Real Time 3D & CGI: What’s the difference?

Varun Shah
Eccentric Engine


As a company operating at the cusp of Technology and Visualization, we find ourselves having to explain to a lot of People, the difference between Real Time 3D and CGI. While people wish to incorporate 3D into their business, is very important to understand the difference between the two.

Which is why we have decided to break it down through this blog, to help you understand the difference between the two and the reason for choosing one over the other. We assure you that it’s not complicated at all, and at the end of this blog you will agree too.

So, let’s get started!

CGI refers to ‘Computer Generated Imagery’. True to its name, CGI develops Realistic ‘Images’ to replicate a Physical Object.

So, why bother replicating Physical Objects? Because, if we have a CGI output, we can enhance the look Artificially (which is why a Car, or even a Toothpaste Tube looks much better in Ads than Real Life), Control the Environment (place a Car on Highway, in a City or in a Studio). Great! No Wonder, CGI has been adopted rapidly by the Automotive Industry! Below is an example of a CGI-based Content that has multiple CGI-based Images Stitched together to show a full 360 degree Rotation of the Car:

Now let’s think of the following Scenarios:

  • What if in the above Video, we wish the show a Red Car, instead of Blue Car?
  • What if we wish to show the Car with an Accessory Applied?
  • What if you wish to inspect the Headlight from Close Up?

This is where things start getting Tricky in CGI. Just for showing the same output in a new colour, at least 36 Images need to be Developed. To show an Accessory on these colours, additional Images are needed. To show Headlight from close up, More Images with up-close views are needed.

And let’s not forget, every Image needs to be Developed, Processed & Rendered. All this needs Time & Efforts. And MONEY!

This is where real-time 3D comes into Play!

Believe it or Not, most of us have probably experienced Real-time 3D. Below are some Examples:

Yes, Games! We love playing Games because we get to CONTROL the Graphics in Real Time. In other words, Games are Interactive. Using Real-Time 3D, it is Actually Possible to get the Best of CGI, but WITHOUT DEPENDING ON IMAGES.

Here’s how one can Explore a Given Car from Any Angle/Colour:

Benefits of Real-time 3D are not Limited to Showcase Only. It can be used for Consultative Sales Experiences, where Sales Personnel can demonstrate all possible Trims, Colours & Accessories of a Car! Below is an example of an online exploration.

Real-time 3D allows you to SELF-EXPLORE. As we Speak, Thousands of People are Exploring their Cars on their Mobile Handsets, on their Laptops. Below is another live example of a Real-Time 3D model.

The Best thing about Real-time 3D, is that it provides Unlimited, Seamless Access of the Product to all Customers & Prospects.

While CGI is meant to get Great Images for the Offline World, Real-time 3D is the way to go for the Digital World!

At Eccentric Engine, we leverage Real-time 3D to improve the way People Purchase Vehicles.

So, to conclude, Image Based 3D produces an output like a flip book animation and Real Time 3D produces an outcome like a film animation

The examples shown above are in collaboration with Maruti Suzuki, which is India’s largest car manufacturer.



Varun Shah
Eccentric Engine

Co-founder & Growth at Eccentric Engine. Transforming Retail- One Interaction at a time.