Sunday, 22 February 2015

CGI Logan and Sam

Unlike the original post on the Wikia, I've decided to pair these two together since my thoughts on both are pretty similar (or, at least, they have the same problem).

It's amazing how one render can turn a creepy faced character into one that, actually, could fit into the series rather well. How they managed to make a face like the one from the book look appealing I'll never know, but Arc did. Brilliantly.

They also added the standard couplings and brake pipes. How the illustrators managed to omit them I'll never know. But I'll get onto the illustrators later.

Would I like to see him in the series? Yes, actually! Well, I wouldn't mind either way, but it would be interesting to see what the new team can do with him. That said, I'd only really wanted to see him if the Coaling Plant was brought back, since he was created to work for the Crosby Coal Company (that and there are enough tank engines around Knapford Yards as it is).

Sam, however, is a different beast altogether: a large tender engine built from an American basis. And it's because of that, no matter how good this render looks, it looks really out of place. And considering what I've heard about the story (spoilers: it's not very good), he's actually rather pointless.

The render itself is fantastic.The detailing is brilliant and the face (like Logan) looks much better animated than illustrated. That said, it feels like he hasn't been edited enough to fit on the railway. And yes, while some engines haven't been given bufferbeams in the past, in reality, it would be a necessity to pit one on. At least Connor and Caitlin's fronts have an excuse not to include one (and they've also been seen to go under bridges with no problem, which doesn't happen with Sam). And before anyone brings up Duke, the Ffesteniog Railway engines don't have buffers, so it's accurate.

And my other problem is that he doesn't seem scaled to fit the British loading gauge. Like I said, Connor and Caitlin have no problems. and while Porter does have the proper adaptations, he looks... odd. So while I can understand why they wouldn't edit him too much, he still looks out of place because of it.

As for my "pointless" complaints, that's my biggest problem. I've said a few times over the last couple of years that I really don't mind an engine's country of origin if they have a purpose. That's why I don't mind Porter (in fact, he's my third favourite character), Connor and Caitlin. But Sam's job can easily be done by other characters: Hiro, Murdoch, Neville, even Hank if they really want to give him a chance.

So the simple answer to "would I want to see him on TV"? No.

Final Thoughts
These two renders do show one thing though: the illustrators HiT have chosen for these new books are terrible. Fans were negative about Logan and Sam the second those first illustrations were revealed and, while Sam has received a mixed opinion, many have been won around by Logan due to a simple CG render. So here's a thought: why not just use the animators to render pictures for the books? It would save a lot of money since they would no longer need an illustrator.

If they do want an illustrated feel though, why don't they just allow Loraine Marshall do the job? She's proven how good she is with the Perkins' Story Time segments, and fans seem to appreciate the work she does.

To summarise, I think this is still a very good idea, as it frees the show to create some fleshed out characters. But they both had the same problem: the illustrations put fans off. They really need a quick change in that department before other characters they plan to create for this series suffer the same fate.