Movie Scenes That You Didn’t Know Used CGI

Movie Scenes That You Didn’t Know Used CGI

When we go to the movies to see a big-budget action spectacle, we expect to see some computer-generated imagery, or CGI. Massive battles between conflicting armies, explosions, and environmental destruction are all largely achieved through these effects. What you may not know, however, is that moviemakers also use these tricks for much smaller, less cataclysmic moments. Keep reading to learn about some movie scenes that you didn’t know used CGI.

Black Swan
The effect used here is so subtle that you could have missed it altogether. There are some obvious uses of CGI in the film, such as the elaborate dance routines with Natalie Portman’s face masked on or the moving portraits inside Nina’s apartment. However, there is a subtle scene early on in the film where we get an insert shot of our protagonist’s hands. She rubs them with her thumbs, and as she does, we notice a rash on her hands, and her fingers start to elongate. This minor but unsettling effect foreshadows the eventual transformation the character will undergo.

The Fighter
While it’s certainly understandable to mistake Christian Bale’s shocking physical transformation for computer trickery, it was not. One of the most elaborate shots in the entire film is during a scene in a bar where Mark Wahlberg’s character Micky Ward gets the phone number of his love interest Charlene Fleming (Amy Adams). Director David O. Russell could not show a real phone number on-screen for legal reasons but did not want to use the hacky 555-style number. The compromise was using visual effects to recreate a napkin with a phone number in Wahlberg’s hand, then manipulate it using motion blur and CGI folds to make it unreadable.

Brokeback Mountain
Ang Lee’s 2005 masterpiece used minimalistic CGI so effectively you probably won’t notice that it’s present throughout the film. Anytime we see scenes of animals, they are almost all computer-generated. There are also countless scenes where CGI manipulated the scenery itself to look more visually appealing, adding entire mountain ranges and cloud formations to the backgrounds of shots. The subtle effects used in this film, while staying almost unnoticeable, gives this movie plenty of scenes that you didn’t know used CGI.


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