Computer Generated Imagery


Computer created characters Woody and Buzz Lightyear from Pixar's Toy Story.

Computer Generated Imagery, or CGI, is not a new development in the movie industry. In 1973 the first 2D CGI was used in the Yul Brynner movie Westworld.

With technology evolving like it does, it didn't take long for that simple 2D CGI to lead to the development of 3D CGI. The first use of 3D was for Westworld's sequel, Futureworld, released in 1976.

This incredible technology was not initially adopted as eagerly as we might expect looking back in hindsight, experiencing slow growth over the next few years. Star Wars used it for a few scenes in 1977, but it wasn't until 1982 and the release of Tron that it was used substantially in film.

CGI continued to grow in power and usefulness, with CGI scenes being woven completely into live action in 1993's Jurassic Park. This was taken one step further, with the 1994 Canadian children's TV show, ReBoot, being the first full length, fully animated show to be broadcast on television.

The following year, the movie that cemented CGI's place in movie making was released. Pixar's Toy Story was the first feature length movie done entirely with CGI animation. The movie, which features Tom Hanks as the voice for the protagonist uses the awesome power of computer generated imagery to transport the audience into the secret world of children's toys. The movie was incredibly successful, drawing in over $350 million at the box office worldwide.

Of course CGI has now exploded in quality and quantity of use in movies over the last decade. Whether a fully animated movie, a live-action/animation hybrid, or an action movie, CGI is used in a larger percentage of movies made in the 21st century. It is now progressed to the point where we, the audience, are just waiting for, and seeing, one impressive CGI development after another.

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