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Chapter 1. Creating Organic 3D Characters > A Trend Toward Organic Realism

A Trend Toward Organic Realism

This section describes the trend in films, TV, and games to push digital technology toward creating more realistic 3D characters. You also learn what is involved in working as a character modeler and setup artist for a large film company through two interviews with industry professionals.

From Jurassic Park to The Lord of the Rings

It is a good time to be working in the digital 3D character animation field. Even though the economy has declined in recent years, entertainment products such as films and games are more popular than ever. It is easy to see that the most successful films in the past few years contain large amounts of digital 3D imagery. Books that never could have been realized successfully in film before, such as Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy, are now being done to box-office and critical acclaim. Others include Shrek, Monsters Inc., Harry Potter, the Star Wars prequels, The Matrix, Gladiator, Moulin Rouge, and the list goes on. Although some of these films fall into the realm of surrealistic 3D cartoons, many integrate digital 3D imagery with live action in ways that are very subtle. Many of these films contain digitally created extras, stunt doubles, and digital location sets seamlessly integrated with live-action footage. A few even contain digital actors in main roles playing next to live actors. The success of these films is pushing the industry toward using digital technology more and more to realize a filmmaker’s vision, regardless of whether it is realistic.


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