Sam Tato, a self-proclaimed 3D generalist, says computer graphics (CG) and computer-generated imagery (CGI) have reached the point where practical drink photography is a thing of the past – and he says he can prove it.

For years, capturing drinks required a high level of skill and the application of techniques that only a few photographers have become masters at the art. PetaPixel shared several tutorials on how to mimic some of the best drink photography created by master publicity photographers, but Tato says no matter how good a drink photographer is, CGI can now top it.

“The main advantage of CG over photography is flexibility,” says Tato PetaPixel. “Once your product is in CG, you can do whatever you want with it since you’re not limited to real-world constraints. This gives the client ultimate flexibility beyond the shooting date.

CGI drink photography

Tato positions its X-Particles Animated Condensation Rig is an example of high-end drink graphics generation that outclasses what is possible with photography. He argues that the platform’s flexibility gives him the ability to adjust his images for ad-hoc clients in ways that simply aren’t possible with traditional photography, without sacrificing realism.

“Maybe [the client] wants their box of lemon-lime goodness shown in a sea of ​​a thousand limes, or maybe they decide they want their product to be photographed with red and blue lights, then the next day they change it. notice and want it orange. Maybe they had a last minute label design change and want that to apply to the images they just paid for. Or better yet, maybe they don’t even have a physical product yet, but would like to start shipping as soon as possible,” Tato says.

“None of that is a problem in CG, but it can be a huge problem if you’re practically filming. A huge plus is that you can also offer animations to the client, which is something every client is looking for in today’s world. today.

CGI drink photography

Tato says flexibility isn’t the end of CG’s benefits and says another major place where his method is best in photography is when it comes to condensation.

“It can be difficult to get that perfect artistic condensation, especially when shooting condensation as it drips. The purpose of the condensation platform I built was to solve this problem. You can direct the condensation in a way that would be impossible, or at least impractical with photography,” he explains.

“You can define your distribution of large and small drops, change the shape of individual drops, and create contrails that act very realistically. The droplets on this platform absorb other drops in their path as they travel, and then some drops remain behind due to surface tension. On top of that, you can browse different builds until you and the customer are satisfied. If the customer comes back later and wants a motion piece, you already have the condensation coming to life on the product.

Obviously, part of Tato’s argument is a pitch for his software solution which he says took him months to build, but that doesn’t take away from his argument – especially since his CG images seem so realistic that the average consumer would have no reason to believe that what they saw was not reality.

CGI drink photography

Tato’s X-Particles Animated Condensation Rig plugin is available for Cinema 4D. It’s quite complex, as Tato says, the digital droplets are programmed to react to each other as they animate on a product, which adds to the realism. This is just the latest example of how CGI has become incredibly competitive with photos and video and lends significant credence to its claims.

CGI drink photography

For now, the drink photographers are still in business, but Tato begs the question: for how long?


Picture credits: All images are computer generated by Sam Tato.

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