The Weight of Digital Realism

version

Who loves ya, baby?
Anyone else noticed a drab photorealism to a lot of media these days? I'm thinking of games in particular here, but everything seems to have the look and feel of a Nolan film. I'm assuming it's partly down to digital becoming the industry standard, but surely we can do something more with it? It's all so flat and lifeless. Really starts to wear on you. Every Netflix show looks the same. How many more games do we need that look like Death Stranding or Call of Duty?

 

constant escape

winter withered, warm
Well if thats the current fitness, then developers have to keep up with it, no?

As opposed to when the current fitness/cutting-edge was far less realistic looking.

Unless someone figures out an alternative direction to push the fitness, I don't see how it goes anywhere but toward increasing realism.
 

nilprenia

Well-known member
I should elaborate. Obviously anime in general makes different stylistic choices, but Tatami Galaxy's artwork in particular involves real photos which have been animated over top of and blended into this stylized magic-realist world the story takes place in. The narrative pace is pretty unconventional, everything is said *very quickly* and things happen so quickly that you could miss something if you looked away for a moment. serves as an example of something I've watched recently that was made outside of a paradigm I was used to
 

version

Who loves ya, baby?
Obviously anime in general makes different stylistic choices, but Tatami Galaxy's artwork in particular involves real photos which have been animated over top of...
A bit like rotoscoping, but with photos rather than footage?
 

Linebaugh

Well-known member
Games still seem on that path American movie animation was on awhile ago, a CGI pissing contest between studios, probably culminating with James Cameron's Avatar. And the completely immersive, alternate reality fantasy is even closer to the gaming mythos, so I bet they stay locked in like this for awhile. did you see the unreal engine 5 tease from earlier this year?

 

version

Who loves ya, baby?
Games still seem on that path American movie animation was on awhile ago, a CGI pissing contest between studios, probably culminating with James Cameron's Avatar. And the completely immersive, alternate reality fantasy is even closer to the gaming mythos, so I bet they stay locked in like this for awhile. did you see the unreal engine 5 tease from earlier this year?

Avatar did look incredible though. The colours... And yeah, I saw that. We had a thread on it, although it didn't really go anywhere.
 

Linebaugh

Well-known member
Yah I remember being awed at the time. And unreal 5 also looks great, but in the spirit of the thread its a shame theres only one visual style being developed for anything big budget
 

version

Who loves ya, baby?
Do we think there'll ever come a time where CGI becomes indistinguishable from reality? You look at something like The Thing and even now the practical effects make much more of an impression than anything contemporary. The studio even ruined the prequel by having the filmmakers layer digital effects over the physical stuff they'd built.
 

Linebaugh

Well-known member
I don't watch enough TV to say this with any confidence, but it seems alot of netflix productions are turning to saturated, moody color pallettes, maybe in response to the ubiquitous flat digital standard. though that could just be due to stranger things success.
 

version

Who loves ya, baby?
I don't watch enough TV to say this with any confidence, but it seems alot of netflix productions are turning to saturated, moody color pallettes, maybe in response to the ubiquitous flat digital standard. though that could just be due to stranger things success.
Yeah, that was exactly the kind of thing I was thinking of when I started the thread. Their films and shows all look the same; Scorsese goes to Netflix and we end up with The Irishman looking like Black Mirror.
 

version

Who loves ya, baby?
there's something about the sound and the look of contemporary cultural production that I find unappealing, even aggravating

i can't put my finger on it exactly - i think it's related the kind of level of detail and burnishing that current technology affords, and that therefore it's irresistible for culture-producers to go there

but i came across this great phrase in a book by Carol Vernalis about video, YouTube, digital visual culture

she talked about "an overpreening of the image"

e.g. with a lot of TV, I find often it's just exhausting to watch. why isn't stillness, a slowly developing mood, a plot focused on only a few characters, an option?

but an overpreening of the sound-image, or sound-space, the same thing is going on with a lot of music

so in terms of the title of this thread, it's not so much that I'm increasingly resistant to new things, because my overt stance / ideology would still be "yes yes new things bring 'em on bring 'em on" - that's habitual outlook

it's more like, something within me resists this, baulks at, recoils from it, is offput by it

but i'm coming to terms with it - it's probably only natural that by a certain point, the appeal of stuff starts to elude you

it would be weird not to reach that point.
 

version

Who loves ya, baby?
Does everyone remember the back and forth over The Battle of Winterfell in the final season of GoT? Textbook example of the saturated, moody colour palettes Linebaugh's talking about. You could barely see what was going on and the creators were all like "Well, it looked fine on our equipment!" as though the general public have the same gear as an HBO production. I think they actually ended up telling people to turn the brightness etc right up on their TVs and monitors just for that episode in the end. Massive oversight on their part.
 

Linebaugh

Well-known member
pivoting here, but I thought portrait of a lady on fire was a good looking movie because it leaned into its pristine digital production. The locations were sparse and open and much of the movie was flooded with light, really complemented the high fidelity of the image.

youtube compression diminishes the effect here but you get the idea with the beach scenes

the effect was like looking at massive minimalist paintings where you end up doing little more than appreciating intense, well framed shades of color
 
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Linebaugh

Well-known member
Even with Buster Scruggs, theres a little preening like blissblogger was saying that puts me off. Some shots, especially ones in town, look like they have an Instagram filter on them. Portrait looks like a layer of filth has been removed from your eyes, like the visual equivalent of listening to music just after cleaning your ears
 
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