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Make Your Most Realistic Renders – Ever!
Posted: 15 July 2013 10:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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Great examples by the way, guys! Thanks for sharing.

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Posted: 15 July 2013 10:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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PhilW - 15 July 2013 10:08 AM

Yeah, the suggestion of only using an HDRI is really just a starting point. I usually add a low level “normal” light to pick up some highlights, although another way to add highlights is to add a small amount of reflection to any shiny surfaces - 1 or 2% should be enough to get highlights, but keep the surface looking shiny rather than reflective.

Wow… DT even adds traces of reflection to skin to amazing effect! He too, uses Gamma correction in his stuff.
Right! I forgot. It’s my V6 version of Rosie that actually uses the Carrara “Glass - Common” shader as her eye surface! I was going to try that on this one, but haven’t yet.

This sort of experimenting is really exciting and fun to me. It forces me to really focus on my shaders and how the render engine is going to interact with them. Again… another reason why making a custom Carrara Browser is so essential for me - as I like to save off individual shaders as well as full global sets - and it become imperative to keep all of that organized.

I know that I’m always recommending Indigone’s V4 Skin Shader Kit and Lights and her Endless Eye Kit for V4 to aid in getting the appropriate material zones filled for Genesis. But those tutorials/kits are great for learning how to set up really good shader techniques to your figures - any figures - not just V4 as the name implies. As a matter of fact, the shaders are all procedural so they truly work on anything!
Her skin shaders use subsurface scattering, too… which will be fun to try using this method.

Like Phil just said - I have a feeling that this idea goes vastly beyond the use of HDR images - possibly even beyond using global illumination. Such a grand experiment you’ve launched Phil! I still have yet to take the time I want to, and study up on setting up a scene to render using Luxus for Carrara.

Often times I like to just set up animations and put them into my Batch Queue to render as I sleep and then work. Check the results the next evening after I get home from work and have my supper. Sometimes I have to abort one, because it’s still going. No biggie there.
So now I can practice this method and setting up scenes with luxus for still images and Queue them up. Very cool!

Thanks Phil.

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Posted: 15 July 2013 10:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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I just finished another one which I thought I’d share - this is a cropped version, the full version will be on my Rendo gallery tomorrow.  This has had a little toning in Photoshop but nothing too major.

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Posted: 15 July 2013 11:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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Dartanbeck - 15 July 2013 10:30 AM

DT even adds traces of reflection to skin to amazing effect!

He includes a video explaining how and why - and also gives us a great new camera tool to play with! Like I said - if you really want to dig deeper - get some of DT’s stuff. A lot of his newer products are for Daz Studio - so read what you’re looking at. Carraracters Delphinia requires Rebelmommy’s Delphinia, but is so worth the expense. Heck - it’s an incredible value considering what you get and what you learn!
I don’t know about all of his HDRI sets, but Skies of Terra Volume One comes set up very much like what we’re doing in this thread, with some subtle differences. Very much worth it’s pennies as well - like all of DT’s stuff!

As we were just talking about eyes, Phil must be being modest to not mention his Bright Eyes for Carrara setup that eliminates the need for pulling stunts to get your eyes looking perfect in all of your renders.

DP Shaders is on sale for a short time longer… all this stuff helps us learn how the pro’s set their stuff up. What they have learned after long hours over years of fighting for specific results. I find the trade to be hugely in my favor - as the customer of these greats.
Here are some more links that I would like to add to the subject of great carrara learning essentials products - just for those in search of. Other’s can easily ignore my links, right?

Phil Wilkes Carrara hair and clouds Carrara hair is some of the finest hair I’ve seen in CG - and Phil can get you there!
GK Dantas has a wide variety of helpful Carrara essentials
Ringo Monfort has a bazillion shaders (some of which are currently on sale - but that sale is almost over) and brushes as well as a Skies preset pack!
mmoir (Mike Moir) has excellent products with wonderful dialog that accompanies them - a true 3d modeler = he!
Howie Farkes has wonderful environments sculpting a vision of true nature into Carrara’s vast ability to simulate such thing - to the highest level of details.
Infinite Skills is the publisher for PhilW’s incredible training series (I keep pestering him to make more! Right, Phil?)
It’s hot and I’m exhausted - or I’d likely list more for you. Please fill in where I left off if you have the inclination. But before I go, I’d like to share just a few more:
These are links found in my Carrara Information Manual:
There really is a lot of Carrara knowledge available in Cripeman’s Video Tutorial Index. Not enough wonderful things can be said about his enormous generosity.
I have the slow beginnings of what will become my Carrara Walkthrough. I’ll be adding a lot to this when time permits.
Carrara and related 3d Art Tutorials
Carrara Plugins FAQ & Information   -  By Jay_NOLA
Comprehensive List of Video Tutorials on Carrara - by FractalDemensia
and I have started to compile an index for getting to subjects that are already under discussion throughout the forums - so that we don’t have to always keep rewriting our advice - but can refer folks to the Forum Help Links index - which will be including this thread soon. But this thread will be getting more attention than just that, I’m sure.
Again… hot… tired… I’ll be back. If I missed some important stuff… let me know and I’ll fix it

Thanks Phil… your generosity of sharing your brilliant expertise is greatly appreciated!

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Posted: 15 July 2013 11:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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PhilW - 15 July 2013 10:53 AM

I just finished another one which I thought I’d share - this is a cropped version, the full version will be on my Rendo gallery tomorrow.  This has had a little toning in Photoshop but nothing too major.

Wow, she looks so real!

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Posted: 15 July 2013 07:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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Thanks for the tip Phil.  And, I really like your training vids.  I completed the beginner’s set, and am about half way through the advanced.  Great stuff.  You explain things very clearly.

RE: the experiment - Here is a quick one that I tried by following the directions.  It is V4 with a Carrara high res shader and basic DAZ clothes with default textures.  The hair is skanky because I made it myself.  The HDRI background is a free sample (http://www.hdrmill.com/Freebies.htm) so I don’t think it is very high res.  It rendered quickly.  Even for all of that, the lighting and textures look decent to my eye.  I’ll definitely be experimenting more with this suggestion.

Sorry if this is a duplicate post - I thought I submitted it a while ago but nothing showed up.

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Posted: 15 July 2013 07:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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Very cool! It really does add that wonderful… less rendered look! I am definitely trying this some more.

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Posted: 15 July 2013 08:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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Well, Phil W’s idea is certainly something I would have never thought of doing.  I followed the instructions and came up with this (first w/o DOF, second w dof).  I’m not sure I understand why HDRI plays such an important role in this, though—can you suggest some reading I could do to help my understanding?

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Posted: 16 July 2013 02:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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diomede64 and Salem2007 - great renders, both! These are starting to be the kind of results that I was expecting.

Regarding further reading, did you have a look at the article I referenced in my first post?  There are some further references at the bottom of that, or you could simply search for 3D Linear Workflow. There appears to be quite a lot written about it for other 3D programs or 3D in general, and about how it is perhaps misunderstood. For me, it was like finding the missing piece of the jigsaw puzzle - and just frustrating that it has been there under my nose for years but no-one seemed to know (or at least it wasn’t common knowledge).

The manual says that this gets implemented when using Global Illumination, which can be either Sky Lighting or Indirect Lighting or both.  For maximum realism you would always want Indirect Lighting turned on (with Ambient Light turned to zero - Ambient Light is like a fast but very poor substitute for Indirect Light!) and very often Sky Lighting as well, unless you are in a closed environment with all light coming from lamps of some description.

You can use other sources for Sky Light than HDRI, for example you can use just a normal jpeg, but this produces fairly flat and even looking light. HDRI gives more contrast in the lighting and mimics a real scene, so why not use this rather than trying to set up multiple “traditional” lights which try to achieve the same thing?  I haven’t tried Realistic Sky yet but this should work well in theory too.

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Posted: 16 July 2013 02:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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Just to add to the last post, Realistic Sky does work and looks great, in my view!

You can even just put a flat colour in the Background and this will work too, if you want an even background light. Just try white, or a subtle tint and adjust intensity to suit.

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Posted: 16 July 2013 08:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
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Out of respect for the developer I haven’t said anything about a certain render system for carrara wink
But this thread is an excellent example of why I never saw the need of it. A great deal of my set up time is spent in the render room tweaking settings. I have always known carrara can render just as well, just takes some tweaking to get there.
But one of the things I have been looking for and yet to find, is a comprehensive explanation of all the render settings in carrara; or maybe I should say ones I understand. I’ve read quite a few but some of the settings still don’t click in my head.

In my renders I go more for realistic then realism though. I like sharp, crisp, and vivid because that is how I see the world.

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Posted: 16 July 2013 11:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
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PhilW - 16 July 2013 02:12 AM

Just to add to the last post, Realistic Sky does work and looks great, in my view!

You can even just put a flat colour in the Background and this will work too, if you want an even background light. Just try white, or a subtle tint and adjust intensity to suit.

Thanks for the explanation—I’ll try using the Realistic Sky tonight.  I’ve always known lighting makes all the differance, but I’ve never really played with HDRI or GI—-I only know they increase my render time!

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Posted: 16 July 2013 12:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
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Salem2007 - 16 July 2013 11:18 AM
PhilW - 16 July 2013 02:12 AM

Just to add to the last post, Realistic Sky does work and looks great, in my view!

You can even just put a flat colour in the Background and this will work too, if you want an even background light. Just try white, or a subtle tint and adjust intensity to suit.

Thanks for the explanation—I’ll try using the Realistic Sky tonight.  I’ve always known lighting makes all the differance, but I’ve never really played with HDRI or GI—-I only know they increase my render time!

They do indeed increase render time, but perhaps not as much as people fear, and I totally believe that the improvement in quality is worth it.  Especially with this gamma setting, which in itself does not seem to add anything to the render time!

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Posted: 16 July 2013 08:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
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First, thanks PhilW for sharing your discovery. This is the kind of dialogue I enjoy, and how I learn so quickly about Carrara. I’ve always admired your work, so I had to give this a go with my own test render.

I re-rendered a recent image, and got (IMHO) a better result. No HDRI was used; just a background image with basic sunlight. The first image is one I have posted elsewhere. The second is the same image, only with Gamma set to 2.2 instead of default, and a slight adjustment in post render editing. I did not changing any of the lighting. I think the lighting effects are more realistic with softer shadows in the second image. The grass and flowers look better as well.

I did, however, notice that reflections and coloring are affected. Note the changes in the surcoat reflection and saddle. The cloth material appears more smooth in the Gamma adjusted image also. Not sure what causes that, but will see if some tweaks to the shader will eliminate that.

BTW, render time is not a big issue for me. I am looking for realism. I can crank up the amps by using 3 i7 processors - that’s 24 threads working it.

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Posted: 16 July 2013 09:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
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great renders both FD, i saw this inthe other thread but didn’t get a chance to comment.
I like the saturation in the first image personally.

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