Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Six impossible things ... and it's not even breakfast time yet!

Further adventures in the realm of what was utterly impossible a few days ago! The new computer (known to the local area network as Thor), is just amazing. (Click on the small images to see them at 1000  x 800, in whatever axis.)  

In the first picture, topmost for today ... the big ship is the Allied Fleets Destroyer, which you can get from Renderosity for around $30. I bought it about a year ago, and discovered to my chagrin, I couldn't load it into DAZ. It had too many polygons for my old computer to handle it! I could render it in Bryce, but anyone who knows Bryce's interface knows how [chain of deleted expletives] difficult it is to work with textures and maps in Bryce. It was a good thing that the designer had included a "lite" version of the model for the benefit of folks whose hardware didn't make the cut ... and this is what I've been working with -- the lite version, in which a lot was stripped and a lot more was simplified...

So today I decided to load up the Destroyer ... the full version ... and see what happened.

It loaded in seconds. It was also the second spacecraft I'd loaded into the frame. I tricked it out with a new set of textures I just acquired (they were actually free content included on the disk with ImagineFX a few months ago; actually, a set of metal surfaces ... and they look perfect on this big ship). I set up numerous lights and did a render ... fast! Then I set the shadows ... almost as fast. Then I raytraced the whole thing --

The raytraced render took 10 seconds. And this is a model that the old machine wouldn't even load! Then I shipped the finished render into Photoshop and completed the shot with light effects ... not the window lights, or cabin lights, though. In the proper version of the Destroyer, these load with the model. Wow!

The second render shows the results of me playing around with bump and displacement maps on the skin of the model. Sure, there's lots of displacement mapping on the shirt too, but on this one, there's also displacement mapping on his skin. You'd have to see it full size to get the details ... you can literally see the prints in the palms of his hands.  It's true that I could have gotten this performance out of the old computer -- but. The truth is that a render took so long that by the time I had the lights set up properly and everything juuuust right, there was never going to be time to start over, messing about with bump maps on the skin! It took about 30 test renders to get this one right; however, at about 10 seconds per render, or less, it was no problem. So it's dawning on me that from here on, I can pay attention to all those little details that used to get overlooked when I was simply out of time.

Am I happy? I'm thanking my husband again here ... massively, vastly, hugely. 

Jade, December 28 (Proclamation Day in SA)

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