The Evolution Of CGI

There is so much that producers put into movies, with costumes and built sets but CGI is making that so much easier.


Karen Roe

The making of Hagrid’s Motorbike in one of the “Harry Potter” movies.

Riley Anderson, Staff Writer

CGI has been revolutionizing the way producers create movies for years. Movies such as  “Avatar”, “Star Wars”, and “Beauty And The Beast” utilize CGI, or Computer Generated Imagery, to tell the story. This allows for an actor to turn into a hairy beast or a giant blue alien, simply by wearing certain clothing and technology. Dinosaurs do not seem extinct anymore and worlds millions of miles away are depicted, more beautiful than one could ever imagine. 

In order to pull this off, actors must wear helmets and leotards covered in motion sensors that allow computers to track their movements. Cameras are connected to the helmets in order to track facial features, and different colored dots on the actors’ faces also track movement.

Business teacher Michael Barta uses a green screen in Dragon TV by filming in front of it with the correct lighting, and they put the video in front of whatever background they need. “We use photoshop to put the dragon logo behind them during Dragon TV,” Barta said.

Like Dragon TV, many movies have been using green screens more and more. “I really like CGI, like in ‘Avatar’, [it] is one of my favorite movies,” Barta said. “Computer Generated Images really benefit the consumer who are wanting to go see different movies like ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Avatar’.” In many movies, people have built and painted sets for scenes, but now the industry is moving away from built movie sets to CGI. 

Movie producers can sometimes rely too much on CGI. Some movie sets are physically designed, built, and painted, but there are still many opportunities to use CGI. The village that the “Beauty And The Beast” remake starts in, is all built and painted and designed, even in the castle there are some points where it was built. Movies such as Avatar have a wide range of different land scaps that the actors move through. Such as hills, giant tree branches, and giant floating rocks held together by vines. Giant green screens are laid out on wooden stages, mimicking the land scape the actors are on. The walls around them have green screens that are able to capture the world around them. Multiple different technicians are monitoring and watching as the actors go about the set, to make sure everything looks perfect.  

Unlike “Beauty and the Beast”, where their set was built, movies such as “Avatar” need computer generated images to be able to make the movie. “On the flip side of that, a lot of movies that have the built set like a real house, has a good affect on the viewers of the movie because it is real world, [it] helps the viewers connect with the characters in the movie,” Barta said. Dragon TV is open to the idea of using CGI in their episodes. “If we could figure out how to use CGI, yeah, I’m always open to new technology and new ideas,” Barta said.

English teacher Ed Walker believes that the effect of CGI movies quality is complex. “I think when CGI is in the hands of skilled film maker, we see really good, quality work being done,” Walker said. “So one of the films that I would point to for evidence of this would be ‘Mad Max Fury Road’. The film maker chose to make the film with a lot of actual explosions, and cars rolling over. And when you see the chasing scenes in the film you are seeing actual chasing not computer generated or created images.”

Through live action car races and synthetic suits for people to wear during shooting a movie, CGI has put a whole new look on movies for deeper, more intense scenes.