Digital Craft

I’m not sure whether any of this will be really relevant to my research – but it’s part of the context.

With the comodification of digital tools in the last decades, there is also a decline in respect for digital craft and crafstmen. There is a renewed interest in traditional craft and a fascination for manual skills. Facebook is flooded with videos that demonstrate this.

It’s no surprise that this trend is also visible in cinema audiences. When Terminator 2 (1991) and later Jurassic Park (1993) were released, audiences were fascinated with the new possibilities of computer generated images (CGI).

But more recently digital effects work is frowned upon by parts of the audience (I’ll put some examples in the bottom of this post). For Mad Max: Fury Road (2016) the sales pitch was that most of the film was shot ‘in camera’ with minor digital postproduction work afterwards. As it later turned out the movie had a lot of digital work done.

So why is it that there is such a backlash in public opinion against digital imagemaking?

Is it nostalgia?
Is it that traditional craft has become exotic (and thus ‘magically attractive?’).

There is a very common notion that when work is done using a computer the machine does all the heavy lifting and thus the result is not really man-made. The term ‘computer generated images’ that the industry has adopted does not help the case in this regard.

It’s as if Rembrandt would refer to his work a ‘brush generated images’.


Hollywood’s turn against digital effects

2015 is the year of Hollywood’s practical effects comeback

10 reasons why CGI is getting worse, not better

6 reasons modern movies look surprisingly crappy