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God Creates, Man Imitates

John Lasseter, Pixar Animation Studios genius and director of the hit film Cars, was talking to Michele Norris on National Public Radio. She commented on the amazing photorealism of the film, which was 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 replied. "The more organic something is in the way it looks or the way it moves, the harder it is to create it with a computer." This was after he mentioned that 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.

However, no costs were mentioned in a Wall Street Journal review that appeared two weeks later describing a summer exhibit at Brooklyn Botanic Garden. In 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. Here is a brief description 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."

[Used with permission from the August 6, 2006 Christian Standard, © 2006 Standard Publishing Group LLC. www.ChristianStandard.com]

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