When a special effect looks really cheap and dodgy, to the point of pulling the audience out of the narrative, you have a Special Effect Failure. All-too-common prior to 1980, and still with us today despite relatively inexpensive digital effects that look realistic.
To be a true Special Effect Failure, it must fit one of two criteria:
It has to have looked bad (and remarked on as such) by the standards of the time it was made. For example, it is obviously a dummy being thrown from a train in The Great Train Robbery—but since it was filmed when filmmaking itself was in its infancy (1903 to be exact), it's not this trope. If, however, it was an obvious dummy thrown off in a 2003 remake, then it fits. (Unless it's used deliberately as a Homage).
It can also be where the special effects actually just don't seem to work and no attempt is made to fix them.
The Bush's Homestyle Chili advertisement featuring the Chili Changer had a pan across bowls of chili near the end, with some cans of the product tossed in for good measure. Sounds pedestrian in itself, but once you actually see this moment in the commercial, you'll notice that the cans are actually photos added to the shot in an unconvincing matter. It seemed like they wasted most of their budget making Duke the dog's mouth move (which they always do in these commercials). Just watch the failure in action.
Interestingly, there's this alternate version in which the Chunky and Original cans are swapped. It's as if, in the other version, the ad agency tried to CG the updated can design into the commercial but failed horribly at it.
Wait, every single can in the commercial is a cut-out photograph, even the ones being held. Were they trying to prevent the actors from accidentally dropping the cans on their feet or something?
This is done in an attempt to make the add modular, so if they change the label or add a new product line, all they have to do is swap a few files in the digital archive and bam, new ad. This is quite common (look how many late-night infomercials use the same payment info screen, with just different text, art and video slotted into the same space), but just done really, really cheaply.
A commercial for Turbo Tax online software got the point across about its free service with one example at a gas station. The scrolling numbers for the pump rolled up for the gallons, and "rolled" up to zero for the price. Problem was, the numbers were also digital.
All gas station displays are digital these days (meaning they display values using a series of digits rather than a needle pointing to value on a scale). The display in this commercial was a seven-segment display.
Sleep Centers of the Southwest advertised its services using this abomination of a car flipping onto its side with ridiculous smoke effects.
Pops up frequently with supermodel Carolyn Murphy. Murphy has a large tattoo of a Koi fish on her right hip. If she's facing the camera or turned with that hip facing it, they airbrush the tattoo away, in most cases. However, if she's turned in the other direction however slightly, they don't bother, even if the tattoo is still visible. This makes her very large tattoo disappear and reappear several times in the same photoshoot.
This McDonald's commercial from Pakistan advertising Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog Happy Meal toys from 2004. What the hell have they done to you, Rouge?!! Granted, Pakistani censorship laws necessitated the removal of her... assets, but...
They made her a mouse too. Evidently their censorship necessitates a removal of bats as well.
Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds' suffers from this when it displays the CGI models of the D-Wheels/Duel Runners, in which the character riding the D-Wheel/Duel Runner is rendered as well, resulting in a plastic model-esque look. Particularly annoying, as when this is in 2D it looks much better.
Oddly, though, the monsters look pretty cool (Stardust Dragon's Shooting Sonic attack animation in Ep 41 looks pretty damn good for CGI).
Referenced in a manga chapter of Keroro Gunsou where Wet-traman is shown to have a very large zipper on his back, a reference to how Ultraman involves a guy in a rubber suit.
You only really know this if you read the second novel or watch the second series. Otherwise you just see Yuki basically attacking Mikuru as what is definitely not part of the "script".
The main failing of the CGI used for the Transformers themselves in Transformers Energon is that it renders them utterly incapable of emoting beyond combinations of "eyes closed/open/slightly more open" and "mouth open/closed".
Also, their outlines are never rescaled, making them look more like massive blobs of... something.
There was one weird instance when one of Scorponok's eyes was actually rendered over his visor, while the other was behind it. And his visor isn't meant to be see-through.
The Blue Water dub of Dragon Ball had this as its opening. Ignoring the fact that the song could give any of 4Kids Entertainment songs a run for their money (it was translated from French after all). The non-Anime sequences are marred with horrendous looking CG and even worse Scanimation (which unfortunately, also affects a few of the scenes from the Anime).
Hobbes: Bumper cars are fine when there aren't ghosts constantly flying down in your face! Calvin: They were paper and on fishing line!
The “destruction” of Munich terrorist facility in James Bond fan film Diamond's Cut seems to intentionally go for the Camp factor with what seems like a really bad photoshop. Absolutely nothing collapses and the only signs of destruction are little tongues of flame with thin tendrils of smoke at the forefront.
Films — Animation
In The Nightmare Before Christmas, you can actually see where the bats are held up by strings. It would have been very easy to erase them in postproduction, so their inclusion in the final film is likely intentional.
The Iron Man animated movie looks like it was made in a cave. With a box of scraps! All the suits as well as the elemental gods are poorly done cel-shaded effects, which jar horribly with the traditionally animated background. They also have clunky and weightless animation in comparison to the pretty decent animation of the characters.
Iron Man is supposed to be lying on the ground, except something's just off so that he looks like he's floating a foot above it.
Parodied in the Hilarious Outtakes Pixar did for A Bug's Life, where in one scene an ant "actress" accidentally knocks over one of the "extras" in a crowd scene, which is revealed to be a cardboard cut-out.
Another outtake has the bird suddenly malfunctioning in mid-take, complete with metallic creaking and pneumatic actuator noises.
Given their Direct-to-Video nature, the mediocre CGI used in the BIONICLE movies can be forgiven, however there are a handful of errors that could have been easily avoided with simply paying attention to the animation. The most notable offenders are:
The floating mountain slope in Mask of Light. As Kopaka braces for the Rahkshi's attack, one of the mountains in the background seems to be made up of only one slope, with the snow magically clinging onto its sides.
Blinking animation is also messed up. At the end of the Kohlii game, Hewkii has his eyes closed when they should be open, and instead of blinking, he opens and closes them quickly. Later, Jaller's eyes are not fully in sync, and one blinks faster than the other.
The "tiny Nuju". As the Turaga and Toa are discussing what to do, Turaga Nuju, who should have been animated behind the crowd (thus his apparent size) suddenly pops up in front of Turaga Vakama's layer. The shot is repeated later.
The second movie, Legends of Metru Nui was full of faulty animation. For starters, lip-sync (no, lip-movement) was a rarity. The screen would pixelate at parts, and the movements would turn very choppy. The metal pattern on the Kikanalo's bodies didn't move in unison with them, and at one point, the red glowing effect of their eyes shifted to the side. It is also noticeable that the characters, after completing their required set of motions, simply turned stiff.
The final scene is full of errors as well. The most obvious is the top of Jaller's head protruding through his solid mask.
Web of Shadows has Visorak spiders clearly walking in air, and never once touching their webs. In nearly every freaking shot that had them crawling "on" webbing. In a particularly badly animated shot that doesn't even look finished, one of the spiders is floating in the air upside down and another one is freakishly deformed, as if someone had been playing around with its animation model.
Other special effect failures include Keetongu being visible from behind a wall as a tiny spot as he scales the Coliseum; Roodaka's catcher claw passing into her motionless arm which should be shaking wildly with it; and in one of the slo-mo shots, as the camera angle changes, Matau being revealed to be a 2D image.
The fourth film, The Legend Reborn, being animated by a different companynote At least on the American end. Wang Film Productions, who worked on the trilogy was still utilized, fared better with sharp-eyed fans. A lot of attention was paid to the worn and scraped look of the characters' armor, and overall to the texture of their world. Still, rocks tended to look like huge polygons, large plains like empty, flat, monotone surfaces, Kiina's animation model clearly jumped out from behind her darkened silhouette, and the introduction scene with Mata Nui's giant robot body and the ocean... lets be honest, was utterly terrible in terms of animation — not because of one large goof, but because every aspect of the scene is flawed to a degree: the rendering of the water, the physics, the scale, and the movements and textures of the robot itself are all noticeably messed up.
Also, the Skrall squad running in place at the start of the battle.
Barix's poorly animated shadow when he's running in the Hot Springs.
When Mata Nui cuts Kiina and Berix's cage down, it plummets to the ground, lands visibly intact, and kicks up a large cloud of dust. When the dust clears, the cage is almost completely destroyed.
The makers of the animated film of Dragonlance: Dragons of Autumn Twilight made the strange decision to make the dragons and dragonkin CGI in what was otherwise a cel-animated movie. At best, it looks jarring and ugly.
Heavy Metal: Following the climax of the Taarna segment when the Loc-Nar explodes and takes the whole house with it, the house that blows up is just a small model that was simply filmed with a blue filter.
The animated film Samson and Sally: The Song of the Whales has some sync fails where the characters' mouths don't match with the words they're saying. *
Samson and Sally is first made in Denmark. therefore, the lip syncing of the characters are originally fitted for the original Danish version.
A compilation of prop and animal screw-ups can be seen here.
During the dreaded "Drewcases" era of the show (first half of Season 37), the graphics for trips were briefly replaced by green screens. Fremantle Media had promised that they would instead be replaced by video walls, but they supposedly instead chose green screens because they were cheaper. This is actually a subversion of this trope, as the change was almost universally hated by fans on ALL sides of the show's Broken Base not because it looked bad on TV, but because it looked bad in the studio. Since the contestants and audience wouldn't be seeing exactly the same thing the viewers at home saw, and since contestants couldn't be accommodated the same way that, say, a meteorologist doing a weather forecast could, the change was very jarring. So hated was the change that, on the episode airing February 12, 2009, Fremantle finally sucked it up and implemented video walls!
When Clock Game was played for the first time after the Turntable change in March 2003, the producers discovered that the chroma key area (where a headshot of the contestant appears) was the exact same shade of blue as the blue spot in the pink, purple, and blue Turntable wall. Their first solution was to put a yellow circle background behind the game, but when that didn't work either, they just repainted the game. In May of 2003, Clock Game redebuted with a somewhat ugly-looking yellow border and a green chroma key box. As of November 2005, the game's border is now a much more tolerable...light blue!!!
There were actually a few times in which something broke in the American version of Big Brother. One challenge had to be repeated because someone's machine was malfunctioning.
There were also a few in Big Brother 8.
Supposedly, Jameka's machine in the final veto challenge was malfunctioning, but nobody seemed to notice.
During the first part of the final 3 head of household, the contestants had to hold onto their keys and jump over a spinning rabbit. (while water was pouring down on them) Unfortunately, one of them (Probably Danielle, since she did hit it when she was eliminated) accidentally kicked or landed on the rabbit as it came by (at least several times) and the machine broke. This meant that Zach and Dick (The two left after it broke) were more or less just standing there.
This one from Catch Phrase....it's hard to believe this was an accident.
Password, Password Plus and Super Password has actually had this happen quite a bit. There were a few moments in which the other passwords that have yet to have been played were accidentally revealed, another moment where the wrong word was revealed at the start of the puzzle.
There's the time where one of the celebrity contestants couldn't quite see the password. Whoops.
On a 1988 episode, a round was thrown out and re-shot. However, they didn't remove all of the thrown-out round, so you got "Our category for this round is Phrase..." (10 seconds later) "...once again, our category is People."
In fall 1989, some of the puzzles had zeroes instead of O's. These were blatantly obvious, as they didn't match the rest of the letters at all.
When the show still had returning champions, the contestant backdrops would display the contestant's running total for their combined episodes. These displays held five digits, but one particularly lucky contestant was north of $100,000 by her third day, so host Pat Sajak taped a "1" to her backdrop.
Back when the board was still mechanical, both Vanna White and predecessor Susan Stafford sometimes turned letters so hard that the letters themselves slid partway off the trilon (the little three-sided boxes they turned).
Similarly, with the electronic board, sometimes a letter just won't reveal itself when Vanna touches it. She's had to wait as long as 10 seconds to get the stubborn letter to reveal.
Sometimes, the camera over the Wheel doesn't catch it as it stops to show what the contestant landed on. As a result, a spin from another episode may be dubbed in. Most of the time this is very obvious, as the spin may come from a different round, or show the different episode's Prize wedge still present.
This is also present during the Final Spin. If Pat hits Bankrupt or Lose a Turn, they edit it out and he spins again. Sometimes, you can tell that the original spin was re-shot, because the Wheel will suddenly jump to a totally different spot as it comes to a stop.
In the past, when Pat did the final spin and it hit either Bankrupt or Lose A Turn, he'd quip "Vowels worth nothing, consonants will be worth...not a darn thing, either!", after which he'd simply spin again.
On several occasions, the graphic showing the puzzle category has disappeared, or the wrong one has been put up.
At least twice, a letter was revealed in the Bonus Round that the contestant did not call. On both instances, it led to a win, and it was decided to let the contestant keep the prize.
Every so often, the crew would engineer the entryway to the Match Game set not opening as a prank to Gene Rayburn. On one memorable occasion, Rayburn smashed right through.
While Ray Combs was host of Family Feud, the electronic portion of the game board (which displayed the show's logo in the intro and going into commercial, and the answers in Fast Money) was prone to errors. In one instance, it erased the "FE" from the opening logo, leading to Ray and one family making several jokes about the "Family Ud".
In the 1994-95 season (when original host Richard Dawson returned), the board was a chyron over an actual board. However, they often forgot to put the chyron up.
In a rare auditory example, the Laugh Track skips at one point on the third verse to Ray Stevens' "The Streak".
The Beatles' "Magical Mystery Tour" features a stock sound effect of a bus driving between the stereo channels. However, the stock sound effect ended with the bus skidding and crashing, which it actually does on one occasion where the faders are brought down too slowly. (On another occasion, the sound effect is cut off suddenly before the crash with an audible click.) Cue Paul Is Dead jokes....
The music video for Brainbug's Nightmare is intentionally full of this, mainly as homage to the 50's.
The bike morphing into a pimpmobile from Coolio's "Fantastic Voyage" video. THAT IS NOT HOW MORPHING IS DONE. It's so bad the copyright owner is embarrassed.
Invoked in the video for "Jurassic Park" by "Weird Al" Yankovic. Most of the video is done in Claymation, but when the park's gates are shown a second time, one of the torches has gone out - so an arm reaches in and lights it with a lighter.
The Beastie Boys music video for Don't Play No Game I Can't Win is all a bunch of dolls/action figures and other toys in an action movie-like adventure. You can clearly see the wires, hands, and dowel rods used to maneuver everything.
During the WWE Summerslam 1997 match between Mankind and Hunter Hearst Helmsley, Mankind, at one point after getting beaten down, suddenly ripped his shirt off, then had a My Name Is Inigo Montoya comeback, leaving fans wondering what was going on. Mick Foley (aka Mankind) later shed some light on the subject in his autobiography: turns out, there was supposed to be a heart-shaped tattoo on his chest, symbolizing his transformation into his former fantasy persona from his high school/college days, Dude Love (who fans had been introduced to through a series of Worked Shoot interviews in the weeks before the match). Unfortunately, Mick forgot to get the tattoo done, and didn't realize it until he was due to make his entrance for his match. Thinking quickly, he scrawled the heart on his chest with a magic marker; unfortunately, by the time of The Reveal, it had sweated off. Oops.
And then there's the big unmasking of Kane at the hands of Triple H. Kane's backstory had him as a childhood burn victim, so naturally, this was a big deal. Unfortunately, the burn makeup under the mask completely failed to hold up through the match, so when Kane did unmask, he didn't look like a victim of a horrible house fire so much as a victim of an attack by a psychotic Mary Kay lady and a deranged barber with a thing for Larry Fine. Thankfully, rather than press on with the storyline, the next week, Kane appeared without makeup, but still claiming to be terribly burned, thus making the false scarring yet another dimension of his uniquely psychotic delusions.
There have been some theories as to why Kane's make-up job was so horrific. The most popular one was the heavy black eyeliner Kane wore under his mask started to run. Thus when he unmasked, his face was covered in black make-up splotches. It also did not help that when he removed his mask, it was revealed that Kane was completely bald on the top of his head save for the hair on his sides. The long locks he sported for years were actually part of the mask itself and he grew out what hair he had left. The WWE quickly reacted to this; having Kane lose the make-up, shave himself completely bald and have him wear a towel over his head for a few weeks afterwards before making another reveal.
Well, they tried to continue it. For a while when they showed video of the unmasking they slowed the tape down, added a silly sound effect that was supposed to be ominous or something, and used a cheesy effect to distort his face. To point out how bad it was, when something is simply too cheesy for Vince McMahon...
Shockmaster. You really need to watch it, but lets give a rundown of what happens. 1. Explosions go off. 2. Shockmaster trips and falls through the wall. 3. Shockmaster's mask, a purple-silver spray-painted Star Wars Storm Trooper one, falls off, revealing the bald head of Fred Ottman, AKA "Tugboat". 4. Everyone present starts cracking up (clearly dropping a couple f-bombs on live television), including the announcers 5. Ole Anderson, providing the voice of the Shockmaster, desperately tries to salvage the segment and fails, due to the voice modulator sounding like a cardboard tube. (Bonus points: after the fall, you can clearly hear Ole, having forgotten to mute his mic, laughing and muttering, "Oh god.")
What makes it worse is that the only part of this that could have been salvaged was the "trip and fall" part. Ottman had actually had a few practice-runs and everything had gone fine, but when it came time to do it live, an extra cross-beam was added he didn't see until he was already mid-jump. If things had gone off without a hitch, it would have been a really bad-ass entrance. The costume and voice, however, still would have been atrocious.
During one WWE PPV, The Undertaker's entrance made it appear as if he was floating down to the ring. This would've looked cool, except the cameras filming the entranceway were angled completely wrong and revealed the board he was standing on.
Stuff like this has been known to happen during a play. Even professionally trained actors can probably tell you of a story where something either went wrong during the rehearsals, performances, or even Opening Night! Generally it's best to just improvise.
In A Very Potter Sequel, Joey Richter (as Ron) fails to take down a Taylor Lautner poster from Umbridge's office (It Makes Sense in Context) while switching scenes. He tries to play it off by saying it was held on by magic, and in the next scene "They're all over the school!" It's a shame that it messed up a plot point, since Peter Pettigrew was no longer on top of Ron.
Everything Fades is a common bad special effect. Rather than dying or leaving even a pile of bones, the character just winks out. This can be confusing if he instead flees, joins the party, etc.
The early Breath of Fire games are particularly egregious in this regard. Some characters would just disappear, and it was unclear that they were actually defeated for good or merely wounded, since some of them would show up later on.
In Star Control 3, there is a race called the Harika/Yorn. The Harika are a race of green goblin-like aliens, while the Yorn is a rodent species they use as food. As with most aliens in Star Control 3, they are played by puppets. At one point, the Harika captain you speak to eats one of the Yorn... which is done by having the Harika open his mouth, the Yorn puppet slide in an incredibly awkward fashion up the Harika's chest, go into his mouth, and sit there for about thirty seconds before the screen abruptly cuts to the original shot of Harika with Yorn in pocket.
For that matter, pretty much all of the aliens fall under this trope. It was actually marketed as a feature that they were 3D (this being about the time when 3D computer graphics were the "Next Big Thing" and thus had to be used regardless of whether it was a good idea or not) but the models (Animatronic puppets, in this case) were so poornote some, like the Human, Syreen, Arilou and Doog you encounter, falling straight into the Uncanny Valley; that they all looked considerably worse than the stylised animated 2D pictures used in SC2.
The original Twisted Metal has, in its endings, a picture of Calypso... played by an actor with burn makeup that looks like a community theater version of Freddy Krueger. This is a holdover from the nine-different-levels-of-failure original FMV endings, which feature such highlights as Needles Kane played by a man in a pathetic clown mask. Understandably, the series has used animated or CGI endings ever since.
The Command & Conquer series usually has decent cutscenes, despite them being largely FMVs on a greenscreen. But in Tiberium Sun, there would be scenes where real actors would be talking to noticeably CGI armies of soldiers.
Emperor Battle For Dune wasn't all that better. The actors' skin will occasionally have green highlights when there is no green light source nearby. The imperial crown is also very clearly made of rubber, and characters may occasionally stretch it out when placing in on their heads.
The Force Unleashed 2 had amazing graphics for the most part. Of course, if you start blowing up barrels, the barrels in the three-dimensional world look like some two-dimensional thing out of the Nintendo 64.
Lost Odyssey, which sported very sharp visuals, nevertheless fell victim to this trope in one dungeon. There was one dungeon which had some shallow pools of water, which they wanted to throw a ripply reflection of the characters as they moved in and around it. While the ripples are quite nice indeed, they cheated on the reflections rather badly. Instead of showing a true reflection, the water simply duplicated the character as he appeared onscreen before applying the ripple effects. This could even still work if they had inverted the reflection, having it appear upside down "below" the character, but they put the reflection BEHIND the character right-side up. The net effect made the "reflecting pool" into a mirror you could look into and see the back of your own head.
Oracle Of Tao has a weird mix of Stylistic Suck and a few actual animation glitches. When you defeat one boss, he is supposed to fall down dead with an animation. But since this animation typically doesn't activate until the next turn, this typically results in you targeting an empty screen before the animation suddenly creates a dying animation.
In the infamously unpolishedUltima IX, a cutscene has the Guardian chucking a fireball at Samhayne. The fireball misses the victim by a yard, upon which he spins in the wrong direction (from how he would have spun if the spell had actually made contact) and collapses.
Not to mention, when you poison Lord British with bread, he grabs his neck and falls...then stands right back up...then falls down again.
In the Starcraft cinematic at the end of the Zerg campaign. When the overmind rises after crashing into Aiur, you see fire at the edge of the crater it created. However, for the last few frames, while everything else is moving, the fire just... 'freezes' into place. It isn't all that noticeable, but once you've seen it...
One scene in Xenogears has Citan and Sigmund drinking tea on the Yggdrasil during one cut scene. As they drink, their sprites do not move at all, while the tea cups simply float to their mouths. They messed up tea cups...
The Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion. Despite having some of the best graphics ever seen in a video game, there's this bit: the cheap, looping fire animations on the sides of the bridge between Skingrad and Skingrad Castle. It's made even worse by the fact that there's two rows of about twenty of them, all identical and looping in sync.
For that matter, The Elder Scrolls III Morrowind had a similar problem with the glowing weapons that looked more like they were wrapped in saran-wrap, and enchanted robes that looked as though you'd got dressed in christmas wrapping paper.
In The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim, to become a werewolf, you have to undergo a ritual where you drink a werewolf's blood. The werewolf has her arm cut... and blood just suddenly appears in the ceremonial bowl.
Mass Effect had textures which sometimes took several seconds to fully load, leaving everything looking unpleasantly fuzzy and indistinct as the cinematics continued to play.
Burn:Cycle features live actors projected against pre-rendered backdrops. These environments don't always correspond to the actors' line of sight, especially the wide angles. When Sol his companion arrive at the hotel, the characters are projected at an extreme slant; Sol exits the frame by literally marching up the wall.
Streets of Rage 3 has some sounds mysteriously go mute during game play. This was mostly due to glitches in the programming. One example of this is the boss of round 5 is supposed to laugh around 3 times before he fights you. However, his laughter can be either off cue or not heard at all due to the glitches.
Star Wars: Super Return of the Jedi had a sound glitch with the boss of level 2 in Jabba's Palace. When you reflected the boss' shots back at him, his hurt voice clip is the same one of the character you are using.
In Rune Factory 2, there are some maps that are presented with a top-down camera angle, and others (like areas of the town) that are closer to the ground with more of a side-view camera angle. The problem is when it rains, it's simply an overlay of the rain animation on top of the screen. It looks okay in the top-view, but in the side-view you'll see the rain fall and splash on the sky itself. And sometimes NPCs will cut corners on the street and end up walking on top of the sides of buildings...
The Fallout New Vegas add-on Dead Money pushes the limits of the Gamebryo engine when in dialogue with Christine. For the first half of the mission, she is unable to speak, so her conversation is a bracketed description of her physical responses to your dialogue. The game tries its best to have her character model imitate what the text says, to jarring results, especially when a "nod" is her expressionless face looking down and then up very quickly.
Opening Remake 101: When remaking the Dragon Ball Z opening in CG, there's three things you shouldn't do - make the characters look like arthritic Lego people that barely emote, have Chaozu look like he came from the Uncanny Valley, and make sure that when Gohan flies past; not to noclip through his head. Sadly the opening to Budokai does all three.
The 2010 Medal of Honor game has something to this effect. Basically, every time a level starts, the whole map is generated, having different levels of detail depending on the distance. What happens is, after a cutscene, the game will load every texture in the farthest resolution and then add detail depending on the distance (sort of like a detail implosion-shockwave-thingy). While plenty of games do this, most other games get around this by loading the nearest ones first and then generating the rest of the visible environment. Here it takes around 5 to 10 seconds for the gun to gain detail. Ten seconds. Ten, immersion ruining, seconds.
The Sims 2: Seasons suffers this. Rather than creating the rain with particles (A technique which has existed for years) they decided to just overlay an animation of rain falling over the screen. This technique often looks fine, but not in a game with a freely movable camera. Half the time it looks like it's raining indoors, and when you zoom in on an indoor area and look out the window it's pretty clear that rain isn't falling outside. And worst of all, this makes the game lag like hell.
Halo 2 really pushed the limits of the Xbox's graphics rendering engine, and it shows, mostly in the cutscenes. They sometimes took up to a minute to completely render, leaving the graphics fuzzy and indistinct, characters not appearing where they should be or most jarringly of all missing body parts. It's quite amusing when for about thirty seconds, you get told how awesome those indistinct blobs of the Orbital Defense network cannons are by a headless Sgt. Johnson, who is speaking to a floating helmet and arm.
Averted in Halo3 where the explosions look beautifully rendered, especially in Theater mode. BungieHAD to make the game look good because of Theater, since now the plyaer was allowed to examine the landscape as long as he wanted, wherever he wanted. The fact that they had to use so many cheats in the first Halo game is the reason why Theater wasn't included in the Anniversary rerelease.
Knights of the Old Republic 2 had Kreia's flashback about her last days as Dark Lady of the Sith. When Sion grabs her head and slams her against the wall, his arm briefly runs through the camera.
In the original, Mission pleading with the player to help her brother Griff could easily be spoiled if, for example, she was holding a vibroblade. Because she never actually puts down her weapons before begging, she proceeds to ram about three feet of vibroblade through her own head.
Similarly, there is a cutscene in Silent Hill: Homecoming where a character's hand clips briefly, yet noticeably, through the camera's perspective.
Lara's teenager model in Tomb Raider Chronicles has a slight error when she holds a torch. Her hands are normally rendered as open palm, but when Lara holds a torch, the hand that is used to hold it suddenly switches to the hand from the adult Lara model, which is rendered as a closed, blocky fist and has a glove on it. This was most likely done in an attempt to save time on changing parts of the model with little effort.
Star Fox Adventures has some very broken effects-heat distortion, water reflections, and floor reflections are incorrectly programmed, marring the graphics of an otherwise-graphically-impressive game.
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker uses environment mapping for the flat surface of a shallow lake inside a boss room. The room, summoned enemies, and the boss itself are correctly reflected, but Link, the player character, is not visible at all in the reflection. Then again, by the time the developers got to that boss room, they were hastily trying to finish the game before the deadline.
The game also features very impressive distortion effects that are marred by one flaw - anything near the point of distortion is reflected. This does not apply to heat-based distortion, which is perfect.
Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse has impressive graphics for the most part, but there's one little scene in Episode 1 where Sybil's box of belongings fall down into the sewer, and as Sam and Max look down the hole, the view below isn't even rendered in 3D, it's a pre-rendered 2D image.
Playing a PC game with a screwy graphics card can count as this.
In Sonic Adventure 2, the scene where the Tornado flees the exploding island. The explosion is a pre-rendered video, and the Tornado is a 3D model put in front of the video.
Also, in cutscenes, the mouth movements hardly match the characters' words, and some characters might close their mouths before they're even through talking.
In Jet Set Radio, at Shibuya-Cho there are some areas that you have to go through in order to get to the next area of the city, in which they put a pre-rendered 2D image of city buildings in front of it. It makes you feel like you're Blue and Steve, how they "skidoo" into pictures.
Team Fortress 2 has a weapon for the Soldier called "The Original" which is a recreation of the Rocket Launcher from Quakenote The original Team Fortress was a mod for Quake complete with a the centered viewing angle from the game as opposed to the usual side angle. It's pretty obvious the model was made with older, 4:3 CRT monitors in mind, as increasing the "viewmodel" value to increase its distance from the player shows it cut off in the center and floating in mid-air during reload if the player is using a modern display device.
Singularity has a picture of a Soviet newspaper in one Info Dump scene. looking closely at it's text reveals that it's actually random strings of Latin characters, instead of actual words in Cyrillic.
In one mission in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, you have to follow Caesar to meet up with everyone else for some illegal street racing. CJ's sister, Kendl, is seen riding with Caesar in the cut scene. During the actual game play, Kendl's model is strangely replaced with a female NPC.
In Escape From Monkey Island in the cutscene, where Elaine and Guybrush discuss their course of action right after arriving to Melee island, the camera frequently is placed inside a monkey. Fortunately, most of the monkey is transparent, only its muzzle and several torso polygons are visible.
In Super Smash Bros. Brawl's Subspace Emissary, Pokemon Trainer is not CG-rendered like the other characters and instead just uses his ingame model. As a result he looks extremely out of place in the otherwise very well-designed cutscenes.
Homestar Runner poked fun of these with the Dangeresque films, with such things as scaling a skyscraper that's really a piece of cardboard on the ground with the camera tipped to one side. And then Homestar drops his glasses on the cardboard.
Perhaps taken as far as possible in Dangeresque 3: The Criminal Projective, in which Strong Sad wears a motion capture suit*
Or rather, is painted green and has ping-pong balls glued to him
and shouts "Raaah! I'm a scary monster!" Strong Bad pauses the movie at this point to yell at The Cheat for not bothering to actually add in the special effect. He says he'll do it in post, even though they are at the premiere of the film.
Dr. Insano: ...you do realize you're just standing on your tippy-toes, right?
This live-action RPG here. The cartoon graphics go with the live action ones in most horrible way known to man, but dear God the 'combat'. Cartoon enemies flying around randomly sometimes not even on the ground, animation that looks like puppets where used and the live action guy flailing a fake rubber sword around like a lunatic. Thankfully, the video links to the Retsupurae version, which at least has funny commentary.
Played for laughs in My Immortal: The Series, in which (among other things) the Slytherin common room is a suburban living room, Ebony's drink of human blood is cherryade and Draco's "666" numberplate is handwritten.
In this little number, you can tell pretty quickly that the interior shots are separate models that are either sunk separately, or just had a bucket of water dumped in, and in one shot it's clear that the model is sunk twice. Still, good effort for a $0 budget and a justification of "bordom."
Thisfantastically badSlender Man Mythos video, inventively titled "SLENDER MAN", features quite possibly the worst costume of the titular character in existence. Since they also managed to mess up video distortion effects, it's all the more obvious.
The movie Windigo, also based on the Mythos, has rather decent effects throughout... until Slendy's final appearence, in which he is seen throwing a poorly rendered CGI truck across the screen and Slendy himself seems to be animated via Stop Motion. Especially blatant as other Mythos videos have special effects ranging from ok (Marble Hornets) to exceptional (Tribe Twelve).
Deliberately invoked in the machinima portions of Red vs. Blue, where things such as wrenches, cakes, and wedding dresses have extremely obviously been added after the fact. More serious uses of animation and the all-CG sections of later seasons look significantly better and are nearly seamless at times, to the point that some of the special effects had to be made worse in season 10 for the sake of comedy (in particular, the pile of stuff the Blues have collected as a result of beating Red Team so many times).
Parodied in the Futurama episode guest starring (and spoofing) Star Trek, where the energy-being Melllvar looks like the standard bad effect used in the original 1960s series. He even Lampshades this when told that he looks like a cheap effect by screaming that he's not and electrocuting a redshirt. Again.
Sequel SeriesThe Legend of Korra doesn't escape either. In "Turning The Tides", the Humongous Mecha are incredibly slow-moving and poorly-rendered CGI. The mecha had appeared in previous episodes and looked fine, and their deficiencies only became obvious when they were attacking in broad daylight as opposed to a darkened corridor. This is especially bad given the exact same episode had traditionally-animated airships that looked quite good.
In an episode of Muppet Babies spoofing Star Trek, Captain Kermit gives orders to activate the Warp Drive. The dialogue implies that the warp drive is warping everything else, but for some reason somebody forgot to warp the video.
Like the CG in Winx Club wasn't mostly mediocre and overused already, sometimes it even showed bad technical failures. Examples taken from the second season follow.
In one of the earlier episodes, we see a shot of Sky and Brandon riding their motos to Alfea, and the trees on the sides of the road disappear suddenly, before "going down" the horizon.
When some of the characters go to Sky's home planet to save Diaspro, there's a shot of their ship practically going through two asteroids from one animation frame to the next.
When the fairies go to Cloudtower, and the Trix take temporary control of the school (which is basically a living castle), the entire building shakes and even rotates slightly. When doing this, it blends with the rock of the mountain it's built on.
In the last episode of the season, there's a scene with rocks falling in water, rendered in an atrocious way.
Batman The Animated Series has one noticeable one. In the episode "Clock King", there's a scene with Batman and Alfred in a Rolls Royce, normal quality animation except the only thing visible through the car windows is pure white. This is a failure for two reasons — no background and the series was known for having backgrounds created on black paper.
The CG intro for the first season was pretty jarring and, frankly, just outright ugly. Later seasons used more traditional animation and better CG effects.
Parodied in an episode of Freakazoid that introduced the invisible Egyptian wizard Invisibo: The narrator announced that the special effects aren't very scary, and asks the viewers to pretend they are. For the next couple of minutes, Invisibo is represented by a rod suspended by very obvious strings. After this goes on for a while, the narrator announces that they've embarrassed the network executives into giving them a bigger special effects budget, after which Invisibo's rod actually floats and glows.
Voltron The Third Dimension had pretty lame CG already, but it actually had a disturbingly glaring flaw kept in the Stock Footage! When the Lions' control sticks slide into place, you can actually see them clip through the pilot's knees, and they kept this everytime the sequence is shown!
It could also be for Nickelodeon pacing the production company for the short (all the shorts for the show are made in separate studios, save for Action League Now and the Henry and June shorts, which were made in-house), causing them to have less time to edit in order to get the finished short to Nickelodeon on time.
The infamous crash scene from the Thomas the Tank Engine episode "The Flying Kipper". Pay very close attention during the scene when they show Henry crashing into the freight train head-first.
The show seemed to have some problems with putting on the face models at times, as scenes occasionally have them slipping off or using the wrong emotion (eg. scenes of an engine narrated as being worried or cross while having a cheerful face on). This was more prominant in early seasons, where budgets limited the number of models more.
Deliberately invoked by the 1947 Tex Avery cartoon Lucky Ducky; during one chase scene, the two dimwit hunters and the duck they're chasing run past a "Technicolor Ends Here" sign, beyond which the characters and scenery lose all their color. One of the hunters gets run over by the other one right next to the sign as the chase resumes, leaving him half in monochrome and half in color.
Anytime Spin runs the trainingcourse, at the end he throws four laser cuffs, but one of them disappears before hitting a target.
At several points in Prophecies and Guesstimates, once Spin's Eleventh Hour Superpower activates, Spin is not glowing when supposed to be.
In the same episode, when Bunto confronts Spin, the blockade he's set up disappears after a few seconds.
In Vett, when Spin and Vett are fighting at Xendover Stadium, at one point Vett is knocked onto his back by a hit but flips up instantly, in a very broken-looking moment.
The Ajax Trax from Ajax make no sense whatsoever, with a vague, choppy sort of teleportation.
In Inferno, Macro's flamethrower flames seem very solid...
The crazed Zurasho who attacks Spin and Octo in #044 has the same problem in her blowtorch that Macro had with his flamethrower.
Botch's laser from Scorched seems very choppy.
While Transformers Energon had some very ugly CG, Beast Wars (The first fully CG Transformers entry) had several of its own. The most glaring examples were in season 1, in which the models for Cheetor and Tigatron's animal forms were nothing more than floating body parts, Dinobot also had a very visible seam in his Velociraptor form's chest, and each time Megatron bent his knees, the kneecaps got distorted. There was also an obvious lack of shadows. The other seasons may fare better, but they too have their own share of failures. Such as non-Transmetal Rattrap at the end of Code of Hero, Rampage's disappearing tank treads in Transmutate and him swapping legs with Depth Charge in Changing of the Guard. It also manages to slide into Conspicuous CG because several characters (Rhinox, Waspinator) never received any upgrades during the technology bumps between seasons.
Transformation sequences, especially for the original characters, turned out particularly bad-looking in a few shots. Dinobot's may be the worst: at times, his robot torso simply sprouted out of his beast mode, while his robot and beast limbs all clipped through each other, and his raptor head floated down to form his chest-plate. And sometimes, he just deformed into all sorts of weird shapes.
Rhinox's is equally bad — no wonder, they only faintly resembled their toys, so their transformations cheated a lot. In Rhinox's case, this involved his rhino mode's back legs deforming into giant shapeless blobs before being replaced by his robot legs.
One closeup of season 1 scenery (episode Possession) had leaves, branches and random tree-parts floating in air. They could have focused the camera on a better rendered tree easily.
In the same episode, when the Maximals "surrender" to Starscream, Optimus' head is stretched out and his mouth doesn't move as he talks.
In the episode Double Dinobot, Dinobot runs "into" the camera, and for a brief moment, you can see his "inner head". And during the scene of the two Dinobots fighting, they randomly have strange bulges coming out of the bottom of their animation model. The character actually suffers from animation failures a lot, because his dinosaur design isn't well suited for all the wild movements he has to make, and often even such simple motions like rearing his head back can reveal these shortcomings.
Dinobot II, in Feral Scream part 2, has his normally solid beast-mode crotch-plate stretching in unison with one of his legs.
The sequel Beast Machines generally fared much better due to the heavily stylized CGI. At the same time, light and fire effects tended to cast shadows and behave like solid objects (see the torches carried by the proto-humans in Waspinator's flashback), and there is an infamously lousy shot at the end of the final episode when the reformatted Transformers appear to be sliding across the landscape as they run.
Transformers Prime, being made close to a decade after the end of Beast Wars fairs a lot better, but still have very clear times when the animators screwed up. The best example of this can be found in Darkness Rising: Part 1 in which the Autobot logo on the floor of the Autobot's base was the movie's. However, unlike most of the other examples, this was fixed for future airings. Bumblebee's eyes and Arcee's pink accents change constantly throughout the series as well. Consistancy, what'sthat?
One Shall Rise Part 2 has Miko being dragged away from the base with very jerky animation and poor lighting.
The most horrifying goof comes from the S2 episode Orion Pax, Part 2: Deformed Ratchet◊. The animators apparently forgot to turn on a couple animation layers, resulting in the Autobots missing random parts of their bodies. Among others, Bumblebee lacks his chest-headlights, Arcee is bare-chested (don't worry, unlike a certain other show, this one doesn't show robo-nipples), and Ratchet is missing his face, but his teeth and eyes are still floating there. It's a split second thing... thankfully!
G.I. Joe: Renegades has horrible effects to show slow moving falling debris around the start of the Tomax & Xamot episode. It's very embarrassing.
Parts of Captain N The Game Master episode "How's Bayou?" were not completed when it first aired, and as a result, several shots were missing their backgrounds, effects were missing, and some dialogue and animation seems off. Reruns of the episode were the final product, with the backgrounds intact, effects added, dialogue that seemed rerecorded, and a redone music score. Oddly for some reason, the DVD set with the episode uses the original, unfinished version, as does the version found on Jaroo (the "Hulu for kids' shows" site).
In the Family Guy episode "He's Too Sexy for his Fat", Chris in one scene is grabbed by a bear from its mouth and is shaken repeatedly. The bear and Chris are seen in the reflection in the river and there's a difference in the animation speed between the characters and the reflection; the reflection's animation is at normal speed while the animation of the bear and Chris suddenly doubles and is out of sync with the animations in the reflection because of it.
Another episode had Peter being chased around by a dog before he climbs up a wall and into a window. The dog keeps up with Peter but then the dog suddenly runs slower than normal, making it look like Peter was able to outrun the dog by miles.
In the South Park episode "Faith Hilling", when the cat leader is shown inside a cage, you can clearly see the background from the video inside the cage. But then again, this is South Park, so it's probably just Stylistic Suck.
Disney's The Little Mermaid uses CGI to display ships. Most of the time, the CGI is just barely Conspicuous CG, but there is one, easily missable error with one of the ships. At the climax, Ursula raises some sunken ships from the bottom of the ocean to show her power over the ocean. In one scene where Eric, the prince that Ariel is in love with, is piloting one of these raised ships to kill Ursula, one of the CGI-rendered ships disappears for a split second before the camera shifts to Ursula.
Redakai had a scene in episode 10 where Lokar supposedly shows off amazing dodging skill by dodging a series of shockwaves sent his way. However, a closer look shows that he is dodging into the blasts, rather than away from them.