The primary mode of study will comprise of taking photographs and trying to reproduce them in 3D in an attempt to emulate the real world. This will provide opportunities to contrast and compare the original photographs to their CGI replicas in order to identify similarities and differences between them, the outcome of which should be the identification of a number of qualities that make an image photo-realistic.
Once a satisfactory result has been obtained, or indeed if I find myself unable to achieve a satisfactory result, I will summarise my findings and repeat the process with a different photograph.
My initial belief is that the mechanisms for achieving photorealism in a CG Image will be specific to the individual image and that a ‘one size fits all’ solution will not be found. For this reason the experiment should be conducted in different lighting situations, with different objects and different materials in order to formulate a range of solutions.
At the time of writing, my expectation is that organic matter, specifically human flesh, will prove the most difficult to replicate. This is due to two primary factors; firstly, the nature of the skin’s surface and the arrangement of translucent matter, such as veins and muscles, below the skin is very complex, and secondly, it is something that we as humans spend a great deal of time looking at. Nevertheless, I expect that research in this area will be readily available.
Once a stage is reached where I am unable to improve my renders through my own observations alone, focus will be given to researching the findings of other practitioners who are interested in photorealism. This need not necessarily be specific to 3D and CGI as artists have been trying to achieve photorealism for many years prior to the advent of current 3D technologies.
This research will be supplemented with three main areas of study which consist of:
- Biology – to identify how the brain interprets signals being received from the eye
- Photography and digital imaging – to identify how a photograph is captured
- Light – to identify how light acts in the real world
Having researched work by other practitioners a comparison will be made to the findings of my initial experiments. Acting upon the results of this comparison I will try to improve my initial renders to see if I can emulate reality even further.
To conclude I will summarise all of my findings and produce a number of 3D CG images that hope to mimic the real world and fool the audience into believing the images are photographs of real world objects and not something that was entirely computer generated.