VFX artist explains why CGI in films is worse now

‘Transformers’ artist said visual effects were being used as a ‘crutch’

Maira Butt
Wednesday 05 June 2024 11:44 BST
Furiosa trailer
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Louise Thomas

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A visual effects artist has revealed the reason why special effects in movies are so much “worse” now.

Fans have long lamented the declining quality of computer-generated imagery (CGI) as a seemingly increasing number of blunders are picked up by eagle-eyed viewers upon almost every big release.

From movies such as Cats, Hulk and Aladdin to Avengers: Infinity War and the latest Mad Max instalment, Furiosa, on-screen glitches and some low-quality visuals have been jarring for moviegoers. The phenomenon is now so ubiquitous that flaws are apparent even in trailers for unreleased movies, such as the forthcoming remake of The Crow.

Rassoul Edji, a lead VFX artist in the film industry, shared his thoughts on the reasons behind the blunders in a post that has since gone viral on social media racking up over 18 million views.

Edji has worked on films including Seeker, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, and Sonic the Hedgehog 2, according to his IMDB page.

“VFX artist here, heres what happened,” he began. “Clients continually change the brief. Shot design and planning are no longer a priority, and we have a lot more work to get through in a shorter amount of time.

“We have and can create work better than back in the day, it just needs the right leadership team, planning, and time to make sure it happens.”

Fans complained there was ‘too much CGI’ in the latest Mad Max movie
Fans complained there was ‘too much CGI’ in the latest Mad Max movie (Warner Bros/Mad Max Furiosa)

Edji explained that the average film now changes a lot more during postproduction than it used to, adding, “This means new work gets added to our plate and work we’ve already started (and sometimes even finished) gets scrapped. The ‘fix it in post’ mentality also doesn’t help.”

The Scorpion King in The Mummy Returns
The Scorpion King in The Mummy Returns (Universal)

He implored people to not blame VFX artists, saying: “It’s almost always the studio/leadership team who is responsible for when things don’t get done up to scratch and never the actual artists’ fault.”

The artist also explained that “VFX is often used as a crutch to fix issues which should be fixed on set”, adding that a film that is fully CGI can be made very well and to a high quality “if it is planned well, changes aren’t constantly made, and the VFX teams have enough time to create and refine it.”

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