It is now, technically speaking, easier than ever to create hyper-real 3D rendered images that are indistinguishable from photographs using 3D rendering software. In fact a large proportion of advertising imagery is already created using 3D software but you probably wouldn’t even know.
This makes commercial sense when you consider some of the advantages that 3D rendering offers. Products don’t have to ‘physically exist’ anymore as visualisations of a product can be realised prior to manufacture, using just the initial CAD drawings. For larger shoots, CGI considerably reduces photographic production costs, as it means sets, backgrounds and locations can be created using software, which is one of the main reasons automotive photography now relies heavily on CGI.
Additionally, 3D renders can be revisited later and adapted as many times as required which has many obvious practicalities.
And finally, in my opinion CGI just has a certain ‘look’, which works great for certain products such as cars, jewellery, drinks and cosmetics. When used in conjunction with photography and Photoshop the creative possibilities are endless.