Pixar's digital guru Jim Morris defends digital film-making
#1
Jim Morris has been a major figure in digital film-making for decades, having been involved with Industrial Light & Magic for many years before moving to Pixar to work on films like "Ratatouille", "Up", and "Toy Story 3". He is also involved with "John Carter of Mars", "Cars 2", "Brave", and "Monsters Inc. 2".

According to Shoot Online and The Hollywood Reporter he recently gave a vigorous defense of digital film technologies at SIGGRAPH.

Here is an excerpt from the HR site (which I feel is more readable but both articles are worth reading):[indent]"There are those who would believe American movies have gone to the dogs," he said in addressing a packed assembly hall of the Los Angeles Convention Center. "I would suggest there are as many great films being made today as always."

Other than those pointed observations, the tenor of Morris' talk was anything but defensive. Using clips from such landmark effects-driven movies as "Star Wars," "The Abyss" and "Jurassic Park," Morris shared experiences gleaned from his "ringside seat" to the effects industry's digital transformation.

" 'Star Wars' teed us up for the digital age," he said. But a 90-second bit of computer-generated imagery in James Cameron's "Abyss" brought the industry into the age of CG character animation.

Morris recalled an effects hands' frantic search for leased time on a corporate supercomputer to render the necessary images for the pic's underwater-alien "pseudopod" segment.

"You could probably do it on your iPad now," Morris quipped to good effect. As usual, the SIGGRAPH audience was full of spotty-faced digital wannabes as well as industry stalwarts.

Evidence that "CG was moving into puberty" came via the more elaborate digital effects of 1991's "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" and 1992's "Death Becomes Her." Stephen Spielberg's "Jurassic Park" -- whose dinosaurs were originally to be created simply through stop-motion photography and creature effects -- evolved during preproduction into a groundbreaking amalgam of those traditional processes and CGI character animation.

"In many ways, 'Jurassic Park' was the big enchilada in the evolution of live-action digital cinema," Morris said.

By 1994, Robert Zemeckis' "Forrest Gump" had industryites cooing over so-called invisible effects. [/indent]
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