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Pseudorealism, also spelled pseudo-realism, is a term used in a variety of discourses, connoting any artistic and dramatic technique, or work of art, film and literature perceived as superficial, not-real or non-realistic.[1]

According to some, the term pseudorealism in reference to art, has a parallel in mathematical field of representation theory or the idea that something unreal can still give the impression of the real.[2] There, a (pseudo real) Quaternionic representation is a group representation that is equivalent to its complex conjugate, but that is not a real representation.[2] Similarly juxtaposing off beat colours and simple geometric shapes it is possible to create images which may give the impression of a comprehendible realistic scene. Indian artist Devajyoti Ray is primarily known to have popularised this particular form of art.[3]

By definition, the term is however highly subjective.[4]


The term has been used to describe a certain type of film productions, TV programmes, and video games,[5] where special effects, computer generated imagery and 3D animation are used to augment reality based images. In this context the word pseudoreal has a negative connotation. At the opposite end of the spectrum, the term is also used to describe photorealistic CGI animation and 3D computer graphics indistinguishable from cine-photography.[6]

Some sources equate pseudorealism with Magic realism, popular in film, literature, and visual arts,[7] or even the cynical pseudo-realism of the Stalinist era as exposed by Orwell.[8]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Eric Loren Smoodin, Ann Martin, Hollywood quarterly: film culture in postwar America, 1945-1957. Page 235. University of California Press.
  2. ^ a b David Surman | Swinburne University of Technology - Retrieved on 2010-10-21.
  3. ^ Hasina Khatib, "Pseudorealism back in Mumbai". Hindustan Times. Mumbai, November 14, 2011.
  4. ^ A Defence Of Paradise-Engineering. BLTC Research, 1998. Use of term: pseudo-realism.
  5. ^ David Surman, Master's Thesis: CGI Animation - Pseudorealism, Perception and Possible Worlds. Retrieved on 2010-10-21.
  6. ^ David Surman, Master's Thesis: CGI Animation - Pseudorealism, Perception and Possible Worlds. Retrieved on 2010-10-21.
  7. ^ What is pseudo-realism? [unreliable source?]
  8. ^ Christopher Hitchens, Why Orwell Matters. Page 93. Basic Books, 2003. ISBN 0465030505.