Matthew LeBaron, Bernstein & Andriulli NY:

Are CGI artists a threat to professional photographers?


Matthew: I don´t think so, I actually think the opposite, they are partner. Both CGI artists and photographers have a lot to offer one another. Both maintain a certain amount of technical skills, whether it´s with the camera or with a CGI programme. I can understand why some people see CGI artists as a threat because they are creating things that could have been shot. But to shoot a water bottle from 50 different angles takes a two day shoot, so a client may prefer to have that bottle made in CGI. Then a photographer can shoot the background or street scenes. Together with a CGI artist he can make sure that bottle fits in that street scene. There is a lot more to be gained than lost. Photographers and CGI artists should be doing what 747 is doing and pair those two and offer their clients way more in terms of assets and delivery. If we at B&A have a photo shoot coming up we pair the photographer with one of our CGI artists. It really gets more about partnering up rather than competing against one another.


You represent 747 CGI on the US market. Why did you chose this studio´s work for Bernstein & Andriulli´s portfolio?


Matthew: When Lynn and Kristian showed us the work 747 does, we knew they were a good fit right from the beginning. The art of retouching and photo compositing, their style in regard to home interiors and their motion work makes them an important asset for our portfolio.


What kind of creative person do you think Kristian is?


Matthew: Kristian came off as very efficient. He speaks very clearly of what he does and what his ambitions are for 747. I had a very good, a very professional feeling. He´s very invested in his work.


There´s a huge amount of studios offering CGI. What makes 747 unique?


Matthew: It´s got a lot to do with their retouching, their way they handle their finishing. Everything has a crisp, cool, clean feeling yet it still maintains is base in reality.


Why would clients from the US chose 747?


Matthew: It´s the way they deal with interiors, space and the home. They make it a very inviting and warm place that looks lived in but not messy. The furniture complements the space and the lifestyle.


How is the demand for CGI developing in the US?


Matthew: The US market is definitely picking up, we´ve seen a huge search in CGI over the last few years. What we are seeing more so is a demand for photo compositing and CGI: reality driven work that has a bit of fantasy, a seamless integration of CGI and photography. Then of course there´s the global market which is definitely affecting the US market as well. We have an influx of many CGI artists both individual and studio worldwide basically in areas where  talent is more affordable like in Poland or Thailand. It´s difficult to compete with them pricewise, they have the basic skills and can do a lot of work remodeling. But it´s hard to track a lot of those artists and it´s difficult to communicate with them, the work hours are different, sometimes questions of work ethics occur. They are creating a flooded market but not taking it over.


What are your plans for 747?


Matthew: We´re trying to position 747 as a very lifestyle oriented CGI company rather than just a company that can create products. We want to position them as a group that can create a lifestyle within their image the client can then translate into selling their product.


Matthew LeBaron is a CGI Department Manager, Representing Illustration & Motion at Bernstein & Andriulli, New York. Interview by Jochen Brenner,


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