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CGI Alien or Practical Alien?

A L I E N 4 2 6

Dec-26-2016 4:32 PM

Guys, I was thinking today about the movie and I watched the trailer a few more thousand time, and I was thinking about the original alien. Obviously it was all practical and it looked great!....for the time. That kind of work may have flown in the 70s and 80s but nowadays it just looks fake. So my big question is this: Do you guys think the Aliens will be all CGI, all practical, or a little bit of both? 

11 Responses to CGI Alien or Practical Alien?


Dec-26-2016 5:04 PM

Knowing Scott, most likely both. 


Dec-26-2016 5:05 PM

Personally, I think the 1979 ALIEN suit is still one cinema's most realistic costumes ever!!! Totally convincing and gripping!

Nowadays, I think 85-95 percent of the time it'll be purely computer generated. At the VERY MOST, 15 percent of the film the engineers may be suit performers and the neomorphs may be little rod puppets.. But overall, its going to look very CGI...

G. H. (Gman)

Dec-26-2016 5:48 PM

The aliens in the 70s and 80s still look amazing and are still executed with a creepier solemnity than anything that came after. If anything, CG is getting to the point where it looks fake only because the human eye has gotten so good at catching what is and is not digital--That's why I'm glad The Force Awakens had a greater emphasis on practical effects.

The best route would be to use both and understand when to use both. Throwing CG at the screen for the sake of it is overestimating CG as a useful tool. It should be used to help practical effects, not override them.

"It wouldn't be a true Godzilla film if you didn't touch upon those things. Anyone who thinks otherwise is not a true Godzilla fan." - Mike Dougherty, fellow gatekeeper-elitist ;)

A L I E N 4 2 6

Dec-26-2016 7:18 PM

I get your point, but at the same time consider this: CGI is only great CGI when it goes unnoticed. CGI CAN be used to make things look realistic. We've just gotten used to seeing less then stellar CGI. Also, the clearer picture gets and the higher the definition, the easier it is to spot CG. I think this is the reason why many CGI effects look fake on a theater screen but at say 1080p looks real. So Scott has some decisions to make. All I can say is if he does go the CGI-heavy route, he's better nail it, or else we'll notice, and like I said earlier, it's only bad CGI when you notice that it's fake. 


Dec-26-2016 7:50 PM

I think a mixture is best...

i think you use Practical but then overlay CGI to tidy up the scenes.

R.I.P Sox  01/01/2006 - 11/10/2017

G. H. (Gman)

Dec-26-2016 11:33 PM


Theatrical presentations are in 1080p--Unless they're using an older projector (but the majority of the chains are up-to-date) or if a digitally shot movie isn't shot in HD. (Which doesn't make much sense.)

While strides in theatrical presentations and home entertainment have no doubt had an effect on the way CG looks, studios haven't been helpful either. Many filmmakers would actually prefer to use practical effects in as many situations as possible because actors interacting with a physical object on set usually improves performances, enhances the mood and decreases the need for more takes. But studios put pressure on filmmakers to use CG because they consider it easier, quicker and "more reliable." This especially true since so many audiences have accepted even flawed CG as "realistic".

CG isn't really an artistic tool anymore. It's more like a fast food factory pumping out digital images as quickly as possible for studios pushing mega-blockbuster sequences out the door. When it is used as an artistic tool it's usually in tandem with practical effects, which these days, are rare, but more physically convincing.

"It wouldn't be a true Godzilla film if you didn't touch upon those things. Anyone who thinks otherwise is not a true Godzilla fan." - Mike Dougherty, fellow gatekeeper-elitist ;)

Dark Nebula

Dec-27-2016 5:29 AM

I would say both.The deacon and hammerpede's from prometheus were practical puppets with some CGI enchanced.Simmilar thing with the creatures from the Thing prequel (2009),but see how that turned out,but creatures from prometheus were well done I must say.Actors from AC did say the aliens are people in suits.

The alien from 1979 looked great because Ridley felt that they could never shake off the problem that faced many horror films prior due to the limits of the technology at the time.And that was "the man in a rubber suit" issue.Thats why they shot the alien in dark/shadow and barely gave the audience the clear shot of it.

"Human heaven? Goodness, humans don't go to heaven.

Someone just made that up to prevent you from all going nuts."

- Kryten, Red Dwarf S3E06 "The Last Day"


Dec-27-2016 5:36 AM

The Engineer head, and Hammerpede from Prometheus were top notch and purely practical. The Baby Deacon was a puppet which was then enhanced.

Ridley has said many times that CGI is terribly expensive. Plus practical prosthetics have improved greatly.

For sure, there will be some use of CGI for enhancement and combined with great practical models/heads/suits the Morbs we see in COVENANT will be the best ever, I'd be willing to bet anything on that! 

Ridley is aiming high, I believe he intends to blow every other Alien movie out of the water!




"Let The Cosmic Incubation Begin" ~ H.R. Giger

A L I E N 4 2 6

Dec-27-2016 7:24 AM

Wow if the Deacon and Hammerpedes are Scotts work of practical and CGI, then I have absolutely no worries about any of the beasts in AC. Personally, I thought the Deacon was the best looking Xeno-like creature on screen to date, and I think it still is. However, the Protomorph from the end of the trailer (what we could see of it) looks GORGEOUS. The tail movement is so much more natural then that of the classic Xeno

Polygon Monkey

Dec-27-2016 10:18 AM

Personally,  I would say the practical FX in the first 2 movies hold up much better than 3 and 4 and I agree with others here... A mix is the right way to go.

The trick is in the execution of editing and lighting with the practical work. If done right this will ground the 3d aspect and help the viewer believe what he/she is seeing. I don't think you can over use either if you want user buy in. 

If Prometheus is anything to go by,  we appear to be in good hands. 



Dec-28-2016 10:32 AM

I believe Odd Studios are involved with the creature effects. Those guys did some incredible Oscar winning work for Mad Max: Fury Road!


"Let The Cosmic Incubation Begin" ~ H.R. Giger

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