Thursday, March 15, 2012

Learning Cycles Nodes

So, learning nodes in Cycles is a very interesting and challenging quest.  In short: I'm really enjoying it, and the results from the Cycles engine are really impressive, especially considering we're completing one or two shots per day. =)

It starts with this:

A simple animatic to get a general idea of what the action will look like.  The animatic is animated at full resolution and frame rate, but is rendered in what's called OpenGL, which is a very fast render (on my computer, about 1 frame a second, depending on scene complexity).  Obviously, it's not very pretty, but it gives the initial idea that we want.

Then it goes to this:

The video is rendered with full lighting and texturing.  This can take a while. Again, this is depending on scene complexity, but it can take days to render a 120 frame shot.

Then we take this:

We need to do several passes for each render.  This is the z-depth pass.  Basically, it's an image that tells the compositor exactly how far away from the camera each object in the scene is.  Lighter objects are closer.  This is necessary for the fog pass, which is next.

Fog pass:

We take both images and pass them through a special node system inside Blender Compositor which makes the distant objects fade into the background.

Final composite:

Now we have the final composite.  These noodles can get very long and convoluted.  Final details include dirt on the camera lens. Vignetting to center the eyes on the subjects in the scene, and other stuff.  Some of this stuff doesn't go into every shot, especially vignetting and dirt on the lens.  But in the desert plains of the planet Plagarus, camera lenses tend to get a bit dirty. =)

Hopefully, if you didn't know anything about 3D art or compositing with Blender 3D, this little jaunt into the world of 3D art has given you greater appreciation for the awesome coolness that is Blender 3D. =D

Hope you're all having a great week.  It's Friday tomorrow! =D



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