The 22nd Annual Society for Animation Studies Conference

Jane Shadbolt

There Be Dragons : Animated Visual Tropes and Fantasy Aesthetics in Mainstream Live Action Cinema.

While d
igital effects have the potential to create infinite constructed environments they have also spawned a disproportionate amount of dragons, orcs, fairies and aliens, all following a familiar aesthetic template. If CGI can be considered a design tool and technique, it comes equipped, as do all tools and techniques, with a particular aesthetic. This paper examines popular animated visual tropes in mainstream genre live action film with a focus on James Cameron’s recent spectacular, Avatar and, in particular, the extent to which CGI technique shapes the aesthetic of contemporary visual effects in mainstream cinema.

Biographical statement: Jane Shadbolt is a stopmotion animator and designer. She is currently directing the short stopmotion animation The Cartographer, and is interested in spectacular cinema in miniature. She is a Lecturer in Visual Communications at the University of Newcastle, Australia.