This could be a thorny question. As such, please? I'd like to request we keep real world examples to a dull roar - only if absolutely necessary.
I'd like to (at least for this conversation) expand it to include physical effects in general - AudioAnimatronics, scrimwork not utilizing computerized projections, etc.A practical special effect is one in which a prop object appears to work in a situation where it obviously could not (such as a ringing telephone on stage). No trick photography or post-production editing is involved. This type of effect is normally found in live theatre.
Fairly self explanatory.Computer-generated imagery (CGI) is the application of the field of computer graphics or, more specifically, 3D computer graphics to special effects in films, television programs, commercials, simulators and simulation generally, and printed media
I'd like to advance those as more or less the definitions for discussion on effects used in the park.
That out of the way, here we go.
Which do you prefer? More importantly, why?
The why is something I'm having trouble figuring out internally.
Take, honestly, animatronics. If you were presented with a figure such as the POTC Auctioneer in the real world, it's highly doubtful you'd believe for a moment that "he" were actually real. The appearance, the motions, the basic device itself presents a caricature of sorts of a person, but it's far and away from realistic motions or lifelike presence.
Yet I'll go through an Animatronic experience quite literally thousands of times grinning from ear to ear, but a computer generated scene - which at this point may actually be nearly indistinguishable from "real" - quickly stales for me.
Uncanny valley doesn't completely explain this. Fantastic environments rendered in CGI - however lovingly - are nowhere near as immersive nor do they take me away like a practical effect would. As a good non-Disney example (and hopefully less controversial, I know, breaking my own rule here) I think of King Kong vs. King Kong 3D at USH. The original pre-backlot fire was something I looked forward to on every tour, even though it was just a short "sit in a set and watch videos on TV with sound effects until the heli crashes" followed by a fairly short swing past the big ol' banana breath himself.
The 3D Peter Jackson / WETA made movie... just doesn't do it for me. All the added garnishes of practical effects - wind in the face, train shaking, water sprays - can't mask the fact that I'm sitting there watching a movie and my brain never once budges off the "huh. Yeah, dinos, spiders and monkeys OMAI can we please get to the Earthquake now?"
I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in this, and I'm really interested in other views. I have friends who explicitly prefer the CGI effects but they can't explain why in a way that fits in my head.
Discuss? Please? I'd really like to know.