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View Full Version : Rate the CGI Character - Week 1 - Watto



Durge
06-06-2004, 08:17 PM
Starting this week, I will be posting a weekly segment where we can all voice our opinions about a certain CGI character. Some points that can be talked about include:

1. How convincing is he/she?
2. What is your favorite performance from this character?
3. What is your least favorite performance from this character?

We start this week off with the shrewd proprietor - Watto.

Episode 1:
http://www.starwars.com/databank/character/watto/img/movie_bg.jpg

Episode 2:
http://www.starwars.com/databank/character/watto/img/movie2_bg.jpg


Watto is one of my favorite CGI creations. His character is very real in the sense that he is like the average grumpy shop keeper and most of us could probably relate him to someone we've encountered in our lives. His voice was done really well and was one of the best decisions made for the prequels.

Watto gives a pretty good performance, but there are times in which it is apparent that he is nothing but a CGI creation mainly because the actor who he is talking to is not looking directly at him. His hat in Episode 2 was not very convincing either since I didn't believe it could actually stay on, especially with the amount of movement he does.

What do you think of Watto?

Durron42
06-06-2004, 08:56 PM
I too thought Watto to be a great CGI character. He was about all of the personality in the PT that wasn't annoying as all hell (Jar Jar). I thought he was best in TPM, pretty much everytime on screen. Granted, you'll get those shots where it's obvious that he doesn't really exist but that's what we have to deal with. I also agree w/ Durge that in AOTC he wasn't as believable, the hat really wasn't necessary at all and kind of took away a little bit from it.

IndianaVader
06-07-2004, 01:35 AM
Watto was and is my absolute favorite CGI character and is the only one I completely loved, I would even buy him in the OT.
The voice was perfect for this character and had me sold. I enjoyed his performance in Episode 1 more than AOTC however. Watto's part could have been slightly enlarged I think and the pit droid top looked a bit odd, even though I knew this was GL's original intention it seem like it couldn't stay on like that, but I did enjoy seeing him make a comeback.

Overall he gets a 9.0 in realism in Ep1 and a 7.5 in realism for Ep2.

_Max

(PS-- Excellent topic, Durge!)

bjlevine
06-07-2004, 06:55 AM
My favorite Watto moment is when he starts singing "If I Were a Rich Man". http://threads.rebelscum.com/images/graemlins/tongue.gif

Seriously, Watto probably came off better than any of the other CGI characters, and was actually pretty amusing when Qui-Gon tried to mind-trick him (I never actually bought the idea that Republic credits were no good, since I'm sure that Jabba could have exchanged for him).

ARC_Trooper_Cpt
06-07-2004, 03:32 PM
I thought Watto was the most convincing CG character of them all. I really liked every scene with him in TPM. In AotC, though, I agree with Durge: the hat was very CG-ish...not at all convincing. Other than that, I thought Watto ruled!

grandpa_yoda
06-07-2004, 08:38 PM
I thought his character was very well done but there was a couple of times i had trouble picking up the dialogue. Maybe it was me. Anyway he was very nicely done-can't wait till you get to Jar-Jar

Durge
06-07-2004, 09:11 PM
can't wait till you get to Jar-Jar



Oh, I think it may be a while. http://threads.rebelscum.com/images/graemlins/wink.gif

IndianaVader
06-07-2004, 09:50 PM
I wouldn't even bother.

_Max

blaster_E11
06-08-2004, 01:38 AM
watto is one of the best CG characters

IndianaVader
06-08-2004, 02:12 AM
watto is one of the best CG characters

...if not the best.

_Max

The_Chosen_1
06-08-2004, 07:37 PM
Watto is definitely the most convincing and watchable CG character in my book. His performance was excellent, especially in TPM.

Jedi_Rainman
06-09-2004, 12:11 PM
Gollum and Yoda -- They are my 2 favorites

Durge
06-09-2004, 12:28 PM
Gollum and Yoda -- They are my 2 favorites



Thank you for that great addition.

IndianaVader
06-09-2004, 04:30 PM
Gollum and Yoda -- They are my 2 favorites



Thank you for that great addition.



Ba dom chh...

_Max

Trex
06-11-2004, 09:27 AM
Watto was very cool and definately humorous. Much better than the J character we won't mention here.. http://threads.rebelscum.com/images/graemlins/smile.gif

Muftak
06-12-2004, 04:38 PM
1. How convincing is he/she?

I remember seeing him for that one-second cameo in the teaser trailer for TPM back in '98, and thinking, "oh boy, the aliens from the new movies are goofier looking than I expected." That said, Watto turned out to easily be my favorite part of Episode One. His performance is better than Jake Lloyd's in every way, which may not be saying much, but at least Jake, um, is a real person.

2. What is your favorite performance from this character?

My favorite character bit from Watto is during the podrace, when Anni's closing in on Sebulba at the start of the third lap, and Watto litterally floats out of his seat in disbelief as the two whip by.

3. What is your least favorite performance from this character?

I'd have to say he could've been used to better effect in Episode Two. Though it was great to see him again (as opposed to, say, Kitster or Wald.)

grandpa_yoda
06-14-2004, 07:18 PM
I am waiting for week two's second character!!!!!!!!!!!!

ARC_Trooper_Cpt
06-16-2004, 11:13 AM
I am waiting for week two's second character!!!!!!!!!!!!



Durge has been suspended from RS...he'll be back in about 3 weeks with the next installment. http://threads.rebelscum.com/images/graemlins/smile.gif I'm still not exactly sure why...

Herbert_Ackermans
06-17-2004, 02:52 PM
Oh heck... only three weeks?

Darn... http://threads.rebelscum.com/images/graemlins/wink.gif

Muftak
06-17-2004, 09:01 PM
I guess someone should fill in for Durge while he's living in exile...

...it's <sniff> <sniff> what he would have wanted... http://threads.rebelscum.com/images/graemlins/frown.gif

So...

Week 2 features the odds-on favorite podracer Sebulba.

http://www.karkza.org/ftp/graphics/StarWars/Sebulba.jpg

I thought Sebulba was a very convincing creature. For my money, Sebulba made the best use of CGI in Episode I--his twisted anatomy was well played by the animators, and would have been impossible to pull off anywhere near realistically on-set (as a puppet or man in a suit).

Kudos to George (a rare occurance) for keeping his dialogue entirely in Huttese, as well. The voice actor did a good job of conveying Sebulba's "**** Dastardly" spirit, as well.

The one thing that I might criticize about Sebulba was a little too much hamming it up in the podracing scene--he's the best, so I'd rather see some grim determination from him, rather than tossing debris at his adversaries with a hearty chuckle.

What do you think of Sebulba?

The_Chosen_1
06-17-2004, 09:34 PM
I think Sebulba was also a well-done CGI character. He was exotic and unique, but at the same time a believable villain. Up until Episode I we hadn't really seen a rivalry in SW akin to Anakin and Sebulba, and it was a welcome little plot point. Overall, I give him an 8.5.

ARC_Trooper_Cpt
06-18-2004, 01:42 PM
Ya know, in response to any scene with Sebulba in it, I never thought "ah, CGI"...that's pretty darn good! Yeah, I really, really, like Sebulba, even more so than Watto maybe, for the CGI qualities at least. I think the character of Watto was better, but only slightly. Here's my ratings for the first two characters:

Watto-EI: 9.5
Watto-EII: 8
Watto overall: 9

Sebulba: 10

http://threads.rebelscum.com/images/graemlins/grin.gif

Darth_Mack
06-18-2004, 02:41 PM
watto is one of the best CG characters

...if not the best.

_Max



Ditto (although Sebulba is pretty darn good too).

grandpa_yoda
06-20-2004, 05:25 PM
did Durge tell you this was his next character????anyway sebula was very well done especially in the pod racing scenes. Nice touch by GL http://threads.rebelscum.com/images/graemlins/smile.gif

bjlevine
06-21-2004, 08:27 AM
Agreed about Sebulba. Dude had ten times the personality of Darth Maul. I still get a kick out of that Volkswagon ad.

Kinda funny, since I've been griping so much about CG stuff in the PT, but rate the following in terms of personality:

Watto
Sebulba
Anakin (TPM)
Padme
Darth Maul

Hmm...maybe it is just the script and story.

Muftak
06-25-2004, 08:47 AM
Week 3 brings us to Obi-Wan's long-time chum, a grisled old adventurer turned short-order fry cook - Dexter Jettster

http://www.wizards.com/starwars/images/ccw/49036_CN.jpg

This week's entry I'm not quite so pleased with. Watto and Sebulba were well-developed characters worthy of the CGI lavished on them to come to weird, alien life. Dex seems to be there just to be weird.

The CGI is good, but the face makes a lot of contortions during speech that my eyes don't read as "right." I suppose it's the whole inflatable throat-sac look they were going for, but in the end it just winds up muddled.

One thing Dex does well is convince me that he's a four-armed character. That's something it would seem especially hard to pull off well. All four arms seem to have something to do, and to move fluidly with each other. Another positive is the successful use of non-leather CGI clothes. Dex is nasty and stained in cotton-looking material, and it looks good.

His performance, however, is the ultimate in hamming it up. His weird vocal tics do nothing for me but confuse whatever he's trying to say.

Interaction with the real human actor is what makes or breaks a CGI performance for me, and while Dex seems to hug Ewan real good in performance, they never really seem to have a connection in their conversation. If anything, Obi-Wan seems to become more creeped out as Dex talks to him. He probably had a long time to think about it on the flight to Kamino:

http://cetara.tripod.com/ewanmcgregor/films/starwars/imgs02/aotc_ObiWan2.jpg
"Was that just a friendly hug, or something more...disturbing?"

Thankfully, Dex only gets the one brief scene in AOTC. It might've made more sense to just put a person in the scene though, so, to me, Dex becomes our first potential candidate for "CGI for CGI's Sake" syndrome.

What do you think of Dexter Jettster?

bjlevine
06-25-2004, 08:54 AM
Dexter screams CG...which is about the biggest slam you can give a CG character. It shouldn't stand out like that. As for the character, he is reminiscent of the "shoe shine guy" from Police Squad. You know...the guy on the street who knows everything that's going on.

By the way, why does that waitress chick remind me of Uniblab from The Jetsons? http://threads.rebelscum.com/images/graemlins/wink.gif

I have to say, the best parts of AOTC are when Obi-Wan is on his own.

ARC_Trooper_Cpt
06-25-2004, 01:54 PM
Dexter wasn't that great. The worst scene IMO is when Obi-Wan "hugs" Dex--pitiful. You can tell Ewan is faking it and Dex's hands on Obi-Wan look awful. Other than that he was pretty good.

So here's my rankings now with Dexter Jettster (btw, I don't much care for the name--I always think of Johnny Rockets)

Watto-EI: 9.5
Watto-EII: 8
Watto overall: 9

Sebulba: 10

Dexter Jettster: 5.5

Darth_Mack
06-27-2004, 08:41 PM
I'm not sure why, but Dex just doesn't convince me 100% that he's "real." Can't put my finger on it. Maybe it's the lighting or his movement. Watto and Sebulba had outdoor scenes whereas Dex didn't. Maybe the natural lighting on the backgrounds and human actors helped the artists make Sebaulba and Watto look as good as they do.

Dex may not look totally real, but he's definitely a better CGI character than Jar Jar, those cutesy pod race drivers, and Jabba in the SE of ANH.

GNT
06-27-2004, 11:34 PM
They could have made a real suit for Dexter but CGI version was better in a sense that he can move better then a real person in a suit.

doomdeath
06-28-2004, 01:12 AM
i liked watto....for some reason he reminds me of archie bunker gruff and obnouxis but sentamental at the same time...he cared for anakin and his mother...maybe he had romantic feelings for annie's mom although personally its not as creepy as the kiss between luke and leia in ESB http://threads.rebelscum.com/images/graemlins/smirk.gif

Muftak
06-28-2004, 05:21 PM
They could have made a real suit for Dexter but CGI version was better in a sense that he can move better then a real person in a suit.



Had they gone with a guy in a suit, they would've almost definitely have had to drop the "four arms" idea--and that was about the only thing they did really well on Dexter.

The_Chosen_1
06-28-2004, 05:33 PM
I'd have to say that Dex is probably the weakest main CGI character in the PT so far. Some CGI looks extremely real (Yoda talking to Mace on the gunship in AOTC, with the sun shining on him- best CGI character shot in the prequels IMO). Dexter, however, just looks too fake. I give him a 6. Great character, bad appearance.

grandpa_yoda
06-28-2004, 07:31 PM
I thought he was well done- a matter of fact i got a guy working at a local diner who looks just like dex(including his arms) http://threads.rebelscum.com/images/graemlins/cool.gif

doomdeath
06-28-2004, 07:45 PM
I thought he was well done- a matter of fact i got a guy working at a local diner who looks just like dex(including his arms) http://threads.rebelscum.com/images/graemlins/cool.gif



my friends mother in law looks like dex smells like jabba http://threads.rebelscum.com/images/graemlins/grin.gif robert a.k.a. doomdeath

GNT
06-28-2004, 07:47 PM
Not really, it still could have been a guy in a suit but have the bottom arms CGI. It could have worked.

Muftak
06-28-2004, 09:08 PM
Not really, it still could have been a guy in a suit but have the bottom arms CGI. It could have worked.



I seem to remember there being an effort (during the making of TPM) to animate only parts of JarJar, but it turned out working better (and being more cost-effective?) to just animate the whole character.

I figure that's why ILM seems adverse to adding CGI limbs or appendages to moving, otherwise on-set, characters.

bjlevine
06-29-2004, 10:35 AM
Kinda funny...I wasn't thrilled with the portrayal of Golum in LOTR (I thought the Bakshi version had him dead on), but the interaction with the live actors was great. Dex is a decent character, but just doesn't look real, a somewhat common problem with CG in the PT.

doomdeath
06-29-2004, 12:58 PM
i was watching droids the cartoon and i saw something that predated dex by 16 or 17 yrs threepo worked in a diner that looks like the one in atoc and the cook was a fat human with 4 arms....so i thought that was a neat comperson. robert a.k.a. doomdeath

Muftak
07-02-2004, 03:36 PM
Week 4's subject is the evil Archduke of Geonosis, Poggle the Lesser.

http://www.cswu.cz/characters/img/char/poggle_the_lesser_l.gif

I liked Poggle, I guess I believed in him as much as I've ever believed in a movie bug-man. The CGI was definitely not pushing any new ground when they made him--the scaly endoskeleton and leather clothing of all the Geonosians seemed pretty much down pat by then, and the animation was fair to mediocre.

He didn't have much character really (though in fairness he did have more scenes in AOTC that were cut out). His one good scene would have to be in the warroom with Dooku, and the Death Star reveal.

All in all, Poggle the Lesser falls squarely at the "average" line among the CGI characters. Many had been done better, but many had also failed miserably.

What do you think of Poggle the Lesser?
http://www.sgtfretsurfer.com/Grilled-Sarlacc/c/poggle/5.jpg

Inigo_Montoya
07-02-2004, 04:32 PM
Poggle never greatly impressed me.

He's just kind of there, has an irritating voice, and plays biatch to Dooku.

JediKnight87
07-02-2004, 06:29 PM
I wanted to throw something at Poggle for being so annoying with the language.

doomdeath
07-03-2004, 01:11 AM
Poggle never greatly impressed me.

He's just kind of there, has an irritating voice, and plays biatch to Dooku.



i have trouble accepting the fact that the empire's most powerful weapon (till luke came along) came from a bunch of 2 legged termites.....robert a.k.a. doomdeath

ARC_Trooper_Cpt
07-03-2004, 11:03 AM
I actually liked Poggle's speech--quite inventive and different. I thought the CGI of Poggle was quite good as well--nothing outstanding, but there was nothing lacking. So here's my overall ratings thus far:

Watto-EI: 9.5
Watto-EII: 8
Watto overall: 9

Sebulba: 10

Dexter Jettster: 5.5

Poggle the Lesser: 8.5

GNT
07-04-2004, 07:18 PM
Poggle the Lesser wasn't anything special but he was different to everything we've seen on film. This is a story from outer space so let's see more characters that don't talk in english!


</font><blockquote><font class="small">Quote:</font>
Poggle's voice was developed very late in production. In the interim, the animators used backwards recording of the voice actor for lip-sync purposes. When Sound Designer Ben Burtt delivered a suitably bizarre mix of guttural speech and clicking insect sounds, the lip-sync was redone to properly match.

[/QUOTE]

The_Chosen_1
07-05-2004, 07:48 PM
Poggle was a fairly decent character, but not really that memorable. The CGI was well done, and the Geonosian language was really creative and sounded very insect-like. I give him an 8.

Muftak
07-10-2004, 02:33 PM
Week 5 brings us to the Wal*Mart greeter of Kamino, Taun We
http://www.cswu.cz/characters/img/char/taun_we.jpg http://www.sgtfretsurfer.com/Grilled-Sarlacc/c/taunwe/taunwebg.jpg

I like Taun We. I like her a lot. This is exactly the type of thing ILM needs to do more of--classicly-styled aliens done to a hyper-realistic extent. The CGI clothing was almost perfect. The mannerisms were exotic enough to make the first entrance into Kamino as creepy and surreal for the audience as Obi-Wan's mission turned out to be for him. Later on, Taun We's interaction with Boba was excellently played as well.

If there was a gripe about Taun We, it was that she was a real blank slate as far as characterization goes. She talks slow, and there seems to be a bit of doting on Boba, but otherwise not much going on with her. I suppose it heightens the mystery of the Kaminoans, so even this minor complaint works in its way.

All in all, at the top of the heap for AOTC's CGI creations, right up there with Yoda himself.

What do you think of Taun We?

Inigo_Montoya
07-10-2004, 03:55 PM
Taun We's *****r than all the aliens of the Prequels. Even Aayla!

Perfect 10

The_Chosen_1
07-10-2004, 08:42 PM
Taun We was definitely handled very well. All the Kaminoans in Episode 2 were very realistic (especially Lama Su). I give her a 9.5. Not perfect, but pretty darn close.

GNT
07-10-2004, 08:51 PM
Taun We's *****r than all the aliens of the Prequels. Even Aayla!

Perfect 10



You have problems Inigo http://threads.rebelscum.com/images/graemlins/tongue.gif We all know Gardulla The Hutt was the hottest babe in the Star Wars universe *drools* mmmmm... Gardulla.....

Taun We is an average CGI character, can't really find any faults with her but doesn't do much in the film besides talking to Obi-Wan and walking around. I give her a 7.

bjlevine
07-12-2004, 09:25 AM
Hah!. When I first saw Taun We, I thought "hey its that first alien dude from the ending of "Close Encounters". Maybe it was an homage to Speilburg. I just hope that "Bruce the Shark" doesn't end up oin the Jedi Council.

I kinda like the Kaminoans.

ARC_Trooper_Cpt
07-12-2004, 03:03 PM
I think Taun We and just about all the Kaminoans were done quite well. I give her a 9, simply because there was something about her that proclaimed 'CG'. Other than that, a very good CG character.

Watto-EI: 9.5
Watto-EII: 8
Watto overall: 9

Sebulba: 10

Dexter Jettster: 5.5

Poggle the Lesser: 8.5

Taun We: 9

Eight_Nunb
08-05-2004, 11:30 PM
I give Watto a 9/10. good character, fairly convincing for a living CGI model.