Welcome to the real world. Virtually.
One advert sticks in my mind as a kid and it was a Chewits ad from the early 80s – “Chewits. Chewier than Barrow-in-Furness bus depot.” Remember it? Perhaps not, but it was poignant for me on two levels. One; I loved Chewits. And two; I lived in the small Cumbrian town of Barrow-in-Furness, so it was very exciting to have our name on national telly with the Chewits’ animated ‘Muncher’ munching his way through our town centre.
It was a pastiche on that classic 30s stop-motion animation – slightly wobbly sets and jerky movements, but it had me enthralled. And, in my 10-year old mind, I wondered looking over the dusky skyline whether that monster was really going to invade my town King-Kong style. Could it be real?
Thirty years on, we blur the reality lines on a much more regular basis. The emergence of computer-generated imagery (CGI) allows us to ramp up the virtual reality as subtly or obviously as we see fit. Only today it really is believable. Do we always know if we’re looking at something real or something created digitally? Car manufacturers regularly use CGI cars in their ads, so are we buying an object, or buying into a dream? Disbelief truly suspended.
Creatively we find ourselves with a very exciting blank canvas. Our new logo marque formed in neon, lighting up a creative space? We’ve just done it. The London skyline created wholly from sports equipment? Sure, not a problem. A world-famous MotoGP rider (not available in time for a shoot) sat on his bike in the pit lane at Silverstone? Yes, yes, and yes.
The realms of creativity are as far-reaching as you let them be (if your time and budget allows). We now regularly opt for CGI in helping to realise our creative concepts and executions. The concerns around ‘how do we achieve this’ are brought back to ‘where shall we take this’. Exciting stuff. On many levels whilst it may feel the pressure is off to deliver ‘reality’ via photography, we often marry the two – which relies on more creativity than ever before. And, of course, photography still remains a powerful string to our creative bow.
So, next time you’re sat considering creative concepts, remember you really can have whatever you want. Virtually speaking, of course.