The technological and aesthetic impact of computer-generated images on the Hollywood cinema.


Napleton, Steven 2000. The technological and aesthetic impact of computer-generated images on the Hollywood cinema. Thesis University of East London
AuthorsNapleton, Steven

The cinema, as originally an analogue apparatus of representation, has a particularly
complex and contradictory relationship to the incursion of new digital practices and
potentialities. This thesis examines this relationship through a study of the impact of
computer-generated images (CGI) on the Hollywood mode of production, and on its
visual and narrative filmic codes.
Computer animation is unquestionably a technology of digital simulation, and its initial
presence is necessarily based on an aesthetics of simulation, visually separating, and
diegetically demarcating, the digital image as virtual and artfficial. Consequently, most
previous accounts of CGI have focused predominantly on films depicting cyberspace and
VR, such as Tron and The Lawnmower Man, within the parameters of debates on special
effects, the generic conventions of science fiction, and postmodern concerns with
virtuality and simulation.
In the early 1 990s, however, technological innovations facilitated the transition to an
aesthetics of photorealism, emphasising the seamless compositing and integration of CGI
characters, objects and environments with live-action. The thesis argues that the this shill
is fundamental in establishing the commercial and aesthetic credibility of CGI as a
production tool, and it is closely examined through a case study of Jurassic Park. The
processes by which the first organic, photorealistic CG characters were created are
analysed, with particular reference to the role of procedural and hand methods of
computer animation in constructing a new virtual aesthetics.
The integration of CGI as a production tool is also related to the diegetic presence of
information technologies as narrative devices, and the extra-textual commercial and
professional discourses through which CGI is explicated and celebrated. The thesis
argues that the cinema is able to exploit the potential of digital methods, whilst
simultaneously displaying a fundamental anxiety over the status of its own
representational codes. Finally, strategies of visibility and virtuality in computer
animation are further examined in the context of the emerging digital mode of production
in Hollywood, and of the high concept film's role in multimedia marketing and
distribution strategies

KeywordsComputer Generated Images (CGI); Hollywood; film making; special effects
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Deposited11 May 2011
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This thesis supplied via ROAR to UEL-registered users is protected by copyright and other intellectual property rights, and duplication of any part of the material is not permitted, except for your personal use for the purposes of non-commercial research and private study in electronic or print form. You must obtain permission from the copyright-holder for any other use. Electronic or print copies may not be offered, for sale or otherwise, to anyone. No quotation from the thesis may be published without proper acknowledgement.

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