In 2022, CGW celebrated 45 years of covering the vastly innovative world of computer graphics. From media and entertainment to industrial design, medical imaging, and beyond, CG technology has progressed tremendously with each passing year.
In January of 1977, CGW — then known as
Computer Graphics Newsletter — featured Charles Williams’ "Metamorphosis of a Flower,” our publication’s earliest example of computer graphics-driven art. Originally drawn by hand, the piece was digitized and modulated by a beaded mosaic pattern. According to Williams, this system was valuable for graphic artists because it allowed them “to use a computer to generate complex variations of drawings which would be exceedingly difficult to prepare by hand."
"Metamorphosis of a Flower”
by Charles Williams
It's fitting that this issue’s cover feature, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, is a wonderful example of creative synergy between handcrafted artistry and computer graphics. Created in a richly detailed stop-motion style, this stunning reimagining of a classic tale seamlessly merges handmade animation with cutting-edge visual effects. The film’s art department and puppet animation teams worked closely with the VFX department to maintain a consistent aesthetic across all practical and digital elements. “Every department head was really on top of their game, understood the process, and was a pleasure to deal with,” VFX producer Jeffrey Schaper recalls. “The collaboration was very special on this one, and the look is something very unique that we may never see again.”
Computer-generated visuals have allowed storytellers to transcend the boundaries of possibility again and again. Many creative endeavors require close collaboration between teams based in different locations across the globe, each delivering assets that will be combined to bring the final vision to life. In this issue, Marc Loftus, Editor-in-Chief of CGW’s sister publication
Post, explores the groundbreaking production workflow utilized by Prime Video’s epic fantasy series
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. The project harnessed the power of the cloud to unite a global VFX talent pool, with eight industry-leading vendors each bringing their expertise to the project.
This issue also dives into the rendering workflow for “Bad Travelling,” an eerie nautical tale in Netflix’s animated anthology series Love, Death + Robots. Director David Fincher collaborated with Blur Studio to translate his distinctive live-action lighting style into an animated environment. In addition, we go behind the scenes of Scanline VFX’s work on Season 4 of Netflix’s horror adventure series
Stranger Things. “The visual effects work in previous seasons was stellar, but this season was more like nine blockbuster movies,” recalls VFX supervisor Justin Mitchell. Rounding out the issue are insights from industry experts on the opportunities the metaverse offers for live music performances, why motion capture technology will always be in the service of storytelling, and the future of motion control robotics in the VFX industry.
Over the past four and a half decades, CGW is thrilled to have showcased the ways in which computer graphics have continued to advance and enrich so many facets of our lives. As CG technology continues to progress at an astonishing rate, we can’t wait to explore the possibilities the future holds.
Managing Editor, CGW