Artistic judgement central to making photorealism happen

'More about artistic judgement, and much less about coders' says Geomerics
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The creation of photorealistic graphics will not be about hardware and horsepower, but experience and judgement, says lighting specialist Chris Doran.

Doran, founder of lighting outfit Geomerics, told Develop that, in his view, photorealistic graphics in video games are achievable in the coming years, and talent is what will make the difference, not technical specifications.

“It is much more about artistic judgement, and much less about coders trying out the latest idea they heard about at SIGGRAPH. The more control the art director has on the final image, the better the experience will be,” Doran said.

Doran was among several graphics and rendering practitioners speaking at length about the challenges and opportunities that next-gen hardware will present for graphics.

Physical-based algorithms was one of this year’s development trends at SIGGRAPH that’s helping to bring greater realism to games.

For Doran, he feels the conversation about ‘photorealism’ and what is its players actually what depends on how you interpret that ‘realism’.

He add: “If you replace the word ‘reality’ with the word ‘film’, then I totally agree. It is a small point, but gamers don’t want games to look like reality; they want them to look like a live-action film.

“What cinematographers do is take a live-action set, and make it look hyper-realistic, for want of a better word. They make it look like a film. This is achieved through a combination of lighting effects and post-processing. These techniques are now in reach for next generation games developers. So I do expect some titles on PS4 and Xbox One to be indistinguishable from film.”

Read more views about what photorealism will mean for game creators and players in the next generation here.


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