Post Your Renders - #4: A New Hope

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Comments

  • GarstorGarstor Posts: 1,411
    edited December 1969

    head wax said:
    no soft shadows at all - will render much more quickly than most setups

    Interesting! Thanks head wax! I'll try that next time around.

    I am, in fact, using the Sun Light as the main light. It is partially obscured by clouds and I was hoping for god rays but didn't get them (probably missing something).

    What was driving me nuts was that I wanted a light in the stern-mounted lantern. I tried a vertex object and Anything Glows but couldn't get that working to taste...so I've got a Bulb right now. Yellowish light...but trying to find the right distance and falloff for it has been painful.

    There is one other bulb light set to illuminate Medusa herself since the rest of the model was too dark. I'll post my current attempt but it is estimating completion tomorrow morning around noon. ;)

    Would love some post work to get a bow wave and froth...but my skills have not advanced that far yet.

  • HeadwaxHeadwax Posts: 9,924
    edited December 1969

    Post work is your friend :)

  • RoguePilotRoguePilot Posts: 239
    edited December 1969

    Garstor said:
    head wax said:
    no soft shadows at all - will render much more quickly than most setups

    What was driving me nuts was that I wanted a light in the stern-mounted lantern. I tried a vertex object and Anything Glows but couldn't get that working to taste...so I've got a Bulb right now. Yellowish light...but trying to find the right distance and falloff for it has been painful.

    Small tip. To set falloffs accurately on one light, switch off all other lights (including ambient) and then fiddle with it using the spot render. Look closely at where the image should become completely black. Then switch each light back on one by one and really look at the effect each light is having. You often find that you don't really need them or they are overwhelming an effect that you want.

  • GarstorGarstor Posts: 1,411
    edited December 1969

    Small tip. To set falloffs accurately on one light, switch off all other lights (including ambient) and then fiddle with it using the spot render.

    Another gem of wisdom! Thanks!

    I woke up this morning to discover that the render barely budged during the night. It is now estimating nearly 30 hours to complete. Perhaps I set the quality too high?

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 21,219
    edited December 1969

    Garstor said:
    Small tip. To set falloffs accurately on one light, switch off all other lights (including ambient) and then fiddle with it using the spot render.

    Another gem of wisdom! Thanks!

    I woke up this morning to discover that the render barely budged during the night. It is now estimating nearly 30 hours to complete. Perhaps I set the quality too high?There are many things that can cause this.
    - A shader with a lot of reflection, refraction, (time-consuming calculations), etc.,
    - Light settings
    - Adding volumetric clouds and fog
    - Realistic Sky accuracy settings
    - Multitudes of alpha to calculate
    - High SubD smoothing settings
    - Huge difference in Render settings, especially object accuracy. 0.5 takes much longer than 1, which takes more time than 2

    If you just want to see what it might look like before waiting 30 hours, you could try rendering it out:
    Render settings
    turn refraction off unless it's needed in the final
    same goes for reflection and any other options here that you don't need for your 'test' render

    Object accuracy: 2
    Shadow accuracy: 4

    Try that and see if you get faster results.

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 21,219
    edited December 1969

    Tip regarding volumetric clouds:
    In most situations, you'll not need an entire sky filled with clouds. Just where you'll get the best from them for your lights (depending on which affect them - sunlight is what I like to use), and the camera angle. When I had 87 clouds, it took forever to render even at the above mentioned lower render settings. 31, placed where I need them, made a huge difference, and I actually have more control.

  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 9,040
    edited December 1969

    Regarding Headwax' tip about the light rigs, it sounds as if it's meant to simulate GI, so turn that off in your render settings. Could help speed things up.


    Another tip, or rather something to try regarding the ground bounce lights, instead of turning off the shadows, try excluding whatever you're using for the ground from the lights. If that doesn't work the way you want, then play with the shadows.


    Also, if it's a water scene, then the bounced light should be similar to the water color and if it's green grassy ground then the light should be greenish. If it's bare earth or rock, make it brownish.


    I would also post your render settings. There may be some things we can suggest that you may want to dial back to get a reasonable render time.

  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 9,040
    edited December 1969

    Just a post to show an example of a light rig for a space animation I'm working on. There isn't really bounced light, but there is a primary light, a secondary light to simulate star light and a couple lights to simulate light from the ship. They're all distant lights with full shadows. I have a spherical render applied to a vertex sphere to provide reflections and it's excluded from all the lights. You can use the same method to simulate GI for your renders.

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  • RoguePilotRoguePilot Posts: 239
    edited December 1969

    If you're setting up lighting you're often better off without any detail at all.

    I have a set of basic white shaders with various levels of glossiness that I use for 'stand-ins'.
    With those I can concentrate entirely on the lighting and then adjust the final shaders to work with the best light set-up instead of the other way around.

    You'll find that it's the shadow settings that really cost in render time so keeping those low will help the most.
    Shadows from transmaps are very costly so swapping them out temporarily (where theyre not needed for a test) really speeds things up.

    If you're just interested in getting one area right then set up another camera to target it. Then lower the render size for that test.

    If you're using all soft shadows then you won't need a high shadow accuracy in the render. It gets softened anyway.

    The 0.5 for object accuracy and 0.5 for shadow accuracy is really best used for hard edged technical illustration, anything organic can look worse when rendered at that level and will take a lot longer. A lot of times, softer is better. (Even 1,1 is a bit high for most internet viewable images. The jpeg compression kills a lot of detail anyway.)

    When you have time, try an identical scene at max settings, middle setting and low settings. I'll wager that for normal viewing you will not see any difference between the high and medium settings. The lowest settings will not look as good but will be a very good guide on what you would get at the higher settings. It may even be good enough for a single frame of animation viewed for 1/24th of a second.

    just one last thing; I work with large image sizes in post, which I find easier, and it's not unusual for me to drop a lot of rendered detail by applying special effects, so a lot of time can be wasted on unnecessary things.

  • GarstorGarstor Posts: 1,411
    edited December 1969

    There are many things that can cause this.
    - A shader with a lot of reflection, refraction, (time-consuming calculations), etc.,
    - Light settings
    - Adding volumetric clouds and fog
    - Realistic Sky accuracy settings
    - Multitudes of alpha to calculate
    - High SubD smoothing settings
    - Huge difference in Render settings, especially object accuracy. 0.5 takes much longer than 1, which takes more time than 2

    :lol: This scene is practically a To Do list for a long render then!

    After 18 hours and only 28% progress, I cancelled. I've started again with "Good" antialiasing instead of Best and Object Accuracy of 1 instead of 0.5. My Shadow Accuracy is unchanged at 2. Yes, it is noticibly faster (already at 9%). There is a bit of rigging rope at the top of the main mast that has been adversely affected.

    I have Indirect Light off. But Sky Light is on -- I believe that is required when using Sun Light.

    The clouds are one of PhilW's domes.

    OT here but one wish I would have is for Carrara to dump out a text file with the render that lists all the selected settings and a hyper-accurate set of render time stats...but we know that has a snowball's chance in Australia of ever happening... :)

  • GarstorGarstor Posts: 1,411
    edited December 1969

    If you're setting up lighting you're often better off without any detail at all.

    I have a set of basic white shaders with various levels of glossiness that I use for 'stand-ins'.
    With those I can concentrate entirely on the lighting and then adjust the final shaders to work with the best light set-up instead of the other way around.

    That sounds interesting. I'd love hear more about this and how to use it.

  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 9,040
    edited December 1969

    You don't need to use Skylight for the sunlight. You need a realistic sky to use the Sunlight. Carrara basically takes a distance light and aligns it to the sun's disk in the realistic sky.


    Skylight is a GI function, but it's not full GI. From my observations, it takes whatever wraps around your universe, be it a sky, HDRI, image, color or color gradient and uses that as a light source. You can basically get 360º of light (unless you have a ground, plane, or infinite plane, in which case the light is blocked from that direction). It doesn't bounce light like Indirect Light does, so it will render faster, and it can give diffuse shadows, which is why I like to use other lights for highlights, such as sunlight or whatever.

  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 9,040
    edited December 1969

    Here's an example of simulating the Skylight. I didn't attempt to simulate Indirect lighting as it's a bit more complicated and I'm working on an animation at the moment.


    The first example uses a realistic sky preset, a sunlight with lens flare, and a terrain preset, ambient light at 20% and set to Sky and default render settings. Rendered super fast.

    The second image is exactly the same, except that I turned on the Skylight.


    The final image has the exact same settings as the first example, except that I added six more distant lights to simulate atmospheric light, which is what the skylight simulates.


    The added distant lights aim back towards the sun at different angles, except for two, which I've aimed more or less at the terrain. I'll attach a screen shot of the positions and of the settings. Each light is exactly the same in that regard.

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  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 21,219
    edited December 1969

    True that, about the sky light - you don't need to turn on GI in the render room.
    As EP's images show, the sunlight is perfectly aligned with the sun image in the realistic sky... which is one huge deal as to why this light is so useful for outdoor scenes. Even if you don't use it entirely to light your scene, you can use it to add effects to the realistic sky sun image. Tim Payne's products are an excellent resource for getting great skies and global lighting into your scenes. But they are also very useful to simply learn from. On that regard, though, just taking a basic scene and playing with the realistic sky editor, lights, and some cubes, spheres and cones with various shaders (like Rogue Pilot points out) can teach you a lot, all by yourself!

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 21,219
    edited December 1969

    Realistic-looking water, on the other hand (and in my opinion) requires a good shader with refraction, reflection, transparency and translucency if it is to be somewhat shallow so you can see stuff underneath. An Ocean may work just fine with some (if not most) of that stuff turned off. Most of the water I've rendered has been streams, lakes and ponds - so I go for a great looking shader on the ocean primitive and set it to motion (I do animations - otherwise any water surface will do). But I once did the Ocean primitive as an ocean, a quite a while ago, and even turn off reflection and it looked great - simply due to the Highlight and Shininess channels being properly set for the scene and the lighting.

    Playing around with the idea of trying to reduce render times, while creating the actual effect that you want is critical for animators. Many of these techniques could also lend well to getting better efficiency and fun for the still artist as well ;)

  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 9,040
    edited December 1969

    I've found using translucency in water kind of redundant. I've found that using the in-scattering and absorption setting in the transparency channel gives a much more realistic looking result, you should also enable/use the Fresnel settings in the transparency and refraction channels.


    Here's some samples showing absorption/in-scattering. To help illustrate, I stuck a glowing cylinder in the water.

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  • GarstorGarstor Posts: 1,411
    edited December 1969

    ...Tim Payne's products are an excellent resource for getting great skies and global lighting into your scenes.

    I was going to ask about those products and their overall purchase value...are they "only" pre-made distant lights setup like EP showed? Or is there something more to them?

  • GarstorGarstor Posts: 1,411
    edited December 1969

    A quick update to my new render attempt. It has been going for nearly 8 hours now and is just about where the last one was when I cancelled (after 18 hours). Once it is through the clouds, I know from my smaller test renders that the speed will pickup quite a bit but currently the estimate is another 22 hours to complete.

    The poor rendering around the rigging ropes can be fixed in PhotoShop easily enough. I guess if I had kicked the resolution up higher than 1600x900 that the ropes would have had more pixels to render in...

    Definitely curious to try another render with some of the suggestions here and compare results.

  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 9,040
    edited December 1969

    Garstor said:
    A quick update to my new render attempt. It has been going for nearly 8 hours now and is just about where the last one was when I cancelled (after 18 hours). Once it is through the clouds, I know from my smaller test renders that the speed will pickup quite a bit but currently the estimate is another 22 hours to complete.

    The poor rendering around the rigging ropes can be fixed in PhotoShop easily enough. I guess if I had kicked the resolution up higher than 1600x900 that the ropes would have had more pixels to render in...

    Definitely curious to try another render with some of the suggestions here and compare results.


    For fine details, I'll set the AA settings at Good and set the object accuracy to .5 pixels and the shadow accuracy to 2 pixels. It works well for my animations as well.


    Volumetric clouds will render slower if they intersect. Somebody posted settings for setting up a single volumetric cloud to look like many clouds in the old forum. I played around with it a bit. I'll try and find the scene to see what the settings were. It rendered pretty darned fast, considering they were volumetric.

  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 9,040
    edited December 1969

    Here's the image I referenced above in regards to using a single volumetric cloud to appear as many. I"ll also post the settings. You'll need to make the cloud big in relation to your scene.

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  • The Pencil NeckThe Pencil Neck Posts: 163
    edited December 1969

    Here's the image I referenced above in regards to using a single volumetric cloud to appear as many. I"ll also post the settings. You'll need to make the cloud big in relation to your scene.

    Dude. That is just an AWESOME picture.

    I'd seen the technique of using a single cloud to appear as many but do you mind if I use that basic picture as inspiration for some things*? That's just awesome.


    I mean, I'm not going to try to reproduce it totally but I'd like to do something similar.

  • VarselVarsel Posts: 574
    edited December 1969

    Here is a "happy accident" render. The fish-eye view of a oil rig.

    I'm modeling a oil-rig and did some test renders, when this did happened.

    I forgot where the camera was, but I kind of liked the outcome, so I thought I should share....

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  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 9,040
    edited December 1969

    Here's the image I referenced above in regards to using a single volumetric cloud to appear as many. I"ll also post the settings. You'll need to make the cloud big in relation to your scene.

    Dude. That is just an AWESOME picture.

    I'd seen the technique of using a single cloud to appear as many but do you mind if I use that basic picture as inspiration for some things*? That's just awesome.


    I mean, I'm not going to try to reproduce it totally but I'd like to do something similar.



    Not a problem at all. Have fun!

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 21,219
    edited December 1969

    Here's the image I referenced above in regards to using a single volumetric cloud to appear as many. I"ll also post the settings. You'll need to make the cloud big in relation to your scene.
    That is SO cool! I just did that myself, by accident!
    What happened, is that I was using my 'master' cloud as the fog rising from the ground - even though the cloud was like, four times the size of the rest of the scene. When I made my replicated storm invisible, the master cloud was still visible. I decided to drag the thing up onto the sky and, wham! One super-cool looking sky! My settings are remarkably similar.
  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 21,219
    edited December 1969

    Garstor said:
    ...Tim Payne's products are an excellent resource for getting great skies and global lighting into your scenes.

    I was going to ask about those products and their overall purchase value...are they "only" pre-made distant lights setup like EP showed? Or is there something more to them?Carrara Skies (both volumes) is a collection of sky presets along with other goodies that make them work as good as they do. His Light Domes includes a very different approach, in design, to any light dome I've seen - and it includes a Spherical Background map of each of the Skies available in Volume 1 of his Carrara Skies. Tims knowledge of Carrara realistic skies is rather immense, and is great to learn from. Search the topic using the 'Old Forum' link in Holly's sig to check out some of his one-on-one advice. I am a crafter, so I tend to design my own skies. But I'll always value my purchases from Tim Payne - as they never cease to teach me new stuff.

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 21,219
    edited December 1969

    Varsel said:
    Here is a "happy accident" render. The fish-eye view of a oil rig.

    I'm modeling a oil-rig and did some test renders, when this did happened.

    I forgot where the camera was, but I kind of liked the outcome, so I thought I should share....

    Nice under(Carrara) water camera shot! Very cool accident, indeed!
  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 21,219
    edited December 1969

    Evil, that Jungle Valley scene is stunningly superb!

  • bighbigh Posts: 8,147
    edited December 1969

    A Tea Garden - render time 18 min.

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  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 9,040
    edited December 1969

    Looks nice Bigh! I'm going to have to set my mind to making a cool scene where water is a more prominent feature one of these days.

  • bighbigh Posts: 8,147
    edited December 1969

    Looks nice Bigh! I'm going to have to set my mind to making a cool scene where water is a more prominent feature one of these days.

    thank you :-)
    water is fun to do .

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