Through their Tumblr HyperrealCG, artists David O'Reilly and Kim Laughton have duped a handful of media outlets with an irresistible premise: computer-generated images that are so precise, so finely detailed, that they are totally indistinguishable from works of photography. Because that's exactly what they are.

The relatively unremarkable photos on HyperrealCG become jaw-dropping showcases of CGI virtuosity with the simple addition of bogus captions. In reality, the image above is a promotional photo created by the pen manufacturer Parker; on HyperrealCG, an anonymous artist created it as a "material and shader study" while using the digital imaging program Corona Renderer for the first time. The blog pulls a similar trick with dozens of other photos, from bedding catalog spreads to iconic movie props.

Several sites were taken in, including Huffington Post Tech (" CGI Faces Are Officially As Real As Human Faces"), The Mirror ("You won't believe these pictures are computer generated"), our colleagues at Sploid ("I can't believe these hyper real pictures are completely CG and not real"), and the AsapSCIENCE Facebook page ("None of these photos are real; they are all made completely using CG! ‪#‎mindblown"‬). The Mirror has since pulled down its post, and Sploid has issued a retraction.

On Twitter, O'Reilly explains that the project was intended only to parody the computer graphics community, which he believes privileges photorealism at the expense of everything else. The sendup of credulous and overeager tech reporting was evidently just an unexpected bonus.

In any case, he didn't mean to fool anybody, he swears.


h/t Waxy. Contact the author at andy@gawker.com.