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Wonderpup
11-29-2005, 02:42 PM
Hi all,

I'm trying to decide if it's possible to sell the idea of photorealistic renders as alternatives to photographs, for things like product shots. Dan Ablan claims in "Inside Lightwave 8" that this is already happening to some extent, with things like Cars and furniture.

If this is true then it does potentialy open up a very large market to 3D artists, and I can see how the flexibility of 3D could offer advantages over conventional photography.

But, I don't at present see how building a model, texturing it, lighting it and rendering it can possibly be price competitive with taking an existing object, lighting it and photographing it.

Is anyone using 3D for this kind of work at present, and if so, can you explain why your clients use you instead of photographers?, what the percived benifits are.

Captain Obvious
11-29-2005, 03:01 PM
Definitely, for certain things. It's already happening.

UnCommonGrafx
11-29-2005, 03:14 PM
Have ya seen any of the latest car commercials? Most of them, doing really cool things, are cgi.
The nascar commercial on the rollercoaster comes to mind. As does the gentlemen/ladies around here that have shown their works.
I think you'd be surprised as to how prevelant this has become.

edit: They are doing it because sometimes it's cheaper; sometimes it's for the cool factor. Prototyping uses this often in order to give an idea of the product in a 'tactile' way on video. You know, the idea that if they see it on video it must be available in real life, too...

Meaty
11-29-2005, 03:23 PM
It's definately happening, and should be easy to sell.

Think of it this way, no rented studio time, no film, no lights, no product... and if the client wants a different angle after your "3D photoshoot" you can just move your camera and re-render!

Ultimately it comes down to cost vs. value. If you can do it cheaper, or offer a better/diffeerent product than photographs can offer, you can sell it.

gristle
11-29-2005, 03:23 PM
A lot of the photos you see of new product - if they are real photos - are photo models. Because of the time limits and constraints bringing new proucts to market the finished "off tool" items are sometimes not available. This alone is a good reason to use a render instead of a photo. Making a photo model can be expensive and normally uses some of the cad data that the actual product is produced from - like the exterior surfaces. This same surface data is available to texture and render.

It all depends on what the product is.. if it is a fabrication/craft based item, like fine glassware, it may be better to use the real item because there is low tool cost/time associated. Compare this to a car and there are so many different parts that need to come together to allow a real photograph.

I guess the arch/vis area is the next step above auto renders!

Safe Harbor
11-29-2005, 04:01 PM
I also think that 3D comes in handy for two other ares:

1. Products which are difficult or dangerous to photograph. For example, the commercial where they raise a truck up by its bed and an engineer walks under it...no WAY will they do that live.

2. Products which are not made yet.

Lightwolf
11-29-2005, 04:08 PM
But, I don't at present see how building a model, texturing it, lighting it and rendering it can possibly be price competitive with taking an existing object, lighting it and photographing it.
It certainly is for cars. Especially for new models. If you add up the huge team you need for shooting, props, locations, security... CG quickly becomes the less expensive and more flexible alternative.

Cheers,
Mike

Maxx
11-29-2005, 04:41 PM
As has already been mentioned, new products are perfect for this area. Also, customized products - I worked with a company for quite a while that sold custom products. The last 3 catalogs we produced featured not a single photograph - everything was rendered. The company sold golf accessories - everything from towels to divot tools. It was just easier to grab a model and put the desired (and approved) logo on it than it was to actually have the tool made, 'cause we rarely kept surplus product after the order - we'd've had to ask the customer to send back an actual physical piece. As it was, I had the original concept proof done in 3d and could pull up the model, rotate it so it fit the space available in the catalog, slap the logo we wanted on it, and render. No mail transit time, (to reiterate Meaty's point) no photographer, no studio, no lighting, no product, and no question about how the image would finally turn out and whether or not it would fit in the alloted space. Good times! :thumbsup:

ericsmith
11-29-2005, 04:58 PM
I think it's also worth mentioning that using 3d instead of real photography is much more prevalent for motion pictures than still. Still photography can be a fairly simple and inexpensive process, unlike motion, which requres very expensive cameras, tracking equipment, etc.

Eric

Captain Obvious
11-29-2005, 05:08 PM
It certainly is for cars. Especially for new models. If you add up the huge team you need for shooting, props, locations, security... CG quickly becomes the less expensive and more flexible alternative.

Cheers,
Mike
Especially considering that car texturing for publicity shots is fairly straight-forward (no need to hand-paint equisite dirt maps, for the most part), and you can probably use an actual CAD model in many cases.

RedBull
11-29-2005, 05:32 PM
Definately for cars and furniture, appliances like vaccums and stereos, mp3 players.... Are increasingly pure CGI...

I would say that 3D is not up to producing everything better than Photographs however. (and it can't always compete in price)

And indeed a lot of landscape and professional photographers,
will out do us 3D people by quite a margin, when it comes to realism
in these areas..... Generally only Matte artists can achieve the realism
those people require, to make it look real.

So i don't think you will see Photoraphy replaced, just supplemented.

Titus
11-29-2005, 06:28 PM
But, I don't at present see how building a model, texturing it, lighting it and rendering it can possibly be price competitive with taking an existing object, lighting it and photographing it.

Sometimes it is price competitive but not always. Almost every day we have clients asking for things they can do well with photography, faster and cheaper but they just ask to have alternatives. Computer animation is being overused and this will continue as long as clients are willing to pay.

A couple of months ago a client wanted a 10 sec. tequila commercial in slow motion and for some reason we were their first option, we did in two days using LW and a fluid simulation software something that should take half day employing photography.

Lightwolf
11-30-2005, 02:40 AM
Especially considering that car texturing for publicity shots is fairly straight-forward (no need to hand-paint equisite dirt maps, for the most part), and you can probably use an actual CAD model in many cases.
Straight-forward... yes. Easy, quick or in-expensive... not really. Take a look at www.mackevision.de - they sometimes spend weeks cleaning up CAD data.

Cheers,
Mike

Captain Obvious
11-30-2005, 02:57 AM
Which is still a lot less than it takes to actually build the things and set up such excellent photo shoots. ;)

Wonderpup
11-30-2005, 03:17 AM
Thanks for the replies guys. The reason I'm interested in this is because there seems, in the UK at least, to be a real split in the marketplace for 3D.

On the one side there is the broadcast/Video/multimedia world,where 3D is very much part of the landscape.

And on the other side there is the world of print, a world where 3D never happened- a sort of parallel universe of Illustrator, photoshop and photography.

So, I'm looking at this territory and trying to decide if I can sell the natives my nice shiney 3D pictures. The problem is how to pitch it- do I sell it on cost benifits, or flexibility or even 'coolness'? How is 3D being marketed in this area, if at all?

Lewis
11-30-2005, 09:57 AM
Hi !

I can speak on behalf od CAR models in CGI since I've done dozens of them (currently over 70 and counting ;)). Most of NEW car commercials for last 2-3 years are entirely or partialy CGI. I did severl models for car commercials and i saw what commerical agencies did wiht them in real commercial :). I've also used CAD data models for some car renders but i was swearing myself to accept that to work with - like Lightwolf mentioned :). For instance when you have single taillight which have 250 000 polygons you really get frustrated about spending whole day to optimize that or transfer to SubDs 'coz mostly CAD data is in pure NURBS/IGES translated (not good enough wiht many holes and overdetailed areas) into polys so there is millions of polygons work work with (one car what I was optimizing last year had 9.5 million polygons and you can imagine how "fast" is to work with that in LW modeler and it's own slow OpenGL :( . Only loading that model took about 45 seconds and I spent 6 hours just for grouping it properly in layers so i can work faster/normal in modeler. At the end of proces ready to render it come down to 4million polys (with interior and modeled tire threads) and i had to render 5100*3500 pixes in LW wiht only 2GB of ram. Thanks god that I could use Limited AREA to render in pieces (2*2) and later composed that in PShop.

For Architecture it's also much simpler to model building and fit it to place even before you started to build real one. In that way you can study it better and see is it gonna fit well and you will attract potential investers :).

cheers

Dexter2999
11-30-2005, 06:14 PM
And with all that work that Lewis had to do, it is still cheaper than:
a picture car
transporting it to a set
getting a set
payroll for camera, lighting, grip
craft services
catering for your crew
insurance for your shoot
paying for a "Super shooter" set up to get those incredible car exterior shots on a closed road that you had to acquire permits and security for.
Truth is they still pay for a lot of this stuff but they can concentrate on the interior shots.

wp_capozzi
12-01-2005, 03:56 AM
Hello,

There were some interesting examples of photo/cgi composites used for an ad, and full cgi for a magazine page on the e-on web site. Most of it is promoting Vue, but I think one example uses Lightwave as well.

Some of my work consists of reconstructing actual items, usually a prototype or finished version of some small device, and making scenes for them. These scenes can be adapted fairly easily between still image or animation.

Marketable possibilities of cgi in place of photograhy, I would say, depends on the style that you put into it. Cgi can certainly be used to generate countless visual effects not always available elsewhere, and also the cgi camera can go many places a physical camera can't go. The same idea that applies to cgi in filmmaking would lend itself to still imagery. It would be a matter of creating an economic image that is exciting or telling, either still or animated.

I've always been a fan of composites using both cgi and photos.

Regards,
Bill C.

Wonderpup
12-01-2005, 04:23 AM
I can see a place for CG when it comes to effects type images, but i'm really wondering if it's viable for work where the intended effect is to have that straightforward 'photographic' look.

An example that comes to mind would be say a whisky manufacturer who wants to show their product surrounded by props from the Napoleonic wars, say flags, muskets, bugles, gunpowder barrels ect. Now, assembling these props in the real world may be more difficult and costly than modeling them in 3D- so while the final image is intended to look like a photographic shoot, it may be that a CG solution would be the way to go.

It's also interesting to note that if the composition of the shot had been signed off first, you would only need to model the parts of the objects that would appear- a bit like those towns in the old westerns that had no backs to them, just facades.

badllarma
12-01-2005, 09:21 AM
Wonderpup may be worth having a look here as well, (if you havn't already) some folks doing what you want to do and some other intresting work as well to have a look at.

http://www.newtek-europe.com/uk/community/lightwave/index.html

Wonderpup
12-01-2005, 12:01 PM
Thanks badllarma,

I had forgotten how much good stuff was on the Europe site.

mattclary
12-01-2005, 12:24 PM
And with all that work that Lewis had to do, it is still cheaper than:


Lewis, obviously, you should consider raising your rate. ;)

Lightwolf
12-01-2005, 12:30 PM
I've also used CAD data models for some car renders but i was swearing myself to accept that to work with - like Lightwolf mentioned :).
Actually, the company I know have it pretty much sussed out now. There are
great CAD converters available for Max now and they also used a pipeline used internally by the engineering dept. based on VRML (used for VR presentations in design and engineering).
So there is less and less manual work being done in optimizing geometry while the polygon count does go up. (They visualized a complete high detail car this year for a show that looks absolutely real ... down to close-ups of the seats showing - textured - threads at the seams).
Unfortunately LW seems to be the worst tool to work with using CAD data due to the way normals are handled. Even if you get the geometry in smoothly, you end up spending a lot of time to get your polygon smoothing right.

Heck, a single vacuum cleaner can end up at around 750K polygons easily...

Cheers,
Mike - who's spent too much time optimizing CAD geometry as well.

SplineGod
12-01-2005, 03:47 PM
As many have pointed out its nothing new. Also its not just that you have 3D to enhance or create photoreal imagery. 2D image processing techniques have also been used to manipulate existing photos to enhance or improve them as well.
Typically you would use any of these tools to create imagery that is difficult or expensive to do using other traditional means.
As far as selling the images I think you should just make stuff that is cool or people want and sell it that way. To me 3D or 2D tools are simply another camera. :)

Wonderpup
12-02-2005, 04:44 AM
It's true, of course, that image manipulation has been around since before CG itself- people made a good living once retouching photographs with airbrushes.

But what I think is (relatively) new is the ability to create a photoreal image almost from the ground up ( Texture maps being the exception.) This is a bit more than image manipulation- this is a different order of creation.

And it's not a trivial distiction- the ability to create any prop to order and generate from it a photrealistic result is something a conventional photographer could only dream of. But what I find puzzling is how little impact this seems to have made on the market for photography. Again I can only speak for the UK, but the lack of awareness and interest in 3D in the print market here is quite striking- as I said above, it's as if 3D never happened- almost no one is using it in this area and I'm not quite sure why.

It could simply be that the people that work in print view 3D as such an alien technology that they are simply ignoring it- a kind of head in the sand approach. Or it could be a cost issue, or even simply that the awareness of 3D and what it can offer is not there.

If anyone has any thoughts on this I'd be really interested to hear them.

SplineGod
12-02-2005, 05:16 AM
You could create it from the ground up but I dont think youll find many people who choose to do that from a commericial standpoint. Getting photoreal 3D images from scratch is pretty time consuming. Thats why people will create 3D elements and composite them into images shot on film.
When working as a commerical artist its important to be able to turn around work fairly quick to stay competitive. This usually entails finding ways to cheat things as much as possible. :)

Stooch
12-02-2005, 10:18 AM
I work in a production environment of an Ad agency, and the answer is YES and NO. It depends on what you need to do. Do you need reusable assets ? 3D is the way! Do you need something done by tomorrow? Sorry, but no matter how good you are, you simply wont be able to match the CLICK of a digital camera.

It also depends on the complexity of the subject matter of course. Making a soda can and a full blown car model with interior are the extremes.

Wonderpup
12-02-2005, 11:38 AM
Hi Stooch,

Do you have any thoughts on the utilisation of 3D in general in the print design market- I've been looking at the job opportunites in this area and there seems to be very little interest in 3D skills on the part of employers in this area- it seems very much still a 2D world in terms of tools and mindset- is this true, or am I just looking in the wrong places?

Stooch
12-02-2005, 11:46 AM
I am basically educating the whole company on the merits of 3D. Most people here just dont understand what it is so its hard to get utilized by them if they dont know my capabilities. So the trick is to make people sit up and realize the benefits of 3D. Such as reusability, independence from a camera, allowing to take shots that are impossible of cost prohibitive in real life. Like liquids. Concept, previs, high res executions that outstrip illustration. for example, if a project calls for alot of reflections, refractions, or concepts that cannot be based on real life and at very high res then 3D has obvious strengths. Product design benefits from 3D because you can allow the client to visualise the object with a turn table such as this:

http://www.stooch.net/spinner.html

Lewis
12-02-2005, 11:49 AM
Actually, the company I know have it pretty much sussed out now. There are
great CAD converters available for Max now and they also used a pipeline used internally by the engineering dept. based on VRML (used for VR presentations in design and engineering).

Hehe I know there is good 3Dtrasnlators but I got already translated CAD/IGES to polys in OBJ format and i sweared myself and guy who did that translation 'coz it was very slopy work. He did it without any optimization (just hit HIGHER quality/densitiy and export - I had 220 MB file). I couldn't do nothing to fix it 'coz original IGES wasn't been available so i had to fix current OBJ and only car fenders didn't have holes or fliped faces, everything else required welding, fliping, merging, bandgluing and manually repatching :).

And YES as you said detail level is amazing (headlight bulbs had all switches, connectors and wires...) but polycount is for screaming out loud :).

cheers

cholo
12-02-2005, 04:24 PM
I have done a few car projects on 3D myself, and I can assure you it is cheaper to photograph in real life than going 3D. A day of production in a soundstage will run you no more than 5000 dollars and you end up with around 3 hours worth of footage. How long would it take you to make the car model, texture, light, animate and render it? Would you be able to do it for that? And in real life, if you optimize your resources and work many projects simultaneously you can go lower, like 3000 dollar per day. This includes generator diesel, staff, crane, camera, operator, catering, etc... (At least here in Mexico) and you are ready to start editing the next day. Nevertheless, I still do a lot of 3D for cars but usually because:

a) The car does not yet exist or is unavailable for shooting
b) The car available for the shoot has different features from the car that will be sold. (rims, chrome inserts, etc...)
c) To COMPLEMENT the photographed material.

The last one is important, because you can get stylized looks or non photoreal renderings to either enhance the look of your production or explain technical data about the product. You can also go the photoreal route if you want to be able to do shots that would be impossible or too expensive in real life. For example, car interior shots with the camera flying all around to show off certain features. In real life you saw off parts of the car to fit in a camera crane and such, but that is expensive because you end up thrashing a car.

So, in the end my conclusion? Why choose one route when you can do both? :)

Matt
12-03-2005, 09:01 AM
I have a Ford brochure here, and a lot of the shots actually say "computer generated image" next to it!

Lewis, on your travels with importing CAD data, have you ever come across something that can convert IGES to polys using mostly quads?

Triangulation of CAD data makes poly flow a nightmare, still searching for that perfect translator!

Lewis
12-03-2005, 11:25 AM
Hi Matt !

No i didn't found any so smart translator to keep it all quads :(. I use "mergeTrigonsX" plugin in modeler when i import parts and it works pretty much OK, there is some manual fixing but thats almost nothing comparing to original data :).

Matt
12-04-2005, 06:46 AM
I was so hoping for you to say yes! :D

MikeMD
12-05-2005, 05:24 PM
Can 3D Renders compete commercialy with Photography?

They can compete, but they will always lose, unless it's something that can omly be done in 3D ( ridiculous stunts or effects )

Verlon
12-06-2005, 12:04 AM
"They can compete, but they will always lose, unless it's something that can omly be done in 3D ( ridiculous stunts or effects )"

Yeah, I heard that about CDs vs vinyl records.

They said that about automatic transmission vs. standard.

DVD vs VHS....

Digital vs Film cameras....

The list goes on.
Photos are already heavily modified by CGI. And others in this thread have already indicated that they are doing the work and getting paid for it.

Hardly sounds like a loss to me.

coming soon!
12-06-2005, 05:45 AM
Hi all,

I'm trying to decide if it's possible to sell the idea of photorealistic renders as alternatives to photographs, for things like product shots. Dan Ablan claims in "Inside Lightwave 8" that this is already happening to some extent, with things like Cars and furniture.

If this is true then it does potentialy open up a very large market to 3D artists, and I can see how the flexibility of 3D could offer advantages over conventional photography.

But, I don't at present see how building a model, texturing it, lighting it and rendering it can possibly be price competitive with taking an existing object, lighting it and photographing it.

Is anyone using 3D for this kind of work at present, and if so, can you explain why your clients use you instead of photographers?, what the percived benifits are.
Hi
Imagine that you are boss of a car company
And you want to showing your car that is in a course with A spaceship in the Space
now you prefer what . CG Art Or photography or conventional movies.
I thing only the sky can limit your creativity And possibilities at CG industry.
sorry for my bad English.

coming soon!
12-06-2005, 05:45 AM
Hi
Imagine that you are boss of a car company
And you want to showing your car that is in a course with A spaceship in the Space
now you prefer what . CG Art Or photography or conventional movies.
I thing only the sky can limit your creativity And possibilities at CG industry.
sorry for my bad English.

Wonderpup
12-06-2005, 08:22 AM
It's quite strange- with so many amazing product renders in the gallerys and WIP forums I thought there would be a lot of people doing this kind of thing professionaly, but so far not many responses from people actualy 'in the field.'

In theory it would be possible to employ lightwave as a virtual photographic studio- for still life product shots specificly, but at present 3D seems confined to the visualisation area mostly, not so much the 'glossy magazine' area ( where most of the work is!) I guess the cost/time issue may well be the reason.

It's probably also true that the awareness of what 3D can do may not be that high, as Stooch points out.

mbaldwin
12-06-2005, 10:48 AM
Wonderpup,

Thanks for the thread. Your question: Is 3d a viable, money-making alternative to conventional photography?

I'm greatful for all the tempered, reality-based answers to your question. I've been working in the print world for 15 years. Mostly creating images for advertising. A few random thoughts:

--3d vs. photography. Why make it an either-or proposition? Looking at if from the client's perspective, they don't care how the image is generated as long as it satisfies their creative/business goals. I think creating compelling content requires some investment on your part in photography. You'd be much better served using both options(throw in some 2d photo retouching to-boot). Invest in at least a decent pro-sumer digital camera and a light kit for starters. Hey, at the very least it will come in handy for getting your 3d textures.

--Example: Here in New York City, A studio photographer can shoot a table set-up(this example was a pair of shoes) for $1500 bucks. If they're hungry, that would include unlimited rights usage. We're currently supplying post-work for a fashion shoot where I know the photographer is making $15,000. That's for a 3 day shoot, approximately 120 separate images, some prop/scene building, unlimited rights buy-out. They are doing 4 or 5 of these projects a year for this client, so I think they feel it's worth it. But I know they have sizable expenses: travel, studio/equipment rental, set design/building. I guess the picture I'm trying to paint here is that photographers can be extremely competitive. They can churn out content in a real-time environment where clients can be a part of it and shape the final output. Within these examples, it's hard for 3d to be as competitive.

--3d does make sense when your client is trying to create something extraordinary: Magic realism(Make a car look like it's been entirely made of chocolate), Shooting product before it's actually been manufactured(a new perfume, new soft-drink), or specialty made objects(clients like to have their names incorporated into everything!--logos made of solid gold, stamped into wheels of cheese, etc.), Architectural rendering. I know others have mentioned these things as well.

--3d does make sense as a support player. Used judiciously. Where you can render an object that will be used within exsisting photography. At least this way you're not responsible for building everything down to the atomic level.

--3d does make sense as a digital effects tool: photo-mapping exsisting images so you can change the angle of the shot slightly(though lightwave with its split interface currently doesn't excel at this). Particle effects. Image warping, texture generation, etc.

--3d is an intensly deliberate medium. Time intensive, computing intensive. This is a disadvantage to the creative process, where a good photographer is always on the lookout to capture that beautiful RANDOM moment. pushing a shoot off-balance enough to capture something wonderfully spontaneous. Having the skill to preserve creative spontanaety in 3d is no small thing.

--Good luck! I wish you the kind of success that will allow you to land a juicy gig. A brand-campaign level assignment that will score you 80 grand and allow you to make a down-payment on a house. Or a quick image asignment that you can crank out in a night and make $5000. I've seen it done with print photography and illustration. But because of the time demands on 3d work, it's not so easy to do. Not impossible, but not the hit rate that the other 2 categories have.

This is the very real reason professionals still ***** and moan about their 3d apps and the next useful upgrade. They have enough obsticles to making a decent living without a 3d app getting in the way of their paycheck. I don't care how passionately a hobbiest defends their 'cool' 3d application(hey, I'm jazzed about it too). In my opinion 3d has a long way to go to becoming a dependable, bankable print tool.

-m.

Imatk
12-06-2005, 06:50 PM
I've done work for cars and other "product shots" all CG.

Can it compete?

I think, as was said before, it depends on what your plans are for the project. It's true that it may cost you several thousand dollars for a good 3d model and so on... but from there you really can do whatever you want with the model. Things that could never be done with a practical car.

The wealth of car ads and other things on TV right now is more than enough evidence that 3d is competing with live photography.

Wonderpup
12-07-2005, 03:06 AM
So far the feeling seems to be that 3D has it's place when the shot requires elements that are impractical to create in the real world, but cannot really seriously compete with photography when the shot is straightforward.

There is a subtle implication to this however- to what degree does the means determine the ends? If we look at movies, it's pretty clear that the types of films that are being made is influenced by the technology available to make them. So the creative decisions as to what to create are in part determined by the techniques available. As CG has become more powerful, the trend is to make movies that exploit that power.

So is the same thing likely to happen in the field of Still imagery?- as creative directors become more aware of the potential of 3D to expand what is possible for them, will there be a shift toward more ambitous and expansive print images?

So perhaps 3D will not so much replace photography but create a new genre that parallels it to some extent, offering the benifits of a photorealisem that is not inhibited by reality.

Verlon
12-07-2005, 07:04 AM
That's a very important point wonderpup.

Would we have seen an X-men movie if it had to be shot all in practical? I remember a commentary on Babylon 5 (shameless LW plug :D ) where they talked about this shot in the opening sequence. The camera starts out in space poited at the space station and zooms in to this window where you can see the actors and continues to zoom until it is inside the station.

In speaking of it, they said that this was not something that they could do in practical shooting. It was not a question of cost. It simply could not be done.

Now CG is improving much more rapidly than photography also. As render times go down and resolutions go up, it will only become more competitive.

I believe there will always be a market for actual photographs, but CG offers quite a bit, too. In practical, you can't just "move the building a little to the left so it catches the sun better." If Lightwave, you can movethe building, the sun, and whatever else pleases you to create the EXACT shot you want.

bluerider
12-07-2005, 10:03 AM
Hi all,

I'm trying to decide if it's possible to sell the idea of photorealistic renders as alternatives to photographs, for things like product shots. Dan Ablan claims in "Inside Lightwave 8" that this is already happening to some extent, with things like Cars and furniture.

If this is true then it does potentialy open up a very large market to 3D artists, and I can see how the flexibility of 3D could offer advantages over conventional photography.

But, I don't at present see how building a model, texturing it, lighting it and rendering it can possibly be price competitive with taking an existing object, lighting it and photographing it.

Is anyone using 3D for this kind of work at present, and if so, can you explain why your clients use you instead of photographers?, what the percived benifits are.


I trained a chap at a design agency a while back who wanted to use LightWave for product shots because it was easier once he had built his geometry to re assign labels and other periferal changes.

What is basically means is that LightWave offered his company a more cost effective solution than a traditional photographer?

Everytime there is a label change/ graphics change on the packaging they would have to troop back to the photographers studio with the packaging ( if it arrives on time with no delay?).

For the photographer, every new shoot is the same price. Once you've built up the geometry and Lighting in 3D the turn around is quicker and so is the cost?

There are lighting effects that are impossible to set in a conventional studio anyway without using some digital touch up or manipulation.

The "virtual" studio does not have any restrictions concerning this problem?

bluerider
12-07-2005, 10:11 AM
What happened to Portrait painters in the Victorian Era with the development of Photography is in turn going to happen to them.

Agencies and designers will realize what is at their disposal throught Virtual enviroment with a 3D package such as LightWave.

Just think what cool fun a photographer can do with his skill in setting composition and lighting with a 3D package?

Adapt, don't be a ludite?

Stooch
12-07-2005, 01:31 PM
So here are the cliff notes.

3D cannot compete with photography.

Photography cannot compete with 3D.

Its up to the artist to decide what works best for a given task and use the superior solution. Even if its mixing the two.

mbaldwin
12-07-2005, 03:24 PM
Stooch,

I'd agree for the most part.


Bluerider,

I share your enthusiasm with 3d as an emerging medium, but not your opinion that it's fully arrived and that photographers are a bunch of luddites for not putting a saddle on the toddler and riding it to financial/creative nirvana.

Regarding commercial viability, I've forward invested countless hours in 3d and have been quite happy to do so. I just think you have to pick your shots with it as a medium. And let the software designers keep growing the functionality. A big thanks to Steve Worley and crew for making 3d a lot more print friendly this last year!


I also think that no matter what you WANT to happen, there's a financial sweet-spot for commercial images. And that's shaped by cost of media, pre-press and printing costs, reach of marketing material, etc. So as an example, If you have an ad running nationally with a 200K media buy and pre-press charges for insertions totalling 15 grand, a client might be willing to pay 10K for an image. So you can model and render the QE2 floating in a fondue pot and make a few grand for your efforts.

If the same creative was being run in a trade magazine with a 10K media buy and a few grand worth of pre-press time, I'm not sure you could get the same creative concept sold. Either that or your buying a toy ship and crockery for 50 bucks and shooting/compositing the **** thing on the cheap.

I think special effects budgets for film tend to be a different beast, but I'm sure they have their own unique set of cost concerns.

3d benifits my creative work. Just not totally on its own. I think you need to pick the some other table legs(photography, illustration, design, retouching, etc.) to fully support your commercial endeavors.

bluerider
12-07-2005, 04:24 PM
Stooch,

Yeah your right.

I was specifically making the point in regards to studio photography concerning Product shots. Can't see 3D competing with photo journalism for example :thumbsup:

mbaldwin,
Yep great point on the first paragraph and enjoyed reading rest of post.

My point was again in regard to studio photography in terms of product shots.

I use photography alot, for research espically. Its a great tool in the hands of a good artist, but theres a better one if you want to do product shots in a studio :D ?.

Wonderpup
12-08-2005, 03:14 AM
mbaldwin,

I think your point about cost is well made- there is always going to be a point where a simple 'point and click' solution is the best- photography will be around a very long time yet.

Yet the film/tv analogy does offer some interesting lessons. It's not only the big budget blockbusters that have been impacted by the rise of 3D technology, and in particular cheap 3D technology. The average tv space opera today boasts effects shots that would have been unthinkable before CG, because the costs would have been so prohibitive.

So if we can assume smarter and faster 3D software/hardware in the future, it may not be so unlikely that some of the 'high end' territory presently occupied by photography will become prey to evil 3D artists such as ourselves.

Its hard to assess the degree to which any new technology creates it's own market- in the early days of television it was dismissed as a gimmick that would never seriously threaten the dominance of Radio as a mass entertainment medium.

So it will be intersting to see in the next few years what sort of inroads 3D can make into the traditional photography market, and as an artist I think it's a door well worth pushing at- just in case it may be open.

cresshead
12-09-2005, 11:50 AM
we use both...

this is the 3d products i create as there's quite alot of them and setting up the backdrop and lighting for lots of almost identical products [dvd cases and books] well we tried out the 3d option and once i had a 3d dvd case model completed i just needed to swap out the textures to get a new product in the exact same camera angle and lighting.......

Wonderpup
12-09-2005, 01:05 PM
Hi cresshead,

Interesting to see this stuff. The company I work for used to do a lot of product shots for ICI, paint cans mostly, then the work dried up and we found out that they were doing the same thing, modeling cans in 3d and swapping out the labels. (Funny thing is, because they saw us as a photography resource, it never occured to them to ask if we could do the same.)


I suppose the same process could even be applied if you had a range of products that were basicly the same but with minor phisical differences in appearance, like say a range of screwdrivers or something- one base model could be tweaked and retextured to create the shots.

bluerider
12-10-2005, 03:54 AM
cresshead,
Thanks for posting your examples. Great references :thumbsup:

-EsHrA-
12-10-2005, 05:16 AM
and a quick quiz to top it off ! :)

http://www.alias.com/eng/etc/fake_or_foto/quiz.html


mlon

cresshead
12-10-2005, 07:55 AM
good quiz..i got 8 out of ten right :hey: