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A Case for Photo-realism in Computer Graphics

To get a clear understanding of what photo-realism in computer graphics is – it is where the artist strives to achieve a representation of objects or a scene as through it is a photograph.

Images that portray photo-realism are those that are created using a non photographic medium and can therefore be described as photo realistic images.

The peculiar thing about these type of images is that they are usually created and target computer graphics be it animations or still digital art.

Why Should we Strive for Photo-realism in 3D?

The simple answer would be, because it can be done or because it is self satisfying. That does not do justice to the question so maybe we had better dive a little bit deeper and find a few more viable reasons as to why we should strive to be more photo-realistic with our CG art.

Unless you are deliberately styling your computer graphics to target alternate effects then you might want to continue reading on and find out what benefits you can get by rendering photo-realistic graphics.

  1. For starters it is a highly sought after skill. Take for instance in the advertising, TV and movie industries. With studios trying to cut production costs on props, sets, extras and more, it has serious cost benefits to use CG in the production pipeline.When you must combine computer graphics and real camera footage in a single frame then you need to be as photo-realistic as possible. The only way the two different mediums can merge seamlessly is if the CG components have been rendered photo-realistically to look as though they were really there in the shoot.
  2. More and more Triple-A games are taking advantage of advancements in computer technology and the increased power in computer hardware to get more out of their published games.Technology such as CUDA, OpenGL or DirectX have included more features in their latest releases. These advancements are demanding more of the artist to use photo-realism and therefore the honors is on them to step up to the challenge. This has given rise to stunning looking games with physics and environment interactions that were only dreamed of just a decade ago.
  3. Back to the movie industry. We have a lot of Indie movie makers or low budget movies that simply cannot afford to film large scale scenes or worse still, build massive sets.That is simply not economically viable and the only way the production can be done is through the use of computer graphics.

    So to make the final production more convincing and appealing to the audience the photo-realism is a no compromise decision.

  4. Real-time architectural simulation is another area where property developers, interior designers and architects are resorting to using photo-realistic representations of properties even before the foundations have been laid.This allows the developers to find buyers or renters right from the onset of the project. The more the level of photo-realism that goes into the images the better the prospects of making a sale are.
  5. Enhancing marketing and branding material such as brochures and brand manuals. More and more manufacturers of items such as furniture, apparel etc are resorting to using photo-realism in their catalogs.This is being done to enhance the products in ways that would cost an arm and a leg should they have resorted to using professional photography. This is especially if the company is dealing with a catalog with hundreds of products.

Photo-realism is a technique that every CG artist should strive to achieve and master as can be seen from above that the opportunities across different industries are immense.

To get started with creating CG content and eventually achieve photo-realism in your final product you can dive into tools such as Maya, 3D Studio Max and Blender among others.

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