CGI Done Right In 'Sin City'

CGI Done Right In 'Sin City'

Without this technology, some our favorite films wouldn't exist

Nowadays, a vast majority of films we see on the big screen are sporting eye-popping computer-generated imagery (aka CGI). We have become so accustomed to these that we usually take them for granted, not realizing how much money, time, and effort goes into their creation. Some elitists even go so far as to scorn their use, ignoring the fact that many of our modern classics would have never been made had it not been for this technology.

When I think of CGI in films, numerous successful titles come to mind: "Tron," "The Terminator 2," "Jurassic Park," "The Matrix," "Sin City," "Transformers," "300," "Avatar" -- the list goes on and on; and though I would love to say a few words about all of the above, I shall instead restrain myself to writing about the one that features, in my opinion, one of the most creative uses of CGI in film: "Sin City."

Based on Frank Miller's graphic novels and directed by Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino, and Miller himself, "Sin City" tells an engaging neo-noir tale about crime, corruption, love, and revenge in Basin City. Sporting an all-star cast, an amazing score, and a script with four interconnected stories, even without the creative visual effects, this would be a film well worth watching. Yet, in the end, its most memorable aspect ends up being its visuals.

"Sin City" is black and white -- at least, for the most part. To elucidate its visual style, I shall attempt to put the opening scene into words: It starts with a woman overlooking the city. Everything is presented in different shades of grey, everything except her gorgeous red dress. Then, we are treated to a scene where her eyes turn green, just as another character compliments them. Later, though, the eyes fade back to black and white, letting us concentrate on the dialogue instead. As the two share a passionate kiss, they both turn white, and all the grey in the scenery is shifted towards either black or white as we get a two-dimensional side view in style of a graphic novel. All of this creates an atmosphere that is like a vortex, sucking you in and not letting go until the very end.

Naturally, these effects and the film itself could not possibly have been made without CGI. In form of "Sin City," we are treated to a prime example of how technology can fuel artists' creativity, how it can help them bring into reality whatever is lurking inside their minds. But of course, it cannot and should not be denied that, nowadays, many filmmakers see computer-generated imagery as an excuse to get away with weak writing, hoping people will concentrate on the eye candy instead. The sad part is that this actually works, making the practice ever so popular. Regrettably, style over substance always seems to end up defaming the style, and such films often give CGI a bad reputation.

What we need to realize is that bad films have always existed; they did not come into this world with the invention of computer-generated imagery. If anything, had it not been for this technology, instead of bad action flicks, we would be presented with equally bad comedy and drama films, which would be far more unwatchable as they would not even be able to offer the eye candy.

All in all, what I am trying to say is that CGI is helping talented filmmakers express themselves and is making bad films a bit better; and "Sin City" is a prime example of just how necessary it is.

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A Collection Of Poems

A collection of poems that I have written.

I have always liked writing poetry, so I have decided to share a couple of my favorite poems that I have written. They are pretty short, but I hope you all enjoy!

A simple touch

A kind word

Is all someone might need

To feel alive, to feel anything at all

The feeling that lingers

Always in the back of your mind

Rides through the day with you unaware

Until night when it flies into your dreams

Sometimes the unknown is the scariest of all

You know the past and you know the present

But the future, the unknown, continues to loom in your path

Until one day you walk right into it

And realize you still don’t know what you want

Truth flies in the wind,

Eager to set the story straight

While lies come swooping in like vultures,

Determined to seize those want to be free.

The petals on a flower,

Delicate like the mind.

People insist on picking those flowers and picking on your mind.

Why can’t people believe that the mind is beautiful like flowers?

Why do we have so much hate?

Cover Image Credit: Leah Perrino

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My Winter Break Awarded Me The Opportunity Of A Lifetime

How one video led me to creating content for two great organizations.

Sometimes things work out for you even when you didn’t plan for them to happen. Over the Christmas break, I got a chance to do some amazing things and promote my work in a big way, all out of coincidence.

Christmas was fast approaching and my mom and I were getting ready to head to the airport to pick up my sister who was coming home from Washington D.C. I was trying to decide if I should bring my camera or not; usually I wouldn’t but my sister always begs me to make videos of her and take her picture so I thought this time I guess I’ll indulge. I figured a nice arriving home clip would be nice to have and something cool to capture on my camera.

Her plane had been delayed and sort of shuffled everywhere because of the bad storm all over the country, so we weren’t really sure when or where she was coming from. As we waited patiently for her to arrive, my mom and I noticed more and more people gathering into the airport and setting up camp on the other side of the terminal.

The El Paso Sun Court arrived, then Mariachis, even the El Paso mascot. Finally, our questions were answered when someone my mom knew from the group came up to say hi to her. He said that this was part of a basketball tournament happening as part of the Sun Bowl. The Sun Bowl is the bowl game we have in El Paso at the football stadium where the UTEP Miners play, and they have many other events that lead up to it, including a basketball tournament.

We learned that one of the teams was coming into town that day and all the theatrics was a part of their arrival. Luckily I had had my camera and a very versatile 50mm lens.

So, I decided to stay a little while after my sister finally arrived to film the event. (I had learned last summer that you can pretty much get anywhere in El Paso with a camera and if you look like you know what you’re doing).

The team arrived and danced to music and had a great time. I later took that footage and made a short little video, which is what I usually do when I film something random that I see, and I posted it on my social media. The post got a good audience and eventually attracted the attention of the head media representative from the Sun Bowl Association. He contacted me and said he loved the video and wanted to know if I wanted to do any more videos for him, gratis of course. It didn’t take me too long to think about it and told him, of course, I would.

I became the sole provider of video content for the Sun Bowl Association. This small airport video led me to create eight videos for the Sun Bowl Association, including hanging out with the NC State and ASU football players at Fort Bliss Military Base.

I also got to create videos for all of their events leading up to the Sun Bowl:

Finally, I had the amazing opportunity to create two sports recap videos for both the basketball tournament and Hyundai Sun Bowl:

It was an amazing experience to represent a company visually and have my content spread across not only El Paso, but also Arizona and North Carolina. It was also incredibly gratifying to be a very young 21-year-old content creator among so many older and recognized photographers from the El Paso Times, Herald Post, etc.

This opportunity eventually led to another freelance video project with the UTEP Tennis team. To get not only one but two organizations wanting me to create content for them was such a great honor.

And to think all of this came from one decision to bring my camera to the airport to pick up my sister. I could not have brought my camera that day or had the wrong lens. My sister’s flight could have arrived on time and we would’ve missed the arrival. I could not have had the confidence to step into the crowd and press the record button. But luckily life had its way of putting me in the right place at the right time.

I had the confidence to step in the crown and press the record button. But luckily life had its way of putting me in the right place at the right time.

Cover Image Credit: Ryan Ortegon

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