In essence, this is a book on digital art. It compiles a host of high resolution computer-generated images taken from the scenes and spaces contained in “The Third & The Seventh” short. Plain and simple.
At least that was the initial idea. However, as the idea for the book took shape in my head, I decided to alternate these graphic impressions with some text (which at the beginning was quite concise) to divide the book into different chapters. These chapters focus on the different stages of the actual CGI image generation process using the greatest possible degree of photorealism and they aim to cover each of the aspects I bring across in my work: the initial planning and modeling stage through to the render and post-production stage, touching upon key themes such as lighting and the virtual creation of vegetation.
Each chapter digs into thoughts, procedures, theoretical principles and my own personal, and absolutely subjective, preferences that I have compiled for this book after many years of trial and error.
This essay largely aims to transmit knowledge and experience, focusing primarily on helping the artist read, understand and appreciate both basic and advanced concepts related to pictorial, photographic and synthetic art (taken as a separate discipline and final process).
Nevertheless, many of the artistic concepts described within can easily be applied to other disciplines such as painting and photography, since they share a universal foundation. All these thoughts (which are mostly abstract) are completed with concrete data, which I have tested in a genuine production environment.
The so-called “practical” part is based 100% on the VRay rendering engine inside 3dsMax. This practical section can however be exported to any other platform and/or rendering engine (describing concepts and values as timelessly as possible).
In addition to being a book on art (CGI art in this case), this book has a second purpose. Although I have not devoted my life to teaching, I have always found it extremely interesting. I warmed to the concept of transmitting my knowledge from the moment I began managing people (first as a senior designer and then as art director) at several companies throughout my career in the ArchVIZ sector.
The artists I was supervising that were starting out all shared two marked characteristics that immediately caught my attention. On the one hand, they had little (or no) training in any aspect of fine arts (mainly lighting and materials) and, on the other, they were relatively obsessed with simply learning about numbers and parameters without understanding or learning how to use the rendering engine.
People are going to find a strong emphasis on artistic principles as well as an important part dedicated to CG techniques. The idea is to have a book that can be useful both as a resource for strong traditional arts theory as well as a reference book, combined with a great collection of over 120 high resolution CG images. It is not a step-by-step tutorial book, though. It intends to deal with much more essential concepts that in my view are lacking in the way digital artists are trained these days, and that’s what I wanted to address.
Hence the idea for this book. This is my modest contribution to that group of people. This is what came of much, but not all, of my work with these artists. Regardless of how software evolves or how hardware advances, the principles behind an impeccable result have been the same for hundreds of years.
This is what this text is about. I have attempted to help the reader understand that both numbers and parameters will become obsolete and useless even before the reader finishes this book.
In short, and bearing in mind that experience can only come from experimenting, I have attempted to put into words my honest point of view regarding a technique called CGI so that the reader can take stock of what it takes to learn this, or any other discipline.