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Creating photorealistic food in computer graphics has always been a challenge for visual effects artists, often leading them to opt for live-action footage instead. However, recent advancements in AI and computer graphics have opened new doors to achieving realistic representations with less hassle. This potential was put to the test using NeRF, Luma AI, and Unreal Engine 5, which showcased the power of these technologies in creating lifelike animations.

The experiment began by capturing footage of a breakfast plate using an iPhone 14 Pro. Luma AI was then employed to generate a NeRF (Neural Radiance Field) model of it, which was imported into Unreal Engine 5 for animation and rendering.

The results were astonishingly realistic, with detailed textures of vegetables, sausages, and eggs. The camera could move very close to the NeRF model, allowing for an immersive exploration of the breakfast scene. Additionally, Lumen, Unreal Engine 5's real-time global illumination system, was used to adjust and animate the lighting in the scene.

Although the initial footage captured steam rising from the hot breakfast, it was too subtle an effect, so EmberGen was used to simulate steam, which was then integrated into the Unreal Engine 5 scene. The entire animation could be played back in real-time, showcasing the power and efficiency of this creative workflow.

Some elements, such as the dish, table, and fork, were refined in post-production, but the food itself was represented entirely by the NeRF model generated straight from Luma AI. This experiment highlights the immense potential of combining NeRF with Unreal Engine 5 for creating realistic and visually stunning animations.

As technology continues to advance, the possibilities for using NeRF and other AI-based techniques in creative projects are virtually limitless. With NeRF and Unreal Engine 5 working together, artists can achieve breathtaking visual effects used to be reserved for high-end productions.

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Imagined by Masaki Yokochi