God Creates, Man Imitates

By Mark A. Taylor

John Lasseter, Pixar Animation Studios genius and director of this summer’s hit film Cars, was talking to Michele Norris at National Public Radio.

She commented on the amazing photorealism of the film, entirely created by computers. “The cars glisten,” she said. “It looks like we’re seeing photography.”

But she had a question for the moviemaker. “With everything you can do with computer generated animation, are there still limitations?” she asked.

“Absolutely,” Lasseter said. “The more organic something is in the way it looks or the way it moves, the harder it is to create with a computer.”

This was after he mentioned every frame of the feature length film required an average of 17 hours to create. Some frames took much longer. According to the Los Angeles Times, production costs for Pixar films average about $140 million.

No costs were mentioned in a Wall Street Journal review two weeks later describing a summer exhibit at Brooklyn Botanic Garden. By contrast with the movie, the medium here was photography, not computer generated anything, and the subject was totally organic.

Viewers might not realize this at first, however. Witness these descriptions from the Journal reporter:

One canvas in magenta red has curling squares of what looked like skin or material; another has furry brown hairs sprouting on green and orange stripes; and on a third, lip like shapes float on a gray white background.

The subject of these abstract photos? Magnified close ups of tree bark.

I remember a remark Dr. Lewis Foster made years ago. “The closer one gets to something man has made, the more its imperfections are obvious,” he said. “The more we magnify something God has created, the more we see its perfection.”

We can spend tens of millions of dollars, using the latest technology and devoting limitless attention to detail. But we’ll come only close to depicting the intricacy and delicacy of what God created in an instant.

But when we examine that remarkable creation when we enlarge it beyond what we normally can see the depths of its beauty never cease to inspire awe.

If you haven’t seen Cars, I’d recommend it. It’s fun and it’s compelling; you’ll forget it was all created at a computer.

And if you haven’t looked slowly and closely at some of God’s creation lately, you ought to do that too. A walk in the woods can become a time of worship. That probably won’t happen at a Pixar film.

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