Sunday, May 23, 2010

3D art pretending to be reality ... seriously nice!

Here's where 3D art comes up against its biggest challenge: depicting cold, hard reality. There's no hint of fantasy or SF here. A hunk, a car, a brownstone building ... looks like it could be warehousing. Full daylight. Nothing to hide behind, if you're the artist trying to make this gel.

So here's the hunk, in 3D ... is it me, or does he look like a cross between Aidan Quinn and Christopher Walken? It wasn't intended to work out that way -- just happened. Are you ready for this: it's the exact same digital actor who played Achilles a few days ago, and then was cavorting with the courtesan yesterday! I went back to the Mon Chevalier hair, which Achilles was wearing, but made it short and black rather than long and blond. What a difference!

Otherwise, it's still the same character in every other detail. He's wearing the Lee skin map (obviously not the face ... Lee is Asian), and the Beowulf slacks, shirt, jacket. The Beowulf costume actually looks fairly good in longshot, but when you get in close the white shirt looks like it's made of plastic bags. (Sorry, dudes ... that shirt still needs some work.) So for the closeup shots I put a texture on it, which hides a multitude of sins.

Which leaves one problem: in these lighting conditions, the Lee skin map looks plastic. Even when you remember to set the Lighting Model to MATTE, never mind skin, it still looks like plastic. Now, it comes with a default bump map, but with the value set to zero. I cranked this out to maximum, but the result was still plastic. So I actually set the bump map up as a displacement map ... and then cranked the value up to about 75% --

Plastic all gone. Now, you might need to see this at full size to really see the difference, so I uploaded this at the same size at which it was rendered:

Makes quite a difference, for extreme closeups!

Jade, 24 May
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