Art historian Ernst Gombrich argued that learning to create convincing realistic depictions is a difficult, incremental process requiring the invention of numerous specific techniques to solve its many problems. Gombrich's argument is elaborated here in a historical review of the evolution of realistic depiction in ancient Greek vase painting, Italian Renaissance painting and contemporary computer-generated imagery (CGI) in video games. The order in which many problems of realism were solved in the three trajectories is strikingly similar, suggesting a common psychological explanation.

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