How the "Jaws" shark was built MOD EDIT: And How CG has taken it farther.

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  09 September 2012
Originally Posted by redbellpeppers: Realistic mechanical limitations and how our mind can accept the reality of it- something that CG can gloss over.

Consider the robots in the Transformers films: watch door panels and other parts "shake" when a robot takes a step. Would happen in reality, despite a prop master's best efforts- but forcibly put into place by an animator for enhanced credibility and realism.

I would also add that often the gesture of the action can be more important than the sophistication of its articulation. I know a lot of animators who have had to get a lot of mileage out of a shitty rig.
Maestro 2 is out!
  09 September 2012
Originally Posted by NanoGator: Sure... but even as a joke it shows you can find a reason if you look for it. I really don't understand why you haven't done it seriously yet.

I mean, really, a piece of crap mechanical fish that failed to convince anybody it was real became such a classic that 25 years later its re-release in high-res is celebrated. Anything interesting to be gleamed from the making of it? ERmm.. well, no. Nothing at all.

I'm sorry, I just don't understand where you're coming from.

If you look back at what Michael5188 said, the mechanics of the fish and the structure of the film are two different things. Yes, Spielberg was a master at making us feel a lot without showing very much, but Spielberg's filmmaking skills are not the subject here. And neither are the fact that his movie became a classic, regardless of how the shark was accomplished.

The lesson to be learned is, brilliant directors can learn a lot about filmmaking when they are forced to do more with less. But that's not a lesson that most studios or directors want to hear anymore. Movies, and the industry that makes them, have significantly evolved (in many ways for the worse) from the way things were done 37 years ago.

  09 September 2012
Quote: And neither are the fact that his movie became a classic, regardless of how the shark was accomplished.

Actually, if the shark had been made the way they originally intended, it's likely the movie would not have been a classic

Quote: Movies, and the industry that makes them, have significantly evolved (in many ways for the worse) from the way things were done 37 years ago.

There's a saying: The more things change, the more they stay the same. And you know what? It's true. I've spent a lot of time with several directors solving problems in precisely the same way movies have been made, albeit digitally. "....just like the Paramount backlot", for example, is a phrase I've heard.

There's no need to dismiss it.
Maestro 2 is out!
  09 September 2012
Originally Posted by Michael5188: Just out of curiosity, since I'm not a rigger and know very little about robotics, what exactly can you learn from this that can apply to CG? And I mean from the robots and mechanisms themselves, not the film-making of the time. (such as less is more)

Just keep hearing there's so much to learn from studying them, yet I haven't actually heard any specific examples, such as I was having trouble rigging an octopus, but then I saw one built for a film in the 70s and I had a eureka moment cause this was attached to this and so forth...

The lesson one learns from old Special Effects work is to note the "threshold for selling the event". I've seen many CG modelers and riggers simply go overboard and try to "do it for real" just because computers can.

I find JAWS still has very potent impact with young audiences today who see it for the first time because while in the "soft aspect" (whether forced to or not) JAWS went with more subtle use of the FX - on the pure FX side, JAWS was also a showcase of discipline from FX crews and designers to do "just enough for what the image needs".

Before they did this because they had to. Today the lesson is we can do this today by design... rather than expending stupid energy on trying to get every aspect of a CG character right because "We have to do it for real"... The lesson is that we have to determine, as the old FX artists did, the correct threshold for the FX to render the event onscreen and expend energy on what the image requires.

In that sense, studying the anatomy of a shark to the last detail, or endlessly simulating cartilage or whatever is just a waste of energy.


Think of it in another way... What I'm saying is... given the same script.. and assuming everybody was back in 1970.... but we had today's software....

One artist will go nuts and make a fully rendered shark and all the attack sequences will have slow-mo and this really glossy, detailed down-to-the-last predator underwater with dismemberments.

But he will probably lose out to the guy who figured out the only thing the image REALLY needs.. is a trianglular plane running on a fluid sim to the right music....and that the CG shark only needs enough articulation to do what it has to do... not more.

And to wit... the guys who went with the simpler solution... would get the whole thing done faster... and faster means lower cost.
"Your most creative work is pre-production, once the film is in production, demands on time force you to produce rather than create."
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Last edited by CGIPadawan : 09 September 2012 at 01:55 AM.
  09 September 2012
Why are a few of you getting upset that this isn't CG related - are you seriously suggesting that Jaws didn't path the way for some many creature work we do today? Its a tentpole moment in film history - lap that stuff up!

Roberto - check this out... this is quite seriously unbelievable! This in my opinion prooves where practical fx can sometimes trump CG! You can't beat putting a mechanical fish in the water seeing it react to the power of the water and the light that falls through the water - if it weren't for that tiny cable I'd be shitting myself!

Direct link to video:

- My thoughts are my own and should not be confused with anyone else's.
  09 September 2012
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