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Thread: Degrading CGI to look "real"

  1. #1

    Default Degrading CGI to look "real"

    This is a typical image made by overlaying a photograph with some graphics. One problem is that the CGI has a different quality the 'real' image.
    I would be grateful to know what kind of processing can I do to the CGI image to make it appear more like the 'real' image?

    e.g. I am adding these two kinds of images:
    And creating this one:
    Higher quality examples at:
    Last edited by TimAndrews; 10-24-2013 at 11:22 PM. Reason: added link to HQ versions

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Helsinki, Finland


    Depends on what kind of quality your camera shoots. I'm no expert in these, but it's usually a good start to take a good hard look at the real background your adding the CGI element to. Does it seem more blurred? Add some blur. Is it more grainy, does the cgi element lack the same kind of texture? Add grain/noise. Some color correction never hurts either, I almost always have to lower saturation and do some touching around on curve editor to get the lighting match better. On your case you might even try creating a new light that only applies to the CGI layer, as the basket seems to reflect some light that the lower stone elements do not seem to respect.

    Here is a quick comparison I did from shooting scene of the Irredeemables. My gun props are mostly toys or airsoft guns, so no actual empty shells are ejected. My solution has been image of a shell created in 3d program.

    Damn it, doesn't seem to be as easy to spot as in AE. Oh well, you get the crude idea. The shell was way too clear, sharp, reflective and didnt match the quality or the lighting. With just some grain & blur it fits the scene much better. It's not perfect, but each of those only stays on the screen for few frames so it hardly matters. Originally I didn't have blur for them and instead of flying away their sharpness made their animation look surprisingly choppy and glued on.

    As far as stones and leaves go, I'd guess that you can make them fit the scene pretty well, but that cat looks like something that would have needed fixing in the modeling software prior to the video part.

  3. #3


    Thank you both for the replies and examples. They were very helpful and my initial results certainly look 'better'. And I shall now consider whether it will now be easier to do this in dark scenes. I have now read about how some of the more expensive apps can add grain by auto matching the two images, and the multiple ways to 'blur' images.
    I think that creating bright, well lit scenes is outside my skill level.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Helsinki, Finland


    Darkness is your friend when you wish to save time or cover lack of detail. 3d animation I did awhile ago is fine example of it:

    The room is very low poly (only few thousands if I remember right, less than the chairs alone could have) and textures are what they are, but having multiple lights reflect from surfaces and cast shadows in dark environment hides it pretty well. Unless you ignore the real footage (the video screens), you're unlikely to notice that the keybord is only a box etc.

  5. #5


    I think SS has said it all really.

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