Jun 19, 2009

Lighting, my new 3D frontier

I finally got the Raptor Attack done! Please go check it out! I spent nearly 60 hours putting everything together for it...

As of such I've been a little sick of Dinosaurs the last couple days (for some reason), and turned back to Delta Patrol.

Though I set out trying to fix the Delta System "set" (on which I hit a big break through as you'll see) I accidentally stumbled across a new lighting tool I'd never understood before...

Resulting in this lovely new version of the Arthis Warship (the movie's big bad). The model itself is virtually untouched since the 2006 version. However you'll notice it looks completely different due to the new lighting.

Who knew instruction manuals could be so handy?
Well honestly I do know how handy they can be. Especially considering how big and complicated Carrara is.
However as I had to leave my hardcopy manual back in Canada (it is about the thickness of a phonebook, I kid you not!), so all I have to reference here is the built in PDF version on my machine. I'm not a huge fan of reading such things on the puter, especially while I'm trying to do what I'm reading about at the same time. It means constantly switching between windows (and having to memorize the instructions before jumping).
So I haven't been using the manual as much as I should be... for shame I know!
Anyways due to an unrelated topic (I was trying to create a custom starscape) I discovered a "new" type of light. Well okay. It'd been there since day one, and in fact all new files start with one of these lights default, but I'd never bothered to learn how they worked.
However given my recent fascination with lighting lately (due to the complex lighting setup of my Gorgon piece for ART Evolved) the off handed reference to this lighting type intrigued me.
Looking it up, I'd been SO stupid for never learning about it before!
However I'll save the specifics for a tutorial I have planned for ART Evolved.

For the movie I want my starships and space environments to have no ambient light what's so ever. Meaning they have to be completely lite by either the single "sun" of the Delta System, or somehow lite themselves.
However as you can see, my intial killing the ambient light left the ship nearly invisible in the dark void of space. I knew how to make it so the ship lite itself, but these tools nearly double rendering time, and are a pain in the neck if I want to make copies of the ship (which I do).

With a combination of this new lighting source tool, and my newly learned trick of targeted lighting (as in I can tell a light to only effect certain objects) gives me this nice self-lite appearance.

With some tweaks this was the final product which looks pretty sweet compared to old versions.

The cool part is I can even turn off the "sun" light, and you'd still see the ship in the darkness.

For no reason other then I can post it, here is a test animation to see how both my ship's newly incorporated movement looks, and if my new lighting rig will slow down rendering. The great news is it doesn't. Even for multiple ships in the same scene!

video
That is also the new Delta System set they're literally flying into. The models involved are literally astronomically big... the planet is 100 000 3D units in diameter compared to my ships at a mere 7 in length! That didn't slow down rendering either, which I was worried about.
Feedback would be welcome though (especially for the PIP crew).

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