Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) is the modern name for computer animation, generally connoting the intention of photorealism. It is frequently used to produce space and other special effects in modern television and cinema.
Whilst CGI does offer a cheap way of producing effective images, poor CGI can sometimes create a cartoon-like effect, and the knowledge that all effects are a matter of mouse-clicks can sometimes rob effects sequences of some of their impressiveness. This is a pity, really, as they're getting considerably better at it.
What they really need to work on is the interface between computer graphics and live-action filming, but that's going to take time. Worth it in TVSF for the Sensa Wunda factor, sometimes. Far Scape is a particularly good example - camera crew and CGI animators seem to work well together there in avoiding the 'jump' in light quality and tint that often points up the matte line between the two. This being Far Scape, the result is that both types of image are weird, but in a well-matched way.
With the speed of processors and graphics cards these days, CGI is no longer strictly limited to the realms of production companies with vast server farms. See Homebrew CGI.
Category TVSF (kinda) Category SF Movie
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