The above video, Silestone — “Above Everything Else” from Alex Roman on Vimeo, is currently making the rounds as a marvelous achievement in CGI. Apparently no real apples, lemons, grapes or anything else were used. On the one hand it’s hard to believe that the spot is all CGI but that’s the word from the creator, Alex Roman, down in the comments. After I saw this I dug back a little deeper.

The twitter post about this piece led to a Gizmodo article which then led to another Gizmodo article about the creator’s other piece of CGI wonderment, The Third & the Seventh.

The Third & The Seventh from Alex Roman on Vimeo.

This one is even more stunning because it’s also full of a lot of environments, not just pretty objects. It’s the type of digital art that would be right at home hanging on a museum wall. For those interested in a bit more depth about how he created this piece, check out this page at Autodesk where he discusses the project. I’m not a CGI artist at all but the modeling images are absolutely fascinating to me.

With the awe came plenty of criticism, like this comment on the Gizmodo page that questions this whole idea of making perfect, photo-realistic things in a world where, looking at the real thing, you’d see imperfections. An excerpt:

Why? Why do we feel the need for high definition? Why confine yourself to one room with a box full of wires and manipulating models and pixels? Why do we need to go so far in video game graphics to make them “realistic”? Why can’t we just take entertainment as a slight distraction from the world? Why can’t filmmakers just capture the beauty that already exists? Just look at Indiana Jones 4. The previous three really had atmosphere because they were filmed in locations with real depth. Indy 4 felt flat because everything was blue screened. Like I said before, this is not art. It’s prefabs, computer programs, variabilities and, most of all, it’s the undo button at work. Now anyone can get a computer and the necessary programs, license engines, license models and textures and just tweak tweak tweak away so they can make it as perfect as they want. So what’s the point? There’s no reality involved, there’s no hardships, there’s no mistakes. It’s become a vile addiction.

What do you think?