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PT Why CGI Clones?

Discussion in 'Prequel Trilogy' started by SlashMan, Jul 3, 2013.

  1. SlashMan

    SlashMan Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 5, 2012
    A fact that normally baffles casual Star Wars fans is that all Clone Troopers in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith were CGI. But why? CGI would have been necessary for long shots large battle scenes, but during close-ups or with only a few characters onscreen? Besides, CGI wasn't exactly a shortcut, as the models for the clones were very complex and detail was astonishing. So that only begs the question; why were there no live-action clones?

    Even when Temuera Morrison's face was required, the rest of the body was CGI.
  2. Alexrd

    Alexrd Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Jul 7, 2009
    They were done well enough to not make me question how they were made while watching the movies, so I guess they did a good job. As for the why? I guess Lucas was trying to test the limits of what they could do with CGI. IIRC, they discuss this on one of the docs of AotC DVD.
  3. DarthBoba

    DarthBoba Manager Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jun 29, 2000
    Simpler to show a lot of them at once, and once you've got the model for that done, you might as well use it for everything else.
  4. Cryogenic

    Cryogenic Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 20, 2005
    Could it be due to the fact that they're -- *drum roll*, please -- CLONES?

    That they are, symbolically, soulless? That they need the animate matter of people, human beings, to breathe life into their digital bodies?

    That since they aren't bound to physical matter, physical reality, they're sure to wipe out these disconnected, digitally-confused Jedi en masse?

    "Blind we are if creation of this clone army we could not see."
  5. Darth Dominikkus

    Darth Dominikkus Jedi Knight star 3

    Apr 5, 2013
    I actually never knew that they CGI'd the bodies of all of the clones. I figured the large numbers of clones and the huge army scenes were CGI'd, but I didn't know that the close ups and body shots were also. They fooled me there. I guess it's Lucas though, almost all of the PT is CGI, it was his weapon of choice to birth three movies.
  6. DarthBoba

    DarthBoba Manager Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jun 29, 2000
    One point solidly in favor of CGI clones-the change from "animators holding guns" for the motion capture in AOTC, to "soldiers using their weapons" for the mocap in ROTS. The first one is obviously easy enough, but to realistically show that in a big format you'd either need to borrow actual soldiers (and a pretty big number of them, especially for the Utapau battle) or train extras (which would take a lot of time). Mocapping one guy doing the proper stances saves both time and enhances how the clones looked onscreen.


    ^AOTC. Nobody's aiming besides second from left, they're all clumped together (makes them easier to kill) and nobody's using proper shooting stances for a rifle, either.


    ^ROTS. Everyone is aiming their weapons, most soldiers are on a knee or at least crouched, most soldiers are well spaced from each other.
  7. CT-867-5309

    CT-867-5309 Force Ghost star 6

    Jan 5, 2011
    CGI provides a uniformity in size that would be practically impossible to achieve with real extras.

    It also removes the cheap plastic look of extras running around in armor that doesn't quite fit perfectly. You can practically hear the clacking of the plastic in the OT.

    I was pretty turned off by it myself at first, but I think CGI was definitely the right choice.
  8. ezekiel22x

    ezekiel22x Force Ghost star 5

    Aug 9, 2002
    Because Lucas didn't get the "CGIZ ruined mah life" memo.
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  9. Sarge

    Sarge Chosen One star 6

    Oct 4, 1998
    Because it would take forever to film huge battles with stop motion clones.
  10. Darth Dominikkus

    Darth Dominikkus Jedi Knight star 3

    Apr 5, 2013
    Now that would be quite impressive.
  11. Han Burgundy

    Han Burgundy Jedi Master star 3

    Jan 28, 2013
    The scene on Kamino, where you first see hair raisingly unnatural image of Stormtroopers Clone troopers march stepping in perfect uniformity, far too synchronized for any human individual- that's the scene that sells the CGI for me.

    However, I do,take issue with the scenes whee Cody has his helmet off.


    The juxtaposition of a real, photographed face on an animated body doesn't feel right- and not in a good way. It reminds me of other movies with really bad "head on body" compositions, like the forgotten Wayans Brothers movie Little Man.
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  12. WatTamborWoo

    WatTamborWoo Jedi Master star 3

    Jan 22, 2011
    GL did say that it was obvious that the CGI Clones in AOTC were based on the motion capture of staffers at ILM. For ROTS they did motion capture of marines so the difference was marked.

    I liked the pictures above nevertheless. Certainly for ROTS the clones were blended very well. Especially see Felucia and the death of Aayla Secura. Don't have a picture of it.
  13. Cryogenic

    Cryogenic Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 20, 2005
    It's funny that you say that. I actually see deliberate flaws and asynchronous movements placed into that sequence to sell it as something with a base reality; something that, first of all, validates the imagery on a basic visual level, and secondly, acknowledges the limitations and subtle discrepancies that exist between individuals even in a relatively mindless situation like marching in formation.

    "Good is a point of view".

    Perhaps some degree of non-goodness is part of the point (depending, that is, *on* your "point of view")? Jango's head sort of bobs on the clone body just as Obi-Wan's body kind of jars against Boga: Boba, Bogden, Boga, bogus? Further, that image is fatalistically appealing, in my view, since it cleverly links the Jedi and the clones (look how Obi-Wan's lightsaber is attached to Cody's waist exactly as a Jedi would wear it). These two are very much dependent on each other. But the deeper truth is to realize that the clones and the Jedi are one. Or, put the other way, the Jedi have *become* clone troopers, in effect, since they decided to involve themselves in a war of enslavement and respond to problems with militaristic thinking. In their own way, they are as hard-shelled as the clones, or Vader; who emerges from the maelstrom of Jedi ignorance, of course.

    "Let me help you to know the subtleties of the Force."

    If you pay close attention to the ebb and flow of visuals -- the dialectic procession of the saga, scene to scene, frame to frame, moment to moment -- then any number of poetic truths slip out. Suddenly, everything you thought you knew, or would rather not think about, in the world of SW and outside of it, is dramatically challenged or comes into new focus. This isn't the society you wanted? You paid for it! You voted for it! You went along with it! You shrugged your shoulders and did nothing to change it! This art can be quite radicalizing -- if you want it to be.

    Good observation. There is, yet again, an array of subtle tonal contrasts between AOTC and ROTS. The clones in ROTS are notably more lively, as if they've discovered their mojo, arising from a deep sleep, now "battle hardened" and ready to pull the trigger on their Jedi bellwethers.

    Ya. I think the clones fit very snugly in those Order 66 dioramas. They are like the evils of the world -- the spirits from Pandora's jar -- set loose, finally betraying their temporary masters in a lucid dream, as if nature itself is repaying the Jedi for stockpiled transgressions in their final moments.
  14. Darth Nerdling

    Darth Nerdling Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Mar 20, 2013
    I'll add a few practical reasons to this thread. It's very hard to copy real things with CGI. If you knew what a real clone outfit looks like, then it would stand in contrast to the CGI-created clones troopers and you would notice the difference. So, there are two solutions: go all CGI or go all real. If GL went all real, then he wouldn't be able to stage the battle scenes the way he wanted them. So, he went with the other option: going all CGI.

    Also, one of the hardest things to do is to mix CGI and real things. The prequels do a very good job of it, especially ROTS, but think Obi-Wan on the Boga. Even though you can't put your finger on it, there's just something off about Obi riding Boga, and they do it both ways, some with the real Ewan McGregor stuck on a CGI Boga and some with a CGI Obi-Wan on a CGI Boga. Still, both look a little off if you look closely. The CGI Obi-Wan looks just a little different from the real Ewan McGregor, and there seems to be something a little off about the real Obi-Wan put on the CGI Boga.

    So, it seems like GL decided to go with the all CGI solution. The only time you'd see real mixed with CGI is when a clone takes off his helmet, and I remember it looking a little off on a couple of close-ups in ROTS in the theatre, but now on blu ray, I don't see anything off about it at all. Maybe they fixed it up a little.
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    FRAGWAGON Jedi Master star 4

    Nov 3, 2012
    Personally I really liked that scene of Cody holding his helmet. This completely implied friendship between him and Obi-Wan was really cool. Thinking further on it, I guess it's the story that always sells it, for me, ultimately.

    The unnaturalness of the first wide shot of them, lockstep in AOTC, was as unnatural as the Nazi marches you see in the old newsreels. You might find more variance in the Clonetrooper's step than in the SS.
    SlashMan likes this.
  16. SlashMan

    SlashMan Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 5, 2012
    Having them synced up perfectly on Kamino kind of foreshadows their similarities to droids... it couldn't have been coincidence, as the Trade Federation March was playing in the background.

    Though people are misinterpreting this thread, I'm not at all criticizing the execution of the clones, I'm just curious about the process that lead to the all CGI verdict, in contrast to the Stormtroopers of the Trilogy. Though I'm inclined to believe darth ladnar's explanation, as either all or nothing for CGI instead of taking the risk of mixing them.

    Though I agree that Revenge of the Sith had perfected their movements greatly, and added a greater sense of authenticity. Though Attack of the Clones can be excused because it was the first time the troops had seen real combat.
  17. RainTrooper

    RainTrooper Jedi Padawan

    Jun 4, 2013
    It's like John Knoll from ILM said in the 'Making of Episode 1' doc on the DVD, in regards to the 100% CG Jar Jar Vs. Ahmed Best in the suit with a CG head.. "...It only took half the man-hours, and is significantly more cost effective to do a completely animated Jar Jar than to use the on-camera suit..." George's response.. "A million saved is a million earned!" He had this figured out in the late 90's with Ep1... Not much has changed, apparently. It's all about the Benjamins!![face_money_eyes]
  18. CrackaJones

    CrackaJones Jedi Youngling

    Jun 30, 2013
    Well they are called clones for a reason, they are exact copies of one person. If you have two or more clones on screen at the same time, the chance of finding two people that look EXACTLY the same is astronomical. So CGI is needed when doing close up body shots of two or more clones.
  19. Joe

    Joe Jedi Master star 6

    Dec 25, 2012
    Which is another point - George essentially did the PT on the cheap - under $200 mil, IIRC. If CGing the clones saved a bunch, it would be a major factor in how George chose to shoot the clones.
  20. DarthBoba

    DarthBoba Manager Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jun 29, 2000
    Each movie might've been in the neighborhood of that...TPM was 150 mil by itself. Not the whole trilogy, though.
  21. Mange

    Mange Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jan 11, 2003
    Nitpick: It was $115 mil for TPM (as well as AOTC and somewhat less, $113 mil, for ROTS).
  22. DarthBoba

    DarthBoba Manager Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jun 29, 2000
    Thanks for proving me more right :p
  23. Placeholder

    Placeholder Jedi Knight star 4

    Jan 30, 2013
    I don't mind the CGI clones, I think it helps give the army the sense of scale it needs. The clone army scenes at the end of AOTC are some of my favorite in the prequels. AOTC is a flawed movie IMO, but they get the sense of scale right. It's one of the positive things in the film IMO.

    I am one of the people who prefers more practical effects and sets, but I have no problem with the CGI clones
    Sarge likes this.
  24. GGrievous

    GGrievous Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Nov 6, 2005
    Are you referring to budgets? If so, both TPM and AOTC had budgets of $115 million, while ROTS was the cheapest at $113 mil. So all three films totaled up to around $400 mil (not counting marketing). The main reason as to why the budgets were so inexpensive was most likely due to Lucas shooting on sound stages instead of on location.

    An interesting rumor: since Lucas owned ILM at the time, they gave him a discount. :p

    JEDI-RISING Force Ghost star 5

    Apr 15, 2005
    It was the easiest to do with the big battle scenes, and the majority of the public can't tell the difference. It's amazing how cheap these movies were made at the time when everything out there today is costing $200 million (and inflation hasn't gone up that much in the past decade)
    Plus you know people are complaining that there was too much cgi in the prequels, but hey look at Avengers. Most of that was cgi.