Thursday, March 4, 2010

3D art meets photographic realism

3D fantasy meets photo realism ... it would almost fool the eye into believing that this was your actual, genuine photo -- except that the "Garden of Eden" setting couldn't possibly be real, so you know it has to be artwork...

And here's where you start, with all the environment props you can get your hands on, as well as the Millennium Horse himself, and the CWRW pro textures. This one is a glorious bay ... he's just superb. The ground under his feet is the "floor" from the Easy Backgrounds kit (just click the icon to make the wall and edge invisible), with the "dirt" texture applied. Then, everything else ... every flower and leaf and blade of grass, plus the fallen logs and the boulder, are all added in as "environment props." Even the trees in the background are props ... then the whole thing goes out to a background image of a waterfall in a forest. One thing is missing in the above image: shadows! It's a nice shot, but there are no shadows underfoot...

Here's the same shot with the deep shadow maps turned on for all three distant lights. And suddenly our glorious horse is casting shadows on the ground!

There's only one major difference between this artistic rendering and the top picture, which is photo realistic. Depth of field. In a photo, if you focus on the horse with a 50mm lens and a medium- to large-size aperture (which you'll need, because you're in a woodland setting and the light isn't too bright), you get limited depth of field, so you couldn't have the flowers in the foreground and the horse and the trees all in focus. So if you were to fix this in your final render, you'd have the photo rather than the painting.

I leave it up to you to decide which you prefer!

Jade, 5 March
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