Excuse me Mr. Andy Rooney, for furrowing my unkempt eyebrows, and muscling in on your turf here, but- I’d like to ask a silly question to the world at large… Why is it the purveyors of movie magic, who have mastered all facets of genetics and technology, who can mold flesh like clay, who can mutate and evolve creatures at will, who plumb deep space and animate alien life, who can set loose all manner of creeping death and leaping horror, who can obliterate planets, set hordes in motion, bring the dead to shambling life, who hold sway over the cataclysmic forces of nature, who have dominion over the very fabric of space and time itself and can as such pretty convincingly re-shape reality in any manner necessary… why can’t people with these incredible powers manage to composite a single believable looking family photo?

08.27. filed under: inquiries.

F. As in “F’d Up”



posted on 08.27 at 09:38 PM.

Could it be one of these “in-jokes” I hear so much about? I hear the industry is rife with them.

Or, more likely, you only notice the bad ones.

posted on 08.28 at 12:17 PMPierce

The bad ones, of which there are many to my eyes, are not just bad, but truly horrid.

posted on 08.29 at 02:48 PMJane

The division of labour isn’t always equal, is it? Those who spend their time creating Gollums (and golems) are highly-skilled animators using very specialised 3D software. Those kind of jobs are often produced by production houses that only create 3D graphics.

Meanwhile, the art department whose job it is to create the family photo has a bunch of (perhaps) less-skilled people sat in front of Photoshop doing the best they can in a rush. Sometimes these people do a great job; all the documents in Apocalypse Now (Dean Tavoularis production design) that Willard examines look like the genuine article. Carol Spier’s production designs for David Cronenberg have always been very convincing with this kind of detail.

But—being a Photoshop professional myself who loves the challenge of a flawless composite—the mediocre Adobe hacks evidently outnumber the other specialists. I’ve noticed this syndrome a lot over the past ten years. Many people find it easy to get busy with Photoshop fairly quickly and then go from that to thinking they’re masters of all the technical facility required to create a decent picture. So little attention is paid to lighting, matching foreground and background, overall tonal values, film grain, blurring, etc, etc.

I suppose at one time the excuse may have been that most people wouldn’t notice. Now with the perfect still-frames which DVD provides (and with incoming HD) there’s no excuse, is there?

posted on 08.30 at 07:05 PMJohn C

The fake family photos look so bad because movie goers are very familiar with family portraits. It’s an element that our society knows very well. So it’s easy to become critical of staged family photos in movies because of our keen experience in the matter.

None of us have direct experience with “40 foot tall laser-eyed alien death-bringers who do battle with heroic unicorns made of pure energy”, so it’s easy to believe when Hollywood presents such subject matter.

I’m sure those people that have encountered actual 40 foot tall laser-eyed alien death-bringers in their lifetime will be very critical when they see such creatures re-enacted in fictional movies.

posted on 09.05 at 12:53 PMunlikelymoose

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