Blurring the lines of identity and what is real, a French artist has successfully used 3D modeling to fake a image for his government photo ID.
Instead of having to head to a photo booth for a — lets face it, a most likely unflattering — ID photo, how would you feel about a creating a more attractive 3D rendering of yourself? That’s exactly what French artist Raphaël Fabre did.
Working on a project called CNI, he developed a 3D model using computer graphics programs and tips and tricks used by the film industry. His result is “a digital image, where the body is absent, the result of artificial processes.”
However artificial, the image was accepted by the French authorities. Now Fabre’s legal photo ID, or Carte Nationale Identité, carries an image that is, in essence, not him.
Fabre explains on his blog that the 3D model was created on a computer, using several means of software. However, the image does correspond to the official requirements. He adds: “it is resembling, is recent, and answers all the criteria of framing, light, bottom and contrasts to be observed.”
Fabre turned to popular open-source 3D modeling software Blender to create his head and torso. But a head and a body aren’t quite enough. His digital counterpart’s threads were bought from 3D model marketplace Turbosquid, to ensure his final render was looking sharp.
After texturing his fake body with imagery, the next challenge lay in lighting. However, this wasn’t a quick and easy process. In fact, it took Fabre 50 tries before he could create a convincing image.
Although the final, full-size render is not perfect, only a 32mm size image is necessary for the French photo ID. This smaller image looks believable enough that French officials accepted it.
You may be wondering exactly why Fabre would go to this trouble. The artist is exploring our regular use of digital mediums which take us out of reality.
He explained in an email to Engadget: