Monday, October 18, 2010

3D fantasy: "They plan their escape"

Just three renders today, plus a kind of triptych of "in progress" shots ... because these are looong renders. As soon as you turn on loads of reflectivity, plus displacement maps and opacity maps everywhere, and a half dozen shadows to map too, even a fast system slows way down. But it's so well worth it, because the results are stunning.

Here's where I started -- click on this, see it at 800 pixels high:
The idea I started with was that I wanted to go back to the "Room with a View" shoot, and drive the camera outside, and look in through the windows. This was the original concept:
And you had so wonder, what happens when you take the camera outside and turn it around? So I basically started with the window and the boy. Changed the colors and textures on the skinsuit, and rendered one -- and immediately saw, "I'm wasting this idea." So I back the camera way off and added props ... plants, patio furniture, wine bottle, wall lamp. Then, another render, and it hit me. What the scene needed was the incredible visual flavor of the super-polished floor, which reflects absolutely everything:

I did raytrace one render to see if it made a big improvement, and the fact is, I actually prefer the deep shadow mapped ones. The raytraced render is too bright, and after five minutes messing about in Irfanview, trying to get it back to what I wanted, I decided to sacrifice the more complex shadows (and, truth be told, they're fantastic...) in order to get the overall visual flavor of the simpler -- and faster -- render.

Then, I thought -- what the heck? Add another character. And of course, as soon as you do that, the two interact and suddenly you have a scenario going. These two are captives -- very likely slaves, could also be hostages or war prizes, in the house of a conqueror. Maybe they even grew up in captivity there. But by now they've had quite enough of the whole deal, and they're out of there, tonight. In secret they make their plans. As soon as the boss is inebriated as usual, and sleeping with one or several of his fourteen wives while the guards snore through midnight ... they're out. Steal a couple of horses and be on the other side of the river before you know it.

The renders take an amazing number of props and support files:

Michael 4
Victoria 4
Mon Chevalier hair for M4
Evangelique hair for V4
Jagger skinmap for M4
Yaana skinmap for V4
Michael 4 Bodysuit
Andromeda -- the top
Ephi Arabesque -- skirt
Moonstone -- strappy slippers
change all the textures for my own
displacement and opacity maps (mine) on all fabrics
window wall, window corner from Fantasy Visions
change all the textures for my own
floor from Old Patio
reflection (white) set for the floor
furniture from ART Garden Escape
bottle and cup from Anardhouse
vase from DM Instances
potted tree from DM Instances
wall lamp from Fantasy Visions
six distatant lights
two point lights
shadows set on four of the lights

...and then about 15 or 20 test-renders to hit the "Goldilocks Spot," where everything is juuuust right. Which is why it's only three actual renders today. Same amount of time, huge levels of complexity!

Watch out for Episode 5 of our Yaoi fantasy very soon: Martin finds out what Leon's intentions are, after the brigand has gone hunting.

PS: you probably want a closer look at the costume Victoria 4.2 is almost wearing. That'll be my next post on the other blog. Not here, guys! I'd get my head handed to me...
Jade, 19 October
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