Computer-generated imagery (CGI) is one of the most promising branches of computer applications which is used in the application of the field of computer graphics or, more specifically, 3D computer graphics to special effects in films, television programs, commercials, simulators and simulation generally, and printed media. Normally most of the computer graphics were generated in 2 dimensions whereas CGI is capable of generating 3D images which will enhance the quality of the graphics produced. Video games is one of the major areas in which CGI can be applied to enhance the visual effects because computer generated effects are more controllable than other more physically based processes. CGI allows a graphic artist to produce contents without the actual use of actors, expensive set piece etc.

3D computer graphics software is generally used to make computer-generated imagery for movies. We are entering an era of 3D graphics and many people believe that 3D imageries will capture the movie and video game industry in future. The increased availability of CGI software and increased computer speeds have allowed artists and small companies to produce professional grade films, games, and fine arts. This paper briefly analyses what is computer generated imagery and the future of computer generated imagery.

What is computer generated imagery?

Computer-generated imagery (CGI) is a kind of three dimensional computer application which is used in the field of computer graphics) to give special effects to the characters and the scenes produced in the movie or game. It is widely used in 3D graphics, computer animations, morphing, application software, scientific visualizations etc. 3D images provides real time viewing unlike the conventional 2D images.

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In computer graphics software, the distinction between 2D and 3D is occasionally blurred; 2D applications may use 3D techniques to achieve effects such as lighting, and primarily 3D may use 2D rendering techniques. 3D computer graphics are often referred to as 3D models. Apart from the rendered graphic, the model is contained within the graphical data file. However, there are differences. A 3D model is the mathematical representation of any three-dimensional object (either inanimate or living). A model is not technically a graphic until it is visually displayed. Due to 3D printing, 3D models are not confined to virtual space. A model can be displayed visually as a two-dimensional image through a process called 3D rendering, or used in non-graphical computer simulations and calculations (Computer-generated imagery, 2010)

Computer animation is another major area in which CHGI is widely used. It is the art of creating moving images via the use of computers. To create the illusion of movement, an image is displayed on the computer screen then quickly replaces it by a new image which is similar to the previous image, but shifted slightly based on the needs of the scene. This technique is similar to the illusion of movement achieved with the help of television and motion pictures. 3D computer animation is a successor to the art of 2D illustrations. 2D flash, 3D flash etc are some of the major computer animation software available at present.  Last few decades have witnessed the films like Jurassic Park in which computer animations were used to portray dinosaurs like ancient animals which are unfamiliar to the modern world. Nobody has even seen a dinosaur alive. But still Steven Spielberg like Hollywood film makers made use of computer graphics imagery in producing animation movies which appears to be more realistic than the real movies.

Video games most often use real-time computer graphics (rarely referred to as CGI), but may also include pre-rendered “cut scenes” and intro movies that would be typical CGI applications. CGI is used for visual effects because the quality is often higher and effects are more controllable than other more physically based processes, such as constructing miniatures for effects shots or hiring extras for crowd scenes, and because it allows the creation of images that would not be feasible using any other technology (Computer-generated imagery, 2010)

Scientific visualization is another area in which computer generated imagery is widely used. It is impossible to portray some of the elements in science. For example, we know that electrons, protons and neutrons are the basic particles in an atom. Moreover we also know that proton and neutron are located inside the core of an atom called nucleus and electrons are revolving around the nucleus in circular paths. Even though we can represent the nucleus electron motion graphically using 2D means, it is difficult for us to learn more in depth knowledge about the different kinds of movements of electrons because of the limitations of 2D representations. On the other hand, using computer generated imagery; we can represent different movements of the electron like the rotatory motion around the nucleus, spinning of electrons etc

Scientists interpret potentially huge quantities of laboratory or simulation data or the results from sensors out in the field to aid reasoning, hypothesis building and cognition. The field of data mining offers much abstract visualization related to these visualization types. They are active research areas, drawing on theory in information graphics, computer graphics, human-computer interaction and cognitive science.Desktop programs capable of presenting interactive models of molecules and microbiological entities are becoming relatively common (Molecular graphics).Medical imaging is a huge application domain for scientific visualization with an emphasis on enhancing imaging results graphically (Scientific visualization, 2010)

Future of computer generated imagery

We are living in a digital world now. Most of the latest electronic equipments and in fact majority of the other machineries are controlled by computers. Even an automobile like passenger car is nowadays controlled by computers. In short, the importance of computers and electronic data are increasing rapidly. Considering the growth achieved in the digital world, the future of the computer generated imagery is bright. Digital data can be more easily generated and manipulated compared to the analogue data. 3D graphics already achieved prominence over 2D graphics which underlines the fact that the future of computer generated imagery is going to be bright.

Computer generated imagery has fostered another technology – interactive. Driven by firms such as Microsoft and Honda, lifelike avatars with compelling characters will be available for home TV displays by 2015 or sooner.Consumers will interact with their avatar to control house temperature, lighting, and security; select TV and movies to view or record on their DVR; and receive help with e-mail and Internet chat room activities. Avatars will also help us communicate with friends and relatives, and purchase household items whether on the Web or from a bricks and mortar store. You will explore and participate in the digital world with your avatar. You will interact with a sharp 3-D life-size image of a character you created. Its design, temperament, and voice style will all be of your making. Avatars will become increasingly important in our lives, developing a near human-like personality with compassion and understanding of our physical and emotional needs. We will truly become friends with our avatar. We live in an exciting time. We can digitally simulate humans down to the last detail. If we make a digital copy of a live human look real, think what we could do with the deceased. How about Sleepless in Hoboken starring a young Frank Sinatra and Audrey Hepburn (Pelletier, 2008)

Avatar is only one possibility computer generated imagery can provide to us. It is difficult to predict what else computer generated imagery may provide to us. There are many other utilities which can be expected to the human world with the help of computer generated imagery. In short, the future of computer generated imagery is beyond our imagination.

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