What was the first movie to use CGI?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by StephenA, Sep 25, 2002.

  1. StephenA

    StephenA Screenwriter

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    Watching Tron last night got me to wondering this. So what was the first movie to use CGI?
     
  2. Agee Bassett

    Agee Bassett Supporting Actor

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    Vertigo (1958) employed analog CGI for the vortexes in its opening sequence (courtesy of the slit-scan techniques of pioneer CGI-artist John Whitney).
     
  3. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    i'm not sure if it was the first, but definitely one of the very earliest was "young sherlock holmes".

    i still remember the scene where the knight pictured in the lead-glass window comes to life. i was like, whoa!

    i even think ILM was involved, but not sure...
     
  4. Leo Kerr

    Leo Kerr Screenwriter

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    Don't forget also, Star Wars: ANH. It wasn't much, but as I recall, the Death Star plans were rendered (hah!) off of an Apple //e onto 16mm (I think) film. Plans were then rear-projected, interlocked to the camera crystal.
    Also, other early CGI stuff includes Last Starfighter.
    Leo
     
  5. Christopher Bosley

    Christopher Bosley Stunt Coordinator

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    I think "Star Trek II" was the first to use CGI as we now think of it. The Genesis effect for the library tape viewed by Kirk was computer generated.
     
  6. Dennis Heller

    Dennis Heller Second Unit

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    In Star Wars ANH, wasn't the spinning starfield seen from inside the escape pod the first shot ILM ever did? Or do I have my stories mixed?
     
  7. Guy Martin

    Guy Martin Second Unit

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    Dennis-
    That's indeed the first shot ever done by ILM, although it isn't CGI, it's a model effect. Wrath of Khan was definitely an early one. Also in Return of the Jedi there's the CGI wireframe model of the new Death Star, which was another early use. And yes, the Young Sherlock Knight was ILM. It was one of the first shots done by some guy named Lassiter at ILM's then-new divsion called Pixar, which was later sold to Lucas' pal Steve Jobs and well... you know the rest [​IMG]
    - Guy
     
  8. Peter Kline

    Peter Kline Cinematographer

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    The Great Mouse Detective used some early form of CGI.
     
  9. Terrell

    Terrell Producer

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  10. Kevin M

    Kevin M Producer

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    *Not a John Whitney Jr. site as I wrongly stated yesterday.
     
  11. Sam Davatchi

    Sam Davatchi Producer

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    Yes, the real first CG effect as we know was used in Star Trek II – The Wrath of Khan. Young Sherlock Holmes came later and has the honor of the first CG Character.
     
  12. Steve Christou

    Steve Christou Long Member

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    Don't forget the cgi created Jabba the Hutt in Star Wars-A New Hope made way back in 1977, a bit crude now, but for 1977 it was way ahead of its time!! Way to go George and ILM!!


    Yes I'm being sarcastic and this demonstrates how adding cgi to ancient movies can screw up discussions like this one in years to come. What I posted above is what people will believe as fact in 20 years time, special effects history is being messed around with, we must put a stop to this people before its too late!![hysterical sobbing]
     
  13. StephenA

    StephenA Screenwriter

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    Thanks for the responses. Anyone else know about early movie adopters of CGI?
     
  14. JeremySt

    JeremySt Screenwriter

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    THE BLACK HOLE - 1979 The opening credit sequence was the first entirely CGI effect. The other sequences mentioned (Westworld, Star Wars) were actual photography with added computer manipulation. Changed by a computer, but not created on a computer.

    Star Trek II, as mentioned, was the first to use CGI as we know it today. ( a textured 3-D model)

    The Young Sherlock Holmes was the fisrt to use a Computer generated character.
     
  15. Todd Phillips

    Todd Phillips Second Unit

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    This is a frequently asked question...we need a section in the FAQ for this.
     
  16. Eric Fisher

    Eric Fisher Stunt Coordinator

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    The most obvious one I remember was "The Last Starfighter".
     
  17. Robert Floto

    Robert Floto Supporting Actor

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    Well, speaking as a person who makes a living as a CGI artist, everyone who has mentioned Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan is pretty much on the money. All CGI artists consider this to be the first use of photo-realistic digital animation in a theatrical motion picture.
     
  18. Wayne Bundrick

    Wayne Bundrick Cinematographer

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    "Photorealistic" is the exact keyword I was going to insert, Robert. Things like the wireframe animations in Star Wars and The Black Hole don't count. I'd say that the Genesis simulation in Star Trek II was the first.
     
  19. Kevin M

    Kevin M Producer

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    This Early Computer Graphics in Film site that I linked above also makes this claim, now as to whether anyone agrees....
     
  20. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    My recollection at the time is that a big deal was made out of the pioneering use of computers in Looker as well.
     

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