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The CGI Revolution



‘This post was made possible by Dell, but all thoughts are our own.

With modern day advances in technology, it’s perhaps no surprise that each year we are treated to more and more majestic animations and mind-blowing CGI. These films continue to push the boundaries of what is possible for film and as such, we benefit from being able to witness these milestones in cinematic history.

However, are these milestones really appreciated as much as they should be? Taking animation as an example, it was announced this week that Kung Fu Panda 3 would be the first film to be animated twice. Now that might sound a bit confusing, what the heck does animated twice mean!? Basically, the team behind the film have created one version for English language viewers and another for Mandarin speakers, meaning they essentially had to reanimate each characters facial expressions and mouth movements to encompass the new words the characters would use.


Now this might not sound incredibly interesting, but when you compare it against the meticulous animation that was required for films not even a decade ago, this is quite something!

Then we have CGI, the strides made in this field in the last decade have been immeasurable, the progress in say the last 10 years is huge, but in 40 years the improvement is truly momentous.

Taking a little known film called Star Wars as a case study. When Episode IV: A New Hope was released in 1977, George Lucas and his team were pioneers of technology, creating one of cinema’s defining films. Now almost 40 years on and JJ Abrams, himself known to pioneer these techniques, has created yet another awe-inspiring Star Wars film in The Force Awakens, utilising CGI to recreate an entire universe and then some.

George Lucas, Creator of Star Wars is seen here amongst the scale models used in the original film

George Lucas, Creator of Star Wars is seen here amongst the scale models used in the original film

Whilst Abrams has kept true to the original using scale and also full size models of features such as the infamous Millennium Falcon, he has used the technical advances to create the most engrossing film possible and in a timespan that is far shorter than the original film. This shorter production and filming schedule would not be possible without the advances in these aspects and probably mean that a film saga such as Star Wars is able to exist in these days of strict budget control where much focus is on profit and potential loss.


Even the development of characters loved since the original film, such as Yoda has changed with the technology now available to filmmakers. This comparison phot shows the difference between the two, with the puppet Yoda shown next to it’s CGI recreation used in Episode I.II and III

cgiyodaPerhaps the most exciting aspect of all of this, is that we can’t predict how much the landscape of cinema will change over the next ten years. Technical advances mean that cinema-goers and film lovers are constantly being amazed by the latest releases. What will come next? Watch this space…

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