They’re as pragmatic about the lifespan of photorealistic rendering as we know it today (“We think this sort of thing will be completely dead within ten years”, remarks Valentin), as they are about the evolution of the hardware and software they use to create it, and how its accessibility will affect their business. “I often say to Valentin, ‘Wow, technology is moving so quickly, in two years everyone is going to be able to do CGI like us, and we’re going to be out of a job’”, muses Antoine.
Valentin thinks otherwise.
“I can understand how that can be a bit scary, because even the software is getting more accessible, it’s getting simpler and simpler for any given person to produce CGI imagery,’” explains Valentin. “But, I think that because it is such a free medium, because you have to make all of the decisions, you have to have clear artistic direction, because in this CGI environment, you’re starting from nothing—it can give you vertigo.” While the results of a hyperreal rendering can look photographic, every element within the frame is the result of a decision. In no other format is art direction so vital, it can make or break an image—there is no serendipity in CGI.