reading06 — computer graphics and LOTR
Whether it is in the theater or in your living room, computer graphics play a significant role in modern film-making and video games. How important are these visuals to you in terms of the overall experience? Consider, when do graphics detract rather than enhance these mediums and how do you compare modern 3D computer graphics to older say hand-drawn animation or 2D sprite-based graphics?
Graphics have come a long way in the way we indulge in entertainment. They have influence everywhere, from the types of movies/television shows that are possible to create to how video gamers enjoy different games. To explain, I believe it is best to compare two instances of entertainment that are quite similar, but just created 10+ years apart: Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings.
I just recently watched Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring for probably the 2nd or the 3rd time. I liked it. It’s quite easy to follow while having an extensive lore and it is easy to fall in love with Gandalf (and become quite sad when he sacrifices himself). The entertainment comes from the characters, from the funny appearance of the hobbits, from Gimli trailing behind Legolas in the running scene, and from many other parts of the story.
I have seen the entirety of the Game of Thrones series three times through at this point I believe (about 63 hours… ouch). It is by far my favorite show and the best way I’ve found to describe it to others that do not know much about it is to say it is a television version of Lord of the Rings. They have a lot of similarities. I believe it is somewhat easy to follow the major points, but it also has a crazy detailed lore akin to the Lord of the Rings lore. The characters are easy to hate/love and there is entertainment everywhere, from the relationships and betrayals between the characters, the development, and the creativity of the fantasy. It is a great story, BUT it is added to by one important thing: computer graphics.
Looking at the landscape, the smoothness, the cgi of the two, one is obviously created in 2001 and one is obviously created last year. I liked one, and loved the other. I think this shows where my opinion lays in modern computer graphics; I like them and they add a lot to the entertainment. I feel much more immersed in the product that is put out today than I do watching production from 20 years ago, and that is okay. Not all stories/games require fancy graphics. For example, I enjoy the simplicity of Call of Duty Black Ops II compared to the trash game that game out last year where you could fly around on a jet pack and everything was a laser. Even nowadays, Fortnite, the hottest game of 2017/2018, has terrible, janky graphics compared to games out today. But that doesn’t matter, because the game is what is most important.
In the end, better is always better. Better stories will always be liked over worse ones, and you can make all stories better to an extreme with improved graphics.