View Full Version : Tom Sito: The Novelty of CGI To Eventually Wear Off

07 July 2003, 03:04 PM
"With the exception of last year's Oscar-nominated hit Lilo & Stitch, most traditional films haven't clicked with audiences recently. "Movies like Titan A.E. and Treasure Planet were targeted at a mostly male, teenage segment. They didn't get little kids excited, or families," says Brandon Gray, president of the industry tracking firm "At the same time, the teenage boys were thinking 'Cartoons are for kids. We want digital.' " Titan and Treasure borrowed motifs from Japanese anime, but lacked its edge. "You have something that's too sophisticated for children, but too naive for adults," notes animator Tom Sito, who is currently at Warner Bros., working with other ex-Disneyites on the new Looney Tunes move. But Sito cautions that jettisoning 80 years of tradition would be a mistake. "There's something to the technique and craft that's been handed down for generations that's in danger of being lost," he says. "It's the emotion that's created by drawn animation." Most agree that the novelty of CGI is certain to wear off. As more studios jump on the digital bandwagon, the quality of the visuals, and narratives, is likely to suffer. "

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Gentle Fury
07 July 2003, 03:21 PM
right.........that's kinda like when motion film was first introduced...........still photography is the true art, this moving film fad will die soon.

People dont seem to remember when motion film came along it was nothing more than people moving for the sake of moving..........the purists said it was just a cocky fad that the art community was going through..........seems to have stuck around ;)

We are now getting to a renesance of digital is no longer about, wow, look at that thing moving that couldnt have moved before the it is all about.....what more can we do!

Eventually it will become so common to films that people will finally stop their bitching.

07 July 2003, 03:36 PM
That "cg is a fad" additude annoys me too.

It's people like that that begin a process of thought to potential clients that ultimately result in our demise.

I know this is reaching, but in a weird way, it's like the movie SNEAKERS, when the question was asked about "How to make a bank fail?"

The answer was simple "sheeple" economics in that, a rumor is spread that the bank is going to fail, and pretty soon, everyone starts to withdraw thier money and close thier accounts, and sure enough the bank DOES fail.

All starting from the mouth of someone who doesn't seem to realize that there are THOUSANDS of talented artists out there that would HAPPILY replace him for less:)

Rumor mongers like that suck.

07 July 2003, 04:41 PM
its obviously not a fad, but an emerging and very powerful artform. however i do think that this is a good reality check, just because 2d hasnt pulled in the bucks lately and 3d has does not mean that the trend will last long. the way the studios are gunning for 3d there will be an oversaturation of the market, and only the good studios like Pixar will be able to withstand the fallout once the audience becomes jaded.

07 July 2003, 05:54 PM
Audiences will not be jaded if they are entertained. And, just because it is cg, doesn't mean it will be entertaining. The first cg film, Toy Story, was not a success just because it was cg. It was a success because it was entertaining.

I think to some degree, the "wow factor" is already fading, and we are just seeing really good images as a result of the medium becoming more of a means to an end.

07 July 2003, 10:47 PM
Worth pointing out that black and white has slowly faded to nothingness in the face of color, despite universal agreement that black and white movies can be artistically very different from color films, lamentation of the end of black and white from the DPs of the 60s and 70s, and so on.

Ultimately it just comes down to people wanting to see a color film more than a black and white film given the choice.

Is this what's happening with 2D and 3D animation? I hope not, but we'll have to see.

-- Mark

07 July 2003, 10:57 PM
Well, if you mean in cinema movies...

A film should have a good balence between CG, music, audio, live-action, REAL(!) sets & props & animatronics etc...

I think if you over-do CG, it becomes a huge problem where people start to say, "its all bloody computers these days - next they'll run the bloody world...".

What we want them to say is, "Core-blimey! That looks good! Its amazing what you can do with computers these days!";)

Finding the perfect balance is the most difficult task...

07 July 2003, 11:24 PM
The 'novelty' of 3D animation has already worn off. It wore off a number of years ago. Look at Final Fantasy. First movie w/ a bunch of CG humans, amazing visuals - nobody gave a damn. It failed miserably. The PIXAR movies, Shrek, Ice Age - they were winners not b/c they were CG but b/c they were great entertainment. They would have been financially successfull as 2D movies too.

How many crap ass, recycled, formulaic (sp?), unoriginal Disney movies does it take to make Disney fail? Not too many. Dinosaur wasn't exactly a raging success either and it was CGI - but it followed the crap ass disney "Hey I'm an orphan" formula.

Spirited Away was 2D and an amazing international success. Why? No crap ass Disney storyline with an Elton John song thrown in for good measure.

Hey, how many times can I write 'crap ass'? : )



07 July 2003, 11:39 PM

Yeah...the "novelty" may wear off but the seriousness if you will of CG will set in. Eventually CG will be that benchmark of everything else in entertainment media.

Peter Reynolds
07 July 2003, 05:39 PM
When I hear "the novelty of CGI will eventually wear off", I think its like saying "the novelty of live action will eventually wear off".

Its also the sort of thing people were saying, when sound was introduced into cinema. Most thought it was a passing fad. And guess what? Walt Disney decided to use sound with Steamboat Willie, and it gave him the edge.

CGI has so much potential to go so many ways, that as long as it is allowed to enjoy the same variety of subject matter, characters, performance, etc or live action, then we will have VARIETY, and people will continue to love it.

BUT if it gets "type cast" as 2D animation was by producers and execs as a "kids toons" product, then I could see it having "novelty issues", especially if the same crappy marketing driven, poorly scripted drivel is churned out again and again and again.

Mr Money Bags needs to learn that a lot of audience members don't like to eat the same thing for breakfast, lunch and dinner, day after day - no matter how much marketers and advertisers tell us to.

But this is a hard lesson for Mr Money Bags to learn, because they feel very secure when they can say "well its like FILM X, meets FILM Y, with a dash of FILM Z, and each of those films X, Y and Z did over 300 MIL world wide so our new film XYZ should do at least $$$ MIL."

Where as its scary for them when some one asks "how much box office do you expect?" and they have to answer "we don't know, no one has done a film like this before."

In BOTH cases, they don't really know how a film will do. But in the first case, they can pretend they do, and if it fails, they can blame someone else (like the animators or creative staff) and say "well it should have done $$$ box office, but..."

Pixar at the moment is heading in the right direction. The creatives have control of the project, and Mr Money Bags has FAITH in the creatives.

07 July 2003, 06:02 PM
BUT if it gets "type cast" as 2D animation was by producers and execs as a "kids toons" product

It's the audiences that did this, not the producers and executives. Note that attempts at animation aimed at adults haven't done well in the U.S. marketplace, EVEN when they've won an academy award!!! (and by this I'm referring to Spirited Away.)

-- Mark

Peter Reynolds
07 July 2003, 06:22 PM
Sorry Mark, normally I tend to agree with everything you say, but on this one, I'm going to have to disagree.

WAY before the concept of marketing even existed, producers and execs made decisions about what THEY thought an audience wanted.

Check out Chuck Amuck for some interesting views on WB and Disney management.

And years and years of habitually pushing the same thing on people conditions them to think certain ways. (Which is why advertising can be so effective.)

Japan has not received such conditioning, hence a lot of their adult population doesn't think of animation as just "cartoons for kids".

07 July 2003, 03:55 AM
Well, I believe Mr. Sito was the animation director on Osmosis Jones. Gotta reservere my opinion. Looney tunes? Most of those men have passed and the knowlege has been lost.


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