Make Your Most Realistic Renders – Ever!

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  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 16,235
    edited December 1969

    Jonstark said:
    Very close, the two scenes aren't quite textured the same so that may make some difference (the lux scene has a reflective metal for the baseboard of the bar and running along the table bottoms, and also the upper bar edges look reflective/metal there, as well as the chandelier holder; whereas the Carrara render has a dark nonreflective shader for those areas, also the arch on the wall is white reflective in the lux render but wood shader in the Carrara render). I think the lux scene demonstrates something I see often when rendering in Thea and that is probably just part and parcel of unbiased rendering, if you look at the shadowed area on the floor in front of the bar there are 'firefly' spots (any area where there isn't any direct lighting and relies on bounced light to hit in unbiased rendering takes longer to clear out all the fireflies, in my experience).

    The Carrara one has some noise on the white wedge ceiling in the corner, not sure why, and is letting a lot less light get through to the bartop than the lux render.

    But honestly we're not talking worlds apart here; Carrara matches up pretty darn well.

    Good points. I am not used to allowing for one frame to take more than a few minutes since I'm always shooting test sims for animations. One day I'll have to work out how much time I can allow a frame to take rendering. I've been really looking for an excuse to kick on the caustics engine. During these Gamma Corrected shots, I've been really enjoying how fine, polished metal turns out - so I thought I'd shoot for more. Carrara is too busy right now - so I'll post some shots later - but Caustics can add some time to the overall render, (nothing like what it sounds like Lux does - though I look forward to doing some renders with that, too) but can really make your metals believable!
  • Chris Fox ArtChris Fox Art Posts: 330
    edited July 2013

    The stone i've added from another picture on Photoshop CS2, the same about the shadow so it's not that easy at all to get the lines correctly but i think i should put all the shades more to the right side and maybe a bit wider.
    i've just mirrored the figure to the ground and make the shape as a shadow with the layers.

    Maybe i'll try to fix that a bit later.

    btw. here's a very close shot of her face, i'm a bit impressed about the details on it, i needed to resize the image as i was rendering with 2500x3500px

    i've lighten the picture a bit up to get out that shadow from the original image out


    btw. just think about that the figure have to get mirrored a bit into the water, lots of work to make it more realistic

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  • JonstarkJonstark Posts: 2,402
    edited December 1969

    The stone i've added from another picture on Photoshop CS2, the same about the shadow so it's not that easy at all to get the lines correctly but i think i should put all the shades more to the right side and maybe a bit wider.
    i've just mirrored the figure to the ground and make the shape as a shadow with the layers.

    Maybe i'll try to fix that a bit later.

    btw. here's a very close shot of her face, i'm a bit impressed about the details on it, i needed to resize the image as i was rendering with 2500x3500px

    i've lighten the picture a bit up to get out that shadow from the original image out


    btw. just think about that the figure have to get mirrored a bit into the water, lots of work to make it more realistic

    Just my opinion, but from that angle I wouldn't expect to see any reflections of the woman in the water, so I don't think that's a problem. On the other hand, if you made the stone she is leaning on 'wet' with some specularity maps and water droplets it's possible there might be a slight reflection of the underside of her arms on the stone.

    What intensity are your shadows set at? I typically put my shadow intensity at 100%, prevents light bleeding through to areas where it shouldn't (like glowing nostrils for example).

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 16,235
    edited December 1969

    I use several tricks on eyes. I love Generation 4 for that - as we get the cornea and an eye surface to play with - but I'll cheat, if the scene calls for it, and throw some high highlighting on the iris and pupil if I feel up to it. With this Gamma thing - and having a lack of time to work with shaders (or play with Carrara at all) I have taken to using the basic "Clear Glass" shader from the browser on the eye surfaces.

    Here is a test using PhilW's Photo Studio. It's really impressive how he has things set up. Various cameras, many lighting setups for different moods, a plethora - yes... Plethora(!) of shaders for use on the curtain behind. Oh... and if you happen to take a picture of the stool - you'll see how real it truly is!

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  • JonstarkJonstark Posts: 2,402
    edited December 1969

    Here is a test using PhilW's Photo Studio. It's really impressive how he has things set up. Various cameras, many lighting setups for different moods, a plethora - yes... Plethora(!) of shaders for use on the curtain behind. Oh... and if you happen to take a picture of the stool - you'll see how real it truly is!

    Seeing what Philw, Restif (over at Rendo) and you have done with this, I really can't wait to play with it. I remember one of the other PAs (I think it was DT) mentioning that Daz has a fairly long approval process though, so I'll have to be patient... Great render, btw.

  • tsaristtsarist Posts: 1,310
    edited December 1969

    Jonstark said:
    One last comparison, just for reference. On the left, is a gamma corrected Carrara shot (with carrara hair this time, because it's more awesome) [and on the left ]is an unbiased render done in Thea of the same scene (of course it is textured differently and the lights are as close as I could make it). I think that Carrara stands up very nicely actually, even against an unbiased render engine.

    Arrgh

    John each one of your posts says "on the left" for both pictures.
    Can you please correct this?

  • JonstarkJonstark Posts: 2,402
    edited December 1969

    tsarist said:

    Arrgh

    John each one of your posts says "on the left" for both pictures.
    Can you please correct this?

    Wow, not sure what happened there; maybe the left side of my brain took over my typing fingers? Anyway, I've corrected it. Thanks for the heads up. :)

  • Chris Fox ArtChris Fox Art Posts: 330
    edited July 2013

    wow, that looks great!

    Hope the Photo Studio will be available soon on Daz site! :)

    As the eyes goes i am also cheating a bit with other programs, here are 4 pictures to compare with the original carrara 8 render (it have too much shadow in it but was too lazy to change the setting, so i changed the posterization with photoshop and with another program i've make the makeup and different eyes, one is opal eyes, the others are natural blue and brown)

    i like the way how the surface of the lips comes out on this render like with lipgloss but the eyes seem to have a bit too much of reflection inside.

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  • PhilWPhilW Posts: 5,055
    edited December 1969

    I just wanted to apologize but I probably won't be able to comment much this week. I am on holiday and the hotel internet connection is very hit and miss! It also isn't loading all the images properly so I sometimes can't see what you have posted or are talking about. I'll have a good catch up next week. Dart- I did manage to see your image, lovely work, great poses of your characters.

  • Chris Fox ArtChris Fox Art Posts: 330
    edited December 1969

    PhilW said:
    I just wanted to apologize but I probably won't be able to comment much this week. I am on holiday and the hotel internet connection is very hit and miss! It also isn't loading all the images properly so I sometimes can't see what you have posted or are talking about. I'll have a good catch up next week. Dart- I did manage to see your image, lovely work, great poses of your characters.

    don't worry about that Phil, the images won't run away :D So enjoy your hollyday and have a beautiful week! :)

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 16,235
    edited December 1969

    Have fun speaking that different language, Phil! lol
    chiisuchianu,
    Now that's post work, eh? Wow!
    What's making the background area white? If that surrounds the character, Global Illumination (turning on Sky Light - even if you don't have a sky light) should bring the levels up on her. She is quite the nice looking lady, isn't she? Man! I really like the shaders. But the morphing is outstanding as well!

  • GrimmvaldGrimmvald Posts: 12
    edited July 2013

    I haven't done any rendering in a couple of years - but I'm glad I took a look at the forum. The envirokit and portrait studio (when available) look like really nice products.

    Maybe I can get back into Carrara without having to buy into the endless parade of planned obsolescence DAZ figures.

    Since I posted on this topic, I thought I should put a couple of my own efforts in.

    Not really happy with the expression on the first, but will have to leave this for now - need to get photos selected for the upcoming Audubon contest.

    I'm encouraged that people are still working on Carrara. I've read that Carrara is only 3% of DAZ sales, but I think the influence is much larger when you consider the content that Carrara users buy. Without the Carrara platform, many would leave DAZ altogether and move on to other programs.

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  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 9,021
    edited December 1969

    Grimmvald said:
    I haven't done any rendering in a couple of years - but I'm glad I took a look at the forum. The envirokit and portrait studio (when available) look like really nice products.

    Maybe I can get back into Carrara without having to buy into the endless parade of planned obsolescence DAZ figures.

    Nice renders! I like the framing.


    I would point out that just because there's Genesis, doesn't mean your older figures stop working. If you have an investment and library of products for the version 3 or 4 figures, and you've been happy with the results, there's no need to stop using them!


    P.S. If you want another cool outdoor environment (admittedly not on the scale of Dart's cool Enviro-Kit) then try out the one I created as a thank you to the Carrara community. It's free and you can DL it from ShareCG or Drop box. Here's the links:

    http://www.ShareCG.com/v/69697/view/5/3D-Model/Fantasy-Village-terrain

    https://www.dropbox.com/sh/6008815safo7bop/8UaavPyMxg

  • Philemo_CarraraPhilemo_Carrara Posts: 1,055
    edited December 1969

    Again, I would strongly suggest that if people really want to be good at this stuff, consider buying a general 3D book and learning about the basic concepts, rather than working backwards and learning the software first, then trying to figure out what it all means later. Once you know the basic concepts, it's amazing how the software will suddenly make a lot of sense.

    I think both are necessary.
    I've known for a long time that linear conversion from floating point was the issue. I was actually waiting for a plugin announced by Fenric (a 32 bit image exporter) to correct that in post work.
    I've been using gamma correction in Octane (it's the default value).
    So I should have found the solution in Carrara easily, but I mistook that setting for a post work effect (like something I could do in an external application) and didn't see the point of using it.

    Therefore, my mistake wasn't a lack of general knowledge in 3D, but in software usage. So, I'm very happy Philw pointed that out.
    It would also be nice if DAZ could make it the default value in the render room (like in octane, for instance).

    One last think. For years, I've been seeing post in this forum saying that using ambient light was wrong, specifically in the default 20% setting and I've never read that it would make sense only if using gamma correction, even from people who had bought and, supposedly read a general 3d book.

  • PhilWPhilW Posts: 5,055
    edited December 1969

    Ambient light is still "wrong", even with gamma correction. As a default it should ideally be set to 0%. It is basically a legacy tool from when computers were a lot less powerful than they are today in order to fake some ambient light. The best way to do this is to use full Indirect Lighting.

    In my view, the only time that Ambient Light should be set to anything other than 0% is if you need to speed up a render for animation purposes and full Indirect Lighting is proving too slow. Then you can use the Ambient Occlusion setting and a higher value for Ambient Light. This renders much faster and can look good, but will not give the subtlety of reflected light and the realism that you get with full Indirect Lighting.

  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 9,021
    edited December 1969

    PhilW said:
    Ambient light is still "wrong", even with gamma correction. As a default it should ideally be set to 0%. It is basically a legacy tool from when computers were a lot less powerful than they are today in order to fake some ambient light. The best way to do this is to use full Indirect Lighting.

    In my view, the only time that Ambient Light should be set to anything other than 0% is if you need to speed up a render for animation purposes and full Indirect Lighting is proving too slow. Then you can use the Ambient Occlusion setting and a higher value for Ambient Light. This renders much faster and can look good, but will not give the subtlety of reflected light and the realism that you get with full Indirect Lighting.

    :lol:

    If full indirect lighting is proving too slow for your animation!

    :lol:

    Apologies Phil, but full indirect lighting is always too slow for animations if the goal is to get something of any use rendered before the next century! Plus there are issues with light calculations between frames etc. which can cause flickering in my experience. Then there's ashing and on and on...


    I'm also not in the ambient light is wrong camp either. As you said, it's your opinion, so I respect that. However, there are times where it can be useful, same as with the shadow intensity. Most of the time I prefer my shadow intensity at 100%, but in certain circumstances, using a lower value is what is needed. Ambient light is the same way. Most of the time I turn it down or off entirely, but sometimes....

  • PhilWPhilW Posts: 5,055
    edited December 1969

    When I say "wrong" I mean that it lights your scene in a way that no real light would do. I would agree that it has its uses, but if you want realism then it really should be a last resort. Of course, that is not everyone's goal. All lighting choices should be a balanced judgement based on a good knowledge of what each type of light does (which I am sure you have, but not everyone does) and the requirements of your scene, be it a still or animation.

  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 9,021
    edited December 1969

    PhilW said:
    When I say "wrong" I mean that it lights your scene in a way that no real light would do. I would agree that it has its uses, but if you want realism then it really should be a last resort. Of course, that is not everyone's goal. All lighting choices should be a balanced judgement based on a good knowledge of what each type of light does (which I am sure you have, but not everyone does) and the requirements of your scene, be it a still or animation.

    Good points. I read "wrong" in the wrong context. My bad.

  • JoeMamma2000JoeMamma2000 Posts: 2,615
    edited December 1969

    Have either of you guys considered trying the rendering challenge I posted in the other thread, where you attempt to duplicate an actual photo, and in the process learn about light and color and shadow and texture? Often people discuss "realism" here, but there's no better way to resolve the argument than trying to duplicate the ultimate in realism, an actual photograph.

    I hesitate to even mention this to two such acknowledged lighting experts, but it really is a very quick and simple learning opportunity that shouldn't take much time, and might even help resolve your issue. If you can apply your favorite method (ambient or whatever) and achieve reasonable realism, then it should pretty much resolve the issue.

    And you don't even need to use the photo I supplied...any photo will do...

    Just a thought....

  • HeadwaxHeadwax Posts: 8,271
    edited December 1969

    As a painter I have been taught many "laws" over the years.
    A great example is to 'never use the 'colour' Black".

    The beauty of these 'laws' is that it is a wonderful feeling when you discover that breaking them can lead to delightful results.

    I agree entirely that when you are 'beginning' this craft you should drop the ambient to zero.

    But there is a point where it begins to get useful - even if it's only 5 percent ambient.

    Mind you I am not interested in mimicking reality - I'm interested in making 'pictures'. ;)

  • JoeMamma2000JoeMamma2000 Posts: 2,615
    edited December 1969

    head wax said:
    As a painter I have been taught many "laws" over the years.
    A great example is to 'never use the 'colour' Black".

    The beauty of these 'laws' is that it is a wonderful feeling when you discover that breaking them can lead to delightful results.

    I agree entirely that when you are 'beginning' this craft you should drop the ambient to zero.

    But there is a point where it begins to get useful - even if it's only 5 percent ambient.

    Mind you I am not interested in mimicking reality - I'm interested in making 'pictures'. ;)


    Wow, so maybe the three of you can lend your expertise to the challenge and explain to the beginners how to do it in more detail than I described.....and then maybe show how to discard those basic concepts to get those "delightful' results...

  • JoeMamma2000JoeMamma2000 Posts: 2,615
    edited August 2013

    Hey, it just occurred to me...

    Maybe our resident mason can provide his expertise on how to generate those important details, like the casting lines (?) and the silicone sealant at the base of the bollard.....all the important details that you wouldn't generally think about unless you studied a photo, but are nonetheless important in selling the image to the viewer....

    And our gamma expert can explain how to use gamma to enhance the realism....

    Wow, this could be awesome....

    Just a thought....

    Post edited by JoeMamma2000 on
  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 9,021
    edited December 1969

    Hey, it just occurred to me...

    Maybe our resident mason can provide his expertise on how to generate those important details, like the casting lines (?) and the silicone sealant at the base of the bollard.....all the important details that you wouldn't generally think about unless you studied a photo, but are nonetheless important in selling the image to the viewer....

    And our gamma expert can explain how to use gamma to enhance the realism....

    Wow, this could be awesome....

    Just a thought....


    Two of the three people you mock are DAZ PAs that actually make money using Carrara. The third is an accomplished artist with an agent (as I recall), which would indicate his work is sought after enough to not only provide an income, but enough of an income to justify sending a percentage of said income to another person. Headwax, if I'm wrong about the agent, let me know and I'll correct the post.


    I don't always agree with Dart, Phil and Headwax write either, but I can see their talent and respect it. I've seen one render by you, illustrating simulated GI that was very good. The other few images you've posted haven't been that great. Maybe it's an attempt at humor, or to mock other artists on this forum, only you can know. So, since seeing is believing, I tend to lend greater credibility to what Dart, Phil and Headwax post.

  • HeadwaxHeadwax Posts: 8,271
    edited August 2013

    Evil writes:

    Headwax, if I’m wrong about the agent, let me know and I’ll correct the post.

    Firstly thank you for your kind words. I only have an agent for my illustrated work. My paintings are sold in Galleries without an agent's intervention. They are parochial paintings that bring in a small and steady income which helps buy me a few toys etc ;)

    That reminds me I need to post the Verdaccio layer of that painting I did using Carrara to design the figures. If I'm lucky it will be featured in a magazine article next month - not sure but fingers crossed.! If it gets in I will be sure to post a link ;) ;0 !

    Joe Wroteth:

    Wow, so maybe the three of you can lend your expertise to the challenge and explain to the beginners how to do it in more detail than I described…..and then maybe show how to discard those basic concepts to get those “delightful’ results

    Sorry Joe, I have not read your posts for a while so I can't comment on your technique. I obviously read this second latest one though because you were kind enough to quote me.

    So thank you for that. I appreciate it.

    On the challenges, Joe, you are quite welcome to put some work in the challenges we have been running.

    . I look forward to when you can spare some time to participate.

    Post edited by Headwax on
  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 9,021
    edited August 2013

    head wax said:
    Evil writes:

    Headwax, if I’m wrong about the agent, let me know and I’ll correct the post.

    Firstly thank you for your kind words. I only have an agent for my illustrated work. My paintings are sold in Galleries without an agent's intervention. They are parochial paintings that bring in a small and steady income which helps buy me a few toys etc ;)

    That reminds me I need to post the Verdaccio layer of that painting I did using Carrara to design the figures. If I'm lucky it will be featured in a magazine article next month - not sure but fingers crossed.! If it gets in I will be sure to post a link ;) ;0 !

    Joe Wroteth:

    Wow, so maybe the three of you can lend your expertise to the challenge and explain to the beginners how to do it in more detail than I described…..and then maybe show how to discard those basic concepts to get those “delightful’ results

    Sorry Joe, I have not read your posts for a while so I can't comment on your technique. I obviously read this second latest one though because you were kind enough to quote me.

    So thank you for that. I appreciate it.

    On the challenges, Joe, you are quite welcome to put some work in the challenges we have been running.

    . I look forward to when you can spare some to participate.

    You're far more gracious than I would be. That is to your credit.

    Post edited by evilproducer on
  • HeadwaxHeadwax Posts: 8,271
    edited December 1969

    Evil wrote:

    You’re far more gracious than I would be. That is to your credit.

    Oh I am wearing a suit and tie today (at work) so I feel all nice and cheerful.. Tomorrow I wear a wetsuit and go and hassle the nineteen year old kids in the surf, ;)

    PhilW, sorry about derailing your thread. I have watched the first lesson in your advanced series, It's very good and I have already learnt a few things.

  • JoeMamma2000JoeMamma2000 Posts: 2,615
    edited December 1969

    [I've seen one render by you, illustrating simulated GI that was very good. The other few images you've posted haven't been that great.

    Wow, and coming from you that's...well....

    Okay, anyway, I guess behind all of the attacks and stuff the bottom line is that all you guys are willing to contribute is more attacks...and some resumes....

    I'm kinda surprised that the challenge suggestion of taking photos of yourself dancing naked and rendering clothes on yourself didn't gain more traction....

  • WendyLuvsCatzWendyLuvsCatz Posts: 27,951
    edited December 1969

    post a photo of yourself in jocks Joe and I will find something suitable in my runtime

  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 9,021
    edited December 1969

    [I've seen one render by you, illustrating simulated GI that was very good. The other few images you've posted haven't been that great.

    Wow, and coming from you that's...well....

    Okay, anyway, I guess behind all of the attacks and stuff the bottom line is that all you guys are willing to contribute is more attacks...and some resumes....

    I'm kinda surprised that the challenge suggestion of taking photos of yourself dancing naked and rendering clothes on yourself didn't gain more traction....

    Like them or hate them. At least I post what I produce.


    Post a render and put your money where your mouth is. That is unless you're to busy complaining about "attacks" while posting with a straight face that last little dig at Wendy, and then complaining that nobody likes you or listens to you.

    Go on. Wow us.

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

    In the Bryce forum I have been the guy badmouthing Ambience. I call it "evil." The problem with ambience is that it is so easy to use, so seemingly the only option that newer users spend years trying to get "realistic" results from a lighting tool that simply cannot provide it. They get accustomed to renders finishing in mere minutes and fret at the idea of them taking longer if they were to use a more accurate lighting method. So for me the problem with ambience is that it often prevents newer users from exploring better forms of indirect light. Once a user trains their eye to expect ambience it can be very difficult to shake them out of that dependence. Ambience will stifle your development if you come to rely on it too early in your study of cg lighting.

    However, as Phil or maybe Evil pointed out, once you start using ambience as a "tweak," you are finally using the tool in a way that could appear believable. Put it another way...Ambience alone will never look realistic. But when combined with full indirect light, IBL and other lighting tools ambience can be a life saver.

    On Gamma Correction:
    Gamma correction is a setting, nothing more in theory. It can be turned on or off in most applications. Just because Lux has gamma on by default doesn't mean very much on its own. It stands to reason that a Carrara render with Gamma Correction turned on would look closer to an Lux render that also has gamma correction turned on. You could turn off the effect in both render engines and likely the results will still be similar. It is a matter of taste in many cases.

    In Bryce for instance, Gamma correction is pretty much out of the question. It seems to violate the shading threshold, lowering the dynamic range of the image to the point where there is a visibly diminished contrast in the final render. When doing comparisons with Octane the results are close enough even without gamma correction enabled. Lights behave more predictably with Gamma correction turned off than turned on. But that is Bryce, not Carrara!

    Joe,
    Replica studies are good for one thing and that is to shame the artist when he realizes that he simply cannot compete with God. That said, real photos are biased by the cameras they are shot with and a million other factors which cannot be reproduced in a single render without lots of compositing or post-work. Little will be learned from such a study, at least in my opinion.

    Instead, I'd be much more interested in knowing how physics plays a role in what we see. How do physics concepts relate to the tools provided in Carrara?

    Very few of us want to learn anything, we want to believe we already know on some level what needs to get done. And maybe we do in most cases.

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