a green grid and a few rudimentary objects; as he first enters the alternate universe represented by CGI animation, Homer Simpson says "this place looks expensive... I feel like Im wasting a fortune just standing here" (Treehouse of Horror VI). This was the attitude of many animators for years who struggled to advance their technology while battling financial constraints.
In the last decade, however, great advancements have been made not only in the capabilities of computer graphic artists and software but in the ability of computers to animate more for less; it didn’t hurt that animation studios were granted larger budgets to explore CGI options. Feature films like the CGI breakout hit Toy Story paved the way for more investment in computer animation and now people in the film industry are beginning to wonder whether computer animation is destined to overtake the role of real, live actors.
CGI is an acronym for computer generated imagery; this field encompasses many different specific computer graphics such as landscaping, people, animals, weather and other special effects (Pierson, 2002, 3). 3D computer graphics were primarily used for special effects in TV and movies before the trend of feature length computer animated films caught on, animators focused their efforts on creating new, and ultimately cheaper and less complicated, ways of dealing with onscreen special effects. Traditionally, special effects could include anything from a fire in a burning building to a full on explosion, or even the tricks of an illusionist which were too complicated to be performed in reality.
With CGI animation, television and film producers can sidestep the often messy and unpredictable hazards of physical special effects and actually make the outcome closer to what they had envisioned to begin with. Specifically, special efforts on computer began to take the place of the creation of miniatures (used when large scale models are too cumbersome) and also to take the