History of CGI Effects in Movies

  • Hummingbird

    HummingbirdA ten minute computer animated film by Charles Csuri and James Shaffer. Awarded a prize at the 4th International Experimental Film Competition, Brussels, Belgium, 1967 and in the collection of The Museum of Modern Art, New York City. The subject was a line drawing of a hummingbird for which a sequence of movements appropriate to the bird were programmed. Over 30,000 images comprising some 25 motion sequences were generated by the computer.
  • Westworld

    First use of 2D computer animation in a significant entertainment feature film. The point of view of Yul Brynner's gunslinger was achieved with raster graphics.
  • Futureworld

    First use of 3D computer graphics for animated hand and face. Used 2D digital compositing to materialize characters over a background.
  • Star Wars

    Star Wars
    The Secret History of Star Wars
    First use of an animated 3D wire-frame graphic for the trench run briefing sequence.
  • Superman: The Movie

    Superman: The Movie
    First film with a computer-generated title sequence.
  • Looker

    First CGI human character, Cindy. Also, first use of 3D shaded CGI.
  • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

    Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
    The History of Star Trek
    ILM computer graphics division develops "Genesis Effect", first use of fractal-generated landscape in a film. Bill Reeves leads the Genesis Effect programming team, and creates a new graphics technique called Particle Systems.
  • Tron

    Light Cycle Scene
    Extensive use (15 min. fully computer generated) of 3D CGI including the famous Light Cycle sequence. Also includes very early facial animation (for the Master Control Program).
  • The Adventures of André and Wally B.

    The Adventures of André and Wally B.
    Lucasfilm's computer animation division creates an all-CGI-animated short. The first CGI animation with motion blur effects and squash and stretch motion.
  • Dire Straits - Money for Nothing

    Dire Straits - Money for Nothing
    Dire Straits - Money For Nothing music video (Good quality, all countries)
    The first computer-generated music video. The animators would go on to found Mainframe Entertainment
  • Luxo Jr.

    Luxo Jr.
    Pixar: Luxo Jr. original 1986 short film (HQ)
    First use of shadows in CGI, made with special developed software Renderman. First Pixar film, and CGI film to be nominated for an Academy Award.
  • Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future

    Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future
    First TV series to include characters modeled entirely with computers
  • Knightmare

    First game show with interaction between humans and computer-generated surroundings
  • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

    Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
    First all-digital composite.
  • Jurassic Park

    Jurassic Park
    Jurassic Park
    First photorealistic CG creatures.
  • A Bug's Life

    A Bug's Life
    First ever computer animated widescreen film.
  • Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

    Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
    Star Wars:The Phantom Menace (Pod Racing Scene)
    First film to use CG extensively for thousands of shots, including backgrounds, environmental effects, vehicles, and crowds. Several CG characters stood alongside real actors in dozens of shots, making them the first CG "supporting" cast members.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

    The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
    The Lord of the Rings
    First use of AI for digital actors (using the Massive software developed by Weta Digital).
  • Beowulf

    Entirely made in CGI, features motion capture for all actors and has realism as its foremost goal. The largest team ever assembled for an Imageworks-produced movie (as of 2007) generated new animation tools for facial, body, and cloth design especially for the movie, and elements of keyframe animation were incorporated into the movie to capture the facial expressions of the actors and actresses.
  • Avatar

    First full length movie made using performance-capture to create photo-realistic 3D characters and to feature a fully CG 3D photo-realistic world. The first Virtual Art Department (VAD) and complete Virtual Production pipeline was developed by director James Cameron and team to create the film in real-time.
  • Coronation Street Live (2010)

    Coronation Street Live (2010)
    First use of CGI in a live broadcast
  • The Avengers

    The Avengers
    Use of CGI animation throughout the movie that looks almost exactly like reality