Computer Generated Imagery

Definition of Computer Generated Imagery

Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) refers to the creation of visuals and animations using computer software and digital techniques. It is commonly used in film, television, video games, and advertisements to generate realistic images, characters, or environments. By manipulating 3D models and textures, artists can produce a wide range of effects that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to achieve through traditional methods.


The phonetics of “Computer Generated Imagery” in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is: /kəmˈpjuːtər ˈʤɛnəreɪtɪd ˈɪmɪdʒri/

Key Takeaways

  1. Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) is an advanced technology used to create visual effects and animations for various media forms such as films, video games, and advertisements.
  2. CGI allows for more realistic and complex visuals than traditional animation techniques, providing artists with a versatile and efficient way to bring their visions to life on screen.
  3. CGI continues to evolve rapidly, with advancements in rendering, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality leading to even more immersive and lifelike visual experiences in the future.

Importance of Computer Generated Imagery

Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) is a significant technology term as it represents the use of computer graphics to create or enhance visuals in various forms of media, including movies, television, video games, and advertisements.

By simulating real-world environments and objects, CGI allows storytellers and designers to achieve a heightened level of realism and creativity that would be otherwise difficult or impossible to accomplish through traditional methods.

The importance of CGI extends beyond visual appeal, as it also contributes to cost-effective production, increased safety, and the ability to manipulate scenarios in post-production.

In essence, CGI has revolutionized the way we perceive and interact with digital media, pushing the boundaries of creative expression and transforming the entertainment and advertising industries.


Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) serves as a powerful tool that has revolutionized the way in which various industries depict the world, with its purpose primarily aimed at creating visually stunning and realistic representations of objects, environments, and characters. This digital technique has found its niche in diverse sectors such as entertainment, architecture, video games, and advertising, to name a few.

Through the sophisticated manipulation of 2D or 3D graphics software, professionals can generate intricate, life-like visuals that engage audiences on a deeper level, enabling the portrayal of scenes and elements that would have been nearly impossible to replicate in a physical realm. One of the most significant uses of CGI is in the world of filmmaking, where it allows directors and cinematographers to bring to life stories that would have been otherwise challenging or prohibitively expensive to create through practical effects or traditional animation.

With the advent of this technology, producers are unequivocally unrestricted in their storytelling capabilities, enabling them to weave epic tales set in fantastical realms or far-off galaxies. Apart from the entertainment industry, architectural firms have also turned to CGI as a means of visualizing complex structural designs and presenting prospective clients with a realistic preview of how the finished project will appear.

With limitless potential to revolutionize and enhance various industries, Computer Generated Imagery remains an indispensable asset in today’s rapidly evolving world of technology.

Examples of Computer Generated Imagery

Avatar (2009 film): James Cameron’s groundbreaking film pushed the boundaries of CGI technology to create the visually stunning world of Pandora, inhabited by the Na’vi, a race of blue-skinned humanoid creatures. Avatar utilized extensive CGI techniques, including motion capture, 3D animation, and groundbreaking new software, to create lifelike characters and immersive environments.

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001-2003): Peter Jackson’s epic film adaptatio-003)n of J.R.R. Tolkien’s novels heavily relied on CGI to bring Middle Earth to life. Weta Digital, a visual effects company based in New Zealand, used cutting-edge technology to create everything from the massive armies during battle scenes to the iconic character Gollum. The realistic portrayal of Gollum as a fully CGI character elevated the field of digital filmmaking.

Google Earth: Google Earth is a virtual globe, map, and geographical information program that uses satellite imagery, aerial photography, and CGI to render interactive 3D images of Earth. This application allows users to zoom in on any location on the planet, providing a detailed view of streets, buildings, and natural features. Google Earth has become a valuable tool for education, research, and entertainment purposes and stands as an example of how CGI can be used to enhance everyone’s understanding of the world around us.

FAQ: Computer Generated Imagery

What is Computer Generated Imagery (CGI)?

Computer Generated Imagery, or CGI, is the process of creating digital images and animations using computer software. These images and animations are used in various industries such as film, gaming, advertising, and virtual reality to create visual effects and simulate real-world environments.

How is CGI created?

CGI is created using specialized software programs that manipulate virtual objects in a three-dimensional space. Artists and designers use these tools to model, texture, light, and animate their creations, which are then rendered into high-quality images or animated sequences.

What are the benefits of using CGI in films?

CGI offers numerous benefits in the film industry, such as the ability to create realistic visual effects that would be difficult, expensive, or dangerous to achieve using practical effects. Additionally, CGI allows filmmakers to realize their creative visions without the limitations of physical sets or locations, and it can be more cost-effective in certain scenarios.

What is the difference between CGI and VFX?

Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) is a subset of Visual Effects (VFX), which involves the integration of computer-generated elements into live-action footage. VFX encompasses a wide range of techniques, including practical effects, matte painting, compositing, and CGI.

What industries use CGI besides the film industry?

Besides the film industry, CGI is widely used in several other industries, such as video games, advertising, architecture, product design, and virtual reality experiences. It is also commonly used in educational and scientific visualizations to explain complex concepts or demonstrate phenomena that are difficult to observe directly.

Related Technology Terms

  • 3D Modeling
  • Texture Mapping
  • Rendering
  • Animation
  • Visual Effects

Sources for More Information


About The Authors

The DevX Technology Glossary is reviewed by technology experts and writers from our community. Terms and definitions continue to go under updates to stay relevant and up-to-date. These experts help us maintain the almost 10,000+ technology terms on DevX. Our reviewers have a strong technical background in software development, engineering, and startup businesses. They are experts with real-world experience working in the tech industry and academia.

See our full expert review panel.

These experts include:


About Our Editorial Process

At DevX, we’re dedicated to tech entrepreneurship. Our team closely follows industry shifts, new products, AI breakthroughs, technology trends, and funding announcements. Articles undergo thorough editing to ensure accuracy and clarity, reflecting DevX’s style and supporting entrepreneurs in the tech sphere.

See our full editorial policy.

More Technology Terms

Technology Glossary

Table of Contents