst the other actors and the audience.

    Uhh yeah. Because if Jar Jar Binks was a puppet instead of CGI he somehow would have been less unfunny and annoying?

  • Re:Better Then CGI (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jellomizer (103300) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @04:09PM (#30147962)

    1920's Sound has Ruined movies, they are so in your face you can't enjoy the movie.
    1940's Color has Ruined Movies, they are so in you face you can't enjoy the movie.
    1960's Elaborate Costumes have Ruined moves....
    1980's Animtronics ...
    2000 CGI...

    It is just a new toy that its use hasn't been fully realized yet. And excuse to hate something new. They made bad movies in the past and they will do so in the future. It is not CGI but bad use of it. Jar-Jar was a stupid character who wasn't needed especially as they kept the droids. Having him as not a CGI character wouldn't make him any better.

  • by Anonymous Struct (660658) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @04:39PM (#30148286)

    Are you sure? I was so certain that the last part of that movie was directed by a random number generator.

  • Re:Better Then CGI (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tetsujin (103070) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @05:20PM (#30148838) Homepage Journal

    Agreed. Look at the Hitchhiker's Guide movie.

    Do I have to?

    People got so hung up on the "Ford isn't supposed to be black" thing that they seem to have forgotten about the "Ford is supposed to be funny" thing...

  • by DrYak (748999) on Wednesday November 18, 2009 @09:22PM (#30151728) Homepage

    Indeed each of this new technology did it share of ruining.

    It's not that these technologies are inherently bad. It was just the "latest toy around" and lots of directors felt compelled to over-abuse it and put it everywhere even where it definitely shouldn't be used. Directors started considering as a magic trick that will inherently make a film better as soon as it is used.

    It happened with every single stuff you mention.
    It happened in other media too - any one remember how "let's all go full 3D" completely killed old-school adventure games ?

    And you can already bet that the next new technology (3D Stereoscopy, probably) will also get absurdly overused - with films going Stereo 3D, just for the sake of being Stereo 3D, without any need for it or without having any actual value to show.

Gosh that takes me back... or is it forward? That's the trouble with time travel, you never can tell." -- Doctor Who, "Androids of Tara"

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