Make Your Most Realistic Renders – Ever!

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  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 9,021
    edited December 1969

    just to compare both together in one picture.

    left is normal and right gamma correction 2.2

    i think both looks good in one way but without gamma correction i think the colors are just a bit too strong what always let pictures looks like a render, right one could need a bit more of the strong colors but gots a bit more realism in some way and depth in my opinion

    I agree with Rashad. I prefer the non- 2.2 gamma half of the image. The gamma side seems washed out. Almost as if the ambient light was set at too high a value.

    Rashad, you mention in your post about the sky and how the gamma makes the background look as if there is more moisture in it, and that there must be a way to correct for it. There just may be a way. It's just a theory, and I may not have a chance to test it for a couple days as work is extremely busy, but please read on:

    Since this is a Howie Farkes scene, I'm willing to bet the sky is a realistic sky, which means the sky is generated under Atmosphere in the scene's general tab, which will leave open the Background section for the user to add a color, image, etc. I wonder how a realistic sky in the scene's Atmosphere slot, used in conjunction with an extremely dark color, bordering on black, in the Scene's Background slot would effect the gamma?

    As I mentioned, I don't mind testing my little theory, but it may be a few days before I can get around to it. If anybody else here wishes to try it, go right ahead, it won't bother me.

  • Rashad CarterRashad Carter Posts: 1,772
    edited December 1969

    just to compare both together in one picture.

    left is normal and right gamma correction 2.2

    i think both looks good in one way but without gamma correction i think the colors are just a bit too strong what always let pictures looks like a render, right one could need a bit more of the strong colors but gots a bit more realism in some way and depth in my opinion

    I agree with Rashad. I prefer the non- 2.2 gamma half of the image. The gamma side seems washed out. Almost as if the ambient light was set at too high a value.

    Rashad, you mention in your post about the sky and how the gamma makes the background look as if there is more moisture in it, and that there must be a way to correct for it. There just may be a way. It's just a theory, and I may not have a chance to test it for a couple days as work is extremely busy, but please read on:

    Since this is a Howie Farkes scene, I'm willing to bet the sky is a realistic sky, which means the sky is generated under Atmosphere in the scene's general tab, which will leave open the Background section for the user to add a color, image, etc. I wonder how a realistic sky in the scene's Atmosphere slot, used in conjunction with an extremely dark color, bordering on black, in the Scene's Background slot would effect the gamma?

    As I mentioned, I don't mind testing my little theory, but it may be a few days before I can get around to it. If anybody else here wishes to try it, go right ahead, it won't bother me.

    I see what you are saying. Hmm. I suspect it will still be a problem. Even if there is an additional "layer" of blackness behind the realistic sky it wont correct the issue completely. Or to put it another way...the black layer would help to darken the sky, but it will not help with the lost saturation. So while you might get the overall brightness values to be similar, you will have a more grayscale sky missing that rich blueness. This is because the closer to black or white a color becomes the lower its saturation will always be. So the backdrop added would not ever be fully black to begin with, but a dark dark blue, but not too dark, otherwise it loses blueness.

    Haze would also need to be lowered significantly. In fact, that act alone might help bring back a lot of the lost blueness.

    I should explain where I am getting this all from. If I was a more masterful Carrara user I'd have more input, but as of now Bryce is still my area of comfort. In Bryce, adding in the black layer behind the original sky corrects lightness but doesn't correct saturation, so I assume based on that that the results in Carrara would be similar. But it remains to be tested. I will try to see what I can come up with.

    If anything, I think to make this work will require hdri backdrops, and not just any, but one with a high dynamic range and a lot of saturation, crazy unnatural levels of saturation so that there is still some left after the gamma correction is applied during rendering.

  • Rashad CarterRashad Carter Posts: 1,772
    edited December 1969

    araneldon said:
    I did a few quick tests with a JPEG:
    - backdrops and backgrounds: failed, reverse gamma is not applied so it needs to be done elsewhere
    - Texture Maps in Color: passed (well, it appeared to be almost correct, there was only a slight difference in brightness)
    - Texture Maps in Glow: failed, no reverse gamma applied (although there may be some technical reason for this...?)

    Testing was done with ambient light at 100 and no other lights, no ambient when testing Glow.

    All texture inputs should have reverse gamma as an option. I may or may not have posted a feature request, the bug tracker is gone so can't check.

    Edited to add that I'm not an expert and none of this is guaranteed to be correct.

    If I'm not mistaken, Phil has proposed reverse gamma as a possible explanation. I'm not sure we have confirmation that reverse gamma is an actual real thing in Carrara. I learned during the Bryce 7 beta days working directly with the programmers that things are not always as they seem under to hood and often only a coder will know what is really going on. That said, I can see Phil's logic and wouldn't be surprised if he was completely correct. But it;s hard to know until a coder lets us in on the secret...which will probably never happen.

    I'm no expert either btw, so we are all learning here.

  • PhilWPhilW Posts: 5,055
    edited December 1969

    Indeed, we are all finding our way with this! Just to add that you can add a specific color or gradient in the background to an atmosphere, so instead of adding grey or black, you can add a blue (or blue gradient) to achieve the sky color you want. I think the point is well made that Howie constructed these scenes so that they rendered how he wanted "out of the box" and that ideally you would want to change more than just the gamma to get the right look.

    Howie uses a light dome in the place of sky light/indirect light for the purposes of render speed. I suspect that a bit of adjustment to the lights in that when using gamma would yield some benefits.

    Having the option to apply reverse gamma on backdrops and backgrounds, and the glow channel (I can confirm that it does not appear to happen automatically in the glow channel, as it does in the color channel) would be a welcome addition and not that much work for the developers (I would think!).

  • araneldonaraneldon Posts: 709
    edited December 1969

    If I'm not mistaken, Phil has proposed reverse gamma as a possible explanation. I'm not sure we have confirmation that reverse gamma is an actual real thing in Carrara. I learned during the Bryce 7 beta days working directly with the programmers that things are not always as they seem under to hood and often only a coder will know what is really going on. That said, I can see Phil's logic and wouldn't be surprised if he was completely correct. But it;s hard to know until a coder lets us in on the secret...which will probably never happen.

    I'm no expert either btw, so we are all learning here.


    I can't find any other sensible explanation for these results. Also gamma correction without applying reverse gamma to texture maps doesn't make much sense anyway.
  • Rashad CarterRashad Carter Posts: 1,772
    edited December 1969

    araneldon said:
    If I'm not mistaken, Phil has proposed reverse gamma as a possible explanation. I'm not sure we have confirmation that reverse gamma is an actual real thing in Carrara. I learned during the Bryce 7 beta days working directly with the programmers that things are not always as they seem under to hood and often only a coder will know what is really going on. That said, I can see Phil's logic and wouldn't be surprised if he was completely correct. But it;s hard to know until a coder lets us in on the secret...which will probably never happen.

    I'm no expert either btw, so we are all learning here.


    I can't find any other sensible explanation for these results. Also gamma correction without applying reverse gamma to texture maps doesn't make much sense anyway.

    Reverse gamma has to be the explanation, but as you identify it isn't applied consistently so there must be something additional going on as well.

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 16,210
    edited December 1969

    I disagree about Howie's scenes having greens shifted too far to the blue - and I think that may be a misconception to how green life should look - but that's just me. Thought I have made a profession as a landscape construction foreman for nearly three decades - I think that has less to do with how much I've always loved hanging out in the middle of nowhere up here... up north - where green has blue, perhaps like Howie says - translucency between the living matter and the vast blue sky. But - to each his/her own - and how they perceive the world around them. I can also see how one might find the Gamma corrected side looking more real, simply because a lot of the vibrant color can (and often does) get washed out when light gets into our eyes. We certainly have seen month after month where we don't need clouds to have heavy moisture in the air - which truly bends a lot of the light out of sight.

    For me - I like both sides but prefer the Howie, or non-corrected side. Before ArtZone disappeared, Howie Products links within the ReadMe's worked. It's a true shame that they don't right now - as the information given was very well thought out as to how he came up with the settings and how you can further change them to meet your rendering tastes - how he created his scenes and so forth. Have you seen these pages I speak of? They were fantastic! It's been a long time since I've read one, or I'd quote some for you. I thought it was so cool - I read and I'd render. Read - Render! LOL

  • Rashad CarterRashad Carter Posts: 1,772
    edited December 1969

    I disagree about Howie's scenes having greens shifted too far to the blue - and I think that may be a misconception to how green life should look - but that's just me.

    This is a fascinating thing to consider in that we both perceive these ideals in the opposite manner. I don't really know if it is appropriate for this thread, but I think it is worth considering and testing the thresholds for people's greens. This if course is not a Carrara specific subject, which is nice because anyone can play along. I tend to think that yellow shifted is overall a safer bet. This is because when vegetation gets dry it turns yellow and brown, not blue, which is to my mind merely an example of the natural yellow shifting taken to the extreme. While bluer greens are more dreamlike, the yellowish ones capture more of the natural imperfection of a grouping of leaves of different ages and levels of health.

    When I get a chance later tonight or early tomorrow I am going to upload a few examples of vegetation with differing values of greenishness. In theory, a pattern should emerge but that remains to be seen. This will be a fun test. See ya in a few.

  • edited December 1969

    NO offense BUT I find it interesting in these realistic renders NO ONE ever submits an ANIMATION! Only stills. After all Carrara IS an animation program...

    Also making a realistic scene MOVE....... separates the men from the boys..

    No offense

  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 9,021
    edited December 1969

    NO offense BUT I find it interesting in these realistic renders NO ONE ever submits an ANIMATION! Only stills. After all Carrara IS an animation program...

    Also making a realistic scene MOVE....... separates the men from the boys..

    No offense

    Hey Rich, most of the gamma correction advantage sounds as if it involves using GI of some flavor for the best effect. I don't know about you, but when I animate I avoid GI like the plague!

  • PhilWPhilW Posts: 5,055
    edited December 1969

    You make a good point, Richard. The gamma correction will work just as well in an animation, although you will probably need to compromise with the full indirect lighting. With an animation, the thing that really sells the realism (to my mind anyway) is the movement, and the eye is caught by that, meaning that you can maybe get away with slightly lower render/lighting settings. With a still image, you don't have that distraction of movement, so the quality of the image must stand up to more scrutiny. And render time is obviously less critical if you are rendering one frame rather than hundreds. Just my 2p worth (2c worth?).

  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 9,021
    edited December 1969

    I disagree about Howie's scenes having greens shifted too far to the blue - and I think that may be a misconception to how green life should look - but that's just me.

    This is a fascinating thing to consider in that we both perceive these ideals in the opposite manner. I don't really know if it is appropriate for this thread, but I think it is worth considering and testing the thresholds for people's greens. This if course is not a Carrara specific subject, which is nice because anyone can play along. I tend to think that yellow shifted is overall a safer bet. This is because when vegetation gets dry it turns yellow and brown, not blue, which is to my mind merely an example of the natural yellow shifting taken to the extreme. While bluer greens are more dreamlike, the yellowish ones capture more of the natural imperfection of a grouping of leaves of different ages and levels of health.

    When I get a chance later tonight or early tomorrow I am going to upload a few examples of vegetation with differing values of greenishness. In theory, a pattern should emerge but that remains to be seen. This will be a fun test. See ya in a few.

    I'm in the middle here. I think the level of color shift, either to yellow or blue depends on some different factors. One of them is going to obviously be the species of plant (Blue Spruce for instance), and the other is going to be the time of year. I don't know where everyone is from, but Dart and I are in Wisconsin, and I gotta tell ya', when the green up happens in the spring, Dart is absolutely right. The greens are so green it almost strains the eyes, the leaves are so vivid. Now that it's August, it's more as Rashad describes with a yellow shift to the greens.

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 16,210
    edited August 2013

    I absolutely agree with most points that you've just said (edit: Many posts came in since Rashad's last! lol). But to upload comparisons, it would be best to go to a similar setting as that of the image in question - which is what I was referring to. Yes. Many greens are yellow shifted. But a vibrant colorful day under a deep blue sky along a stream bank or river in a lush, green woods... I'm liking the blue shift. I can easily relate what I see in the left side of that image to what we see here in early summer. Go towards fall, and we're talking an entirely different scenario. So simply taking a picture of one green to compare to that green may not be an appropriate test. I have always loved how 'on the mark' Howies shaders are compared to life you'll see around here. I have his various seasons for Stoney Creek, which you get with Beachdale - the added spring and autumn. Sometime I'll have all of them. But I find his tastes to be right on the mark with what my eyes see in the nature around where I live, anyways. I didn't actually have the luxury of living in such a place - which really impressed me how he could get the look SO right!
    (renders are from Howies Site)

    foggy_stream.jpg
    1024 x 576 - 218K
    spring_stream.jpg
    788 x 1024 - 391K
    Post edited by Dartanbeck on
  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 16,210
    edited December 1969

    NO offense BUT I find it interesting in these realistic renders NO ONE ever submits an ANIMATION! Only stills. After all Carrara IS an animation program...

    Also making a realistic scene MOVE....... separates the men from the boys..

    No offense

    Right because little boys can really get a lot done while the men are at work! lol
  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 16,210
    edited December 1969

    Sorry about that last. I've just (finally) seen the last three episodes of Star Wars - The Clone Wars from season five. Ouch! Those young people who do the animation design and rendering for that show are really good! Sure - it's a cartoon. A 3d cartoon. But as the season progressed, they'd pull more and more punches. In the end, when the Clones and Anakin are chasing Ahsoka through the sewers, and each foot stomp made a really nice splash... I was holding my breathe. They have done such a great job with that whole thing - I am ever so pleased to hear that, even though the Clone Wars is over - and the show will now come to a close (mention of wrapping things up - a closing movie perhaps?) "Rebels" will take its place come 2014. Where Clone Wars fell right after episode two and fills the gap to three, Rebels will fill in the time after Anakin became Darth Vader (episode three ending) and Luke's becoming involved in the Return of the Jedi - who's saga begins with the very first movie, Episode four. The team is now seasoned with polishing off five, full seasons and should be turning out an amazing show!

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 16,210
    edited December 1969

    PhilW said:
    You make a good point, Richard. The gamma correction will work just as well in an animation, although you will probably need to compromise with the full indirect lighting. With an animation, the thing that really sells the realism (to my mind anyway) is the movement, and the eye is caught by that, meaning that you can maybe get away with slightly lower render/lighting settings. With a still image, you don't have that distraction of movement, so the quality of the image must stand up to more scrutiny. And render time is obviously less critical if you are rendering one frame rather than hundreds. Just my 2p worth (2c worth?).
    Yes. without full indirect, I've been getting some great results in animations. Not nature scene, though. I find mixed results. Some scenes where I've spent a lot of time tweaking out lights and such, I feel anyways, are better off without the GC change. Yet some others end up being too washed out. But a bunch of my new ones are getting this right away and getting great results - in my opinion.
  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 16,210
    edited December 1969

    I must apologize, Phil, for seemingly neglecting something that I should be doing. I am very impressed, however - and you should know that - so I'm telling you now - I'm very impressed! It takes a different approach than what I am used to - as I am quite often batching off a queue of animation blocks. So why don't I add a few longer-to-render still shots along the way? Because I've just (finally) thought of it - and I will. Sorry about that.

    Back to the linear workflow:
    I believe that I've already mentioned ecstatically about what may very well be accelerated rendering due to this linear workflow. Well since then I've been subconsciously setting GC=2.2 and indirect with AO only, or not turning on IL at all... if I'm using one of the scenes I've slaved over setting up the way I wanted it over the years. I keep forgetting to shoot test shots with vs without and just letting this linear workflow play out on it's own. Am I really experiencing accelerated render times? I can't say for sure. But it certainly doesn't seem to add any time at all.

    I have to do some tests with Full Indirect Lighting as well. The first few tries took so long in the pre-render lighting calculations that I never let a pixel go to paint before aborting. I can't go through that for each frame - no way. But I seem to recall a single situation (though I don't recall the specifics) where the calculation zipped through and so did the render - with the Full IL in play! So....

    Richard Chaos was right about animating nature. I am lucky to be making a fun, less than real production - especially when the background imagery is concerned. In the grand scheme of animation, I am but a little boy still figuring out how to dance without getting his feet wet. I mention my favorite CG animation cartoon above. When I watch that I often say out loud to myself: "Oh... if I can pull of something half that nice, I'd be happy!" but, of course - I'm aiming much higher than what I'll admit.

  • PhilWPhilW Posts: 5,055
    edited December 1969

    Dart - no need to apologise! I know you are aware of the gamma correction thing, whether you use it or not in a particular image or animation is up to you, but you are making an informed decision and that is the important thing. Animation in particular is always a trade-off between getting the quality you want and the rendering speed you need so that it will be done in a reasonable time.

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 16,210
    edited December 1969

    Oh... right... I forgot to mention:
    Perhaps it's just me, getting overly excited as usual. Carrara has that affect on me in many ways. Not sure which it has to do more with, the beta build, or the linear workflow - but for most of my previous animation render endeavors, I'd look at the anticipated render time after it begins. Almost always the render took longer in the end, than what it originally reported that it would be. Now it's coming in much quicker than it anticipates at the start. In two queued renders this morning, nearly an hour ahead of schedule for each! W? I like this!

    FMPL__Doc1a.jpg
    1280 x 720 - 104K
  • PhilWPhilW Posts: 5,055
    edited December 1969

    A spectacular looking render - great light effects!

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 16,210
    edited December 1969

    Thank you, Phil.
    Its a still of an animation sequence. Lens flares done in Dogwaffle Pro: Howler 9 beta as with a little color grading to shift the colors in a little more. The Gamma Correction washed it out slightly, but still looked amazing. But in the animation, it really kicks! The effect that GC=2.2 has on Rosie really helps her to stand out in the animations.

  • Jay JayJay Jay Posts: 277
    edited August 2013

    Sorry about that last. I've just (finally) seen the last three episodes of Star Wars - The Clone Wars from season five. Ouch! Those young people who do the animation design and rendering for that show are really good! Sure - it's a cartoon. A 3d cartoon. But as the season progressed, they'd pull more and more punches. In the end, when the Clones and Anakin are chasing Ahsoka through the sewers, and each foot stomp made a really nice splash... I was holding my breathe. They have done such a great job with that whole thing - I am ever so pleased to hear that, even though the Clone Wars is over - and the show will now come to a close (mention of wrapping things up - a closing movie perhaps?) "Rebels" will take its place come 2014. Where Clone Wars fell right after episode two and fills the gap to three, Rebels will fill in the time after Anakin became Darth Vader (episode three ending) and Luke's becoming involved in the Return of the Jedi - who's saga begins with the very first movie, Episode four. The team is now seasoned with polishing off five, full seasons and should be turning out an amazing show!


    I agree with all of that. Clones finished on a real high both story and animation wise. I still feel that people too easily dismissed it as a cartoon, but the quality Lucasfilm used for each episode was astounding for a TV show. I was gutted it finished especially after seeing snippets of season 6 but am looking forward to Rebels.

    Love that render of yours BTW!

    Post edited by Jay Jay on
  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 16,210
    edited December 1969

    Thanks! But I think they said that they were going to "wrap things up" still (clone wars) - so I don't know if they're going to make an exit movie, like they did an intro movie? Okay... enough derail, I guess... but, yeah - I look forward to Rebels, too!

    Thanks again. That image is a single frame of a pretty cool animation sequence she's in the middle of. That scene is a Carrara enhanced version of "Planetarium" by Flipmode, and is part of the connection between Sci Fi and Fantasy Genres in the production. There are many such manipulators going on - so I'm not even coming close to spoiling anything for you! :)

  • Jay JayJay Jay Posts: 277
    edited December 1969

    Its an awesome render to be sure. Looking foreward to the finished piece. That must be a pretty hefty render?

  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 9,021
    edited December 1969

    What the hell?!? I had posted a comment complimenting Dart on his awesome render, and it went through, but now I don't see it?!?

    Anyway, awesome render Dart. I'm also looking to see the animations of these scenes that you're posting frames from.

  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 9,021
    edited December 1969

    I see now... Dart posted this or another one in the Post Your Render thread. My bad. :red:

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 16,210
    edited December 1969

    I see now... Dart posted this or another one in the Post Your Render thread. My bad. :red:
    Ah yes... on the undersea Sci Fi City scene render. Yup. Wrong thread, ep! :)
    Thanks for the compliments!
  • PhilWPhilW Posts: 5,055
    edited August 2013

    Well it's launched at last - yes, Carrara Portrait Studio is now available! Oh yes, and Carrara 8.5 as well...

    Here is a quick one I did yesterday in the "Studio", featuring the Hellsing clothing pack (in the DAZ store).

    V4-LongHair-HellsingFinal.jpg
    1600 x 2000 - 417K
    Post edited by PhilW on
  • HeadwaxHeadwax Posts: 8,264
    edited December 1969

    Beautiful work Phil, congrats!

    Here's the link too,

    http://www.daz3d.com/new-releases/carrara-portrait-studio

  • Philemo_CarraraPhilemo_Carrara Posts: 1,055
    edited December 1969

    PhilW said:
    Well it's launched at last - yes, Carrara Portrait Studio is now available! Oh yes, and Carrara 8.5 as well...

    Hi Phil,

    Sound very promising.
    Before buying it, I have the same question as usual: Carrara 7.2 pro compatibility ?

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