Sunday, March 3, 2013

Lets Be Realistic about Realism

[Please forgive the implied frustration of this post.  But you have no idea how tiring and irritating it is to have this discussion 30 years into this field.  By high end computer graphics we do not mean realistic or photo realistic in any way.  We are sorry you got that idea, but it is not what we meant, ever, so will you, whoever you are, please get over it.  It is irritating and demeaning.  Thank you]

My recent discussions about the failure of computer graphics to be useful to non-fiction fields, its utter failure to be used in Science, Finance, Architecture, and so forth, has brought up another worthy issue: the tyranny of the stupid belief (1) that high-end graphics and animation is about realism, and only about realism, and furthermore, that it is about what the badly educated think realism is.

I am holding back my real feelings here, so read between the lines.

I despise this tyranny of so-called realism or photorealism, I consider it the clear sign of mediocre minds and mediocre artists, of people who have been badly educated or completely uneducated in the arts. I hate having my creative potential limited by having to work with such people. Whenever I heard the desire for "photo realism" in my job as head of 3D at <company name deleted>, I wanted to throw down my pencil and walk out the door, as I knew I was working with people who did not have a (fucking) clue what they were about.

I was filled with self-hatred that frankly I had lowered myself again, to work with such swine. Again.

So is that clear, please, is it clear what I think about realism and the people who espouse it as the highest goal of anything?

Now you are welcome to believe what you want, you can believe that a movie about plastic toys is a work of art and is photorealistic if you want to, but do me a favor and do it far away from me. Because I am offended by your ignorance and your bad taste.

Sorry, just telling you what I believe.

But for those who are reading this blog, unless otherwise specified, "reality" per se is not a particularly desirable or required goal in imagery, unless we have some specific other goal in mind, which under certain circumstances we very well may have.  But then I will be specific in those circumstances what is desired here and why.  Oh yes, since many people reading this may not know what most of the words mean, good "visual effects" do not require "photorealism" in any sense of that word in any element. Good visual effects, to fool you into believing it is real, is completely different from requiring realism in computer graphics. I hope to explain why in this blog, although this should be completely obvious already.

So do not, repeat do not, ever believe that I am implying that computer graphics or any other form of imagery is naturally intended to be realistic.   Nothing could be further from the truth.  Do not limit my philosophy or discourse to your rather restricted views of reality, please.

No offense or anything, but that would be a very unrealistic thing of you to do.


1. Of course by using the term "stupid belief" I am holding back my real feelings.  You should read between the lines to understand what it is that I really mean.

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