Real, Plastic, or CGI?

Whether it is photograph of a model, an actor or actress, or a lawyer defending a high profile client, increasingly it is very difficult to tell if the person portrayed in the picture is real, a plastic model, or a cgi (a computer generated image).

This is NOT just due to cgi getting more life-like, but, rather of life becoming a mimic of cgi — the make-up, hair, and physique mimicking computer generated imaging.  They’ve met in the middle, and that, for me, is very disturbing, not because of the inherent implications for fraud as much as because it sets up a very false standard for people as a role model for success.

A lot of it is due to lighting, but it also has to do with skin and bodies enhanced all over, not just the face, by make-up and surgery, well-coiffed and well-dyed hair, impeccable manicures and the like.

Check out these images and tell me which ones are real people, which are plastic, and which are CGI (computer generated):


Without cheating, even if you recognize them, which look REAL, PLASTIC, OR CGI?

1 Real Plastic CGI
2 Real Plastic CGI
3 Real Plastic CGI
4 Real Plastic CGI
5 Real Plastic CGI
6 Real Plastic CGI
7 Real Plastic CGI
8 Real Plastic CGI
9 Real Plastic CGI
10 Real Plastic CGI

Now, check your answers.

3, 5, and 10 are CGI.

All the rest are real EXCEPT #2 which is a plastic, life-sized clothes mannequin.

How did you do?

What do you think about this trend and its significance?


  1. I thought they all looked vaguely undead except number 2, which is plastic…so I guess that makes me the dummy!

    I generally dont like photos of people which are over lit. Better to use a great camera like the Nikon D series, with a very high ISO sensitivity and little digital noise.

    Whats odd about these images is that they seek to perfect imperfections. The skin is doctored to be the perfect colour without blemishes…but the hair is styled in a way that makes it look like it was chewed off by a rat!!!

    Same with filming techniques. Students used to go to film school to learn how make the camera as unobtrusive as possible…a still silent witness.

    Now, they learn how to handle it as chaotically as possible, while still capturing the action.

  2. “…vaguely undead.”  That’s priceless, Wheldon.  Really.  Now, let’s see.  You’re a guitar mogul, you’re a philosopher, and you know filmography and photography.  Hmmm.  What ELSE do you know?  This gets more and more interesting.  Do you have a blog?  I’d love to read it if you do.

  3. Guitar Mogul???…Bwahahahaha! *falls off chair*

    Not quite…more like a mole hill.

    I used to be an OK classical player, and presently a mediocre rock/folk guitarist. I started when I was a kid using my fingers, and have never gotten used to a pick.

    I dont have a blog no, and I dont read many blogs either. Most of them are what I call ‘monoblogs’, in other words, its just people talking to themselves…or their mom.

    See, a blog isnt much fun unless theres a little interactive community involved, and this is one that deserves it.

    What I like about it has to do with the same principle involved in what I like about certain kinds of music…diversity of tone!

    Ever see Joe Satriani in concert? Hes brilliant of course, but its the same guitar tone throughout.

  4. I listen to Satriani and Vai and Zappa and DiMeola and…and…and.  Satriani is always recognizable because his guitar always sings with the same throat, Zappa is always identifiable because he plays with the same attitude, DiMeola is always recognizable because he plays with the same “vita,” and Vai has this certain sound mein.

    Does that make sense?

    Probably not.  Oh well.  Guitar is not my instrument, just one I appreciate, though I know my way around the fretboard to get along when required.

  5. “Does that make sense?”

    Sure, but note the all pervading word – ‘always’.

    With Page and Hendrix there is no ‘always’.

  6. BTW Dawn, Has the image on your frontpage here been altered in some way? Its really outstanding…your work?

    It looks like its been filtered in some way, and most of the color removed, aside from slight tinge of blue.

    Reminds me of the spectral landscapes seen in those great horror films of the 70s directed by Jean Rollin. Can almost imagine groups of nude vampire women emerging through the trees…eyes glazed, staring straight forward!

    Or maybe that great line Stephen King came up with to describe the landscapes of his youth:

    “A blasted heath, with only a few sparse trees…the kind that look like they’re going to grab you and eat you!”

  7. Actually, it came with the theme.  It’s beautiful, though, isn’t it.  I loved it when I saw it.  How it is done is with a PSP filter, of course.

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