CGI changed the film industry but this is just the beginning, the real revolution is still to come.


Earlier this year I wrote an article on technology is, and will, transform the future of entertainment industry and some of those predictions are already coming true. While there’s no doubt that the recent Star Wars blockbuster The Force Awakens relied heavily on computer generated effects to create a galaxy full of spaceships, strange aliens and planet wrecking super weapons just how much it relied on CGI might surprise you.


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Back in the 1970’s when the original films were released George Lucas’ favourite tools were rubber prosthetics for the actors and miniature wireframe plastic models but now, just forty years later that entire trade has almost disappeared, giving way to CGI and green screens.

By the time the The Force Awakens hit the cinemas 92 percent of it had been computer generated. Now Industrial Light and Magic has now given us a peek behind the scenes at how some of those visual effects were made, posting a highlight reel to YouTube that shows how First Order bases, TIE Fighters, and even major characters were put together layer by layer.


Dive into the effects behind film

Water spray kicked up by the low flying Millennium Falcon goes through multiple revisions – going from plastic looking gloop to the final spray – and Jakku’s crashed Star Destroyer is similarly complex, albeit for different reasons, built from the frame up with layer upon layer of detail. Each section represents hundreds, if not thousands of hours of work, but most flash by so fast you could easily miss them.


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Increasingly there’s no doubt in my mind that more of this work will be undertaken and managed more and more by AI systems and platforms. But just as models have given way to CGI one of the next great changes facing the industry – other than AI stepping into the directors chair and drones replacing camera crews will be the digitisation of the actors themselves who’ll one day be no more than pixels on a hard drive.


About author

Matthew Griffin

Matthew Griffin, described as “The Adviser behind the Advisers” and a “Young Kurzweil,” is the founder and CEO of the World Futures Forum and the 311 Institute, a global Futures and Deep Futures consultancy working between the dates of 2020 to 2070, and is an award winning futurist, and author of “Codex of the Future” series. Regularly featured in the global media, including AP, BBC, Bloomberg, CNBC, Discovery, RT, Viacom, and WIRED, Matthew’s ability to identify, track, and explain the impacts of hundreds of revolutionary emerging technologies on global culture, industry and society, is unparalleled. Recognised for the past six years as one of the world’s foremost futurists, innovation and strategy experts Matthew is an international speaker who helps governments, investors, multi-nationals and regulators around the world envision, build and lead an inclusive, sustainable future. A rare talent Matthew’s recent work includes mentoring Lunar XPrize teams, re-envisioning global education and training with the G20, and helping the world’s largest organisations envision and ideate the future of their products and services, industries, and countries. Matthew's clients include three Prime Ministers and several governments, including the G7, Accenture, Aon, Bain & Co, BCG, Credit Suisse, Dell EMC, Dentons, Deloitte, E&Y, GEMS, Huawei, JPMorgan Chase, KPMG, Lego, McKinsey, PWC, Qualcomm, SAP, Samsung, Sopra Steria, T-Mobile, and many more.

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