How is CGI created?


Our last blog post explored “what is CGI”. Now we know what it is… how is it created?

Virtual World / Environment  

The first step to producing CGI is creating a virtual world for the product to be placed in. It is a simplified replica of reality and comprises of the following:

  • 3D Data

  • Lighting

  • Materials


CAD Product | Bike Helmet - 3D Data

CAD Product | Bike Helmet - 3D Data

3D Modelling

3D modelling / data is the most important component of the virtual world, as it allows for the creation of 3D forms. Every item is created in 3D to ensure that the final output is realistic. It is possible to place additional details into the CGI visualisation at a later stage using 2D methods, however it can reduce the overall quality.


CGI Automotive Render | Tracker Motor Bike - Lighting Highlights

CGI Automotive Render | Tracker Motor Bike - Lighting Highlights


The next step is to introduce the lighting. It is one of the more self explanatory steps, however it has a significant impact on the final output. There are two types of lighting that are used:

  • Physical Lights | These act in the same way as normal lights and are used to affect any objects within the scene directly.

  • Environment | Environment lights are used to add atmosphere to the images and are usually based of real life photographs. Including an environment enhances the realism, as it simulates the surroundings.


CGI Furniture Render | Kyoto Sofa Bed - Material Range

CGI Furniture Render | Kyoto Sofa Bed - Material Range


Materials are a key factor of any CGI visualisation as they can determine the level of photo realism and are one of the most complicated stages. There are many elements of a material that can be changed, here are the main ones:

  • Diffusion

  • Roughness

  • Reflection

  • Glossiness

  • Refraction

  • IOR (Index Of Refraction)

  • Bump (Texture)



The majority of CGI is created using Ray Casting and Rasterising algorithms in order to compute the final images. These complex calculations are commonly referred to as the process of rendering.

Our next blog post will delve deeper into the process of rendering!


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