One of the images below is a CGI, and the other is a digital photograph. The CGI version was made by me, using software available on a monthly subscription for just under £85.00 (per month). Karl Taylor shot the digital picture, and he used around £100,000.00 of equipment in its execution. Yes, you read correctly, one hundred thousand pounds!

So here’s how it came about…

A month ago, I was doing a little keyword research and one CGI targeted keyword returned a link to Karl Taylor Education.

I’d heard of Karl and followed the link. He offers excellent training in commercial photography for a low monthly subscription.

I noticed that the website mentions that shortly, they will be offering training in CGI. I reached out to Karl’s team and said I would like to replicate one of his stylised cosmetic images to create a tutorial for the new CGI training. It was pretty straightforward to recreate the image as a commercial photographer, and it took me just under a day to complete.

For absolute transparency, I’d like to highlight a few caveats:

1. As I was copying Karl’s image, I didn’t need to give significant consideration to testing lighting and composition.
2. I used Karl’s image as my source of reference to the accuracy of the models, and the materials are not 100% correct
3. Karl uses very high-end lighting and cameras. The photograph could have been made with less expensive equipment.
4. Karl uses multiple lights. A similar result could be achieved with fewer lights by repositioning and then comping multiple images together in post.

After I’d finished I sent it over and got this lovely response from Karl personally….

Hi Lee, That’s a fantastic CGI result of my Elemis shot, very well done

He also said that they are currently working with a CGI artist and producing a series of new classes on CGI for our platform.

Despite not collaborating with Karl, I wanted to highlight that CGI is here to stay and will have a significant impact on commercial photography.
Of course, there are times when photography is the better option (food, people, fashion etc.), but for many other products, CGI makes absolute sense. Either way, a sound background in photography helps when crafting images like these.

For fellow photographers, I’m thinking of making a series of tutorials and offering training to photographer’s that want to add CGI to their services. Please get in touch if you’re interested and, I can keep you informed.

For marketing professionals, manufacturers and business owners, please get in touch if you’d like to learn more about the use of CGI for your product shots.

Finally, if you can’t tell which is which and would like to know, send me an email and I’ll spill the beans!