So I just got a calendar from Maxon (makers of Cinema 4D). Some really nice examples of 3D art using their software. As I looked at the images, I was struck by how some were really difficult to tell from photographs and some were obviously 3D. The difference, I think, is depth of field.
Depth of field was really noticable. On too many 3D images the DOF is infinite. Meaning that buildings 300 yards away are in razor sharp focus and you can see every detail on the bricks that make up the building. While the artist may want you to appreciate all the hard work he put in adding fine details… I don’t want to see them. I want them blurred out.
I think this is what makes impressionistic paintings work, as well. It’s the detail you don’t see that makes the image work. When you look out over a city at night with fog rolling in… you take it all in, but rarely do you notice fine details on anything. It’s all a mash of colors and light and vague shapes. Most of us do not have the eyes of eagles.
When a 3D image or a composited photograph has razor sharp details on everything and everything is perfect, our eyes see it as ‘not right’. We might not know exactly what’s wrong, but we know instinctively that it’s fake.
So it’s worth noticing what about photographs make them real. All the imperfections that we try to get rid of, but ultimately tell us that real people and the real world were involved.
fwiw… I wasn’t picking on Cinema 4D specifically (it’s a great product). This is sort of a general problem with 3D. The default cameras in most 3D apps usually have this ‘infinite sharpness’ thing going. A little DOF goes a long way… but I hear ya, the opposite (extreme DOF) does show up a lot.