What makes CGI convincing?

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  11 November 2013
Quote: The only way you could hide her from me is if all the 'real video clips' were shot in a Botox clinic.


There are some weird looking people ALL OVER the place. I'm not suggesting that I would pick 10 real people that would make it easy.

You think you got it in 10...maybe? 15, 20,30? No way. Throw in the wildcard/scientific control group of zero are fake, then give that test to any and all CG supes with 5+ years experience...low single digit percent correct rate is what I would wager A LOT on.
 
  11 November 2013
In my experience of what makes CGI convincing is lighting and making the CGI look really crappy. CGI is by its nature ultraclean neat tidy straight shiny etc. in the "real world" textures are messy, imperfect. So to make CGI images look real need to add dings scratches dirt muck anything you can throw out it because if you don't just doesn't look real.

In conjunction with that lighting of the lighting reacts to the textures makes a huge difference as to whether looks real or not. For example the door, A door in the real world has paint on it that paint has a loads of variation through out, scratches dings gloss rubbed off etc. that variation in the door affects how the light bounces and reacts to it giving loads of variation on what seems to be a consistent surface but it's not. It's attention to detail like this but is required to pull off a believable CGI image wants to look real.

Also lighting in the sense of how light in the real world is bouncing and how everything is a light source etc. etc. you must understand color temperature as well that's huge.

Last edited by gauranga108 : 11 November 2013 at 07:20 PM.
 
  11 November 2013
Originally Posted by doffer: I couldn't possibly disagree more!
Point in case: I have never seen anything done in cg, that even remotely matches the stuff the great artists of past times did. Like Raphaels subtle, almost fragile sketches.
Pure beauty! You should go to Paris


I think Disney 2D animation is the best example of pure art so far in animation. Simply because of the freedom artists had at the time; think about it, they could draw anything their imagination could come up with, with hardly any technological issues or limitations to overcome. I think as soon as the technology allows users to be fully flexible, CG will become more of an art form. Because with art there is no right or wrong, it's a form of expression, and currently technology forces us to get things 'right' all the time with CG.
 
  11 November 2013
Originally Posted by gauranga108: In my experience of what makes CGI convincing is lighting and making the CGI look really crappy. CGI is by its nature ultraclean neat tidy straight shiny etc. in the "real world" textures are messy, imperfect. So to make CGI images look real need to add dings scratches dirt muck anything you can throw out it because if you don't just doesn't look real.

In conjunction with that lighting of the lighting reacts to the textures makes a huge difference as to whether looks real or not. For example the door, A door in the real world has paint on it that paint has a loads of variation through out, scratches dings gloss rubbed off etc. that variation in the door affects how the light bounces and reacts to it giving loads of variation on what seems to be a consistent surface but it's not. It's attention to detail like this but is required to pull off a believable CGI image wants to look real.

Also lighting in the sense of how light in the real world is bouncing and how everything is a light source etc. etc. you must understand color temperature as well that's huge.


Totally agree, this is the kind of comments we need, thanks for your input.
 
  11 November 2013
I think what makes cg convincing is when it is so good you stop caring whether you are convinced or not. There is so much amazing work in circulation and the promise of so many incredible innovations by brilliant individuals that the integrity of computer graphics (3d or otherwise) isn't important at all.
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  11 November 2013
It's not even about being realistic. It's about the amount of detail. With CGI you have the ability to make something detailed as, say, maybe The Hobbit or Call of Duty? Neither of those things are completely realistic, obviously. But they do have a high amount of detail. And just because you're using CGI, doesn't mean that you have to go realistic. The artists of Kung Fu Panda or Wreck-it-Ralph were not going for a detailed look whatsoever. They were going for style. What I'm saying is, is that they had the FREEDOM to go more detailed. And the larger amount of freedom for the artist is what makes it appealing for the artist. And the higher amount of possibilities will give you a better change for high quality art, meaning that it is also more appealing to the audience.
 
  11 November 2013
Originally Posted by serenatheanimator: It's not even about being realistic. It's about the amount of detail. With CGI you have the ability to make something detailed as, say, maybe The Hobbit or Call of Duty? Neither of those things are completely realistic, obviously. But they do have a high amount of detail. And just because you're using CGI, doesn't mean that you have to go realistic. The artists of Kung Fu Panda or Wreck-it-Ralph were not going for a detailed look whatsoever. They were going for style. What I'm saying is, is that they had the FREEDOM to go more detailed. And the larger amount of freedom for the artist is what makes it appealing for the artist. And the higher amount of possibilities will give you a better change for high quality art, meaning that it is also more appealing to the audience.

Sorry, but are you seriously suggesting CG offers a wider spectrum between realism and stylization than painting would?
http://www.complex.com/art-design/2...igal-ozeri-2012

Or are you arguing that solely in the case of animation?

Not that either is a particularly strong point IMO.
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  11 November 2013
Originally Posted by Kanga: I think what makes cg convincing is when it is so good you stop caring whether you are convinced or not.


But I am trying to find out what makes it 'good' (convincing).
 
  11 November 2013
Originally Posted by CG247: But I am trying to find out what makes it 'good' (convincing).


The more I read this thread, the more I am believing the answer is different for everyone. For instance I didn't think "Polar Express" character were ever made to look 100% real. They were made close enough so adults and kids could tell they were CG and still be impressed with the quality.
On the other hand, the Bridges CG character in Tron disturbed me. It was very well done but sometimes I got the impression there were worms or something similar crawling under the surface of the facial skin.
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  11 November 2013
I think a key part is what you can get away with vs. being 100% loyal and accurate. I am sure eventually we could flawlessly simulate/calculate anything but it would be an immense amount of data and processing. Just like when I study anatomy for art I don't worry much about forms that don't alter external form, not every muscle can be seen pushing skin form so why worry about it. I have an animators perspective so I will share my own example of this logic.


Here is an old short from 1942 that is a great example of smear frames, a technique that is fairly gone since the rise of 3d animation. Look for shots of the villain character doing fast movements in-between well developed poses.





Even though all this distortion is happening it feels right when you watch it at full speed, I know its a stylized cartoon but its a looser mindset that can help reach the feeling of realisim. Even in the smear drawings there are still rules being followed though as the main forms properly follow the paths of action. It was a means of compressing a movement into just a handful of moments though the end result still feels plausible as a jerky movement, most people don't even realize how distorted he becomes.
 
  11 November 2013
Seems like there's two issues here that people are getting mixed up.

One is the question of what makes CG photoreal? I think this is what the OP wants answers to. Things like dirt on your textures, photographic elements comped on top of your CG, etc.. Actual techniques to use to make something appear photoreal.

The other question, which I think is more important, is what makes a viewer suspend their disbelief, become immersed in what they're watching and believe it? This has nothing to do with photoreal CG and realistic textures. It has everything to do with story, characters, setting up the world they live in, and sticking to the rules of that world and connecting with the audience.

Look at how many live action films there are, can't get any more photoreal than that, and they're still not convincing.
 
  11 November 2013
Originally Posted by CG247: I suppose it's all about the story, if a realistic CGI human is necessary to tell the story better then it would be appropriate, but that's never the case as you can film them. I guess all choices should be made because of the story, and if made for other reasons (e.g. technical difficulties, showing off, experimentation with new technology) will make the audience reject the film


Well have you ever thought that perhaps there is such a thing as "Serious Style" Animation to tell a "Serious Style" story?

I also agree with Leigh in that animation shouldn't try to replicate real life as a goal. My personal belief in animation is "Reality is only the starting point".



P.S.: Also Manuel Huertas Marchena hit it on the head. Regardless of what CGI is being done, good compositing is the bare minimum to make sure the result is convincing.
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Last edited by CGIPadawan : 11 November 2013 at 11:50 PM.
 
  11 November 2013
Originally Posted by theta2: Seems like there's two issues here that people are getting mixed up.

One is the question of what makes CG photoreal? I think this is what the OP wants answers to. Things like dirt on your textures, photographic elements comped on top of your CG, etc.. Actual techniques to use to make something appear photoreal.

The other question, which I think is more important, is what makes a viewer suspend their disbelief, become immersed in what they're watching and believe it? This has nothing to do with photoreal CG and realistic textures. It has everything to do with story, characters, setting up the world they live in, and sticking to the rules of that world and connecting with the audience.

Look at how many live action films there are, can't get any more photoreal than that, and they're still not convincing.



Actually I am not necessarily interested in what makes cgi photorealistic, the second issue you mentioned is more important to me, which is why I mentioned about how a good story is important. But that is a valid point, I think the critical error many realistic films forget is the story telling part and focus too much on the look. But obviously there should be a balance between the two, you can't make something believable if you don't make it photorealistic if you're using a live action backplate for example. But even if you manage to make it realistic, it won't necessarily be convincing unless it's there as part of a great story.

Anyway just my thoughts, thanks for pointing that out.
 
  11 November 2013
Originally Posted by ThE_JacO: Sorry, but are you seriously suggesting CG offers a wider spectrum between realism and stylization than painting would?
http://www.complex.com/art-design/2...igal-ozeri-2012

Or are you arguing that solely in the case of animation?

Not that either is a particularly strong point IMO.


I'm talking about animation purposes. Could you imagine how long it would take to make a movie as realistic as those paintings? You might as well just make a live-action movie. Can you think of any traditionally animated movie that was more detailed than a CGI animated movie? You can see small details on characters, such as the fur texture in Monster's Inc. or Kung Fu Panda. But do you think anyone would try to call those movies realistic? It's still more detailed.
 
  11 November 2013
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