Tag Archives: cycles render

The Quest For Photo Realism

 

TRASH ALLEY 1

For a long time now I have attempted to render a photo realistic 3 D scenes in blender.  Until recently the formula for achieving this feat had eluded me.  I tried in blender internal and failed miserable.  Then Blender developers introduced the cycles rendering engine and getting real world results was still a daunting task even with the more accurate cycles engine.  I played around in the node editor and tried many effects.  The secret just remained well hidden from me. The more I modeled and rendered the more I failed.

I got to be pretty good at texturing objects in the process of finding photo realism. I also learned some cool modeling tricks. In the end my renders still looked fake or they just wasn’t what I was expecting out of blender.

CLINGING IVYIn the above image I textured the building facade and added ivy with the ivy generator, textured the ivy, set up my lighting, and added a environment texture to the world, yet the image lack realism to me.  The color saturation seemed to deep and even cycles seem to miss the bounced lighting. So I figured pretty much it isn’t blender,  it has to be me.

Here are a few things I picked up along the way that helped me alot that I would like to share with you. These are not the absolute holy grail of achieving photo realism and they are not in any particular order but they all should be considered.

1. Modeling

You should strive to make and accurate clean model of what your trying to replicate. Use reference images so that you have a good ideal of what your trying to show. Look at lots of pictures and work from there. your imagination is good but sometimes it can lead you astray.   Here is an old tutorial but it is a good example and it should work in current blender versions.  Always try to use good textures, Normal maps, Bump maps, Specular maps.                                                      http://www.the-blueprints.com/tutorials/blender/

2. Composition

What is you audience going to see? What is the subject of your image?  What are we looking at?  These are questions you should ask yourself when creating a 3d image in blender. What to want my eyes to focus on? The main subject of the image is important, you dont want your viewer to try and look at to many things at once, besides the human brain gets frustrated and will not make sense of any of what the eyes are showing it. Pick an object as the focal point of your image and let everything else in the image point to it.  Knowing a little about photography helps.   These thing are important in an image

Framing                    ( your main subject)

Perspective          (where am I looking from or what am I looking at)

Space                         ( create closeness or distance)

Balance                    ( how much is in frame and what is important )

Color                        ( what drives a viewer to or distracts them from your subject)

Try the rule of thirds it helps you to follow the above five principles.

http://digital-photography-school.com/rule-of-thirds/

Jonathan Lampel explains his secrets to a more interesting render.

3. Lighting

Is it day or night is it inside or outside? Light your scene and subjects based on the environment you put them in. Try to understand how lighting works in the real world. Look at the differences between hard and sof shadows. Learn how bounced lighting works and it influences othe objects.  Learn about 3 point lighting and also learn how to use HDR images in projects. Hdr images can provide the correct environment effects to your images. You can google Hdr lighting in blender and also three point lighting.

This is just a short list of helpful tips to improve your renders. I left out post processing basically because that is a subject unto itself. There are lot of things you can do in blender compositor but the key is learning what each node does. I suggest you look at painting and professional photos to get an ideal of what a good image should look like.  Also look at images on some of 3d forums to give yourself something to shoot for.

Thanks for reading. Always learning and always sharing.

Additional reading

 

http://www.blenderguru.com/articles/achieving-photorealism-in-blender/#.U_jtAHVdUgF

http://digital-photography-school.com/5-more-elements-of-composition-in-photography/

 

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Render of the week April 13

TIGER LILLYThis weeks render was a modeling exercise based on a tutorial Lesson 09 – 09A – Tiger Lily.  I did not use the procedure in the tutorial , I modeled my petals from planes. As always all work done in Blender this render in 2.70.  Enjoy see you for next weeks render.

RENDER OF THE WEEK April 6

ONEWAY_StreetThis weeks render was a modeling exercise where I created building facades on planes and added a few small assets to complete a street scene.  I also tried a color management to achieve a photo look. As always all work done in Blender this render in 2.70.  Enjoy see you for next weeks render.

animating a 2d Photo in Blender

I am always looking for interesting ways to be creative with Blender and make my projects look decent. I found one way of doing this is with animated photos. There are several ways of achieving a photo animation ranging from camera mapping to compositing animated 3D elements into a photo. Camera mapping is the most common which involves mapping 2d images to 3d geometry. I have also used the blender smoke simulator to created a moving atmosphere in a 2d photo.

Animating 2d photos can be helpful with motion graphics, creating an establishing shot for a film project or animation. It is often less expensive to go out and take a photo as opposed to shooting on location.

I ran across a great exercise for animating a 2d photo on YouTube I wanted to share with you. The exercise is pretty straight forward and it will give you the experience of using some of the modifier tools available in Blender.

I am very grateful to Sardi Pax for allowing me to share his work with you. He has a lot of helpful tips and tricks available on his you tube channel. I hope you visit him on youtube and find something that can help you become better using blender.

I ask him how he got started in blender and he shared his road to using blender with me.

His Answer

I’ve been interested in 3D art since the early days of home computing. I started by coding (in Z80 machine code) an attempt to display a rotating cube on a very old computer called a Sinclair ZX81 (my pride and joy at the time).

Much later I acquired a PC (somewhere around Windows 3.1) and simple home 3D software started to become available. It would still take hours to render something that today would take seconds.

I dabbled with 3DS Max, Cinema 4D, Bryce 3D, Poser and Lightwave and learned many of the basics with those packages.

I actually encountered blender several years ago at about version 2.4 but back then it was not such a friendly interface for the novice and stayed with 3DS Max.

About 18 months ago Blender underwent a big change at around version 2.55 (or possibly 2.6) and became much more newbie friendly.

I couldn’t get Cycles to work at all to begin with, just got the typical black screen. So I started watching Youtube tutorials (for example the excellent Andrew Price), and realised Cycles was all about Lights (eureka moment).

I then spent (far too many) hours playing with particles, juggling vertices and working out what Normals were and around a year ago, decided it might be a fun way to motivate myself to learn more by making simple tutorials. And I’ve learned a great deal along the way.

I try to post a tutorial every week, as well as find time to make images and videos for my own pleasure. Most often my subscribers want a tutorial for any new video I post so they help a lot with deciding the subjects.

This tutorial introduces the Wave modifier and shows a way you can integrate a 2D photo into a 3D scene.

I hope you enjoyed the tutorial and the insight of the featured artist in this post.

Blender Cycles: Lighting and Rendering Cookbook

If you are new to blender or looking for an alternative learning tool, well here you are.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/178216460X/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=178216460X&linkCode=as2&tag=newart2000-2

Packt Publishing has released a book by Bernardo Iraci. The book titled “Blender Cycles: lighting and rendering cookbook.” covers creating materials and lighting setups for your cycles render. Inside you will find node setups for water, glass, and  some procedural texture setups that will come in handy for your projects. It is a learning aide that I believe no new or intermediate user should be without. As you learn the tricks revealed in this book your renders will show a improved level of quality.  This book will be  nice to have, to reference back when ever needed.

keys
SAMPLE RENDER OF PROJECT FILE

A plus to purchasing this neat little learning aid is the support files provided by Packt publishing. The blend files let you follow along with the book to put into practice each technique as it is being described for the reader. This frees you up to practice at your own speed and pace without the worry of missing something as with traditional tutorials.

On the down side this book starts off a little wordy and there are a few spelling errors,But if you take your time you will get pass that and actual begin to learn to use cycles more efficiently. Which after all is the overall goal of the book.

The book will be very helpful to new and advanced user alike. It goes though each lesson step by step and has photos of each node setup.  There is also a good list of other references provided inside.  I recommend this easy self paced learning tool to any blender user wanting to learn how to create better lighting and materials for their projects.

Click the book cover for a sample chapter

About the Author
Bernardo Iraci

Bernardo Iraci was born in Livorno, Italy in 1985. He followed a standard education career until he graduated in Economics in 2009. He always had a great passion for computers, especially gaming. During the latter part of his studies, he also developed a passion for 3D graphics, and this soon became the main focus of his career. It was at this time that he came to understand that his passion was the most important thing to pursue, more important than even attending a university.

Even though Bernardo later participated in various online courses teaching the different aspects of computer graphics, he has been largely self-taught. In 2010, he moved to Warsaw, Poland, where he was finally able to start working full-time in computer graphics as a 3D generalist in the field of movies VFX and advertisment. He also started work as a freelancer.

Bernardo constantly works to improve his skills and knowledge about computer graphics and thinks that this is the only way to keep pace with this field. When he is not busy with graphics, he likes to travel, watch movies, and play the guitar.

Blenderguru xmas tree tutorial results

christmas tree

I rarely do a commentary when I post results from tutorials I try but this one I felt pretty good about. Why you might ask, well I,ll tell you. The first thing for me is the fact I finished the complete scene. For me that is an accomplishment considering how critical I am of myself and how easy it is for me to find something wrong. Secondly I modeled everything myself except the paint splash picture on the wall, And lastly Blender didn’t act to crazy on me this time.

I encourage you to check out the Christmas tree tutorial at Blenderguru.com and hey have fun with it. I think blender is a great tool once you harness the understanding to make it do what you want or need it to do.

Happy Holidays everyone. put Blender down for a little while and enjoy the season and those you love

Cliff tutorial Results

cliff tutorial results

Cliff Results

Using the textures provided in the tutorial from http://www.blenderguru.com/videos/how-to-make-cliffs/ I came up with this result. I got some practice with the sculpt tool for the first time it worked as i wanted. I guess I never knew exactly how to us it.  This method could be useful in creating landscapes, matte paintings, and other compositing. I really would like to get better at texturing water but anyway. This image was render in cycles 200 samples 7 minutes 45 seconds to render. The project took an hour and half.  I did some work in the compositor, the sky is a plane on a second render layer with a little color correction .