Today’s digital effects are pretty amazing (or not) depending on your view. But both the good CGI and the bad CGI have one thing in common, they are computer generated.
Not so long ago, the concept of computerized massive scenes was not even conceived yet and effects studios used different methods to “create” sets bigger than can possibly fit in a studio. One way of doing it was hand painting a matte glass with a set and using it around the shot action. One of the most famous effects studio: Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) released a movie showing how they used Matte glass and hand painted sets to create Indiana Jones and the first chapters of Star Wars. The amount of work and planning to make one of those matte shot was laborious almost beyond possible.
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