Editor's Note

There has been a lot of discussions lately about how much CGI is too much CGI.  Many folks both inside and outside of the industry are asking in a much more serious way “why is CGI making movies worse, not better.”

What audiences perceive as “good” CGI has been on a consistent decline over the past few years. There are definitely exceptions to this new rule but taken as a whole, the quality of CGI is trending downward. Have you seen the “state-of-the-art” CGI in the new Disney series She-Hulk? Just awful and kind of pathetic. Is this because CGI is actually getting worse or are we  just more sophisticated today as an audience?  Maybe a bit of both.

One thing for sure is that CGI has made a transition from a complimentary dish to the main course and dessert as well. CGI had major limitations when it was first introduced, and because of this, it was used mostly as a last resort.  

When we see good CGI today, we shouldn’t realize it’s good CGI – we shouldn’t even notice it at all. It should be so real and grounded that it pulls us into the story instead of distracting us.   We’re in a state of denial when we keep telling ourselves, “but it’s really good CGI! Look at how good that CGI is!” If we have to discuss the CGI, then the CGI probably didn’t do the job it was supposed to do. We think that folks creating CGI should put more effort into fooling us and less effort into trying to impress us with CGI.

"How Do I Get Started Learning 3D Animation & VFX?"

This month in TheCGInsider – September 2022, we begin our discussion on how you can get started learning to create CGI 3D animation & VFX!

Hey, I Want To Do That!

Have you ever thought of learning to create some of the cool CGI you see in blockbuster movies and shows? By the end of our discussion, you’ll know just what it takes to get started learning how to do CGI animation & VFX. You’ll know enough to get yourself started off in the right direction, as well as learn what you need to be thinking about before making the decision to commit precious time and money to it.

We’re going to talk about the basic artistic traits that you’ll need to have – or develop, and how those traits specifically support the creation of CGI including character animation as well as visual effects (VFX) animation. We’ll also be discussing some of the tricks and tips that we’ve learned along the way to make this journey a lot easier by saving you both time and money as you find your niche in the sea of possibilities when it comes to creating CGI. We’re also going to walk you thru how to hone your skills and start turning your hobby into a career as a beginning professional if you choose.

I Just Want To Have Fun!

CGI is an art form just like any other art form and if you’re talented, creative, and passionate about art, becoming a CG or 3D artist is an attainable goal. There are many steps that you’ll need to take in order for you to turn your dream into a reality. Reading our newsletters and watching TheCGInsider podcasts is a great beginning. And sometimes, getting started is the hardest part of learning or doing anything new.

Before getting in too deeply into what you need to know to begin doing CGI, you’ll want to decide if it is something you are going to do as a hobby or something you want to get a job doing. The reason that this is important to know upfront is because of the steep learning curves that are associated with not just the learning your way through the software tools, but learning about the basics of art in general.

It is also very important to have some basic art training or at least understand the fundamentals of art such as color theory, light and shadow, etc… as well as the basics of storytelling before getting started creating CGI. We’re telling you upfront that learning to create CGI is something that will take a lot of time – regardless of your aspirations.

I Want To Play With The Big Folks!

If you are planning on creating CGI as a profession, then you’ll definitely want to take a different tack on it, because one thing for sure is that you’ll need to be really good at it. CGI jobs are in high demand and are very coveted, and you are going to be competing against some very inspired, creative, and capable people as well – so your skill level will have to be high. It will need to be more than a cool hobby for you. With that in mind, doing CG is like any other art form in that, in order to become really good you’ll need to be passionate, committed, disciplined, and overall – very patient.

You might be asking yourself, “can anyone become a CGI artist”? Well, if you’ve ever spent much time creating art, you probably know that it can often feel daunting to try to become an artist for a whole host of reasons, especially from the time commitment side of things. The truth is, everyone is a potential artist; they just need to find the right medium to express their creative ideas in a great way.

The field of CGI requires high levels of talent in every area of the creative pipeline. One of the great things about CGI is that there are so many different jobs that allow the creativity of different people to shine from hand-drawn concepts and previsualization work all the way to writing code and programming the next creative tools.

Start With The Basics.

It is completely possible to teach yourself how to be a great artist, you just have to put effort into learning the art “basics”.  This starts with an understanding of the different histories and forms of traditional fine art. In order to make great art, you need to know what makes art great.

For instance, you’ll want to learn about color theory, remember the color wheel (primary colors vs. secondary colors, and how shading and shading values affect our interpretation of a piece of artwork. You’ll need to understand the basics of lighting theory in order to know how to correctly use the power of light and shadow to set the tone and mood of your scene and to show your characters in the “best possible light” pun intended.

You’ll need to learn about all the different ways light affects different materials, including how light travels and scatters through different materials. You’ll need to learn about how light rays bounce around, how it reflects off of other objects, and how ambient light affects the environment.

So as we begin our discussion, we’re going to assume that you have some artistic or visual talent or at least, that you have an affinity and desire to create great art. People who are new to CG see it as something magical and fun and it definitely is that. After all, isn’t that what having a hobby is really all about?

Have Realistic Expectations.

Whatever road you choose to take, hobby or occupation, you’ll need something very critical before you begin. It is critical to have realistic expectations of what you want to accomplish when setting out to learn the craft of CGI. Over the years, we’ve seen many people give up on learning CGI because it ended up being too much for them. Either they were too impatient or learning CGI was too complicated. While creating CGI isn’t like making instant pudding and is complicated, it was mainly because they didn’t have realistic expectations about it going in.

Creating CGI – rather creating good CGI – is as much an artistic endeavor as it is a very technical endeavor and as we mentioned – it is not an easy thing to learn and it certainly is not for everyone. Having a hobby is one thing – and if you are already learning to create CGI as a hobby, you might think that it’s no big deal to land a job doing it. You’d be very wrong to think that. Working in CGI while also being fun, is different because as a job there are hard and fast deadlines that must be met and large sums of money to be made or lost.

What Else Will I Need?

Ok, so you’ve decided that you are ready to jump in to learn to create CGI, there are some other basic things you’ll need to bring with you before starting your journey. 1) You’ll need to have the ability to use software tools; 2) You’ll need to be a creative thinker; 3) You’ll need to have a good imagination; 4) You must have a desire to learn and like to learn; 5) ou must develop a keen eye for detail. This has a lot to do with developing your powers of observation.

A key part of being an artist is observing the world around you so you can reflect it in your artwork. Wherever you are, take the time to become fully aware of your surroundings and then let your observations seep into your work. For example, you should notice how the color of light changes during the day, and how these colors are used to express different emotions, feelings, and moods.  It is important to actually “stop and smell the roses” as the old saying goes, and paying attention to how you see the world – will help you immensely when translating your observations into art.

Choosing A Place To Start.

What is the next thing that you’ll think about? Since there are so many different aspects of CGI creation, you’ll want to figure out what you want to do in creating CGI or VFX. What kind of artwork do you like to do? Do you like to draw, sculpt, paint, animate, or take pictures? What movies move you and why – what VFX would you like to recreate magic vortices, epic floods, or cataclysmic destruction of the entire universe? A really great resource in helping you narrow it down a bit is to just go onto youtube and see what excites and inspires you the most.

If you found this information valuable, please be sure to “spread the word” and pass this newsletter along to your friends and colleagues. Don’t miss next month’s issue of the CGInsider newsletter, where we’ll continue our discussion about exactly how to get started learning CGI 3D animation & VFX, so don’t miss it! 

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"AO" By Cristian García

TheCGBros Presents the Sci-Fi Short Film: “AO” by: Cristian García – Situated in a very distant future, the human race has evolved and migrated to different planets. Despite this, wars and ambition led our specie to extintion. In this context, AO, is the last human alive. Exhasted, but at the same time inspired by survival instinct and curiosity, he will undertake an interstellar journey, looking for answers as primitives and ancient as life itself: Are we alone? Do we really have a purpose?

Runners up:

"UNE BELLE ERREUR" (A Big Mistake)
by ISART Digital

"Dead End"
by ISART Digital

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TheCGBros CGInsider Podcast

Relevant, Trending and Cool Insight - New Episodes Weekly!

This year, after encouragement from fans and consistent with our mission to provide our members relevant and quality content, we launched our own Podcast: TheCGBros CGInsider Podcast. In it, we’ll be answering many questions that our fans have been asking. We will also discuss trends and relevant topics about computer graphics imagery, jobs in the video industry, animation, gaming, and much more. Check it out!

Upcoming Podcasts:

This Month’s Schedule:

  • 2236 – 9/06/22 How Is CGI Used To Create Motion Graphics?
  • 2237 – 9/13/22 How Is A.I. Affecting the Creation Of CGI?
  • 2238 – 9/20/22 How Is CGI Used To Restore Old Photos & Film?
  • 2239 – 9/27/22 What is Motion Tracking & How Is It Used In CGI?

Next Month’s Schedule:

  • 2240 – 10/04/22 How Are Fractals Used In CGI?
  • 2241 – 10/11/22 What Is Procedural Animation?
  • 2242 – 10/18/22 What is 3D Painting?
  • 2243 – 10/25/22 How Is Food Animated Using CGI?