The title can be a bit confusing. What is CGI? Well, Computer Generated Imagery is when an image, either a still or a part of a video, is entirely made using a computer rather than being captured by a camera. You can now see why I put the word photography in quotes, because no photons are actually being captured and to call CGI a photography technique would not be right.

Now, the advertising industry is using more and more CGI shots. It has several advantages over traditional photography. The ones I like most are the ability to change the perspective without having to reshoot the whole thing and the fact that you can control the lighting very rapidly and accurately. I'm definitely going to need to learn a lot more about it but here are my five favourite and most interesting articles about the subject so far. Just click on the image to go to its Web page.

1. Wired's

The good things about this article is that is a bit lengthy and has lots of CGI examples. It also sports a slew of citations from industry leaders. The author writes quite a bit about KeyShot, a software that can take a CAD (Computer-Aided Design) file and turn it into a photorealist, life-like image.

2. Mark Zawila's

Mark is one of my favourite still life/product photographer around. In his latest blog post, he shares his thoughts on whether or not still life photographers should adopt and offer CGI services. Zawila adds a nice touch at the end where he shares some of his most favourite CGI artists so that you can get started having inspiration.

3. Milkytea's

As you can see from the title, this text shares eight advantages of CGI and why you should consider the technique. I'd say that my favourite point from the list is #4, which states that CGI allows you to be more creative. Milkytea is a group of "Creative Solution Studios" and have real world working experience with CGI because they offer such services

4. Mark Meyer’s

What I like about this text is the fact that Meyer actually states the only reason why “real” photography will survive forever: it’s true authenticity for things like emotional events - its connection to the real world. His piece is more like a collection of his thoughts about the subject rather than stating facts, and I think that it has his place.

5. CGSociety’s

The last article for this blog post is actually more of a story. It’s about how IKEA, the furniture company, uses CGI for ~75% of his imagery. The whole process started in 2004 and evolved up to today, where they have tens of thousands of 3D models. The post describes a bit of their workflow and how and why IKEA uses CGI. In order to maintain the cozy home feel to their CGI still lifes, IKEA had every of their 3D modeler learn photography (to get a sense of what’s going on in a studio photographer’s mind) and every of their set photog learn 3D modeling. This way, the transition is seamless.

I really think the studio photographers should take a look, at least, at CGI.

Are you already doing/using CG images for your projects? Are you interested or prefer the authenticity of actual photography? Share your thoughts in the comments below!