Sunday, June 23, 2019

Chasing photorealism ... how good is this?

You might remember the "screen test" of the new tweaked design for the vampire Amadeus, which was obviously raytraced five or six months ago. Starting to get some traction with IRay -- not 100% liking it, mind you, but it's what I have, so let's use it! I still can't make IRay 'honor' any bump or displacement map applied to a surface, but --

The problem of the eyes rendering flat white in IRay (and flat black in a raytrace) seems to have gone away by itself. You're waiting for me to tell you how brilliant I was, and how I fixed it. Wish I could, guys! But I closed the eyes to do the Daydreamer render a couple of days ago, and when I opened them again to give the job another shot ... the problem had gone away by itself. Uh ... right. That's a weird one. 😵

But the photorealism of the render of Amadeus is rather good! For comparison purposes, let me give you this:

You'll seed to see that at larger size to get the full impact, but ... very pleased with this.

What's continuing to bug me to death is that I cannot fathom how to get IRay to put a texture into a surface ... and after spending some time on various forums, I'm far from alone in this. People are tearing their hair out with the same problem, glad to say it ain't just me being dense! I'm racking my brains, trying to remember if I had this problem with Reality/LuxRender, and I don't think I did. So this, more than anything else, has 98% convinced me to get the Reality plugin. Also, I like the way you can re-re-reset the lights during the render in Reality; and I like the way you can pause and resume a render in Reality ... you can't do this in IRay. Lastly, IRay is a hog for system resources: once it's going, it owns the whole computer. Is it super fast? Yes and no. Yes, on simple scenes, where you just stand a character in front of the camera, like Amadeus here, and give it an hour. But for a big set, plus character, plus complex lights? Well --

I have something very complex and delicious cooking in the desktop right beside me. I'd wanted to upload it with this post, but three hours later it's still nowhere near done, so it's going to have to wait till tomorrow! It'll also take some painting in Photoshop to save it, because there are noooo textures on the wings. They look like shiny black plastic, and nothing I can do will make any texture appear in IRay! Photoshop will rescue it, but I gotta confess, I'm already very tired of this battle. The whole surfaces/materials/shaders issue in IRay is a major pain and a vast headache. If you want a glimpse, see this, and weep. Or roll your eyes. You think I'm going to be able to remember all that?! Maybe if I was doing this for a living, and/or was 17 years old with that kind of brain. Uh, Reality, I think. Very soon.

Anyway -- watch out for something delicious tomorrow, after it's cooked a lot longer, and after the surfaces have been rescued in Photoshop! It's a re-render of an old raytrace, and you won't believe how it's coming up! One thing I am so pleased about: the way the old figures render. Michael 4 looks brilliant.
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