Whether showcasing live action or animation works on 2D or 3D screens, utilizing 3D CGI (computer generated imagery) offers many technical and creative ways to realize a filmmaker’s vision for his/her motion picture project.
3D CGI doesn’t just work on those theatrically released in 3D theaters. To make a defining comparison between 2D and 3D works, animation created using Flash is generally 2D, although it may also utilize 3D backgrounds. Hollywood doesn’t typically use 2D animation anymore, but a good example of a critically-acclaimed foreign film distributed by Sony Pictures is the animated Israeli film Waltz with Bashir. For 3D works, there are countless examples since 3D CGI became a trend way back during the 1990s. Toy Story pioneered the use of 3D CGI. Soon after came many others with the most notable/successful ones such as Pixar’s Finding Nemo, Ratatouille, and Up, and Dreamworks’ Shrek and Monsters vs. Aliens.
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Advantages of Using 3D CGI Programs
1. Interpretation and creation of new creatures and just about anything coming from the artist’s imagination can be realized using 3D CGI. From mythical life forms to inanimate objects, they can all be brought to life using 3D CGI.
2. Most 3D CGI programs can be used to create a digital make-up on the characters or even chroma screen actors. With proper depth, movement, and texture, such can be used to create photorealistic or surreal elements needed by any bigger element. Unusual texture maps can also be done by placing any type of texture map across the surface of an element, which opens endless possibilities in creating the final element. One timely example of how the technology has improved these days is how Avatar showcases characters with blue skin.
3. 3D CGI programs have camera functions that can almost do anything in terms of camera functionality, without the need for dollies or tracks for actual movement. They provide mathematically controlled motion paths, original point of views, and both logical and cinematic movements from the widest to the microscopic spaces.
4. Realistic 3D stunt moves makes stunt creation in movies safer. In some projects, it may also remove the requirement for actual stunts to be done. Blowing 3D CGI models is now relatively cheaper and environment-friendly than destroying real cars and buildings.
5. By assigning specific properties to objects like weight, material, and velocity, elements can be animated according to the natural laws of physics and gravity. From commonly used elements like fire, smoke, snow, rain, plants, and trees to commonly used characters like humans, animals, and monsters, 3D CGI provides options of moving around in the most imaginative and even the most impossible ways through motion ride animation paths.
6. Mixing animation styles become more efficient. In many cases, animation projects can combine traditional animation, stop-motion animation, 2D animation, and 3D CGI animation together and come up with distinctive styles fit for each project.
7. Even projects that only require 2D characters can be placed on 3D CGI planes for better animation controls. This allows character animators to take advantage of the functions of a 3D CGI software to more freely move the characters around by mapping pictures onto flat planes and getting the shape of their images accordingly.
8. Some live action projects may want a treatment that makes it look hand drawn. This can be done by shooting actual footages, then put the visuals into 3D Studio Max or Maya, then take advantage of the 2D shader functionality of these programs. As a 2D cell shading work both used for video and 3D CGI footage, this shader works like a filter that can render adjustable visual styles that alters the originally realistic visuals shot live.
9. The 3D CGI projects allow the creation of distortions on visual elements with that added dimension in 3D CGI. For instance, actors can better get the needed distortion or morphing effect required for the scene.
10. Duplication is a very useful function used in many film projects. After modeling and texturing a particular object or character, 3D CGI programs can make copies of original element and tweak each one accordingly in order to make robot armies, gangs, fleets of objects, factory workers, boxing match audience, migration of birds, protest scenes, party scenes, and lots of other scenes.
Instead of tediously recreating each particular element, hundreds or even more of them can be produced at a significantly shorter amount of time by simply modifying parameters such as scale, visibility, color rotation, and position of individual body parts. The duplication process can be further enhanced to make the subjects look more natural, especially with their physicality and movements, by using many other tools including putting filters.
11. Motion capture works become advantageous to works in films like Beowulf, Monster House, and Polar Express. Even live action works may utilize motion capture process for certain characters like Lord of the Rings‘ Gollum. Motion capture generates keyframes digitally captured from real actors’ movements. These actors wear motion capture suits and a number of sensors all over their bodies, then the computer gets all the data needed to utilize the real actors’ movements for the specific needs of the project.
12. 3D scanning is already a popular way of capturing real objects for digital use in 3D CGI productions. This saves time in the modeling process since real objects can already be digitally scanned and used for animation purposes.