Sunday, April 29, 2012

Playing happily with lights and cute guys. And snakes. Yes, snakes.

click to see all images at large size

Been busy! As the post title says -- playing with lights and cute guys. Again, I'm going back into a few of the old projects from eighteen months ago, and more, and seeing the difference that new techniques will make. It's pretty amazing. The top image is "Michael 4 as Tomb Raider," and if I can only persuade you to look at that one at large size, you'll be amazed at the photographic quality. Here's a thing ... if your monitor is set really dark, you won't see the floor and wall behind. Brighten it up for just a minute and check this out. Neat!

Now, that one is a Lux render ... urk. 37.5 hours. Hours! I hit the PDF manual, looking for ways to get faster results, and there's one or two things that might bear fruit. There are loads of experiments to be run...

The second shot is a 3DLight raytrace -- the "star" of the shot is actually the sky. It's one of the many skies supplied with the LightDome sky sphere, or dome, and here's the really cool thing about it: you can rotate the dome to make the sun rise and set, and you can spin the dome on its axis, as if you were moving the camera around a full thee-sixty. So there's virtually limitless skyscapes you can wrangle out of this. Didn't have any luck lighting this one with the LightDome Pro lights, though. 2.5 hours while it calculated the shadows for 256 skylights and then rendered the piece, and I got a picture that was screamingly bright ... hmmm. What did I do wrong? Nothing that I'm aware of, so -- as a quick fix I deleted all their lights, and whacked four spotlights on this to give me what I wanted fast...

But this one was a 10.5 hour job in Lux, and below it I'm also pasting in the original render of the same shot, which was done about six weeks ago -- the garden scene:

The bottom shot here is just the deep shadow map in 3DLight, for the simple reason that I have about two dozen lights on this scene, and the raytrace was going to take 18 - 20 hours! I didn't have the opportunity at the time to let the raytrace go for so long. So knowing that Lux breezed through it in 10.5 hours is actually saying a lot -- and the result is astonishing. Overlook the fact that the texture on the wall is very different ... I was much more interested in seeing what it could do with the sunlight than in tracking down the displacement map for the brickwork ... instead, take a look at the dappled light on the yukimi (lantern) and on the capstone on the top of the wall pillar right in the corner. Whoa. Now, I'm impressed. You can see right inside the Yukimi! And this scene was done with ONE light, representing the sun. Lux calculated everything else from there...

Want the clear comparison? Here you go -- see it big, if you're looking at investing in Lux/Reality and are looking for a really good look at the difference it makes:

Left is the raytrace. Right is the Lux render, albeit at the cost of 37.5 hours. My mind is filled with images that need to be realized! There just aren't enough hours in the day. Need to find a way to go faster, or make time stretch. Anybody know where the Doctor parked the Tardis --?!

Jade, April 29

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