Monday, February 9, 2009

CGI the death of Automotive Photography?

Recently on my weekly visit of the  Fstop mag I came across this interesting piece about photographer Darren Rees. I found one part of the article particularly disturbing. 

"The digital revolution is a mixed blessing for automotive photographers.  Never mind the global recession or the turbulent price of gasoline: Photographers working with automotive subjects have a different problem: CGI. “I don’t think traditional car photography will ever be the same again, mainly because the car industry is changing,” he says. “Five out of ten campaigns are CGI because it does save on prep and lugging cars around, which is very expensive. Plus, [the company] can advertise a concept car without actually having to make it, which costs millions.” When asked if car photographers were worried, he replied in the affirmative: “Big time."

Could CGI be the end of Automotive Commercial photography.... seems like it unfortunately. And with Print media slowly declining the need for Automotive photographers drops each day, oh well... time to take up 3D modelling then.


Josh R said...

In my experience with CGI work the photographer doesn't do the modeling. The photographer goes out and shoots the location according to the specs that the cgi company provides, basically a laundry list of angles and heights, then the CGI company inserts the car into the environment. It's an interesting process and while I suppose it should be worrying in the long run it didn't seem to be making a big impact when I was involved in automotive work a few years ago.

philip said...

I both do photography and CGI (one of few who do both 'hands on') am not limited to using CGI for the vehicles alone. Often it is more valid to shoot the vehicle and build an impossible environment with CGI.

Broadly speaking, much of what is stated - both by photographers and CGI artists is promotional twaddle. Just as frequently the cost for CGI is, or should be higher than photography.

There is a cultural carry over with photographers trying to maintain their high status relative to CGI artists, despite their required skills (for producing adequate images) being far lower. CGI artists are still thought of as poorly paid underlings, fronted by businesses which sell services on the basis of anonymous corporate muscle.

People will tire of bland CGI product shots and eventually more effort of all levels will be used to produce the highest cutting edge creative imagery for the top end of the market.

Reality has the edge over the limited human imagination. Don't expect photography to go away.

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