and set designers will l'are less well. The likes of Gladiator have shown that there‘s no need to fill an amphitheatre with cheering citizens when a \‘iI'Illill throng will do. and the much— maligned Star ll'urs‘: A Phantom Menace preligured l’t'nul l-imlusy‘s epic environment by employing (‘(il to generate the entire backlot.

lior traditional cell and stop-motion animation. though. the luture looks bleak. for if the Final I'imtusy team can come a hair‘s breadth away from creating conyincing true-to-lile scenes. it seems unlikely that the likes ol~ Nick Park will continue to tinker with clay. or faceless squads of Disney drones will persist in hand-crafting each and every scene. ‘lt does seem to he the end of traditional animation.‘ agrees \\'instanley. ‘What you're probably going to see is a third way oi animation. like in 'litrmn. where they have these “deep canyas" scenes that have traditional animation juxtaposed with 31) computer graphics. Then. in a few years' time. you‘ll be looking at films where you don‘t quite know if something‘s real. animation or computer graphics. liilms will begin to use stylisation to the extent that the look will be hyper-real rather than photo-real.‘

I'i‘nul l'imtus‘y looks to be the progenitor of a new waye of films that blur the boundaries between liye action and the animators~ imagination. adyancing cinema‘s longstanding power to blur the boundaries between fantasy and reality. .-\nd. it' the central tenet of the computer industry. Moore‘s Law. holds true. computer power will continue to double eyery eighteen months. so actors can rest easy {or now. but the decades to come might well see computer animation progress to the point that human cinema becomes as quaint as the silent moin seems today.

Then again. the prospect of strings of bits and bytes populating the gossip columns and lines ol~ programmers' code on the coyer of The List looks as likely as Final I-imrusws invading hordes of spectral seafood.

Final Fantasy, general release from Fri 10 Aug. See review p1 O.