In the world of CGI, photography must rule and here's why...


These days CGI imagery can be so incredibly life-like and realistic that you might question what use remains for photography in the world of architectural visualisations. When we can render something so absolutely accurately using CGI, why bother to have a camera about the office?

In fact, truly exceptional CGI owes a great deal to photography and photographic skills, and any CGI creative worth their salt will cultivate these skills and learn how to transfer them into his art. Understanding how a camera and a photographer capture inspiring images, is the best way to create them.

Composition is king…

Before a single surface is rendered, an experienced CGI artist will take the time to consider and select the best angles and viewpoints for an image. Working with the client, we seek to understand the design from all aspects and to get clear on which parts are to be highlighted. We can then select a viewpoint which shows off the key features of a design to greatest effect – just as a photographer would walk around his subject and choose the best spot and the most flattering angle to shoot from. When selecting a viewpoint we must also consider the aesthetic of the finished image and how the different textures, colours and design elements sit alongside each other.

Focus on lighting…

Lighting is an absolutely essential tool in our 3D CGI toolbox. The most talented photographers truly understand lighting and work with it to their advantage in every single shot. It is light that brings textures, materials and spatial design to life. It is through beams of light flooding into or out of a property that relationships are made between indoor and outdoor elements of design. Different lighting tones and times of day can create mood, ambience and energy in a CGI image that brings it to life. Photographers will carefully plan their lighting and we as CGI artists must do the same carefully rendering and balancing man-made and natural light sources in every image.

Attention to details…

When it comes down to details, they are what really bring a design to life and -just as in photography- choosing which details to highlight can make or break the overall impact of an image. In a finished property development there are so many minute details to be appreciated and every single element has been intentionally chosen and placed as part of the design. When rendering a CGI image of a design, we the creatives are responsible for populating the scene with these details in as natural a manner as possible. Here we can take guidance from well-composed interior photography – including just enough little touches to create a life-like realism, without going too far and crowding the scene.

Combining the two…

CGI and photography work incredibly well together, when skilfully combined to produce and architectural photo-montage. Computer generated images are overlaid and the blended onto photographs to produce stunningly life-like visualisations with rich and textured natural settings. Property design concepts can be brought to life and blend seamlessly into their surroundings before a single brick has been laid. This technique requires a solid understanding of all of the above elements of photography so that the CGI model can sit into the photographed surroundings and achieve total congruency of lighting, camera angle and perspective.

At Archilime, our CGI team are highly experienced and skilled in delivering CGI imagery and photo-montage. Our in-house photographers will attend site to deal with any project specifications you require and get a first hand feel for your design. If you would like to discuss our services in greater detail and find out how we can bring your designs to life, drop us a line today via email or give us a call on 01364 654 267.

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To find out what package we would recommend for your development, get in touch and tell us about your vision. We can take it from there.