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Working With Cgi

December 6, 2013
    

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 Personal work is a great excuse to just play and CGI is one of my favorite toys! My understanding of how to utilize artificial components in photographic composites has opened many doors and I am continually exploring.



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 From that day forward I began to look at all projects from a standpoint where I would decide which portions would be “real” and which could be more effectively generated in the computer. Even today I still approach every project the same way, beginning with the overall concept and comparing all techniques, photographic and computer-generated, on an equal footing.



 I love to build things with my hands - I loved metal shop and wood shop when I was young, and my plan A was to be a carpenter. Creating images with 3D software is really just an extension of that.





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 Use Stock Models: You can license existing 3-D models of nearly anything you can imagine – from every day objects to fantastical science fiction gizmos and environments.  Most of these models come in the 3-D equivalent of layers, allowing you to reposition, add and delete elements, change the materials they’re made of, change their size and even alter their shapes.  This dramatically reduces the time you spend building the CGI components and lets you focus on lighting, composition and compositing CGI and photographed elements into the final deliverable. Do  It Yourself:  While the learning curve is steep, it’s not insurmountable.  Depending on your skills and interests, you can always choose to build your CGI elements from scratch.  Lynda.com offers excellent tutorials on 3D imaging and, depending on the application you choose, the software developer may also provide in-depth training resources. About a year into our expansion into CGI, we recently incorporated all three approaches into the first hybrid CGI-Photography project we’ve completed for a client.  As we discovered in our early days of working with Photoshop, the trick to profitability lies in accurately assessing when it’s more expedient to do it in camera or create it in post and figuring out when it’s more cost-effective to do it yourself or hire it out. Instead of scouting around the dodgier parts of Baltimore, tracking down owners and pulling permits only to haul and set up ~500 lbs of gear in the sweltering August heat, keeping one eye on the Escalade that always seems to circle the block a few too many times, we captured our client’s products in studio and created the rest using CGI.

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