It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Markus von Luecken!

First off I’d like to thank Scott and Brad for giving me the opportunity to write today’s Guest Blog. I’m really very proud to be the first German on here, after meeting Scott this year in Cologne in Germany on his ‘Shoot it, Light it, Retouch it’ tour. (Or has ‘Calvinizer’ Calvin Hollywood maybe also written a contribution!?!?)

Well, OK, just to be sure, I won’t talk about photography in today’s blog. Instead I’ll devote my attention to the topic of Computer Generated Imaging.

The first time I came across CGI was about 4 years ago. I was so fascinated that I immediately gave up my job as advertising director with a major company in order to be able to concentrate completely on my own creative work.  In 2009, along with my partner Thomas Bach, I set up a studio for photography, CGI and post production: we called it the ‘bildbotschaft’, which you could translate as ‘the message of the picture’ but also as an ‘an embassy for good pictures.’

For me CGI is just like painting. The only limitation is your own imagination. Practically it is possible to use any motif you want to work with. Any object can be built up as a 3D model; then decide on any material you want, set up your scene, position your camera where you want it and light everything exactly as you imagine it should be lit. So many possibilities are available that you don’t have in photography (when taking pictures of the real world). The scope is endless. The whole world is yours – to do with it what you wish. There are just no limitations.

I have just finished a motif which shows an ‘Italian leaf blower’.  I should mention that in Germany all the vehicles used to clean the streets of a town or city are orange in colour, but you won’t generally see a Lamborghini used to clean leaves off the streets ;-)

This motif is entirely realized using CGI, i.e. all the picture elements (vehicle, surroundings, leaves) are built up from polygons. In the pictures below you can see the respective polygon model, a lighting realisation without materials, and the materials selected.

For CGI  I work mostly with Cinema4d und VUE Infinite, which I find is a good combination for almost all the tasks. After rendering, of course it goes into Photoshop to give it the appropriate look… for CGI in particular, you can’t work without Photoshop.

To spark your interest in Computer Generated Imaging even further, here are another couple of motifs that we created last year:


I call this picture ‘highway exit amusement park’. It is a composite, made up of CGI elements and my own photographs. You can also find this beautiful and amusing picture in the book Graphis Photography Annual 2012, The Best of International Visual Communications. Winning this award is also something I’m particularly proud of this year.

Some of you, I’m sure, already know my light bulb motif.

About a year ago The National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP) chose this picture as ‘Image of the Week’.

Beauty and the Beast (Autounion Type D)


And another NAPP ‘Image of the Week’: ‘Aviatophobia’.  I remember there was some discussion on the web and in Corey Baker’s blog about how I had created this picture. The answer is: CGI.

FullCGI of my Riva BG Viper II

Just 3 images of my series entitled ‘Designer Drugs’, which I created as a free artistic work in order to offer a new visual interpretation of designer drugs.

Here is my Rollercoaster. And I am still looking for a couple more volunteers to take a ride on it.

If you enjoy my work and would like to see more of my pictures, then I’d like to invite you take a look at my NAPP Portfolio or to visit my website at

I look forward to future contact.

P.S.  Just to finish, I’d really like to answer a question: Brad asked me in preparing for the blog whether I at the beginning of my work already know what the picture will look like in the end. Well, Brad, I’d so like to answer that question with a ‘yes’, but the truth is that all my pictures develop as I work on them. Which is also really good!

  1. Hi Markus-
    As an artist that uses compositing in nearly all of my work, this stuff (CGI) blows me away. Way over my head but I know who to call if I ever need it! Your work is amazing and best for your continued success.


  2. Great post! This is something I’ve wanted to do for awhile, combine cgi with photography. I just haven’t had time to educate myself on cgi yet, but this post is very inspiring.

    Maybe Scott can sweet talk you into doing a CGI 101 class at Kelby Training? Hint, hint! :)

  3. Just because I’m a lover of translations and I tend to rely on Google Translate for things that I don’t understand… I have to ask:

    I know that there are multiple ways to translate any given phrase from one language to another, but Google Translate says that “bildbotschaft” in German means “embassy building”… it makes no mention of pictures. I was wondering why Translate would say that, while a “natural” translation by an actual German would include “pictures”

    Can anyone help me with that?

    Beyond that, it was a great post. I love CGI, and it’s gotten more and more realistic these days that it’s getting tough to tell what’s real and what’s not :)

    1. Hi Chris,

      I gave it a try on Google Translate and I got the same result.
      I am sorry to say but Google Translate does not translate the word in a proper way. Google Translate is wrong. ‘bildbotschaft’ does not mean ’embassy building’ neither in Germany, Austria nor Switzerland.

      The meaning of ‘bild’ is image, picture, photo.
      The meaning of ‘botschaft’ is embassy, embassy building (but also message).


  4. I have completely switched over to working in 3D now a days. 3d will keep taking market share away from photography for the foreseeable future. I don’t think people realize how much 3d is in advertising today. It’s gotten so good that people mistaken it for being real. At the end of the day, it’s about creating spectacular images and 3d provides that beyond traditional photography.

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