Hyper-Realistic CGI Is Killing Photography?

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Wired has published a post about the software KeyShot.

KeyShot is an entirely CPU based standalone 3D rendering and animation system for 3D data. It has been designed to take the complexity out of rendering realistic images. KeyShot is used by designers, engineers and CG professionals worldwide to quickly and easily create realistic images and animations of their 3D models.

(Half of the image above is a photo, and half is a CGI rendering.)

“Computer-generated images are moving out of theaters and onto store shelves and catalog pages, thanks to software that makes it nearly impossible to distinguish the real from the photorealistic.

Encroaching upon what was once the domain of sci-fi filmmakers, product designers have started employing CGI and utilizing a program called KeyShot to give their digital models lighting effects that makes them appear to be actual items photographed in a studio or out in the wild.

You’ve likely seen KeyShot’s output, although you may not have realized it. That ultra-perfect computer image, with dead-on lighting that highlights all its critical features? The sweatsuit with the fabric that clings together where the seams stretch? The uber-clean Jeep deep in the hills on a gravely trail? All done in KeyShot, a program that enhances CAD creations to the point that they become indistinguishable from the real thing.

“The entire Microsoft Surface marketing campaign was done in KeyShot, and if you go out and buy any Microsoft product, the picture on the box is made with KeyShot,” says Henrik Wann Jensen, an Academy Award-winning computer graphics professor who founded KeyShot’s parent company, Luxion. ”The same goes for pretty much every smartphone, tablet, even the Nook was made in KeyShot.”

Dave Vogt, an industrial designer who uses KeyShot in his work for Skullcandy, says that the speed that the software creates its output is a huge advantage. “Being able to pull in 3-D and have a juicy render sub 5 minutes is pretty impressive,” he says. “It’s a huge visualization asset for us to be able to instantaneously reroute a colorway mid-meeting and work through ideas.”

Other designers echo Vogt’s sentiment about the pace of work that KeyShot offers, making it stand out above other packages that try to produce similar effects. Tim Feher, who generates images for some of the top automakers, notes, “I have real, artistic-grade paints and I can see the impact of my work instantly. For me, speed is key. And KeyShot allows me to demonstrate multiple iterations quickly.”

(Read More via Wired)