Getting Real…or Not

Except for “most” of the actors, there is very little in modern advertising that isn’t the product of long hours of software application coding followed by longer hours of someone pushing a mouse or waving a stylus at some digital display. I’m probably not going to lose too many artists when I say that even some of the people, the “folks” we see in advertising, are not…quite…real. Yes, watching an automobile commercial these days and believing what you see is sort of like being plugged into the Matrix.

At this point, we know that most of the vehicles we see in auto commercials today aren’t real.  They’re very well-realized models; animated, lit, and carefully choreographed with other objects (real or not), within tightly motion-tracked live-action scenes.

Except for “most” of the actors, there is very little in modern advertising that isn’t the product of long hours of software application coding (much of that done by my good friends in the labyrinthine folds and levels of Autodesk), followed by longer hours of someone pushing a mouse or waving a stylus at some digital display. I’m probably not going to lose too many artists when I say that even some of the people, the “folks” we see in advertising, are not…quite…real. Yes, watching an automobile commercial these days and believing what you see is sort of like being plugged into the Matrix.

Okay…in a way advertising has always been thus; it’s advertising after all─marketing. But it doesn’t stop there. More and more, the digital world is entering our own. And we are believing what we’re seeing─or trying to.

So where does this put us as artists?

I don’t think we’re going to go the way of the Photorealists, except in those moments where we “have to” be photo-real. Much of the “art” comes in when we create things that can’t possibly exist in nature─and make those things believable. Hyper-real as they say. But even hyper-real comes with a cost.  Somewhere along the line we may just have bullet-trained over a precious commodity called, “suspension of disbelief.”

Oops.

Remember that thing we had as kids─that ability to pick up a stick, make it a rifle in our heads and play soldier all day long? Sadly, you may not remember that time. It may actually have died before you were born. But there was such a time, there was such an ability, and we all had it.  Especially our audience, the other kids we were playing with. We had that ability to “suspend disbelief” for a time and thoroughly believe and enjoy a world that only existed in our heads.

What has happened over time is that we’ve made so many unreal things “real” that our audience has come to expect that everything they see is either real or just flat wrong. Their suspension of disbelief has gone the way of the dodo.

We need to give it back to them. 

Check back here for the next Visually Speaking and I’ll toss out a few ideas for how we can do that.

Also – be sure and visit the Visual Adrenaline site (www.intel.com/software/visualadrenaline) to find out more about technology and the arts and, of course, check out Digital Arts, (www.intel.com/software/digitalarts) for content creation tips & tricks.

- Pitz

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