Half Finished - A Collection of Experiments

After having a lot of fun experimenting in my free time the last few months, I wondered what to do with all the renders I had amassed. Rather than letting them just sit on a hard drive, I figured I could throw them all together in a short edit to further my editing skills.

All of the fluid simulations in the video were done with Realflow. Almost everything was rendered with Cycles and comped in After Effects. Even though the guys over at the Blender Foundation are still working hard on implementing Alembic in to Blender, there's already one way to import Realflow mesh caches at the moment. It's a hack, and limited to Blender 2.75 at the moment, but if you scroll down through this page you can find builds for all platforms with this modifier implemented.

You can download a high quality version of the video here.

Caught in the Rain

I decided to take a little experiment from a few months back a little further. You can find the original post here. I really liked working on the image and the general feel the raw render had.

The lighting felt like the first rain was about to hit and it's a moment I really wanted to capture. Weather effects were added with After Effects and two standard plugins. CC Mercury for the drops on the lens and CC Particle World for the rain.

I only needed the camera from Max quickly and used a great script called Sk-Films: Camera Exporter from Scriptspot. This way, I could align the CC Particle World spawn with the view to simulate the rain drops.

Just like the previous image, this was rendered with Corona (A6 this time). Frames took about ~18 minutes to render at 720p, the bricks were done using displacement. I really like how Corona handles this as well, it feels fast and easy to work with, giving you just the right amount of control.

I'm happy with the overall result, the image reflects (no pun intended) what I set out to express with it.

Rumble in the Jungle (R&D)

Just a small post with an R&D render of a personal project.

Rumble in the Jungle project: RnD 1

Celebrating the release of Corona's alpha v6, I used it to scatter a bunch of tropical Archmodels. The new release brought a lot a of new features to the table, be sure to check them out of the Corona homepage.

Render elements have been sorted out, which adds a higher level of post-production options. For instance, the reflections in the water were rendered perfectly clear and blurred in post. This way the full HD render only took about 15 minutes to get where it's at. The renderer never ceases to amaze me, it's so much fun to use and produces truly great results fast.

For me, it combines Vray-esque performance with the level of integration mental ray has in 3ds Max.

Grass was done with the Grass Generator, of course. Still working on the new features, having fun discovering maxscript.

Welcome to the Desert


It's amazing what you can find for free when searching for models on the web. A great example of this is the hi-res scanned skull model by 3D Scan Store. Another great model I came across was this scorpion model by user bubo_bubo on Turbosquid.

Armed with these two models I set out to have an in-depth look of a mental ray feature that was added in (I think) 3ds Max 2013. The Ambient Occlusion map was upgraded with an "Inverted Occlusion" mode which detects the sharp edges of a model and shades them accordingly. (Vray Dirt has had this for a while, but I wanted to see how it's mental ray counterpart fared.)

The skull model consists of ca. 750k polys, so with all it's detail it was an ideal candidate for testing purposes. Instead of having to retopologize the model and unwrap it, I wanted to see just how far I could get with a handful of procedural maps all blended together in different ways. The screenshot below illustrates the approach to the shading of the model's edges.

In the end a Colour Correction node provided quite a bit of additional control to really fine-tune the mask for the different shaders. I chose not to go too over-the-top with it, because I was after a more sun-bleached, worn bone look.

A screenshot of the (very messy) skull shader tree.

For the scorpion a similar technique was used to create the different variations of colour on the body. Starting of with the black base layer, I first added a dark red layer with quite a big maximum distance for the AO. (Relative to the size of the model) This gives the red a nice gradual fade in over the black. Then, a second orange layer was added on top of this with a smaller max distance just to highlight the edges and give it a slightly more aggressive look. The hairs were added with the standard 3ds Max "Hair & Fur" modifier.

In the end, everything was rendered in mental ray using Unified Sampling (for the Depth of Field) and the built-in IBL shader. Post was done in Nuke.

Corona and some... jelly?!

So I've been messing around with Corona for quite a while now. If you haven't heard about this renderer be sure to have a look at the website! The Corona forum is a great place to ask questions and get the latest updates.

Now for the jelly. I wanted something to test Corona with animation wise, so I created this just fooling around. It's done with MassFX particles in Particle Flow, using the glue to keep them together and give the jelly it's soft body movement.

Then, to light it all I used a single overhead rectangular Corona light. A free HDRI was used for some added reflections, courtesy of user zbyg on DeviantArt.

The result isn't anything spectacular, it was just a test after all. At 100 passes Corona gets a frame rendered at around 10 minutes on an i7 3770.