CGI Brings Imagination to Life

Computer-generated technology advances filmmaking

The power of CGI displayed in blockbuster films. Films from left to right: Gravity by Alfonso Cuaron, Jurassic Park by Steven Spielberg, and Avatar by James Cameron.

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The power of CGI displayed in blockbuster films. Films from left to right: Gravity by Alfonso Cuaron, Jurassic Park by Steven Spielberg, and Avatar by James Cameron.

Ford Daniels, Virtual Student Life Editor

CGI is an integral part of modern filmmaking.  Known as “Computer Generated Imagery, CGI brings fantasies to life through a series of computer programs. Ever wondered how the monsters in horror movies or the fictional characters in live action series such as Bugs Bunny in Space Jam appear so real? That’s CGI at work. It turns fiction into reality. This concept was put into words by world-renowned actor, Tom Hanks. 

“The nature of the movies is different than it was five years ago, and they’re all driven by the possibilities of CGI, which means you can make anything happen on screen that you can possibly desire,” Hanks said.

Beginning in 1976, CGI took the film industry by storm, allowing movie directors much more liberty with their ideas. Thanks to the newfound 3-dimensional rendering technology, real-life forms and shapes were introduced, via computer programming. Actors no longer had to dress as frightening, small-scale monstersInstead, much more detailed and blood-curdling beasts such as Godzilla were created through a team of animators utilizing skills, such as 3-dimensional modeling and 3D printing. 

Hayao Miyazaki, cofounder of Japanese Studio Ghibli and who is also responsible for films such as Ponyo, credits CGI with having almost superhuman abilities. 

Actually, I think CGI has the potential to equal or even surpass what the human hand can do,” Miyazaki said. 

CGI is normally associated with adults, due to its complex nature. However, in recent yearssociety begs to differ. As times have changed and technology has improved at a constant and rapid rate, younger generations have begun utilizing animation, such as CGI. With the demand for professional animators and code specialists in today’s world, many people of the current generation have delved into animation in order to secure one of these increasingly lucrative positions. With the influx of new animators, CGI and film quality has increased exponentially to create incredible blockbuster films like Avatar and Avengers: Endgamewhich are the two highest grossing movies in film history. CGI revolutionized and will continue to revolutionize the cinema experienceas well as pave the way for the movie developers and animators of the future. 

In the coming years, movies and film will continue to evolve, improving CGI along with them. In only a matter of time, the next blockbuster will hit theaters, showcasing an even higher level of animation, 3-dimensional rendering and modeling. Emerson Wesson (12) surmised the impact of CGI on film best. 

CGI, if done well, can transform a movie from just actors and props to scenes that can transport you across galaxies,” Wesson said. 

The future of film and CGI is bright and will continue to keep movie-goers on the edge of their seats, eagerly awaiting the resolution to the latest cliffhanger.