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The Visual Effects Producer by Susan Zwerman, Charles Finance

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2

DIGITAL EFFECTS: THE 15-MINUTE VERSION

“A computer is just a very expensive pencil.”

—Anonymous

Many people tend to think of computer-generated images (which we usually abbreviate CGI or simply CG) as a new technology that burst on the cinema scene already fully formed in films like Jurassic Park (1993). In actuality, the digital revolution in visual effects was decades in the making.

As far back as 1969, a company called MAGI was producing computer-generated TV commercials for IBM. 1973 saw the release of Westworld, which featured 2D computer-generated images simulating a robot’s point of view (POV) of its environment, and its 1976 sequel, Futureworld, was the first feature to use 3D CG animation of a human head (Peter Fonda’s). The relationship ...

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