Skip to Main Content (Press Enter) Toggle side nav

The CG Story

Best Seller
The CG Story by Christopher Finch
Hardcover $75.00
Dec 03, 2013 | ISBN 9781580933575

Also available from:

  • Dec 03, 2013 | ISBN 9781580933575

    Also available from:

*This title is not eligible for purchase to earn points nor for redemption with your code in the Reader Rewards program

Product Details


“A comprehensive, colorful coffee table tome that delves deeply, but not too geekily, into what is arguably the most momentous change in filmmaking since the advent of sound: digital visual effects. Finch traces the development from the first motion control shot (in 1977’s Star Wars) through the landmark computer-animated Pixar hits (Toy Story, The Incredibles) to the latest digitally rendered magic-scapes of The Hobbit and Life of Pi. The book is huge, the images—from movies famous and forgotten—exquisite.” —The Philadelphia Inquirer

“Outstanding book design and a well-told story. The CG Story is impressive in scale with many of its pages full-bleed close-ups from the history of computer-generated visual effects, beginning with a proto-computer in 1839(!) through to the state-of-the-art imagery in Life of Pi, Cloud Atlas, and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. It’s populated with programmers and designers who first had to fight to have their talents recognized by studios and directors; and it’s equally devoted to the technological advances in computer science that made the artistry possible.” —Memphis Flyer

“What could be better in the iPad era than a real physical book that gorgeously celebrates the history and technology of computer graphics in the film industry? I couldn’t put it down. Every page is a ‘oh, I remember that’ moment. I would attend such CG milestone movies like Star Wars twice: once to sit in the middle of the theater and enjoy the story, and once to sit in the front row and immerse myself in the special effects. This book is a page-turning opportunity to relive that second viewing.” —Graphic Speak
“A beautifully designed coffee table book with gorgeous layouts and eye-arresting full-color photo spreads. An artist and prolific writer, Finch hasn’t penned a critical history but a techno-chronicle important for its detailed account of a movie industry revolution that occurred as the 20th century raced into the new millennium.” —Express Milwaukee

“Only a lavishly illustrated book that weighs as much as a coffee table could do justice to the subject of CGI and special effects—visually and verbally. With copious production stills and behind-the-scenes photos, Finch (author of the landmark coffee table volume The Art of Walt Disney) traces the history of the computer as a moviemaking tool, from John Whitney’s pioneering experimental films through the breakthroughs of George Lucas and his protégés, (including the group who broke off and became Pixar). Finch’s text is authoritative but written for fans and laymen, thank goodness.” —Indiewire’s “Movie Crazy”

“This lavish, 368 page survey of the computer graphics world starts with Michel-Marie Carquillat’s 1839 portrait of Joseph Marie Jacquard created using 24,000 punched cards and a jacquard loom through Pixar’s ground-breaking Toy Story to the spectacular CG scenery and special effects ofCloud AtlasThe Hobbit, and Life of Pi. The full-color plates capture and underline the sheer power of computer graphics and how they have transformed not only film-making but also business, advertising, and engineering.” —NetworkWorld “Gearhead”

“Finch declares that the development of computer animation is as important to the history of motion pictures as the introduction of color and sound, and the copious illustrations and blockbuster examples in his 368-page volume make a persuasive argument. With the turn of the millennium, computer-generated imagery became an essential tool of one giant film franchise after another:Harry PotterSpider-ManThe Lord of the RingsPirates of the CaribbeanThe Chronicles of Narnia. All this recent history and more are covered in enlightening detail . . . We’ve all been living through a remarkable period, during which the wildest visions of filmmakers can be realized and made palpable. The CG Story is a valuable account of one seismic transition. —Film Journal “Screener”

“Beginning with the simplest visual representations created in fabric through a jacquard loom (using punched cards) in the mid-19th century, the story moves quickly through the beginnings in the academic world expanding into the somewhat geeky/technical world of early SIGGRAPH meetings and conferences to the landmark film Toy Story (1995), the first animated film to be completely created on computers. This is a book about delight, wonder and visual exploration, and could not be satisfying in a digital format.” —VizWorld
“Finch offers a broad and unbiased view of the industry as a whole, covering many films and studios often unmentioned in most texts on the subject. The CG Story covers both special and visual effects as well as fully digital animated features. It progressively examines the technological strides each feature film has made for the medium. The text is accompanied by hundreds of behind the scenes images, photographs, and art work. This large format book is a beautiful volume worthy of a spot on your shelf.” —On Animation

“A comprehensive, and beautifully illustrated bible of the history of Computer Graphics in film.” —Popcults

“Still flailing around for holiday gift ideas for that special person in your life who genuflects at the temple of the animation industry? Flail no more, your holiday gift holy grail may have arrived with the publication of The CG Story. The 368-page book [yes, book, you remember those. . . . ] details the groundbreaking effects and history of computer generated animation, its effect on the film industry with a special focus on 1995’s Toy Story—the first feature film exclusively using CG technology.” —ToonZone

Get the latest updates from Christopher Finch
And go from well-read to best read with book recs, deals and more in your inbox every week.
And go from well-read to best read with book recs, deals and more in your inbox every week.
By clicking SIGN UP, I acknowledge that I have read and agree to Penguin Random House’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.
Something awesome is on its way.
Back to Top