Computer-generated Imagery is an invention that has both sides. If it’s used in a bad and excessive way, the scenes will look too fake and your mind will easily jump out of the story. While the best CGIs are the ones that seamlessly add the authenticity to the scenes and make audience believe everything they see are “real”. That’s part of the movie magic, isn’t it?
Here are 20 movie scenes where the CGI is applied so well that you never noticed it without being told.
CGI Scene: A dash of CGI tinkering allows Richmond Virginia’s Capitol Building to double for the White House.
Why It’s Great: It looks the part, and doesn’t distract from the film’s general aesthetic, in which practical effects are more prevalent.
CGI Scene: In the 2002 re-release, the Feds who chase Elliot and E.T. are no longer armed with shotguns, with their heavy weaponry replaced by walkie-talkies.
Why It’s Great: It’s a seamless swap and makes the Federal Agents seem a little less psychotic.
18. Forrest Gump
CGI Scene: The digitized feather that bookends the film, floating whimsically across the screen.
Why It’s Great: It’s an eerily beautiful way to open and close the film, and a perfect metaphor for Forrest’s floating life.
17. Blood Diamond
CGI Scene: The gut-wrenching phone call scene at the film’s climax, in which digital tears were added to Jennifer Connelly’s face.
Why It’s Great: Who needs an actual performance when you can just CGI all the emotion in post!
16. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
CGI Scene: Most of the exterior shots in Hedestad, where the wintery landscape is made even more chilling with the addition of some CGI weather.
Why It’s Great: Fincher’s take on this nordic tale is a visual treat throughout, but his exterior shots are truly gorgeous.
CGI Scene: Some of Oliver Reed’s scenes needed to be completed after the actor’s sad death during filming. Thanks to the wonders of CGI, his performance remains intact.
Why It’s Great: Reed is excellent in Gladiator, and it would have been a terrible shame not to complete his character’s story.
14. The Fighter
CGI Scene: Mickey holds up a napkin with Charlene’s number on it. However, the number had to be digitally altered to confirm with broadcast laws, so that entire napkin is a CGI composition.
Why It’s Great: It’s the perfect example of non-intrusive CGI you would never have known was there.
13. Fight Club
CGI Scene: The Narrator’s apartment explodes, in a beautiful example of photogrammetery. That’s the use of photographs to create wire-frame 3D models of a set.
Why It’s Great: David Fincher employed the technique so as to avoid the reflection of the camera being seen in the stove’s shiny surface. That’s attention to detail.
CGI Scene: Silva reveals the full extent of his battle scars, removing a plate from his cheek to reveal the effects of eating a cyanide capsule.
Why It’s Great: The scene is so shocking, you’ll be too distracted to question whether it was CGI or not. But it was.
11. Black Swan
CGI Scene: As Nina dances her way off stage, you might not have noticed that all the ballerinas she passes have the same face as her.
Why It’s Great: It’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it effect, but it’s one of the creepier ones. No wonder Nina looks behind her in bemusement.
CGI Scene: No, not the boat, rather the effect of the rushing water filling the inside of the Titanic, much of which was computer generated. Clever Cameron.
Why It’s Great: It ramps up the claustrophobia and sense of peril something chronic!