CGI 101 - What is CGI or Computer Generated Imagery?

CGI, or computer-generated imagery, is in many cases what a consumer sees when thumbing through a magazine. If done by professionals, like TRG, most people can’t tell the difference between a CGI image and an organic photo.

When it comes to print media, there are several advantages to using CGI.  First, it allows a single artist to create content without the use of sets, a studio, or props. It also allows for images to be perfectly created to a client’s specifications.  And it can save time in the long run if several versions of a single subject are desired. Also, the parts and pieces of a particular image can be saved, reused, or recombined infinitely.

There are multiple ways to create a single shot in CGI. Clients can send 3D files, and here at TRG, we can re-create images from drawings or we can even design and model an image ourselves.

In most cases a client provides us with an engineering CAD file. CAD stands for “Computer Aided Design” which are the files used to make the final product that consumers use. We can take the CAD files and produce a realistic image of the product even before the actual part is made. This allows clients to create imagery for non-existent products that are not even in the prototype stage yet.

CGI 101: Step 1

First, we’ll need to import the CAD file and manipulate it into something we can work with. We will start to designate parts into the different surfaces and texture where they will ultimately live.

CGI 101: Step 2

Next, we take the file into the rendering program where  we develop textures and colors to match the final specs of a product. We use actual product samples to create the textures. We can also add logos and graphics at this point.

CGI 101: Step 3

Here, we begin to light the subject using techniques similar to those used in the studio. We can save the scene and come back to it at any point even years later to rework a file. We also have the capability to perform pixel-for-pixel matches for product shots in multiple colors or finishes.

CGI 101: Step 4

After all textures and the lighting are finalized we will render the file. We can render anything from small low-res for web to huge banners for trade shows.

CGI 101: Step 5

Finally, we will bring the renders into post-production to quality check all files, making certain they are color-corrected to the desired standards.

Sounds simple, right?  Not really. However, TRG, has a team of dedicated artists with the highest standards and the most up-to-date training and software. We love a challenge, and we can create a final product that meets the needs of our clients.

CGICraig CardilinoHow To