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Title: The technological and aesthetic impact of computer-generated images on the Hollywood cinema
Author: Napleton, Steven
ISNI:       0000 0001 3439 5002
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2000
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The cinema, as originally an analogue apparatus of representation, has a particularly complex and contradictory relationship to the incursion of new digital practices and potentialities. This thesis examines this relationship through a study of the impact of computer-generated images (CGI) on the Hollywood mode of production, and on its visual and narrative filmic codes. Computer animation is unquestionably a technology of digital simulation, and its initial presence is necessarily based on an aesthetics of simulation, visually separating, and diegetically demarcating, the digital image as virtual and artfficial. Consequently, most previous accounts of CGI have focused predominantly on films depicting cyberspace and VR, such as Tron and The Lawnmower Man, within the parameters of debates on special effects, the generic conventions of science fiction, and postmodern concerns with virtuality and simulation. In the early 1 990s, however, technological innovations facilitated the transition to an aesthetics of photorealism, emphasising the seamless compositing and integration of CGI characters, objects and environments with live-action. The thesis argues that the this shill is fundamental in establishing the commercial and aesthetic credibility of CGI as a production tool, and it is closely examined through a case study of Jurassic Park. The processes by which the first organic, photorealistic CG characters were created are analysed, with particular reference to the role of procedural and hand methods of computer animation in constructing a new virtual aesthetics. The integration of CGI as a production tool is also related to the diegetic presence of information technologies as narrative devices, and the extra-textual commercial and professional discourses through which CGI is explicated and celebrated. The thesis argues that the cinema is able to exploit the potential of digital methods, whilst simultaneously displaying a fundamental anxiety over the status of its own representational codes. Finally, strategies of visibility and virtuality in computer animation are further examined in the context of the emerging digital mode of production in Hollywood, and of the high concept film's role in multimedia marketing and distribution strategies
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Digital practices; CGI; Animation; Jurassic Park