Naturally, humans are drawn to animals. From keeping them as pets in the home, to visiting them at the zoo, they have an appeal that quite frankly, humans don’t have. Whether they’re cute or ugly, lazy or energetic, small or large, animals are fascinating creatures. This has been translated into the entertainment industry too, with blockbuster films taking to the stage with animals as their main characters.
With computer generated imagery dating back to 1958, the animals that appear on our TV screens have come a long way to the point where now, you wouldn’t even consider them to appear fake-looking. Yet, if you travel back to a time where CGIs didn’t exist, the reality of the effects is up for question.
From synthetics to CGIs
Making its debut in 1933, King Kong is one of the most well-known gorilla movies in the industry and is recognized for its ground-breaking approach to special effects. While CGI technologies weren’t present in the 30s, the producers made the most of the materials that they had and with aluminum, latex, and rubber, an 18-foot artificial gorilla was born. Through stop-motion animation, King Kong was brought to life and soon enough, he was tearing up the streets of New York.
Since then, King Kong has been introduced to the world of CGI technology and in 2005, he made an appearance on our screens again in a remake of the original film. From then on, his character has been modernized further when he made a comeback in 2017 in the film Kong: Skull Island, and in 2021 in Godzilla vs Kong. The development of CGI technology is clear for the eye to see across these three films, since King Kong’s character gets more realistic each time. It is therefore no doubt that CGI has revolutionized the entertainment industry via its ability to make the unimaginable a reality.
The popularity of this type of CGI technology can be spoken for via the various other films that adopt such technology, including Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which, again, used modern technology to create ape-like creatures; this time, more than one. This technology goes beyond television too, with such primate character types appearing on console games like Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey, and on online games, including online slots Epic Ape and Age of the Gods.
These slots, in particular, illustrate the advancements made in CGI, with these often considered bite-size on-the-go games showcasing equally impressive graphics as larger titles. The spinning reels and engaging graphics and representations of well-known monsters in lore act as a draw in themselves to these slots, which have to compete against hundreds of other titles on a shared platform. The authenticity and wide use of such design, therefore, indicates the value of such CGI since it is a feature on our screens for multiple purposes.
Technology behind CGI
With advancements in modern technology, film producers and graphic designers alike take advantage of CGI technology to create realistic motion and still graphics. Accessibility to software like Adobe and Autodesk Maya makes this task easier since it allows professionals in the field to create and adapt imagery using 2D and 3D technology.
Most recent CGI animals in film
Aside from the most recent King Kong series, some of the most recent computer-generated animals in film include: Rampage, Jurassic World, and the Twilight series. Released most recently in 2018, Rampage follows the journey of a primatologist who is on a mission to save earth after three animals are infected with pathogens that causes them to grow rapidly and develop an angry personality. Partnering with one of the animals, an albino gorilla, the CGI effects go a long way to show the realistic nature of the friendship formed between human and pathogen-infected animal – not something you would see every day!
Over the past 100 years, developments in the filming industry have been immense, and a lot of the credit is owed to the development of CGI technology. Without it, the realistic animal characters that we know and love today would cease to exist and the unimaginable would still be, unimaginable.