Computer-Generated Imagery (CGI) has become a standard technology in multiple industries. CGI is also called 3D Rendering or 3D imaging.
CGI has various applications; whether it’s for commercial, production, marketing, or entertainment purposes, it has become a powerful tool to use.
However, CGI has always been a bit of a vague subject. Aside from the special effects in our action movies, what exactly is CGI?
CGI stands for computer-generated imagery, and the term is self-explanatory. In traditional photography, film or a digital camera captures an image from the light in the environment where computer generated images are created in computer software. Three-dimensional (3D) outputs are often associated with CGI. However, CGI can also create two-dimensional (2D) effects. CGI images are composed of animations commonly used to add special effects to movies or create entire movies (Pixar). Both 2D and 3D CGI are created in 3d modelling software, and artists typically use tablets to paint and draw.
The outputs of CGI can range from still images commonly used in architecture to immersive virtual reality environments.
Real estate CGI has evolved into an entire industry and is used in multiple areas from the early planning to the final sales. Many governing boards are now asking for CGI images for community engagement, ensuring view corridors, shadow studies, and ensuring consistent streetscapes. Architects are using CGI to help clients understand the design and get sign off. Developers are using CGI to do presales. Using animations or walk-through, a potential buyer can understand every aspect of the building, from the overall layout to the individual units.
CGI is everywhere in modern marketing and advertising. There is a good chance the last car commercial you saw was almost entirely CGI. For the car industry CGI has been a big cost-saver because different vehicles for different markets can be added to the same commercial. Most products are now CGI to ensure consistency across marketing materials. Lastly, many commercials now have movie-style special effects to help grab the viewers' attention.
Let’s not forget what CGI is best known for: special effects!
Although not all movies employ CGI for their effects, CGI has helped movies enhance their stories or create more realistic fantasy worlds. This technology has paved the way in making certain adaptations of books or comics more realistic and fantastic.
Movie franchises like the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Transformers heavily depend on CGI to give more definition to their fight sequences. In fact, a scene in The Amazing Spider-man 2 has Spider-man completely in CGI!
CGI is no longer limited to films. TV shows like BBC’s Sherlock and HBO’s Game of Thrones employ the technology for different reasons. Sherlock often uses CGI in a stylistic manner, while Game of Thrones uses it to create locations, effects, and creatures that could not be easily and realistically done on set.
Mixing CGI with live action has given us a more quality experience in which we can experience these stories to their full potential. Comparing the number of Avengers adaptations in the ‘70s to that since 2010, the CGI on the latter is one of the factors that have improved the quality of this adaptation.
Although there is some overlap here with marketing and advertising, we feel products deserve a section on their own. Products are using CGI similar to real estate, from early planning to marketing. With Kickstarter, CGI images can be created for a new idea, and the designer can raise money to bring the idea to market.
For product images on marketplaces like Amazon, its more cost-effective to use CGI for the product images than it is to hire a professional photographer.
Now that you know what CGI is, it's time to find who can help you get what you need to be done. First, assess the kind of work that you want to be done. Location may also be an option to think about, but it's not as necessary as CGI artists and firms can collaborate via online platforms.
With that in mind, you can scour the internet for a reputable CGI firm or artist! Online marketplaces like Upwork allow you to post your job listing to contact CGI artists and vice versa. Most of these CGI creators have websites, so you can also try searching in web search engines. The results will depend on how specific you are in your search and, sometimes, the location. Freelancers can be very cost-effective, especially if they are located overseas but more management is required.
If you are considering hiring a studio, we hope you will consider us. We are based out of Vancouver, BC, Canada and work with clients worldwide. We specialize in real estate, but we also work with products, safety animations, environmental reclamation, and many others. We hope you found this resource helpful, and please feel free to contact us with any questions and quotes are always free.