pix-us

June 2016

Is CGI Finally More Real Than Photography?

Okay, I can just imagine your reaction to this seemingly absurd statement. But if you are willing to pause and analyze your belief system surrounding photography you may be surprised at your thoughts by the end of this article. Photography has been unfairly burdened with the role of truth teller since its inception. The old adage “the camera never lies” was started as a way to persuade people who had never seen a photograph of themselves, that, yes, this was in fact what they looked like. Lines illustrating this point where used in the play The Octoroon written by Dion Boucicault and performed in New York in 1859: Scud: The apparatus [a camera] can't mistake. When I travelled round with this machine, the homely folks used to sing out, "Hillo, mister, this ain't like me!" "Ma'am," says I, "the apparatus can't mistake." The more modern use of the notion arrived later with the meaning that photography shows us that which is to be believed and is irreproachable. Let me pause as this point. It would be incorrect for the reader to think the purpose of this article is a vilification of photography. To be clear, I have been a photographer for 44 years and a professional advertising and editorial photographer since 1977. I adore photography and have always been active with my own personal work as well. I have followed the development of computer-generated images (CGI) for the past decade. Three years ago I became a partner in a company producing this type of work. I speak as one with experience and total respect for the traditions of photography, the hard working professionals, and fine artists who have used photography to inform, tell stories, entertain, and change opinions for more than 170 years. My utmost respect also extends to the people who have advanced computer-generated imaging to what it is today. I am amazed by what we are able to create, thanks to the hard work of both artists and software engineers. The fact that people still assign the belief that photography is reality is a problem for photography. But from its earliest days, photography was...

Know Your True Colors

Everyone perceives color differently, and women are better at it than men. This dates back to the dawn of time and traditional hunter/gatherer roles. Over the years, color-matching has evolved to such a degree that a science has been developed around it complete with its own number values, scales and terminology. There’s also a science behind the human perception of color. It’s called colorimetry and involves the study of human physiology (color receptors in the human eye) and the technology employed to more closely determine how people perceive color. You may wonder how you personally see color. PIX-US recommends that anyone with professional imaging needs test their own color matching aptitude with online tests like X-Rite’s (formerly Gretag Macbeth). Another equally important step is examining your color-viewing tools environment, and that’s where this article can help. We tell you what you can do and why. In the photography and CGI industries, nuances between colors can make or break a project. That’s why we take it so seriously. We want to limit frustration over color-matching by providing background about our process and tips for optimal viewing of our images. The PIX-US Color-Matching Process At  PIX-US we have machines and software to help match the color of your product. These include color-calibrated graphics monitors, color viewing stations from Just NormLicht, and several different color analyzation tools. Several team members (including both men and women) assess the trueness of the match. As part of the color matching process, we pick an area in a mid-value light and not too close to strong colors. Then we work to match that area and have the other areas reach a state where the viewer logically understands it’s the same product whether in shadow or highlight. If we try to match the color of every piece of product in all areas by taking out all highlights, shadows, and color reflections we end up with a flat, boring image that looks like the product was just dropped in with Photoshop, leaving a much less desirable result. Here’s a look at our setup: 1. We have new, color-calibrated monitors. The ultimate goal is to match...