We’ve been in the CG generation for movies for almost longer than a generation. From enhancing models in movies like Jurassic Park, to the cartoony, floaty computer graphics of the early 2000s, to today when most CG is so seamless you almost can’t tell the difference. But you do. Whether it looks great or it looks bad, we can always tell it’s probably computer graphics and nothing tactile. That’s the way of movies today. But maybe if the CG in movies was a little more like the work of Rafael Segnini, the debate over whether something is or isn’t real will be a lot more heated.
Behold, the following six minutes, which contain maybe the best and most lifelike CGI I’ve ever seen. (It’s in Portuguese but you can turn on English captions.)
It’s truly a thing of beauty. The short is a fan-film for the 1985-1986 Japanese tokusatsu series Space Wolf Juspion. The title of the video in English, “Juspion 3D: Transformation of Daileon/Mad Gallant – Definitive Preview,” also refers to Daileon, the massive ship that turns into a robot, and Mad Gallant, the evil metal man whom Juspion fights later in the short. And if it seems like Juspion’s look is familiar to you, it’s because it’s part of Toei’s larger series Metal Heroes, some of which Saban adapted into VR Troopers and Big Bad Beetleborgs. He even uses the Daileon song, as sung by Akira Kushida, which whips ass.
So now that you know the context, let’s just marvel at the craftsmanship. Everything in the video is computer generated, from the humans to the trees to the robots to even the cars. The lighting, I think, is what really captures the realism Segnini is going for and the mix of shadow and dim light really brings the CGI figures to life. I mean, just look at this gorgeous moving shot:
There is a weight, a heft to everything we’re seeing. The camera movements feel like they are the work of human hands and not a computer. There’s a jostle when Juspion snaps into the seat. And that’s just one of a hundred moments in this piece. Toward the end of the short, when Juspion is dog fighting in space, it has shots as good if not better than in Rogue One‘s vaunted Battle of Scarif.
As you can tell, I’m in awe of this. I’ve probably watched it 19 times already. And if you want to see the progression, you can compare the above to the following which Segnini posted just over a year ago.
Hollywood, give this guy money and make him your sci-fi guru is all I’m saying. And that he’s doing all this work out of love for tokusatsu just makes it even better.
Featured Image: Rafael Segnini