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Real, High-End 3D or Blender?


oldmanwinterstatue-byrjt2006.jpgClick on the image on the right and tell me what your first impression is. Is it real, made with high-end 3D software or with Blender? Of course the fact that it's published on this site may give it away but still - give it a try ;-)

Of course, it's a Blender image! Here's what the creator, Robert J. Tiess, writes about it:

This is something I created today using Blender sculpt mode: This sculpture contains approximately 870k verts. Procedural brushes were used here, along with grab mode. Both a tablet and a mouse were used.

Pentium IV 2.4GHz (non-HT) / 1GB RAM / XP Pro / NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200.

That render is pure Blender, no post-processing. NO AO was used. OSA was 5/Gauss. A basic three point light setup was used. Render time was about 30 minutes. Map and Blur render nodes were used to achieve DOF.

Do you know of any other Blender artworks that took some convincing before you believed they weren't in fact, just a photograph?

About the Author

Avatar image for Bart Veldhuizen
Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.


  1. wow, someone completely not familiar with CG would definitely claim its real. If thinking again, maybe I would say the same not seeing it here ;) Very convincing!


  2. RobertT is such an amazing artist. He can come up with things really quickly that look excellent. I'm so jealous. ;)

  3. This is a very interesting piece of art that is well done. But it doesn't look real to me.
    Something that looks real to me has details that have a "real" character.
    Such details are not there to me in this picture.

    Bart, what in the picture makes you think it's real?

  4. Sorry but that (although good) does not look real at all! I would guess it was a painting if I were completely unknowledgeable about computer graphics.... but would never believe it was a photograph.

  5. RobertT's works have that certain something. You can tell what's RobertT's work by just his style. He has created heaps of excellent work and is a source of inspiration for us all.

  6. I think we've all seen that picture before. And Robert Tiess' name gives it away quite quickly as well. Maybe a sort of a "roundup" of Blender pictures and photographs would be more effective, but probably we'd recognize the majority of the blender images. It might be interesting to try on a non-CG enthusiast friend though.

  7. jesus he did that on a $50 geforce card without crashing in sculpt mode? that alone requires a large standing ovation! good work Rob

  8. "Do you know of any other Blender artworks that took some convincing before you believed they weren't in fact, just a photograph?"

    I don't necessarily know if I confuse them with photographs, but pretty much everything that @ndy does makes me second guess that it was done with Blender. Then again, Michelangelo used a simple hammer, chisel and some marble and he made The David. Whodathunkit?

  9. This is not a question is it 3d or blender but is it a Photo or blender?
    And again Enrico Cerica:
    And a nice similar work:
    Nice toy:
    And a well known mini:

    And i have a folder with 100+ excellent blender pictures, but i dont know anymore where they from, but look in the gallery both from and and you see many excellent pictures.

  10. No offense to Robert intended but this is not a good image for a "high end 3D or blender" comparison attempt or even a "is it real or is it blender" comparison. The simple fact that his work is abstract sorta excludes it from being applicable.

  11. Duositex, I don't understand your comment. There are abstract statues out there in "real life," aren't there? There are photographs of real (physical) abstract statues, aren't there? Just because his work is abstract doesn't necessarily exclude all of it from a "real or blender" comparison.

    I really don't get the idea behind "high-end 3D or Blender" for an image like this. This could be "real or blender" but not high-end or blender. It's a relatively simple image, right? (I realize the model isn't simple, but there's not a lot happening in it.) The things that a high-end program would have that would be difficult to do in blender would be something like realistic smoke or fire, right? Or animated smoke, fire, water, clothing. Not a statue. (Yes, I realize that blender has a fluid simulator, and softbodies, but they're not nearly as powerful as a "high-end" program's capabilities are, are they not?)

    Anyways, just my thoughts.

  12. VirgilioVasconcelos on

    I think Blender IS a hi-end 3D software. Some apps have the smoke button, but Blender has other "buttons" that the "hi-end" ones doesn't. What about fluid simulation, sculpting, nodes, unwrapping, etc?

    As an addition to what johantri said, I saw pretty terrible images/animations that came from "hi-end" apps. If we think of the subject of this post on its opposite, maybe someone that think Blender is "lo-end" could make this sentence: "That image is terrible. Was it made in Blender?"


  13. Well' Blender HQ which be release next year,will have three renderer engine
    blender HQ,Yafray 12,and could come with a price on e-shop blender.
    I believed that will be the end of Blender ,since It will so high end 3d softwares
    there will no more development. All good thing must come to an end.

    Blender HQ means ( Blender High Quality)

  14. I'd say that if someone were not looking directly at it, it would fool the eye. Keep in mind that when such a topic is made you get people who scrutinize the image noting all imperfections and flaws in order to toss out the possibilities of one thing over another.

    If you just look at it without worrying, then it could seem totally realistic. I have a slow connection so as it started to load the first few spikes definately had a realistic look to them. The shadows worked well, it had what was necessary for real light conditions. And this was done using Blender's render engine, there are better ones out there and it's of excellent quality.

    Of course if you look at it you're going to see problems. But I can point out a number of pov-ray renders that are the same when you actually look at them. Let's face it, 3D will do wonders but in the end real is real and fake is fake. Scrutinize this render and it will look like a render, take it as it is and it could probably fool even a professional. You can't change what it is, but you can change your perception of it.

  15. I personally regard blender as High End 3D software. Ive tried many supposed high end commercial applications and I still prefer blender and blender does more with less effort

  16. Question was :
    Real, High-End 3D or Blender?

    Which means : do you think it is real? Do you think it is Hig-End? Do you think it is Blender?

    I played the game seriously :D poped up the image without reading the article.

    Definitely it is not real. Although there is a DOF and details in the sculpture it is not real. If you ask me what give it up?

    I would say, the edges.

    Too sharp to be real. Even in the sharpest object in real world, there are little default that make it feel real. Such perfect edges can't exist in real world where they are worn the very day they are created :D

    But I admit an untrained eye would have a doubt. And the fact that it is posted on a 3D site bias my POV a bit.

    Now the core of the question is : Is it High-End? Or is it Blender?

    And I would say : "Hey, hell I don't know. Since when Blender isn't considered as High-End?"

    As far as I know this could have been done in ZBrush or any other high end package offering sculpt functions (mudbox mubeh?)

    So although it doesn't feel real, in a photorealistic sense, it smells like High-End 3D, no doubt.

    :) do I get a cookie?

  17. pipi wrote: "wow, someone completely not familiar with CG would definitely claim its real."
    To what other conclusion would such a person come?

    Real photo? No way. Very well done? Yes!
    Well, no way is not really true. It shows that the more detail we see the faster we believe it's a photo of a real-life object. The lack of AO/GI spots and dots (like in the lego car) make it more believable, as does the DOF on an object that is so poorly lit (poorly as in; not a lot of light, not as in poor taste). It has a flashlite feeling to it.

    "This is something I created today using Blender sculpt mode" ... And copyrighted in 2006... Weird.

    The troll wrote: "Blender HQ means ( Blender High Quality)"
    Really? not Blender Headquarters? Because that would make more sense in a Real, High-End 3D or Blender question.

    Duositex wrote: "The simple fact that his work is abstract sorta excludes it from being applicable."
    What ??? Go visit a museum before ever daring to comment here again. :)

    "I think Blender IS a hi-end 3D software."
    Think again.

  18. Hi, Joeri. I usually like your opinions and appreciate very much your strong (and long) participation in the Blender community.

    Maybe it's not a good day for you, because I found your post unnecessarily rude.

    But still, I gave it a second thought and I didn't change my mind: Blender IS a hi-end 3D software. The reasons for that are already written in my above post, in the case you haven't read it entirely. I think its a bit unfair to pick up just one phrase and ignore the arguments written after that.

    Blender doesn't have all the features that (put your "hi-end" app name here), but on the other hand, the "hi-end" one doesn't have all the cutting-edge features that Blender has.

    Wish you all the best.


  19. 870 000 vertex with a Geforce FX 5200 ??? NO COMMENT. I would like to see a screenshot of his 3D view. It will be the best way to stop any comments about this picture ...

  20. Well, the only thing that would make someone think that this was actually done with high-end software is the detail in the mesh, IMO the render itself looks quite cheap and like it was rendered in a rush, low quality render, high quality mesh.

  21. There once was a page at aliaswavefront described fake or foto, where you should decide if it was ... well... fake or foto
    i got 8 of 10 right. Just tried to find that page again, but since autodesk bought alias, i wasn't able to find it again.

    Back to topic: If i had to choose fake or foto: i'd choose fake for RobertTs image. But it depends on the fotos you're about to compare.

    The difference between a good and a bad photo may be bigger than the difference between some 3D-Softwares


  22. Hi! Wow, I didn't think there'd be any interest in this piece =)

    I had posted this information back in December 2006 on the first and second pages of the Call for Release Note Example Files for Blender at the time:

    Joeri: That is why it says "Today" and there's a date of 2006 ;-)

    I didn't post this information at Blendernation. I just happened to notice today, and it was quite a nice surprise =)

    Here are some views from Blender:

    Here was the second version with the de-fractured nose also posted at BA... lol...

    I didn't consider this work ultra realistic myself (I thought the hard/abrupt polygonal edges would have easily given that away), especially considering how fast it came together, but I'm pleased to see it still connecting with people and raising awareness of Blender's potential =)

    I paid $80 for my card at the time, and it has 256MB =) That was a step up from my prior card, a GeForce 2 440 with 64MB of RAM. It's only a sculptable work with partial redraw activated, otherwise the display can lag intensely due to the intense polys in this piece.

    Anyway, thanks for the interest!


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