… I do not know why this has slipped through my countless screenings, but here they were. Full bright white, sometimes colorful, single hot pixels.
What follows now is an anecdote, highlighting the various adventures you sometimes face, when dealing with problems which seem so trivial at first sight. It is almost nostalgic, as these problem patterns tended to appear throughout the whole production and they persist right to the end 🙂
As announced in my previous post I present here a shot compositing breakdown from a frame of shot 3 of Ara’s Tale.
This is a medium shot with emphasis on Ara and the environment does only act as nice blurry backdrop to the frame. So the main focus lies on the foreground with the background representing one renderlayer with a simple light setup (1 spotlight with shadow buffers for the moon and 2 hemilights for the ambient lighting).
In this post I try to portray the things I have learned and experimented with about combining image layers having both transparency information (alpha) as well as z information.
The starting point for me was quite simple. Up to now I had done the compositing work for the background, Ara and the cage. As I had not yet settled on the exact look of my cage lights I decided to add them later. This shouldn’t be so hard after all.
Sometimes it seems, that the sole purpose of this project is to test my patience, motivation and capacity for suffering.
Setting up a workflow for offline compositing, ( i.e. compositing not directly after rendering but from saved multilayer exr files ), sent me on a journey through storage demands, SSS deficencies, the current state of blender 2.5, back to 2.49, down into the source code of compositor nodes and finally to a somehow (shakily) working solution.
I decided to give luxrender a try and get accustomed with its material setup. For those who have not yet came across this new renderer see here for more info.
I find it a highly promising project with after one year of healthy development showing quite an impressive functionality already.
As with all unbiased renderer out there, you pay a high price in terms of render times and turn around cycles. I just recently upgraded to a AMD Phenom quad core system, running about 20 times faster than my old one. This finally gave me the basis to dare to tackle luxrender.
Getting all the material settings right was quite a tedious experience. For the poppy flower i.e. I realize after 2 hours of rendering, that the material was not quite right, so I had to restart again. I think one will have to gather quite some experience until the material
setup get more straight forward and thus faster.
The image you see here is a theme I wanted to do for quite some time, but was not really satisfied with the blenders internal renderer and knew this would be an ideal candidate for an unbiased renderer.
The image is titled ‘The Other Side’. The blend file is available from my Showroom.
Its actually a composite ( done in blender of course ) of the two following separately rendered images.
Render time for each of the images was around 6 hours, with about 3000 samples/pixel.
You will never want to do an animation with luxrender, but for certain setups this is a very good tool to have.