Special effects used to be a rare addition to films (hence the qualifier "special"), but these days, anybody with enough money can crap out dizzying visual spectacles for whatever natural disaster + animal movie pitch they came up with on shrooms. But at least it's not seeping over into real life, right? We can look at science magazines, furniture catalogs, or car ads and feel confident that what we're seeing is 100-percent real and not CGI.
Well, sorry to break it to you, but ...
8Car Commercials Often Don't Feature Real Cars
Next to a house, a car is the biggest purchase most people will make in their life. So car companies spend an insane amount of money trying to convince people that their car is the one that will keep you safe / get you laid. Many print ads for cars feature a 3D model rather than a real photograph, but car manufacturers have to make commercials too, so you can at least be assured that the 2017 Dinoburner you're seeing whip around those corners is definitely the real deal, right?
You know where this is going. Meet the Blackbird.
How the hell do they fit 20 X-Men in there?
While it looks like a turtle that lost its shell, that little go-kart is becoming one of the most filmed cars in the world. You see, cars take a while to design and build, and commercials take a while to film and edit. By the time the first cars that could be used in a commercial are rolling off the assembly line, it's too late to start shooting ads. In the past, prototype cars were used, but that can cause problems if the designers decide the car needs a slightly different chassis or doors that open upwards.
To make up for this gap, many automakers use the Blackbird as a stand-in. It's a generic-looking chassis which can be adjusted and tuned to behave like anything from a Prius to a Mustang, allowing the marketing people to film the car doing cool car commercial stuff before passing it along to the CGI artists, who add the body and styling.
No, they didn't make an Animorphs movie (for some reason).
If only this had been around when the Pontiac Aztek was released and somebody had a chance to say how stupid it looked. Who knows how many senseless losses of respect could have been prevented?
7Nearly Everything In Catalogs Never Existed
We have to give some credit to the layout editors at SkyMall, because few other catalogs can make an otherwise completely rational person say, "Yeah, I could use a portable hot tub!" A big part of it are the photos. Those crisp, clean pictures of shiny new gadgets make whatever the hell Orbitwheels are seem like an attractive purchase.
Unfortunately, they are almost certainly fake.
The salespeople aren't human either, but we saw that coming.
More and more, catalogs and marketers are using CGI versions of their products in catalogs. Photographing stuff is expensive, and even after an entire day of shooting moodily lit tubes of toothpaste, sometimes it still doesn't look right. The lighting can look weird, filthy humans can smudge the shiny bits with their gross hands, or maybe the art director wants it to be a particular shade of blue that doesn't exist.
But with the miracle of computers, product designers and marketers can tweak and polish to their heart's content with cheap keyboard monkey labor. Artists can crank out multiple iterations of a ThrustMaster dildo until it glistens in morning sunlight in that perfect way. And everybody is doing it -- including, we're sorry to say, IKEA.
Et tu, Flurvenbergsen?
As you may have guessed, building an entire house so you can show off your furniture collection is expensive, even if that furniture is from IKEA. IKEA can now digitally render entire rooms to put in their catalogs, which is a vast improvement of their old method of breaking into homes and replacing all the cabinets while the owner was on vacation. Likewise, they can digitally render individual items, thus saving them the stress of having to assemble real IKEA furniture for a photo shoot.