Monday, October 5, 2009

Linear Light Talk by MasterZap

As posted by Master Zap on his blog: here

He goes into some technical details of the linear-space lighting process. There are some really good explanations for what is really going on behind the scenes, and I highly recommend a listen. FXGuide has my utmost fandom at giving him some time to talk. Here is a more direct link to the podcast.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Vray Switch

Hey folks, I have some news. I've been testing Vray and RT over the last few weeks. And now that Vray for Maya is a reality, I can seriously consider switching. While I love 3dsmax for many things, I still feel Maya is required for many tasks, and wouldn't be without it in production. I'm getting pretty comfortable with Vray in both Max and Maya, and have to say it is a big step up from Mental Ray, which has unfortunately languished for the past few years with few useful updates.

There are things I can do in Vray, that I just couldn't accomplish properly with MentalRay. Many may argue, you can do the same quality work in MR, and short of true DOF and MB in reasonable time, I would agree. However, the man-hours required to do the same level of work are vastly different. Vray's unified DMC sampling (global glossy settings) and many other features I'll discuss later, make setting up complicated realistic settings very easy. I have already done work with vray that I doubt I could have done in twice the time in MR. saving caches, baking, importance sampling in image and area lights... the list goes on, and I have to say I wish only that I had jumped in earlier. More soon.

BTW, due to a few Russian spam comments, I've turned on posting administration. Thus your comments may take a day to show, since I have to approve them. But I'll generally let any post through that isn't spam. Even if you hurl insults;)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Lighting Blocking

Just a quick post to remind people I still exist;)

Thought I'd share a working method for lighting if it weren't already obvious to you (It probably is). Just like animation, blocking is an important stage. Roughing out light positions, intensities, etc. should be as fast and interactive as it can be. When dealing with say, and interior render with GI, bounces, and such, fast seems to be an oxymoron. It can be bearable, and even fun if you optimize your scene for it.

Just like blocking an animation, you don't need every feature turned on. While you can always tune your render settings, that's not what I'm talking about. I leave my FG and AA at medium. Say 75FG samples, 20 interpolation and global AA at 0 or 1 to start. Beyond that, the biggest slowdown in a render are the shaders. So use something very simple to block out lighting. a light grey mia or even a lambert. Such materials will render much faster.

My workflow is to create a lightingBlocking renderLayer with a material override to the mentioned grey material. Start blocking lights and render iteratively, or use IPR. Blocking lights without the interference of material color is useful in 2 ways. First in speed as mentioned, but also to judge values and lighting ratios more easily. Here's an example of a blocking render for a recent job. Some clients are receptive to seeing this stage, some are not. But if nothing else, it is helpful for you to make creative judgements.

This is closer to a final blocking. In earlier iterations the bed was too dark, as was the hall. So a window was added to the hall, and a lamp (omni light) was placed at the bedside to fill the bed a bit. Ulimately, one more light was placed in the hall, and minor tweaks to some settings were required once full color and materials were added.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Liza Lee Music

Not that I secretly desire to sell or review music;)... but I would like to post a big kudos to my friend Liza who has released her second album, Anima. It's a Jazz album, and let's face it, I'm not a Jazz sort of guy, but she is highly influenced by some of my old favs... Kate Bush, Tori Amos, David Bowie... so there are more melodic aspects to this album that stretch its fingers well outside what scares me about Jazz. I'm proud of her work on this, and hope people discover her music. She is also coming out with a more alt-pop styled album soon, so keep a look out.

Nice thing about this release, is that all proceeds go to the Society for Womens' Health Research. So buy it dammit!

You can get it on amazon and cdbaby... my bias is for amazon, nice and clean insta-downloads with no crappy drm.