Defy the laws of everything

As a photographer, have you ever wished you could bend the laws of physics to your will to get this perfect, indeed this impossible shot? Well, there is a way. All the tools are there to achieve the impossible, and the best thing is: they are free.

A while ago, a little after I first began uploading photos on DT, I ran into the work of amazing digital artists who used state-of-the-art software to achieve photorealistic computer renderings. This may initially sound like a waste of time - why spend hours, sometimes days, creating images nobody could distinguish from a photograph.

But if you ever wished you could take a picture of the earth from space...

achieve an impossible shooting angle without breaking your back...

Become your own product designer...

or simply defy gravity...

this could be something for you. All these works were produced using freeware, which is all avaible for download on the internet. You could start tonight.

If I managed to tickle your curiosity, here's where to begin:

1) Get Blender, ( a wonderful modelling software that is still, amazingly, free and can be used for commercial work. It takes a bit of time to get to grips with, but once you have you will never want to use any other modeller

2)... to the exception of MoI (, which has to be the second modelling tool in your box. Unlike Blender, which uses traditional polygons, MoI uses curves, which let you achieve incredibly smooth and clean shapes. If you are tempted by product design, this is what you should get. MoI will go commercial eventually, but right now it is still free.

3) Once you've set up your shot, you will want to shoot it. Indigo ( is the solution. This is an unbiased renderer, which means it acts and feels like a real camera - complete with exposure, light-sensitivity and aperture controls.

4) Want to create and photograph fantasy landscape? You should get Terragen2 (, a landscape modeller and renderer rolled into one. The basic version is free, though it will cost you a modest $100 if you want to do commercial work.

Bear in mind this is a subjective list. These tools are geared towards photorealistic renderings. Others, like Ladykassie (my favourite DTer) use different types of software to achieve more surrealistic or fantastic images. But then again, she's an artist and I'm not.

Which way you tend is down to your sensibility and talent. But remember, with a bit of patience and a little amount of work, there is now no such thing as an impossible shot. You're free at last.

Photo credits: Bertrandb.

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February 25, 2008


awww.. thanks Bertrand..
I think its the opposite with for me, I would envy those who did photography..
So .. I did exactly what you said.. I learned photography... just like you..
we both do CGI and Photography.. the best of 2 worlds!


August 28, 2007


Very good defense of realistic 3d renders! :) I'll still keep trying to fly around with my camera... maybe one day I'll get to that "perfect" shooting angle :P Cheers!

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