Computer Graphics Drive Display Applications

By Phillip Wright
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French designer Benoît Dereau has produced a striking example of the capabilities of computer graphics (CG). His Unreal Paris video (embedded below) created using Unreal Engine 4 illustrates for me the manner in which advances in computer graphics drive display applications in gaming, architectural rendering and more.

I watched Unreal Paris at my desktop computer monitor and found that the overall design, and particularly the lighting, surface finish and texture effects, provided a visceral example of the power and effectiveness of current CG technology. The overall effect of the short video illustrating a typical Paris apartment interior was so effective I felt compelled to view it with my home theater PC and large format monitor as soon as I could. When viewing Unreal Paris from my lean back position I was reminded of using the internet to reserve an apartment in Paris last spring and wished that I had found such an appealing visual experience to improve on the standard internet photos on the apartment manager’s website.

The use of development tools such as Unreal Engine 4 for applications such as first person shooter style games is suggested in Unreal Paris. However, I find that the accurately and attractively rendered apartment walk-through of the video closely reflects one’s own experience when first entering and inspecting such a property. As compared to my Paris apartment stay, the Unreal Paris apartment is quite similar in feel, though I much prefer the furnishings and finishes portrayed in the video. A video tour of my actual apartment would have given me a more accurate impression of the space than the few internet photos that were provided on the website. The Unreal Paris CG video evokes my apartment stay while generally improving on the experience, with its larger rooms, newer, more fashionable and higher end finishes, which I don’t mind in hindsight since I have overall positive recollections of my stay. 

This evocation of feeling provided by the Unreal Paris video is a statement on the visual veracity provided by today’s CG development tools. 

The link of course between the CG and the viewer is the display on which the video is viewed. While the video was appealing at first viewing on my desktop computer monitor, viewing on the large format HD display yielded a still better experience. In viewing Unreal Paris a second time on the large format HD display I noted some relatively minor distracting aliasing effects when viewing certain regular textures in the video. It was not immediately clear whether these effects were due to the original content creation or to the interaction of the discrete pixel content with the 1920 x 1080 pixel array of the display. Subsequent viewings on two desktop monitors showed that some color banding was visible on one monitor but was not conspicuous on another monitor from a different manufacturer. Nevertheless, M. Dereau has provided us with an excellent CG example. As our authoring skills, CG tools and display performance advance, I look forward to still further improvement in my viewing experience. – Phil Wright