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  • Any books on learning CGI photography?

    I am talking about images like this and this.

    I beg to differ. I was talking about learning Photoshop for CGI art.
    Last edited by beefhitler; 07-18-2014, 11:05 AM.

  • #2
    Re: Any books on learning CGI photography?

    There is not as much CGI here as you might think. okay buildings obviously, and baloon in the second one, but all the people and most of the scenery in front was a composite.

    Well, learning how light behaves(photography), how colors affect one another (color theory), composition(drawing, painting ,photography...)... Basically you need to understand the concept from an illustrators point of view.

    There are no additional techniques/tools involved. Maybe 3d in photoshop, but that is still in it's early days.

    What I'm saying is: learn the tools, and practice practice practice.

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    • #3
      Re: Any books on learning CGI photography?

      Looks like Steven Wilkes work (a friend of mine) and he does obviously multiple exposures and work in Photoshop, it's not CGI per se. It's great photography (he was Jay Masiel's assistant for years) and really good Photoshop work.

      http://webodysseum.com/art/day-and-n...tephen-wilkes/

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      • #4
        Re: Any books on learning CGI photography?

        Originally posted by skoobey View Post
        There is not as much CGI here as you might think. okay buildings obviously, and baloon in the second one, but all the people and most of the scenery in front was a composite.

        Well, learning how light behaves(photography), how colors affect one another (color theory), composition(drawing, painting ,photography...)... Basically you need to understand the concept from an illustrators point of view.
        It's a misconception that you would require CG to create those buildings. Apart from that there isn't a good reference book on the specific topic mentioned by the OP, because it's too small of a market. It would mean being competent with the basics of modeling, texturing, and lighting as well as retouching.


        Originally posted by skoobey View Post
        There are no additional techniques/tools involved. Maybe 3d in photoshop, but that is still in it's early days.

        What I'm saying is: learn the tools, and practice practice practice.
        I doubt that will ever take off. They started adding tools with CS3, and they're poorly designed aside from being limited.

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        • #5
          Re: Any books on learning CGI photography?

          Originally posted by andrewrodney View Post
          Looks like Steven Wilkes work (a friend of mine) and he does obviously multiple exposures and work in Photoshop, it's not CGI per se. It's great photography (he was Jay Masiel's assistant for years) and really good Photoshop work.

          http://webodysseum.com/art/day-and-n...tephen-wilkes/
          Oh man those are lovely. Thanks for the link.

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          • #6
            Re: Any books on learning CGI photography?

            Originally posted by andrewrodney View Post
            Looks like Steven Wilkes work (a friend of mine) and he does obviously multiple exposures and work in Photoshop, it's not CGI per se. It's great photography (he was Jay Masiel's assistant for years) and really good Photoshop work.

            http://webodysseum.com/art/day-and-n...tephen-wilkes/
            Great images, like I said, it's more about compositing. And true, klev, there is no need for them to be CGI.

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            • #7
              Re: Any books on learning CGI photography?

              Taylor James has step by step videos on their website for some projects:
              http://www.taylorjames.com/project/csx/?thumb=3314
              http://www.taylorjames.com/project/g...13/?thumb=8443
              to give you an idea of the work that goes into creating these scenes.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Any books on learning CGI photography?

                OP here. I understand what you guys are saying about the Photoshop usage. I have been using Photoshop for retouching for quite a while. I just wanted to read up something on Photoshop Compositing. Step by step videos showing the Photoshop window also helps. Is there anything out there which is actually written in the form of a book?

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                • #9
                  Re: Any books on learning CGI photography?

                  Originally posted by beefhitler View Post
                  OP here. I understand what you guys are saying about the Photoshop usage. I have been using Photoshop for retouching for quite a while. I just wanted to read up something on Photoshop Compositing. Step by step videos showing the Photoshop window also helps. Is there anything out there which is actually written in the form of a book?
                  I can't think of a single really good one that focuses solely on photoshop. Ron Brinkman's "The art and science of digital compositing" would probably teach you a few things, as it has some case studies of stuff taken from different sources. It's not so much about still image compositing through, and topics like chroma key work don't really translate well to what you're doing. Something that focuses on matte painting might help, due to its inherent similarity when combining generated objects with painted details and altered photos. I'm still not 100% sure on that. Lastly you could look at books that deal with digital illustration, because the concepts are very similar and translate well. You line up elements, shade and color correct to match certain components and imply shared light sources, and fix details. If you're lacking a good foundation there, you would probably learn something. Step by step isn't likely to help you learn anything, as you'll just end up copying without any idea what to do on the next image. It imparts a false sense of security.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Any books on learning CGI photography?

                    As klev knows, and his advice help me a lot, once you "get" one visual art, you'll be reasonably good at all of them, then it's just up to the practice and using specific tools.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Any books on learning CGI photography?

                      I would also look into the tutorials regarding compositing key visuals (posters, ad campaigns, etc) or check out available psds at www.tenbyfotolia.com. You can deduce a lot from a total file breakdown, specific color casts, adjustment layers, how it all fits together.

                      Having said that, in a lot of cases composites are a mix of photo and CGI imagery. Specifically, with non-organic elements when it is downwards impossible to obtain a satisfying product shot with a desired lighting, angle and perspective.
                      Just have a look here:
                      http://www.happyfinish.com/services/cgi-images/
                      And you may get a better idea.

                      I have yet to find a comprehensive book on the subject, most of these available on the market have little or nothing to do with current aesthetics, they're just like beginners photoshop tutorials: cheesy visual effects for dummies.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Any books on learning CGI photography?

                        Originally posted by insmac View Post
                        I would also look into the tutorials regarding compositing key visuals (posters, ad campaigns, etc) or check out available psds at www.tenbyfotolia.com. You can deduce a lot from a total file breakdown, specific color casts, adjustment layers, how it all fits together.

                        Having said that, in a lot of cases composites are a mix of photo and CGI imagery. Specifically, with non-organic elements when it is downwards impossible to obtain a satisfying product shot with a desired lighting, angle and perspective.
                        Just have a look here:
                        http://www.happyfinish.com/services/cgi-images/
                        And you may get a better idea.

                        I have yet to find a comprehensive book on the subject, most of these available on the market have little or nothing to do with current aesthetics, they're just like beginners photoshop tutorials: cheesy visual effects for dummies.
                        The first link is really neat. On the second some of those are just so far beyond the scope of a simple tutorial. Even if you did a start to finish, the complexity would result in someone primarily learning to copy steps rather than a true understanding of how the concept was developed and worked out. If you look at the olay photo on the purple background, someone had to design the look of that background. You have certain bands of color, with slightly more abstract outlines in certain places. I would probably start off with the bars, then add the fadeoffs and other details from there. You have some very specific shading on the bottle. Parts are darkened along key areas, and the label is perfectly masked to be just the right color.

                        The liquid splash is a tutorial (or book) in itself. Fluid simulations are not always well behaved, and you need to have some idea of how to handle shading and lighting without creating unnecessary dependencies between the two. It's possible to learn all of these things. I just don't think you'll find a book that goes into the specific subset of tools needed for this area. Even if you did the author would really have their hands tied for space and probably wouldn't do anything meaningful with fluid solvers given the complex nature of the topic and extreme variation between various solvers (nucleus solver, Glu, whatever realflow uses, blender's options, all different).

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Any books on learning CGI photography?

                          Originally posted by klev View Post
                          The first link is really neat. On the second some of those are just so far beyond the scope of a simple tutorial. Even if you did a start to finish, the complexity would result in someone primarily learning to copy steps rather than a true understanding of how the concept was developed and worked out. If you look at the olay photo on the purple background, someone had to design the look of that background. You have certain bands of color, with slightly more abstract outlines in certain places. I would probably start off with the bars, then add the fadeoffs and other details from there. You have some very specific shading on the bottle. Parts are darkened along key areas, and the label is perfectly masked to be just the right color.

                          The liquid splash is a tutorial (or book) in itself. Fluid simulations are not always well behaved, and you need to have some idea of how to handle shading and lighting without creating unnecessary dependencies between the two. It's possible to learn all of these things. I just don't think you'll find a book that goes into the specific subset of tools needed for this area. Even if you did the author would really have their hands tied for space and probably wouldn't do anything meaningful with fluid solvers given the complex nature of the topic and extreme variation between various solvers (nucleus solver, Glu, whatever realflow uses, blender's options, all different).
                          Yeah, I agree with pretty much everything you've said. I have just linked the Happy Finish portfolio since they kind of do "everything" ranging from usual photoshop matte painting to complex CGI composites.

                          I am always amazed why there are virtually no breakdowns from retouchuing houses whilst every top notch video post facility uploads a VFX breakdown for every major job they do.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Any books on learning CGI photography?

                            Originally posted by insmac View Post
                            Yeah, I agree with pretty much everything you've said. I have just linked the Happy Finish portfolio since they kind of do "everything" ranging from usual photoshop matte painting to complex CGI composites.

                            I am always amazed why there are virtually no breakdowns from retouchuing houses whilst every top notch video post facility uploads a VFX breakdown for every major job they do.

                            Some retouching shops do post breakdowns. I looked through happy finish's projects. Considering they're working predominantly with still image budgets and deadlines, I suspect they have established quite a bit in the way of starting points and best practices with some of that stuff. All of those things are relative to the software packages used though. In terms of things like fluids, it's also relative to the solver used. Software packages of that scope have bugs. If you come across one and develop a workaround, you document it. Assuming they aren't writing their own shaders from scratch, they would have to be aware of certain details, such as how the shaders used apply energy conservation if applicable. There are other things. I don't want to go into them as the post will get way too long.

                            The breakdown thing may be an issue of client permission. Even the companies that do post them don't post them on every job.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Any books on learning CGI photography?

                              The first link is really neat. On the second some of those are just so far beyond the scope of a simple tutorial. Even if you did a start to finish, the complexity would result in someone primarily learning to copy steps rather than a true understanding of how the concept was developed and worked out. If you look at the olay photo on the purple background, someone had to design the look of that background. You have certain bands of color, with slightly more abstract outlines in certain places. I would probably start off with the bars, then add the fadeoffs and other details from there. You have some very specific shading on the bottle. Parts are darkened along key areas, and the label is perfectly masked to be just the right color.

                              This is exactly what I wanted to talk about. I really am asking for the basics where the foundation for this should be based on. For example, when I learn to drive a car, I definitely can't learn driving on a race track. I would need to learn how to change gears first.

                              PSDs help. They really do help. And TEN by Fotolia is an excellent website. I am going through some of the PSDs as we speak. And I love them. I love going through the PSDs not just because I can see what's going on but because they make me think. Can I really come to a point where I will be working on a PSD like that myself? Can I really add a finish touch like that? Can I not leave clues for my mistakes? I can immerse myself in these PSDs for hours.

                              But that's not all.

                              I want to reach to that level. I want to be able to show off my work myself one day.

                              I need a starting point.

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