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CGI Arnold Final Look: Amazing FX Work In Terminator Genisys! (James Cameron approves T5!)

Hey There everyone.  Ok, so the effects guys working on T5 did it.  They fixed most of the problems with the CGI arnold from the earlier trailers and it looks amazing.  Here’s the kicker…  James Cameron has offcially endorsed Terminator Genisys and views it as the 3rd film in the franchise.  Paramount UK recently showed some footage of some recreated T1 scenes where Arnold arrives naked in front of the trash truck and confronts the punks in 1984.  It is impressive to say the least.  I do have some gripes, but I will get to that at the bottom of the page.  For now, here is the awesomeness.

CGI recreates Schwarzenegger

Arnold is young once more!

They really nailed the eyes and lip movement. The scene reminds of me of back the future 2 where we see old scenes recreated and then something changes slightly.

Computer Generated Arnold looks at punks

Its all in the eyes with CGI

Here’s another shot that’s wider showcasing some more subtle expressions on the 3d model of Arnold.

CGI Arnold ready to Fight Old Arnold

CGI Arnold Stares Down Old Arnold

The one complaint I have is that when he turns his head to the side in profile view the fx begin to unravel. It looks like a cgi character and starts to cease looking like Arnold in my opinion.

Arnold CG head Side

Young Arnold facial FX from the side

I don’t know why it is. It could be the lighting and the way the model interprets it or it could be the way the head was modeled or tweaked in the side view in which case they would just need to more closely match arnolds profile view from another movie.

Overall, consider me impressed and eager to see the film. I was a huge T1 and T2 fan and was waiting for a movie like this. T3 kinda held me over, but there were things I hated about it. T4 was forgettable. T5 looks to be fun and filled with great groundbreaking effects work which is what it should be. That and the fact that James Cameron was excited about it is probably the thing that excites me the most.

Just for the coolness of it, here’s a shot of a battle damaged Old Arnold Terminator with gray hair.

Old Battle Damaged Terminator

Old Battle Damaged Terminator

Terminator Genisys FX In Trailer Not Final?

Update: 6/9/2015  The effects have turned out better than I expected.


Last post was about how the Arnold cgi slipped into the uncanny valley.  Don’t worry too much about it.  Just came across some interesting Terminator Genisys news.  Following this link will take you to the TheTerminatorFans website, where they have an exclusive about the state of the special effects featured in that new trailer.  It appears they have come across more recent renderings(screenshots are on their website) and they do look worlds better.  There’s hope after all.

Young Arnold Terminator CGI: A Closer Look


Update 6/9/2015:  They fixed the CGI effects on the young Arnold Terminator and its impressive.


Ok, I think I was wrong about the effects in the last Terminator Genisys trailer.  The CGI arnold in this one looks different.  His face looks like a mask in some shots.  Others, he looks almost completely real up close, aside from the eyes looking a bit off.  Check out the first shot of arnold’s youth effects.

arnold terminator young

The CGI looks like it has stepped into the uncanny valley.

He almost looks like Michael Myers in the above shot. I hope they can fix it. The next one is a little more impressive, but something is off with the eyes. It has a lot of facial detail and almost looks completely real.

Young Arnold Effects

Arnold’s Young Terminator CGI is a tad off around the eyes.

I’m not sure, but it looks like the spacing around the eyes is strange. It’s Close though. In the end, I think I was wrong about the shot from the first trailer being all cgi. The dude in the comments was probably right about it being a shot from the first film.

Furious 7 CGI Brian O’Connor?

I’ve been intrigued about this for awhile.  Furious 7 has opened this weekend and it features one of Paul Walker’s last performances.  His character even features scenes that were done posthumously via special effects.  I haven’t seen the movie yet, so I can only look at a few trailers.  I believe I have found at least one of the CGI Paul Walker effects that we were promised awhile ago.  The first one is of him staring directly at the camera, breaking the fourth wall, which is rare for an actor to do in movies.  I have to admit I can’t tell for certain weather this is CGI or not, but something seems off.  It could be the fact that he holds the expression and stare for what seems like much longer than what would normally appear in a movie.  It almost feels like the shot was handpicked as a tribute to him.

Paul Walker Computer Generated

Is this one of the CGI Paul Walker shots featured in Furious 7?

The next shot is of all the characters walking down a flight of steps, again it is incredibly hard to tell, but the face looks pasted on. It may be just the angle though, as he is looking off to the side and the camera is positioned below.

CGI Brian O'Connor

This shot look may be just from a weird angle, but the head/face looks pasted on via compositing.

All in all I have to say, if these are computer generated shots, they are extremely well done. Its possible I am wrong, but these shots are the only ones that I could pick out as possibly being effects from among the many others. If the other shots of him are CGI, then I am doubly impressed with WETA Digital.

Arnold Youth Effects T5: Another Look

UPDATE: 6/9/2015: What looks to be the finalized CGI Terminator Effects are impressive

UPDATE 4/13/15: Check out our Closer Look at the Young Arnold Terminator CGI.

How good are the effects going to be in Terminator Genisys?  Damn good I would say.  From what I’ve seen from the trailer, this will have the most convincing CGI human being in a movie yet.  Why is that?  Well, because they pulled off the impossible.  They created a convincing human being that doesn’t exist in the present time.   The internet is arguing weather or not the Arnold Schwarzenegger featured in the trailer is just footage used from the first terminator movie placed over a different background.  IT IS NOT.  It is the CGI Arnold.  I can tell and you will be able to after reading this.  Ok, take a look at this comparison shot from T1 with the T5 Genisys trailer.  Clicking on the picture will bring it up full size:

Real vs CGI Can You Tell

How can you tell the difference between the real Schwarzenegger vs the CGI one?

How can I tell the difference? The first thing different about the two pictures, is Arnold’s hair. There is a slight change in either the shadowing or the actual hair itself, but it’s noticeable. Take a look side by side for comparison:

Comparing Terminators

Real Arnold and Fake Arnold

Lastly and this is easily missed, but it is the biggest indicator that the Arnold on the right is all CGI. The shadowing on his bicep is different. The shape looks the same because the probably used molds to create the CGI terminator from Arnold in 1984, but the lighting on them is different. That shows this is not the same footage, which means it is new and since Arnold is no longer young this has to be the CGI and not a composite.

cgi arnold vs real arnold

The Lighting on the arms indicate CGI trickery.

All in all, I am impressed. While I thought the trailer was a little lacking in the Terminator feel of the first two movies. I miss the electronic score as well as the artistic cinematography. I think the new footage looks way too overlit and movie-production-ish. I hope we see a bunch of the CGI Arnold and its not just a throw away moment like it was in Terminator Salvation(which also had an inferior CGI version of Arnold).