Browse Definitions:
Definition

CGI (computer-generated imagery)

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

CGI (computer-generated imagery) is the creation of still or animated visual content with imaging software. CGI is used to produce images for many purposes including visual art, advertising, anatomical modeling, architectural design, engineering, television shows, video game art and film special effects,  as well as augmented  reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) applications.

CGI is accomplished through various methods. The use of algorithms to generate fractals, for example, can produce complex visual patterns. Other methods include painting in a 2D pixel-based image editor and creating shapes to make images, as in a vector-based image editor.

CGI can also be made from 3D graphics, either with ray tracing or by rasterized 3D graphics. Ray tracing simulates the way light acts upon surfaces on the level of photons, simulated by shader programming routines.  Ray tracing can use complex methods to build shapes, such as non-uniform b-spline (NURBS), 3D primitive shapes (such as cubes, spheres, pyramids, etc.) or simple polygons (typically triangles or quadrangles – which are often called quads). It may take seconds or even minutes per frame to render in these complex methods but results can be photorealistic.

Rasterized 3D, on the other hand, is specialized for real-time display of animated imagery as in computer and console video games. Due to the need to render multiple frames per second (ideally sixty or more), rasterized 3D uses simple polygons or quads to define shapes, with shaders more often consisting of textures that define the color, specularity, surface texture, glow and reflectivity.

Complex visuals may be made by combining computer-generated images into film in layers, a technique known as compositing. This technique is often used in conjunction with actors on a green screen, to place them in a simulated background.

See a breakdown of CGI visual effects in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows:

This was last updated in July 2016

Continue Reading About CGI (computer-generated imagery)

Join the conversation

1 comment

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

It can also be as simple as creating a graphical user interface. It amazing to see how far it's come in the last few years. I can only imagine the future.
Cancel

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

SearchCompliance

  • internal audit (IA)

    An internal audit (IA) is an organizational initiative to monitor and analyze its own business operations in order to determine ...

  • pure risk (absolute risk)

    Pure risk, also called absolute risk, is a category of threat that is beyond human control and has only one possible outcome if ...

  • risk assessment

    Risk assessment is the identification of hazards that could negatively impact an organization's ability to conduct business.

SearchSecurity

  • security information and event management (SIEM)

    Security information and event management (SIEM) is an approach to security management that seeks to provide a holistic view of ...

  • polymorphic virus

    A polymorphic virus is a harmful, destructive or intrusive type of malware that can change or 'morph,' making it difficult to ...

  • cyberterrorism

    According to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, cyberterrorism is any 'premeditated, politically motivated attack against ...

SearchHealthIT

  • accountable care organization (ACO)

    An accountable care organization (ACO) is an association of hospitals, healthcare providers and insurers in which all parties ...

  • patient engagement

    Patient engagement is an ideal healthcare situation in which people are well-informed about -- and motivated to be involved -- in...

  • personal health record (PHR)

    A personal health record (PHR) is a collection of health-related information that is documented and maintained by the individual ...

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR)

    Business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) are closely related practices that describe an organization's preparation for ...

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • call tree

    A call tree -- sometimes referred to as a phone tree -- is a telecommunications chain for notifying specific individuals of an ...

SearchStorage

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • hybrid hard disk drive (HDD)

    A hybrid hard disk drive is an electromechanical spinning hard disk that contains some amount of NAND Flash memory.

Close