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April 22, 2014 / Althir

#213: The Robe!

It's full of stars!

Click the image to see a full resolution version.

There’s Bubbles!. He really benefits from the texture. The other characters are also partially textured, but not as… extensively.

And since I didn’t comment on the matter last time: I remade the characters, mostly from scratch. I made a naked body as a base (without a cock, you dirty person) and modelled clothes on it for the characters. The heads are modified from the previous mesh because that was actually pretty decent as far as topology goes. All characters got rather different clothes, but I tried to still have them be recognisable. Well, and I recycled lots of other assets, like the backpacks and now the staff.

This also marks the change to Cycles, a different renderer altogether. This isn’t actually any faster, and it’s pretty grainy, but it’s a much more powerful renderer simply because it supports GPU rendering. The actual render time hasn’t really changed much, but Cycles is far superior re: Reflections and caustics.

Cycles is not my favourite renderer, not by a long shot. My go-to renderer for artsy stuff is, beyond doubt, the one called LuxRender. It also supports GPU rendering, but it’s fundamentally different from Internal and Cycles. Here’s my latest Lux project (I had already posted an earlier version of it a few days ago):

Careful. Polygons are sharp.

Careful. Polygons are sharp.

This was not, however, rendered on my computer. Or, well, only about 20% were. The rest (of about 12,000 samples per pixel, making for 24 billion samples in total) was done by a guy in Australia whose computer was incredibly costly.



  1. Ivan / Apr 22 2014 11:59 am

    …. my Uni puts the game students and the animation students together. why do non-game animators just ignore live-rendering engines? in gaming you have to make models and animations work live, and yet they still look beautiful. I’m thinking that so called Renderers are [insert Gerrod text from panel 5]

    • Althir / Apr 22 2014 11:28 pm

      Real-time rendering is a cheat, as far as almost all other renderers are concerned: They rely on a multitude of tricks to make the result look good, introducing inaccuracy and oftentimes flat-out disobeying the laws of physics. Most real-time renderers don’t have real-time reflections, for instance – instead they use reflection maps. You can see that very well in racing games, especially with transitions from one map to the next, a noticeable jump in those reflections that by all rights shouldn’t be there. In the same vein, most shadows aren’t calculated “properly” either. Off the top of my head, I can name two engines that render proper shadows in real time, id Tech 4 (I haven’t played RAGE so I can’t speak for id Tech 5) and LithTech Jupiter Ex. The latter also does real-time reflections. But take a closer look at the shadows in Source and UE3 – they are a cheat in general, in Source it’s most noticeable if you stack objects and look at their shadow, preferably in Garry’s Mod, in UE3 you can at times see shadows _through_ solid objects.
      In addition to that, real-time renderers impose a set of restrictions, most notably a low polygon cap compared to other renderers.
      It’s a whole different deal, really.

      • Ivan / Apr 23 2014 8:01 am

        it’s not that these engines can’t do proper shadows or reflections, but most of the time the shadows are lowered or baked in order to lessen runtime.

        Source as an example is a weird one, as it is an old engine and the cracks show (especially with the low poly count, but that it another argument about lazy technical design) however, when the restrictions used solely for gaming at removed (aka, Source filmmaker) you get an entire new way of working with models and animating.

        the other example is Cryengine Cinimatic Sanbox. This doesn’t have any of the restrictions you’ve mentioned, with proper shadows, reflections, and even the ability to slow-render to get more quality (but still a heck faster than current renderers) prime example

        Even UDK has good rendering tricks, and with UE4 now out in the world..

        You call a lot of what game graphics have to do “cheats” but it’s founded on a lot better practice than what animation is, as they are techniques used to cram the best visual experience into limited hardware.

        Am serious when i say that if animators and modelers worked from a gaming background, they would make better work, and that another great shift in animation is coming (like the one back when 3D came around and animators had to completely retrain themselves) where near-realtime rendering will be possible because of these “cheats”

        • Althir / Apr 23 2014 11:11 am

          I’ll admit, it has been a while since I worked in anything remotely resembling real tme. The information I have, as you noticed, is really rather outdated. I should probably look into all that malarkey again. Sorry, mate.

          • Ivan / Apr 24 2014 12:52 am

            Sorry, I’ve been rather Sarky all day ^^’ didn’t mean anything bad by the comments.

            Also, we still aren’t in a stage where it is easy to create real time animations, but the technology is being developed.

            Probably the best attempt so far has been from Unity/Nvidia a couple of years back, so i could recomend watching the video and then the making of and you could then make up your own mind ^^

            • Althir / Apr 24 2014 1:02 am

              (Blimey, this thing is getting narrow) Did you see the second Dead Space film, Aftermath? Hilariously, the rendered CGI which makes up the framework of that film looks considerably worse than the real time ingame cinematics Dead Space 2 has to offer. The film is, of course, also shite, but that just adds insult to injury, doesn’t it.

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