Click on photos to enlarge.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Glasses, 2006, Gilles Tran
I have deliberately titled this item with an abbreviation--CGI. Whether you're an artist or not, if you don't know what that means, in today's world, it's high time you learned. CGI stands for Computer Generated Imagery. Its a broad designation, basically including any graphic image generated from a digital source. The image above is NOT a photo. It's CGI. At its most highly refined, realistic best, in today's world of imaging, CGI not just rivals photographic imagery, in many ways, it surpasses it. If one were to look at a mixture of images, both CGI and photographic, the most telling difference would be that the CGI images might appear too perfect. The other major difference, even allowing for present day, state-of-the art photo editing software, would be that CGI allows artists to easily depict scenes impossible (or economically unfeasible) using any other means.

Gilles Tran
CGI is too broad to be a topic here. There are just too many manifestations, from fractal geometry to CAD (computer assisted design), to computer animation. I've already covered a couple of these areas, Fractal Art, Mathematical Art, and Digital Art in the past. Thus, to simplify, I'm going to highlight only one artist and only his CGI art. His name is Gilles Tran. He lives and works in Paris, and though his work is very much at a professional level, he still classifies himself as an amateur. Actually, his "day job" is that of an agronomist. The image at the top is by Gilles Tran. The image of him at right is not. He's a modest man. The photo did not come from his website but from the one where he works. It's the only photo on this page.

Gilles Tran uses POV-Ray software. That stands for Persistence of Vision Raytracer. This software allows the creation of graphic images based upon a text description. No, you can't just type in "draw a box."  As with all things digital, it's a little more complicated than that, though not much. However, there is a learning curve. Actually, the text looks more like the HTML code used to render this page.

<<<===That will get you this.
Here's a sample:

#declare the_angle = 0;

#while (the_angle < 360)
        box {   <-0.5, -0.5, -0.5>
                <0.5, 0.5, 0.5>
                texture { pigment { color Red }
                          finish  { specular 0.6 }
                          normal  { agate 0.25 scale 1/2 } }
                rotate the_angle }
        #declare the_angle = the_angle + 45;

I pride myself in having a "way with words," but I would be speechless in describing the above figure in plain text. CGI has come a long way fast. Gilles Tran created Brittany Night (below, right) when he began experimenting with CGI in 1993. That was pretty much cutting edge, state-of-the art CGI back then. His Glasses (top) was done just thirteen years later in 2006. In addition to POV-Ray, Tran now also uses even more sophisticated software, Cinema 4D, FinalRender and Poser (among others). The two Gilles Tran images below offer a more concise, side-by-side comparison of CGI art then and now.

Lyon Capitale, (magazine cover),
2009, Gilles Tran

Brittany Night, 1993, Gilles Tran,
Created using a PC 386 with 
MS-DOS, 4 Mb of RAM,
and POV-Ray 1.0

No comments:

Post a Comment