Everybody run. It’s coming. It’s coming. We’re being attacked by Bad CG. In the past anime and CG have not had … not the best public relationship. The general reaction from someone when they hear the mere mention of CG being integrated into their favorite anime is that they pack up and start running a fucking mile like they’ve just found out we’re getting invaded by Nazis. Or even more horrifyingly, CG Nazis. But today I wanted to evaluate if CG really deserves its reputation within the anime community. What are some examples of it being used well and badly and what are some of the different ways that CG have been integrated into anime. So first we need to answer the question WHAT IS WHAT IS BAD CG? And here’s the catch. You aren’t allowed to use any word that rhymes with Sheshmerk 2017. Well if we look at the dictionary definition of Bad CG, we can quite clearly see that, Oh for fuck’s sake! I’m sure we can all agree that a CGI face that is noticeable enough to take you out of your immersion and break your suspension of disbelief and out of place objects, some stupid looking expression. A lot of things can take you out of an exprience. But that’s the thing to keep in mind. Bad CG is Bad CG because you notice Bad CG. Bad CG. Sorry I just wanted to say Bad CG one more time. I think a good place to start is just seeing how the general use and look of CG has evolved over time. We normally associate CG with more modern age anime with CG effects have been around for a lot longer than people think and over time has gotten better at blending in objects. If you look at most modern anime carefully, you’d be hard-pressed to find one that doesn’t incorporate some sort of computer rendered object in it and a lot of the time you don’t notice because it’s not something that significant. There’s been a lot of debate over how CG has changed the general look of mechs over the years and honestly I think it comes down to how bland and forgettable modern mechs feel. They all move the same. They all feel the same. With the same clunky video game style that never looks quite as natural as hand-drawn mechs. Nothing becomes as memorable even if you have a cool design. I mean fuck,ChamberfromSuisei no Gargantiahad the thighs of a seasoned Las Vegas pole dancer. and this was never appreciated enough. Damn…… That is a dickass ball. Whether it be to speed up the production time or make up for a lack of talents who can animate mechs well it feels like CG makes a use as a compensation tool rather than a deliberate creative decision because when done correctly, they look just as fantastic. The sequences of theUnicorntransforming look fucking amazing. and the reason they do this is because they’re done in CG. Trying to animate this level of complicated mechanical panel movement would be absurdly difficult by hand and they managed to make it not look like an in-engine video game cut scene. However one thing that the industry is still figuring out how to do correctly is with characters. And it doesn’t matter if they are in the foreground or the background. There’s an old Chinese proverb that goes unless that crosswalk contains a CG anime crowd in which case you’re probably burning in hell. Yeah CGI crowds are the one thing I think are destined to always look like complete shit. Nothing’s more distracting than when there’s something important going on but your brain unable to focus on anything but the same 5 PlayStation 2 motherfuckers hanging out in the background trying horrendously bad to blend in. Why me! Why does your face look like Bad CG? Why does everyone look like Bad CG? My mind is Bad CG nightmare right now. And I really did try finding a good example of anime CGI crowds. So if anyone does have any good examples then please contact me at But this extends the foreground characters where you have to battle against this weirdUncanny Valleyeffect where characters kind of like anime but not anime enough. So when they’re just there front and center with no attempt to blend it in. Your brain has time to process what you’re watching so you kind of notice. Wait a minute. These are the same guys they hired to do theMass Effect: Andromedafacial animation. Even when they look competent. When you are restricted to 3D models emulating a 2D art style, there is less freedom to work with when it comes to subtle expressions. Nuanced character animation. And even the best examples we’ve had so far, don’t even come close to the best examples in 2D animation yet. Things are looking better but the next problem is actually being able to blend these two elements. The issue you face when you blend 2D animation with 3D elements is the aesthetic clash. When we are watching an animated show, we know it is an animated show that does not exist within our universe. But we are fully invested in suspending our disbelief for that world. However, if you see two objects that blatantly look like they don’t belong in the same universe, it was against that suspension of disbelief.Golden Kamuyis the latest example of this, where you have a standard anime characters fighting that fucking bear fromFar Cry 5with a cel-shaded wolf in a background of green screen fire effects. The visual cohesion is an absolute mess and personally I much prefer this early leaked test footage. At least it has a uniform visual style which you know just makes the fights It’s just far more believable. Oh no, an angel. Different aesthetics only really work when thejuxtapositionis purposefully part of the visual style or when it’s supposed to happen narratively. There are, however, effective ways to blend the two elements that we are seeing more often. When CG is limited to dynamic background environments, the fast-paced movement of the foreground animation is only enhanced allowing for more freedom of camera movements which results in being able to complex shot like this without giving the viewer adequate time to notice the aesthetic clash. There are countless examples fromAttack on TitantoCode Geass: Akito the Exiled,even some of the more intricate shot fromMonogatariwhich fully take advantage of this or with other shows that had some shots that were rotoscoped with the aid of CG tools. The important thing is that the CG is never the main focus. Always rendered in such a way that it naturally fits in with the visual style of the show. In this sense,Ufotableare the fucking gods at this. Throughout the years they have perfected the art of the digital composition and blending traditional animation with computer-aided effects to the point where you can hardly tell the difference. My first exposure to them was their first take on theFatefranchise. And then no no not you get the fuck out of here. Another time they blew me away and I thought anime couldn’t look better than this. But then they came back withUnlimited Blade WorksNo, not, fucking you. They have continually improved and you and pushed the boundaries so much so that they have crafted a unique visual style which is instantly recognizable and no one really calls this CG anime despite how much they use it. But moving on a different problem from blending 2D and 3D when you are completely switching between the two Let me set the scene. You’re enjoying a classic show. It looks awesome. The characters look great and we’re just about to get to the heart pumping action scene. Then without any warning it cuts to the action and you noticed something’s a bit off about way the show looks. And then just as you get used to it, it switches back before. And you like, “Okay, maybe my eyes are being funny”. Then you begin to look really closely and slowly. You realize that maybe there is something different about the way the show looks. Constantly switching from 2D to 3D to 2D again is a guaranteed method to make the viewer feel a sense of visual whiplash. And thissemiis right up there with CG crowds for anime things that fucking keep me up at night. The most recent offenders I can think of are withInuyashikiand theBerserkmovie trilogy and the thing is the CG sometimes doesn’t even look bad. I wouldn’t even mind if some of these shows were fully 3D. It’s just a note don’t shut shut the fuck up… Just the constant switching between visual styles that break any kind of immerging you could be having. And I would prefer it so much if they just chose one style and committed to it. I mean we’ve all heard ofJazz hands. But have you tried the hottest trend? Bad CG piano man? What people don’t normally talk about however is that the switch can be done well if we stick to some of the same rules we talked about.KILL la KILLwas a good example. If I tell youKILL la KILLused a lot CG your mind will probably go back to that one time Satsuki was apparently ice-skating vertically up a building which How can I adequately put this? But what you probably don’t know is just how many cuts were completely CG like this shot or this shot or this entire sequence where they built an entirely new 3D model just to accentuates these few frames and unless you were flicking through frame by frame and know exactly what to look for you won’t even notice exactly because it was the sky so well. As opposed to being loaded front and center. But that leads into the Big Daddy. If there was a final boss for the anime industry, this would be it and for most of the time so far anime has handled it about as well as a Facebook surfing candy crush addicted grandma attempting a no hits run on Dark Souls. The problem with a lot of us had with early CG anime was that they seemingly came in with the approach of trying to emulate the 2D art style with a completely different tool. And it doesn’t take a genius to tell you that if you aren’t using your tools correctly it probably won’t go well. Movement felt restricted and robotic. Characters just weren’t as expressive. The frame rate sometimes looks really dodgy as they purposely restricted it. Something even one guy who helped make silly Internet videos figured out was a dumb fuck idea before an entire industry did. They didn’t play to their strengths. But despite this, as time went on, things began improving. Acceptable shows started appearing. We slowly started to accept that. Maybe there could be a space for CG anime. And just as we thought things were starting to look up,Berserk (2016)came crashed landing into the scene. Oh, fuck. But it’s okay. Thanks to the collective effort of every half piece of CG anime come out, we managed to stop this from ruining everything. Quick,Polygon Picturesrelease something half decent and maybe we can get out of it.Kemono Friends,Nobunaga Concerto,Kado. These were fully 3D shows that managed to be enjoyable. But the problem is I feel these shows were enjoyable in spite of CGs not because of it. Over the yearsPolygon Pictureshave tried their damned hardest to make a case for fully 3D anime and continually improves with every project they work on. But to me it’s the same problem. There’s nothing that makes me think I would rather see these shows using CG over traditional animation if given an aesthetic choice. That is until we got the one show we were waiting for.Land of the Lustrous. A show like this was a long time coming. But despite how many opinions it changed about CG anime, it didn’t really do anything new that we haven’t already discussed. What it did do was understand what the strengths were for CG as a tool. and play to those strengths. The CG crystal effects and metallic textures gave the show a unique visual identity that wouldn’t be as striking if in 2D. And the number of dynamic shots it was able to pull off in his action scenes, chase scenes or just using long shots to build this claustrophobic tension is something that could only achieved using CG. Hopefully by the end of this, you can get the idea that despite the reputation CG in anime has right now CG can look good and has looked good for years even if you’re not a fan of the aesthetics scene inPolygon Pictures’works orLand of the Lustrousyou’ve probably appreciated it even if you didn’t know. But that’s just it. It’s a lose-lose situation. Because if CG does its job well, it won’t even be noticed but if it does fail then it’s forever doomed to have some shitty anime youtuber cement it into meme history. Its failures are exposed and its successes are ignored but it’s important to note that whether it’s good or bad largely depends on the understanding from the creater of the strengths and limitations of working with CG as a tool as it is with every other medium. CG has become a standard part of anime nowadays so if you’re not a fan of that then I can suggest that you watch older anime. Take the 80s for example. Computer effects may have started to become revolutionary in Hollywood. But anime was still untouched and pure. You know back then they would never ruin their anime by rendering things using ugly PlayStation 1 graphics. Because they were too busy rendering things with a fucking Atari 2600. Hey, bro. Why is your helicopter Bad CG? Why is your face Bad CG? Why is your life Bad CG? Hey guys, hope you enjoyed the video. Thank you very much this month too. and everyone else on my patreon for helping to support me for this month and making this video possible. As you can see I’ve changed my location back again. I am back in America. And I will be attending AX in LA in just a few weeks. I have a very busy schedule so if you’re going to be attending AX as well keep an eye out for that as I’ll be posting that soon. Anyway that’s it for me today. Not too many updates. But until then I’ve been giguk and I will see you all next time.