Saturday, November 3, 2007

Photorealism are we there yet?

So recently GamesRadar published an article discussing if consoles have become powerful enough to render perfect likenesses of actor's and actress's in games. This has always been something I have been interested in so I thought I would offer up my feelings on the subject.

First I will say with a simple no that consoles aren't yet powerful enough to produce these digital clones if you will. While you may be able to immediately identify a actor in a game that doesn't mean that its photorealism. I'm pretty sure that anyone who played the old ET game could tell it was ET they were controlling and that was nothing more then a few pixels. I for one don't think we will have photorealism until any random person could look at a side by side of a actor from a game and from a film and not be able to tell which is real and which isn't.

There are a few reasons why this won't happen for awhile. My biggest issue is hair(which GamesRadar touched upon in the original article). Hair has never really looked real in gaming outside of pre rendered cut scenes. Even in visually eye popping games such as Heavenly Sword Narkio's hair looks like nothing more then long red cloth tubes that randomly fly in all directions. And even worse are the games where hair looks like cutout paper with a glued on texture.

Second is that clothing in games is still hit and miss. Take Dead or Alive 4 for example. The clothing in that game looks incredible but when things get hectic it will go through the characters and flow in ways that makes little sense. And this happens in countless games.

I personally think that original characters always look better then characters modeled after a human being. Final Fantasy XIII's Lightning as she is currently known at this point looks far more realistic than any other character I have seen and yet she is in a fantasy setting.

So like I said there is still a few things holding games back from reaching Photorealism. I think it may still be a few console generations before we reach the "Holy Grail" of graphics technology.

You can check out GamesRadar's article on the subject here.

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