Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001)
First full length photorealistic CGI film, advanced CGI hair
Video (HD 1080p)
CGI making of video
1) First feature-length digital film based on photorealism and live action principles. The first theatrically released feature film to utilize performance capture (motion capture) for all of its characters actions, It was also the first hyper-real, fully computer-generated (CGI) feature-length film based entirely on original designs - no real locations, vehicles, or props were used.
2) A render farm consisting of 960 workstations was tasked with rendering each of the film's 141,964 with each frame taking an average of 90 minutes to render. By the end of production company Square had a total of 15 terabytes of artwork for the film. It took a staff of 200 and about four years to complete "The Spirits Within".
3) All backgrounds were done using matte paintings.
4) Each character's base body model was built from more than 100,000 polygons, plus more than 300,000 for clothing alone. Aki's character model bears 60,000 hairs, each of which were separately and fully animated and rendered. In creating the characters, designers had to transition between using PowerAnimator, Autodesk Maya and RenderMan.
5) BioWare art director Derek Watts cited The Spirits Within as a major influence on the successful Mass Effect series of action role-playing games.
6) Tom Hanks feared that Hollywood stars to be replaced by robots: (From interview 9 July 2001 (WENN )
"Tom Hanks is worried he and his Hollywood colleagues are going to be replaced - by computer-generated actors. The Oscar-winning star is concerned new technology could be used by film studious to replace humans with more compliant and cheaper electronic characters. Speaking as Hollywood prepares for the release of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within which stars Aki Ross, a computer-generated actress, Hanks says, "I am very troubled by it. But it's coming down, man. It's going to happen. And I'm not sure what actors can do about it." Aki Ross, a pretty brunette with sparkling eyes, is being hailed by Hollywood bosses as the first truly convincing digital actor. But Hanks' concerns have been rejected by Star Wars director George Lucas. He says, "I believe that I have used more digital characters than anyone else but I don't think I would ever use the computer to create a human character. It just doesn't work. You need actors to do that." And Steven Spielberg, whose current film A.I. stars Jude Law and Haley Joel Osment as robots, agrees, "It's a non-issue." Later Hanks did a CGI photorealistic film himself called The Polar Express (2004).
7) Aki Ross appears in short film on The Animatrix (2003) dvd bonus material.
8) Aki's appearance was received positively by critics, with praise for the finer details of the character model such as the rendering of her hair. Entertainment Weekly named Aki an "it girl", stating that "Calling this action heroine a cartoon would be like calling a Rembrandt a doodle." She was voted one of the sexiest women of 2001 by Maxim and its readers, ranking at No. 87 out of 100, becoming the first fictional woman to ever make the list, additionally appearing on the issue's cover in a purple bikini. The same image appeared in the "Babes: The Girls of Sci Fi" special issue of SFX. (see pictures above).