CGI or photo? Can you ask the question at all? Both types of content production have their advantages and disadvantages for marketing. In fact, CGI is not (yet) the solution for everything. But where photography comes to its limits, the latest CGI production can play its advantages loosely. Meanwhile, CGI renderings and CGI animations add value. Especially in the area of interaction, CGI can support digital marketing. We took a closer look at the pros and cons of renderings and photos.
CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) refers exclusively to computer generated and produced images or image worlds, using a special 3D software.
Advantages and disadvantages of CGI
Is this picture CGI or photo? It shows a photorealistic interior rendering: 100% CGI with a Spanish flair
Advantages of CGI
- Image quality is no longer distinguishable from a "real" photo
- every imaginable real or unreal location / scene can be recreated
- full flexibility thanks to 3D model (freely rotatable, adaptation of shape, color, material, light)
- Prototypes can be displayed before the final production
- Production is independent of place, time + weather
- all 3D models at any time, even subsequently flexibly changeable + adaptable
- Presentation of complex, invisible features (eg cross-sections, "X-ray images")
- Export to various file and image formats in any resolution
- Consistent recognition value / generation of visual language
- Construction of a reusable product and material database ("digital warehouse")
- Interaction possible (virtual reality, augmented reality, configurator, 360 ° views ...)
Disadvantages of CGI
- Rendering of realistic humans + clothes still very elaborate
- Animations require high computing capacity
- Also special expensive software needed
- In addition, well-trained 3D artists necessary
Advantages and disadvantages of photography
Building a classic photo studio
Advantages of photography
- Getting started in photography is very easy
- authentic representation of humans and animals
- numerous pictures within a few minutes
Disadvantages of photography
- financial burden by renting locations, staff, travel expenses, camera accessories, etc
- Dependence on many external factors
- thereby taking photos under time pressure (e.g., weather changes, time of day)
- used products can no longer be sold as original goods
- elaborate scene construction and dismantling (transport, light, environment, styling etc)
- subsequent flexible changes after dismantling the location are no longer possible
- limited maximum photo resolution
- No or little interaction with the final product Photo possible
Conclusion: CGI helps with the digital transformation in marketing
Thanks to state-of-the-art 3D software and continuous development, renderings achieve a photorealistic result that is indistinguishable from classic photographs. However, the representation of humans and animals is still very elaborate. Assuming you have not just several million euros budget for a Hollywood blockbuster available. CGI productions can be implemented quickly and efficiently. Both types of content production are mutually dependent. In other words, the disadvantages of photography are at the same time the benefits of renderings.
Basically, CGI recommends the visual presentation of products and the depiction of interior and exterior photographs. Once the scene or product has been created as a 3D file, it can be changed, adapted and animated as often as you like. Also, the export to all popular file and image formats is no problem. CGI is also recommended for various product variants , as light settings and camera positions remain unchanged in the 3D software and are saved for later use. Thus, a high number of renderings, e.g. a sofa with different color and material variations, visualized by automation , with consistent visual language and a recognition value.
Accordingly, you can see the 3D production as an investment in the future. 3D models develop their full potential only when create digital interaction. Examples include augmented reality, virtual reality, configurators and 360 ° views on the company website or for social media.
In addition, technically, the combination of real photos and 3D models as a "hybrid" is possible. This allows e.g. Implement unproducted prototypes in a real-world photorealistic way using CAD data. By the way, in another article we clarify the question of how important CAD data or 3D data is for digital marketing.
Digital change in marketing
For the time being, content production in marketing using CGI will not be able to replace photography completely and 100%. Accordingly, the use of renderings depends on the desired purpose and which individual goals are to be achieved. CGI is also gladly used when the limits of photography are reached. For example, cross-sectional or so-called x-rays . As a result, non-visible technical details can be visualized inside a product. Finally, our conclusion: As part of the digital transformation , CGI renderings offer a flexible, cost-efficient and high-quality alternative to photography.