Why Photorealism

JasmineSkunkJasmineSkunk Posts: 1,245
edited January 2 in The Commons

Hey, Everyone. smiley

I've recently engaged in several conversations about Photorealism in CGI, here in the Daz forums and other places.

One of the topics that always comes up when having this discussion goes something like, "Yeah, mmm... but, I *like* stylised/toon 3D art. Why do I need (to know about) photorealism?"

Then the debate ensues...

Well, I came across this video. It's a pretty long video, but it's just the first 10 minutes that give a really good arguement for "why" photorealism is important to strive for when creating any CGI. So... I thought I'd share it. smiley Take a peek and let me know what you guys think. Thanks.

Post edited by JasmineSkunk on
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Comments

  • DivamakeupDivamakeup Posts: 5,748
    edited January 2

    Photo-realism is NOT "important to strive for". It comes down to what people like - and it's an art form like any other. There are paintings in museums that are just splatters of paint on a canvas, other paintings where it's just a sphere or a square on an otherwise empty canvas, and those sell for insane amounts of money all the while people debate if it's "art" or not. When it comes to art, it's not "important to do x" or "important to do y" - because art is subjective and people do what they, personally, like.

    Personally, I love photo-realism and that's what I strive for. However, I'd never tell others that it's important that THEY too need to strive for that. :)

    PS - That video is geared toward people who want to have a career in the entertainment and/or advertisement industries. I doubt most people here are striving for that.

    Post edited by Divamakeup on
  • Photo-realism is NOT "important to strive for". It comes down to what people like - and it's an art form like any other. There are paintings in museums that are just splatters of paint on a canvas, other paintings where it's just a sphere or a square on an otherwise empty canvas, and those sell for insane amounts of money all the while people debate if it's "art" or not. When it comes to art, it's not "important to do x" or "important to do y" - because art is subjective and people do what they, personally, like.

    Personally, I love photo-realism and that's what I strive for. However, I'd never tell others that it's important that THEY too need to strive for that. :)

    PS - That video is geared toward people who want to have a career in the entertainment and/or advertisement industries. I doubt most people here are striving for that.

    This +10.

  • NyghtfallNyghtfall Posts: 397

    Photo-realism is NOT "important to strive for". It comes down to what people like - and it's an art form like any other.

    This.

    I completed my first 3D art project with DS back in 2009.  By the time I was done, I had developed a strong interest in photo-realism because I hated having to jury-rig my lighting and shadows.  Then, Paolo released the first version of Reality and got me interested in working with physically-based materials and rendering.  Luxrender exposed me to a whole new world and I could not have been happier.  Fast-forward to today, I am in love with Iray and GPU-based rendering.

    So, yeah... I definitely agree, photo-realism is only important to artists who want to strive for it.

  • JasmineSkunkJasmineSkunk Posts: 1,245
    edited January 2

    Photo-realism is NOT "important to strive for". It comes down to what people like - and it's an art form like any other. There are paintings in museums that are just splatters of paint on a canvas, other paintings where it's just a sphere or a square on an otherwise empty canvas, and those sell for insane amounts of money all the while people debate if it's "art" or not. When it comes to art, it's not "important to do x" or "important to do y" - because art is subjective and people do what they, personally, like.

    Personally, I love photo-realism and that's what I strive for. However, I'd never tell others that it's important that THEY too need to strive for that. :)

    PS - That video is geared toward people who want to have a career in the entertainment and/or advertisement industries. I doubt most people here are striving for that.

    Well, that is the argument, right?

    That art is art and art is in the eye of the beholder... or something like that.

    I'm not sure where I sit/stand in having an opinion about it. I've just noticed that people DO have strong feelings and thought it might be interesting to get some insights/feedback. smiley

     

    Post edited by JasmineSkunk on
  • Serene NightSerene Night Posts: 10,649

    I don’t strive for photorealism which I’ve always found a bit overrated as a goal. I strive to convey emotion and to tell a story which is far more important to my artistic goals

  • Photo-realism is NOT "important to strive for". It comes down to what people like - and it's an art form like any other. There are paintings in museums that are just splatters of paint on a canvas, other paintings where it's just a sphere or a square on an otherwise empty canvas, and those sell for insane amounts of money all the while people debate if it's "art" or not. When it comes to art, it's not "important to do x" or "important to do y" - because art is subjective and people do what they, personally, like.

    Personally, I love photo-realism and that's what I strive for. However, I'd never tell others that it's important that THEY too need to strive for that. :)

    PS - That video is geared toward people who want to have a career in the entertainment and/or advertisement industries. I doubt most people here are striving for that.

    Well, that is the argument, right?

    That art is art and art is in the eye of the beholder... or something like that.

    I'm not sure where I sit/stand in having an opinion about it. I've just noticed that people DO have strong feelings and thought it might be interesting to get some insights. smiley

     

    I don't see that there is any "argument". Art and music are almost completely up to the individual. I have always gone for realism in my art, even before 3d, but that's just my personal choice and style for how I approach my stories, I.E. Grounding them in a believable, if not real, world. Not everyone wants to do that. And that's their choice. Great example: I am a HUGE Godzilla fan, but I HATE the most recent Japanese films, Shin Godzilla and the anime film Godzilla: Monster Planet, for the reasons of I grew up with Godzilla as a mutated dinosaur. Shin Godzilla is a mutated fish that evolves into a dinosaur like creature and has over the top ridiculous powers, including every cell of its body being able to grow into a new Godzilla. And Monster Planet has a Godzilla who is a giant walking plant. Both are FAR, FAR from what I like. So I'm not gonna watch em. There are TONS of other Godzilla fans applauding both films, and Shin won the Japanese Academy Award. I don't personally get it, but that's the subjective nature of art. And if everyone went for the same thing, it'd be kinda boring.

  • L'AdairL'Adair Posts: 4,216

    Most of the time, I strive for photo-realism. I blame that on a strong background as a photographer. But sometimes I like to step out of my comfort zone and tinker with more stylized images. So I agree, art is what you think it is.

  • DaWaterRatDaWaterRat Posts: 2,660

    I did just watch the first 10 mintues, and sorry, I'm not convinced. 

    Primarily because those first 10 minutes don't address what I'm going for when I say I don't want photorealisim.

    Knowing how the real form works is important.  But I'm not talking about stylized figures when I say I don't want photorealisim.  I'm talking about wanting stylized colors.  Specificly the "painterly Realism" of artists like NeNe Thomas, Robin Wood, some of Valejo/Bell's work and such.  I want the real human forms with non-photo-real coloring (and sometimes lighting).  I don't want toon (except when I do)  I want paintings... without having to paint.

    And those first 10 minutes don't cover that, except to say that it isn't a commercially viable option.

    He's aboslutely right that it isn't choose "realisim" or "cartoon" but I see there being a spectrum between the two, and he pretty clearly sees it still as an either or, with Realisim being a neccsarry step before Cartoon - however he only addresses it as it relates to form, and not as it relates to color/light.  And to a certain extent, form is taken care of with the toon being a morph of the realistic figure.

    Also he seems to conflate "realistic" with "photorealisim"  which I don't.  They're related, to be sure, but something being realistic doesn't make it photoreal.  (the hair in Toy Story 3, for example, or Inside out, while very realistic, is not what I'd call photoreal) I don't want to trick the eye into thinking it's looking at a photograph.  I want it to believe it's looking at a painting, or something drawn digitially, or even, sometimes, something that clearly was rendered.

    Are there arguments that can be made about how you need to understand how color and light really works first before stylizing color?  Sure.  but 1) he doesn't make them 2) most of them are relatively moot when dealing with render suites, which can do most of the reflection and lighting calculations that a physical artist would have to learn first, and 3) I'm actually already aware of many of those rules, and want the choice to break them with minimal postwork.  (I hate postwork.  Always have.  It is always and forever my least favorite part.  I do recognize it as a neccsarry evil, but I don't have to like it.)

  • JasmineSkunkJasmineSkunk Posts: 1,245

    I personally LOVE toons. I watch every animated thing I can get my eyes on... lol.

    But, I'm also, um... a bit insecure about my own "work". I'm always striving to understand what makes "good" art and what makes "art" good? Telling a story? Conveying an emotion or curiosity? Being able to immerse an "audience" is an important goal... maybe? I don't know.

    This topic of photorealism and it's importance (or non importance) is sort of a newish idea since it's only even been possible relativley recently.

    What I found interesting in the video was the statement that understanding photorealism is important, even if you wish NOT to create photorealistic images yourself. Much like, it's important to understand how real world bodies "work" if you wish to create stylised or toonish figures, even in illustrations.

    I thought it was an interesting idea...

     

  • agent unawaresagent unawares Posts: 2,785
    What I found interesting in the video was the statement that understanding photorealism is important, even if you wish NOT to create photorealistic images yourself. Much like, it's important to understand how real world bodies "work" if you wish to create stylised or toonish figures, even in illustrations.

    I thought it was an interesting idea...

    It's a true idea.

  • Sven DullahSven Dullah Posts: 731

    Yeah I've learned in music you have to know the rules before you can break them.

  • OZ-84OZ-84 Posts: 95

    Yeah I've learned in music you have to know the rules before you can break them.

    Same opinion here :-D 

  • I personally LOVE toons. I watch every animated thing I can get my eyes on... lol.

    But, I'm also, um... a bit insecure about my own "work". I'm always striving to understand what makes "good" art and what makes "art" good? Telling a story? Conveying an emotion or curiosity? Being able to immerse an "audience" is an important goal... maybe? I don't know.

    This topic of photorealism and it's importance (or non importance) is sort of a newish idea since it's only even been possible relativley recently.

    What I found interesting in the video was the statement that understanding photorealism is important, even if you wish NOT to create photorealistic images yourself. Much like, it's important to understand how real world bodies "work" if you wish to create stylised or toonish figures, even in illustrations.

    I thought it was an interesting idea...

     

    Again, it's all subjective. There are many ways to tell a story. H.P Lovercraft basically wrote plots, with little or no character, but the way he wrote about the terrors in his stories, and his grounding in the real world, make the stories, even at their most crazy, feel as if they could really happen. J.R.R Tolkien, on  the other hand, wrote pure fantasy, but with a sense of history, detail, and rich characters that you CARED for, that ultimately had the same effect, while being a completely different approach. AGain, what hits me, and gets me into something may not for the next person. MY rule of thumb is the Monty Python Troupe's personal view: Do the story, music or art YOU want to do, do it the best you can, and if YOU'RE pleased with it, chances are others will like it too. If not, don't sweat it. 

  • DiomedeDiomede Posts: 6,264

    Learning is good.  People using CGI for photorealism need to master the core concepts of non-realistic animation.  Need to understand the rules before breaking them.

    12 principles of animation

    I don't see it as either or.  Learning more skills is good.  Wish I had some skills, and I am working at it.  But I am not telling my stories through a fake camera lens.  As I prioritize the training vids that I watch and art skills that I practice, a fake lens flare is the lowest priority.  Stretch/splat much higher priority.  Prespective, composition, anatomy, physics, etc. apply equally to both.

     

  • JasmineSkunkJasmineSkunk Posts: 1,245
    edited January 2
    Diomede said:

    Learning is good.  People using CGI for photorealism need to master the core concepts of non-realistic animation.  Need to understand the rules before breaking them.

    12 principles of animation

    I don't see it as either or.  Learning more skills is good.  Wish I had some skills, and I am working at it.  But I am not telling my stories through a fake camera lens.  As I prioritize the training vids that I watch and art skills that I practice, a fake lens flare is the lowest priority.  Stretch/splat much higher priority.  Prespective, composition, anatomy, physics, etc. apply equally to both.

     

    Hey!! Thanks for sharing this! I'm really enjoying it! smiley

    Post edited by JasmineSkunk on
  • agent unawaresagent unawares Posts: 2,785
    Diomede said:

    Learning is good.  People using CGI for photorealism need to master the core concepts of non-realistic animation.  Need to understand the rules before breaking them.

    Non-realistic animation? That thing you need to understand realism to do properly? wink

  • DiomedeDiomede Posts: 6,264
    edited January 2

    Photorealism?  The thing you need to pretend that objects in the world come with extra lights behind them facing the camera to separate the edges from their surroundings?  wink

    Post edited by Diomede on
  • dreamfarmerdreamfarmer Posts: 1,550

    It's funny because I don't care about photorealism when it comes to things like style and color.... but I absolutely care a ton when it comes to body language and expressions and hair movement and so on. 

  • agent unawaresagent unawares Posts: 2,785
    edited January 2
    Diomede said:

    Photorealism?  The thing you need to pretend that objects in the world come with extra lights behind them facing the camera to separate the edges from their surroundings?  wink

    You don't need extra lights for photorealism, I have no idea what you're talking about.

    Post edited by agent unawares on
  • DiomedeDiomede Posts: 6,264

    ​Am saying that what people call photorealism often introduces unrealistic elements to get desired results.  Not that artists have to use unrealistic extra lights, but that they do.  Am not criticizing.  Am praising.  Introducing unrealistic elements to get desired results gets two thumbs up.  yesyes

     

    It is not the province of CGI photorealism to study light and anatomy (etc., etc., etc.).  CGI photorealism is late to the party.  Artists have been studying observation for centuries (millenia really), despite not being exposed to CGI photorealism until relatively recently.

  • JasmineSkunkJasmineSkunk Posts: 1,245
    Diomede said:

    Photorealism?  The thing you need to pretend that objects in the world come with extra lights behind them facing the camera to separate the edges from their surroundings?  wink

    You don't need extra lights for photorealism, I have no idea what you're talking about.

    I didn't understand this either. ??? (sorry)

  • JasmineSkunkJasmineSkunk Posts: 1,245

    I keep trying to edit my post... *sigh*

    I miss the old forum engine... LOL

  • JasmineSkunkJasmineSkunk Posts: 1,245
    edited January 2

    smiley

    Post edited by JasmineSkunk on
  • agent unawaresagent unawares Posts: 2,785
    edited January 2
    Diomede said:

    ​Am saying that what people call photorealism often introduces unrealistic elements to get desired results.  Not that artists have to use unrealistic extra lights, but that they do.  Am not criticizing.  Am praising.  Introducing unrealistic elements to get desired results gets two thumbs up.  yesyes

    Which isn't what we're talking about with "understanding realism." Understanding realism means knowing to place lights to get that effect - or knowing that the lighting you just painted over your scene would require light sources that don't exist, and doing it anyway.

    Diomede said:

    Artists have been studying observation for centuries (millenia really)

    Which is exactly striving to understand realism. Yes, I agree, this millenia old tradition is fundamental.

    Post edited by agent unawares on
  • JasmineSkunkJasmineSkunk Posts: 1,245
    edited January 2

    It's funny because I don't care about photorealism when it comes to things like style and color.... but I absolutely care a ton when it comes to body language and expressions and hair movement and so on. 

    I find this to be true for me also when it comes to "poses" of 3D figures. If the poses seem unnatural at ALL, it will distract me from the rest of what may be good in the image.

    (especially unnerving in my OWN images...LOL)

    Post edited by JasmineSkunk on
  • kyoto kidkyoto kid Posts: 25,027
    edited January 2

    ...I actually saw this when it came out over a year ago.  Yes makes sense if you are in the advert/sales, gaming, simulation, film, broadcast, or design, industry. 

    As an illustrator for stories as well as having dabbled in comic art, I have a few points of contention.  Yeah, knowing real world basics, like anatomy, composition, balance, lighting, and even rudimentary physics is important, I learned that a long time ago.  However people like myself  who come from a traditional art background often had different approaches to these basics.

    When I was into comic book studies I purchased the Hogarth Dynamic Anatomy series (still have it and consult it even though I no longer draw or paint), which is a cornerstone for artists in any media or genre, as it approached anatomy from a living, moving perspective rather than a static clinical/medical one. It taught you how to visualise ("eyeball" which Andrew speaks against in the video) proportioning along with movement of frame and musculature to set a figure in any type of pose or position so it looks more natural.  Yeah live models are nice to work from, but expensive to hire.  Hence again photo references and artist anatomy books like the Hogarth series, along with the wooden artist's mannequin (which eventually gave birth to the original Poser programme) all played an important part .

    As to the point of getting hold if items, there are just some things one cannot get easy access to to study in depth.  Try to head out on the tarmac at an airport to just walk around and study a jetliner parked at the terminal (let alone go inside it) that you wish to model.  You'll have airport security and the TSA on your backside in very short order.  There are just places where, unless you work there or have special authorisation/clearances, you just cant walk up or into (and even then you might be restricted as to where you will be allowed to go).  So photo, along with technical references (if you can get them) are still extremely valuable, whether you paint in oils or do 3D modelling. 

    Surfacing. again if your work requires absolutely photo real textures, using all the elements he mentions is makes perfect sense. If your intent is primarily creating a more"hand drawn" look for a graphic novel or an illustrated story book you don't need that extreme level of detail.  For lighting, the same holds true. I've seen some pretty incredible results with the basic Daz lights (pre UE).  I was a participant in the Realistic Renders thread when all we had were the basic Spot, Distant and Point lights to work with, no Ambient Light no Uber Area Light. no IBL, no AO. There were a few people who got some pretty decent results with those limited tools, but compared to what I saw on the pro 3D galleries, it still was no match, hence I bailed out as I could see to get truly realistic results meant a heavy financial investment in hardware and software that was out of my means. 

    So instead I concentrated on pushing the stylised side more.  When UE came out I gave it a try but it was far too much of a resoruce hog for my system back then (a duo core 32 bit media notebook) and often resulted in render crashes even on fairly simple scenes. 

    Back to lighting, I had an understanding of rela world lighting decades before there were even 3D art programmes.  I had studied physics as well as worked in theatrical and stage lighting.  I understood concepts like the Kelvin scale of light temperature (particularly relating to astronomy) and the inverse square rule (falloff). In painting and drawing again, it was the eye rather than any scientific/mathematical calculation that I used for "lighting" which along with my experience in theatre lighting, is why I took to the lighting system in 3DL so easily.  Having been a photographer I also understand the basics of "real world" Physically Based lighting, like Iray uses. I find the tone mapping system rather elementary once I approached it from a camera's perspective.  I find the settings I used in photography to translate over to Iray very well.

    However as I mentioned on the other thread, photo realism is not the "holy grail" of 3D CG for me, and it is not why I spent the time and money in this pursuit. Personally, I feel it is being hyped a little too heavy and sometimes to the detriment of those who choose a different path with this media.  I remember Socratease and his totally weird surreal works. Some scratched their heads over them, I loved them. They were just as valid as a totally photo real scene using say, Stonemason's Urban Sprawl 3.

    Andrew has some good points here, but there are other routes one can take to achieve the style he or she wants which are equally as credible.

    Post edited by kyoto kid on
  • DaWaterRatDaWaterRat Posts: 2,660
    Diomede said:

    ​Am saying that what people call photorealism often introduces unrealistic elements to get desired results.  Not that artists have to use unrealistic extra lights, but that they do.  Am not criticizing.  Am praising.  Introducing unrealistic elements to get desired results gets two thumbs up.  yesyes

    Which isn't what we're talking about with "understanding realism." Understanding realism means knowing to place lights to get that effect - or knowing that the lighting you just painted over your scene would require light sources that don't exist, and doing it anyway.

    Diomede said:

    Artists have been studying observation for centuries (millenia really)

    Which is exactly striving to understand realism. Yes, I agree, this millenia old tradition is fundamental.

    Oh, I do agree that understanding realisim is important.  What I don't agree with is that I need to spend days/weeks mastering getting DS to refract the light through the water of the wading pool before making the artistic decision to just let it be a shiny blue cube because for the style I'm aiming for (say, simulating 4-color superhero comics), the detail level of perfectly refracted light isn't important.  I understand that my choice isn't photorealistic.  I understand that light and water interact differently than I need it to to acheive my desired result.  I don't need to spend hours of time struggling to get it exactly right when I ultimately don't plan to use it.

    I can understand something without mastering the accompanying skill to replicate it.

  • FSMCDesignsFSMCDesigns Posts: 4,392
    L'Adair said:

    Most of the time, I strive for photo-realism. I blame that on a strong background as a photographer. But sometimes I like to step out of my comfort zone and tinker with more stylized images. So I agree, art is what you think it is.

    Couldn't agree more. I also come from a photography background and sad thing is, even that is biased when it comes to lighting. Photorealism is just another style. An image doesn't have to be one way or another, it's what you, the creator prefers and if others like it, then bonus! I like photorealism for several reasons. One, I love how an unbiased renderer can produce realistic lighting results based on a mathematical algorythm, it just amazes me. I also really enjoy trying to set up surfaces so that light reacts to them the way it would in the real world. And lastly I get a huge kick out of taking 3D objects (mesh) and using it to try and reproduce a photo or a real life object, person or thing.

    I just watched a show that was almost entirely madeup of animated Frazetta style painted storyboards. While it looked really cool, it's not something I would strive to produce as I lack the knowledge of how to do it. People than can "paint" an image in photoshop from scratch have my respect because it's not something I can do, but I do like seeing these kinds of images. I do like to take images i have done and play with them in photshop, running them thru filters and such for more toony, postwork like images. While I like the results I get, I realize there isn't that much creativeness in this since anyone can do this with an image editor

  • Peter FulfordPeter Fulford Posts: 1,236

    Why photorealism? Well, jolly-well because.

    That's what I say, anyway. And that's that.

    And Happy New Year.

  • JasmineSkunkJasmineSkunk Posts: 1,245
    edited January 2
    L'Adair said:

    Most of the time, I strive for photo-realism. I blame that on a strong background as a photographer. But sometimes I like to step out of my comfort zone and tinker with more stylized images. So I agree, art is what you think it is.

    Couldn't agree more. I also come from a photography background and sad thing is, even that is biased when it comes to lighting. Photorealism is just another style. An image doesn't have to be one way or another, it's what you, the creator prefers and if others like it, then bonus! I like photorealism for several reasons. One, I love how an unbiased renderer can produce realistic lighting results based on a mathematical algorythm, it just amazes me. I also really enjoy trying to set up surfaces so that light reacts to them the way it would in the real world. And lastly I get a huge kick out of taking 3D objects (mesh) and using it to try and reproduce a photo or a real life object, person or thing.

    I just watched a show that was almost entirely madeup of animated Frazetta style painted storyboards. While it looked really cool, it's not something I would strive to produce as I lack the knowledge of how to do it. People than can "paint" an image in photoshop from scratch have my respect because it's not something I can do, but I do like seeing these kinds of images. I do like to take images i have done and play with them in photshop, running them thru filters and such for more toony, postwork like images. While I like the results I get, I realize there isn't that much creativeness in this since anyone can do this with an image editor

    I absolutely LOVE your images. I wish I had your level of understanding and skill. smiley 

    But...

    I think that's kind of the point of why I bring up the topic. Or maybe why I'm thinking about it at all. I want to improve my understanding. And it seems to me, that those who do have a basic solid foundation of an understanding in "reality" produce the best "art", no matter what style their art form takes. 

    Post edited by JasmineSkunk on
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