Korea's CG technology, close to Hollywood level: director

By Shim Sun-ah

GAPYEONG, South Korea, June 21 (Yonhap) -- South Korea has already raised its computer graphics (CG) know-how to a level almost close to Hollywood but still has challenges to overcome in order to facilitate further growth, a local filmmaker said Friday.

"South Korea had relied much on overseas technology to make CG-aided scenes of films in the past," Kim Yong-hwa, the director of the upcoming Korean 3D blockbuster "Mr. Go," said during a seminar hosted by the Korea Film Reporters Association in Gapyeong, a provincial city northeast of Seoul. "But the country's CG technology now has come close to the Hollywood level after experiencing gradual development."

Korean films like "D-War" (2007), "Haeundae" (2009), "My Way" (2011) and "Tower" (2012) are good examples as delicate computer graphics were used to keep audiences on the edge of their seats, he says.

His latest film "Mr. Go" has attracted much media anticipation even before its local opening on July 17 as the country's first full 3D film.

The 22.5-billion-won (US$19.65 million) drama depicts the friendship of a circus gorilla who becomes a star in the Korean pro-baseball league and his 15-year-old manager.

The gorilla character was created using Korea's own CG and visual effect technologies, according to its production company.

To make the character covered with more than 800,000 stands of fur look more real and natural, the company Dexter Films developed an in-house CG toolkit for generating digital images of animal fur. This skill is the fourth of its kind in the world after ILM, Pixar studios of the United States and New Zealand's Weta Studio, Kim said. Such software is the first to be developed in Asia, he added.

Despite the technological achievements, the Korean CG industry still has a long way to go before becoming a global leader, the filmmaker said.

He cited the local movie market's low demand for computer graphics and lack of government support as some of the major obstacles to overcome.

<All rights reserved by Yonhap News Agency>