Photorealism Versus Hand-Drawn

Photorealism Versus Hand-Drawn

Postby Azdgari » April 11th, 2019, 3:38 am

I figured I'd make a separate topic for this discussion. Watching the new trailer, I'm obviously incredibly excited. However, I do think that the limitations of the photorealism are increasingly apparent--primarily, I'm thinking that

a) Character models are just not able to be that distinctive. Simba, Nala, Scar, Mufasa, they've all got very differentiated designs in the original movie--you're not going to mistake them in a lineup. I'm not saying it's that bad with the CGI, but they're all notably much more similar, and if I didn't have context clues from basically encyclopedic knowledge of the first movie (as we all do here haha), I would probably be confused at times who I'm actually looking at.

b) As lots of people have brought up, emoting is difficult with CGI animals. You can be unrealistic and exaggerate in drawn models, but not so much in CGI because real animals don't laugh and grin. And when you get too close, as Gaze aptly observed, we hit uncanny valley and it actually exacerbates the issue. So I suppose voice acting becomes even more critical than it was.

Don't get me wrong, I'm excited to have more TLK content. But it is interesting to see how a more simplistic way of doing things can have such distinct artistic advantages over an infinitely more technologically involved approach. They accomplish different things, I suppose, but I think we can say subjectively (since this is all subjective) that perhaps one approach is just better than the other. At least, that's what I think. What about you all?
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Re: Photorealism Versus Hand-Drawn

Postby TLK_Kid » April 19th, 2019, 12:04 am

As for the characters emoting properly...I didn't see that as much of an issue in the 2016 Jungle Book, so I can't say it's my biggest worry about the remake. Then again, compared to the freedom they had with the animated characters' expressions, it's still sure to be quite a difference.

Now, the issue with character models is a different story. I wasn't worried about that either, until this last look. :-o Don't get me wrong, I love the trailer -- seen it 7 times already, and the more I watch it, the more I'm coming to terms with the changes they've made and why they decided to make those changes. But right off? I actually mistook Scar for Simba. Not to mention I was having trouble telling Scar and Mufasa apart...THAT'S a problem I never thought I'd have :lol: (Now, this was just a first reaction and I realize the differences between them are pretty obvious, but still. I guess if there's one good thing about it, it might help dispel the rumor that the two aren't brothers.) It's also pretty hard to differentiate between young Simba and Nala, save for the part where she's hiding behind him.

It's definitely going to take some getting used to, but I think we'll all be telling the characters apart easily in no time.
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Re: Photorealism Versus Hand-Drawn

Postby Elton John » April 19th, 2019, 2:11 pm

The characters will emote more than real lions/animals can and that’s good enough for me.

I’m trying to think about complaints I have with the visuals and I mostly think of nitpicks barely worth noting.

The movie is gorgeous, in ways different from the original.

Which looks better? Ask me again after I have seen the remake.

Also I think the characters are distinct, young simba and nala don’t look the same, adult simba and Nala definitely look different :lol: and scar is the most distinct of them all.
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Re: Photorealism Versus Hand-Drawn

Postby TheLionPrince » April 19th, 2019, 7:52 pm

The Lion King is first and foremost a human story. The filmmakers of the original film didn't use animation because they couldn't get real lions to act. I recall reading the animators stating the lions act more like humans than they do with real lions. Now, when you strip the artifice from animation, you are essentially left with what looks like a nature documentary. With realistic CGI animals, the animators have to rely on body language and the readings from the voice actors to convey emotions. It was already done to an extent in the original film in which lions rub their heads against each other to show affection or stretch their bodies and extend their claws when in defensive mode. It can easily translated in realism because that's what real lions do so I trust the animators to have their jobs well since they spent over a year on the movie.

On another note, this is fanart from an Instagram user: ellejart. He tries to merge the photorealism from the remake with the character designs from the original film. It breaks the uncanny valley, but the picture below gives us a closer look of how Timon and Pumbaa would look in photorealism if the remake retained some of the exaggerations.

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Re: Photorealism Versus Hand-Drawn

Postby TLK_Kid » April 19th, 2019, 9:15 pm

TheLionPrince wrote: On another note, this is fanart from an Instagram user: ellejart. He tries to merge the photorealism from the remake with the character designs from the original film. It breaks the uncanny valley, but the picture below gives us a closer look of how Timon and Pumbaa would look in photorealism if the remake retained some of the exaggerations.


Yikes. They look like either animatronics or puppets. I'm even more grateful we got what we did.
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Re: Photorealism Versus Hand-Drawn

Postby TLK_Kid » April 19th, 2019, 9:29 pm

Elton John wrote: Also I think the characters are distinct, young simba and nala don’t look the same, adult simba and Nala definitely look different :lol: and scar is the most distinct of them all.


Well XD Yes. Maybe it's just the lighting. Sarabi clearly has a different pelt from Simba, so if they're putting attention into making her distinct, I don't see why they wouldn't do the same for Nala and the rest. As for Scar, he'll probably look a lot more distinctive to me the first scene he's in with Mufasa, although I was going into the trailer expecting to see a lion looking at least remotely like Scar or even Kovu.
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Re: Photorealism Versus Hand-Drawn

Postby gothprincesskiara » June 8th, 2019, 5:34 am

I really think not enough fan really study nature like I do, Im not saying o Lion king fan would but....
since we are preparing for the TLK remake and just so we can learn to identify the real life lions in the film though I’m sure Disney will make it obvious, but it still helps to know how to identify differences. I have learned a long time ago when i used to watch Big Cat Diary, they taught us this.....

Plus Disney has said when it comes to these animated films color is the key to expressing the emotion in these films that we all love, but when it comes to these live action remakes, you have to expect there isn’t going to be as much color for this realistic look, consider it like an adult version. And in Africa everything is going to be a natural raw color of nature, browns tans, golds, and yellows, that’s the colors of the natural Africa in real life, and if you learn to embrace the real spirit and color of Africa you will begin to see and understand why, and again I say this as someone who really studies a lot of nature in school.

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Re: Photorealism Versus Hand-Drawn

Postby Gaze » June 21st, 2019, 3:31 am

I'm really late to the party here, but thank you for thinking my observation was apt ;) hehe

anyway, as more footage from the film has come out, I continue to feel that the (lack of) facial expressions are the main element holding the hyperrealistic animation back from being truly successful in my eyes. I've seen lots of other people saying the same thing, and I couldn't help but laugh a little at this chart I found on reddit.

I don't feel that it can be argued the static facial expressions lend to the realism. for one thing, real animals are most certainly NOT expressionless - surely anyone who's owned pets or enjoys looking at funny animal photos online would agree. secondly, the animals in this film talk, and if we are accepting talking animals in a realistic environment, I'm sure we can accept their faces being just a bit more emotive. I think if the characters were more expressive, I would more easily see them as 'real' because their speech would appear more natural, but as it stands now, the idea of emotional human voices coming out of static-looking realistic animal faces takes me out of it and absolutely causes a bit of an uncanny valley situation. I'm not sure if this apparent lack of expression is an inherent limitation of the animation style, or just a choice that was made by the filmmakers.

however!! I totally think I might be jumping the gun by saying all that. we haven't seen very many shots yet of the characters actually speaking, so I think it's completely possible the animation will be more expressive and we just don't have enough footage yet to really know. it might all look better and make more sense within the full context of the film. like, this could be an Into the Spiderverse type situation - where I thought something looked a little off about the animation in the trailers, but then I saw the film and it turned out the visuals were absolutely mind-blowingly incredible.

plus, I just watched the international trailer someone posted in the main 2019 remake thread (I'm sorry, I'm being lazy and not linking it) and I thought there were some shots in there that looked promising in terms of emotion - for example, the scene where Mufasa has Simba pounce at Zazu, and the shot of cub Simba walking alone in the desert.

overall I still think, and will surely always think, that traditional animation is the highest form of art. the way it beautifully exaggerates movement and color to make something that, at its best, looks better than real life, makes me less interested in a form of animation that seeks to flawlessly emulate real life (and, in my opinion, somehow manages to lose a lot of the life and color of the real world in the process). I still am very excited to see the full film and see everything in context. I hope the more dull color palette ends up fitting well with the tone of the film, as I'd really like to see TLK's darker and more intense themes fully explored here.
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