When artists David O’Reilly and Kim Laughton published a series of incredibly vivid "computer-generated images" on their blog, Hyper Real CG, the stunningly realistic pictures were met with awe and disbelief.
Not quite enough disbelief, though, considering it was all a joke and the purportedly computer-generated images were actually regular photographs, Death and Taxes reported this week.
Multiple media outlets, including Gizmodo, Laughing Squid, The Daily Mirror, and HuffPost UK were fooled. “I can’t believe these hyper real pictures are completely CG and not real,” Casey Chan wrote on Gizmodo’s Sploid. Casey Chan, your instincts were right. Gizmodo and HuffPost UK have corrected their stories, while the Mirror has removed its article altogether, and Laughing Squid's remains uncorrected.
A simple reverse Google-image search would have easily shown that all the images on O’Reilly’s and Laughton’s #HyperRealCG tumblr are photographs readily found on the Internet. This image is in fact the fifth result that appears if someone searches Google images for the word “dolphin.”
O’Reilly tweeted on Monday that the blog was intended as a joke and he never expected anyone to take it seriously:
So.. I thought the #hyperrealcg joke was really obvious - the blandness of virtuoso 'photoreal' 3d. Didn't expect sites to take it literally
— David (@davidoreilly) March 3, 2015
That’s not to say CG images can’t be incredibly realistic. Last year, Ikea revealed that up to 75 percent of the images found in its catalogs are actually computer-generated.