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[Computational Complexity] Making People Fly

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  • Lance
    The advertising tagline for the 1978 movie Superman You ll believe a man can fly! I grew up at a magical time for movies when special effects started to look
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 30, 2008
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      The advertising tagline for the 1978 movie Superman
      You'll believe a man can fly!
      I grew up at a magical time for movies when special effects started to look almost realistic. The 15-year me was truly amazed that Superman actually did look like he flew, special effects done by careful camera work and very thin wires. Today actors where larger cables and harnesses digitally removed in post-production, unless the entire flying sequence is entirely computer generated.

      Back then we still had limits to special effects which made movies like Star Wars all the more impressive. Back then hidden supports were needed to make the hovercraft float. George Lucas has since gone back and added digital creatures to the original films, blasphemous to us fans who grew up with the movie.

      We have reached the point where special effect can achieve pretty much anything the director can imagine. This gives some advantages, forcing movies like Dark Knight, Iron Man and Spiderman to rely on strong stories, characters and actors since special effects alone no longer sells movies (see Speed Racer). But no longer can we amaze teen-age kids with new technologies that make the seemingly impossible that come to life. Kids who, amazed by some of this work, done by computers, made them a hobby and then a career.

      Biomedical engineering seems to be the new expanding major, at least at Northwestern. Computer Science needs to regain that coolness factor to attract the CS majors we and society continue to need.

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      Posted By Lance to Computational Complexity at 9/30/2008 07:57:00 AM

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