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My First Technic Render


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#1 Blakbird

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 08:02 PM

In an effort to give myself something to do, I decided to start learning how to use POV-Ray to render Lego.  Since I've never been someone who starts small, I decided to try to modify the 8458 Silver Champion colors to look like the McLaren MP-42 Formula One car.

Here's what I did:
  • I found the Ldraw model in Dlarian's Brickshelf folder.  Thanks!
  • I used Bricksmithto edit the file by changing various part colors to chrome, red, and black.
  • I ran L3P on the file using L3P Launcher.  This converted it into a POV file.
  • When running L3P, I included the LGEO parts database which has upgraded part definitions.  This wasn't easy because there is a brand new version of LGEO and L3P doesn't quite know what to do with it yet.
  • I changed the standard Ldraw colors to the colors of Todd Lehman.  I had to do this manually in the text file because I couldn't figure out the convoluted path L3P, LGEO, and POV-Ray use to assign the colors.  This made a huge difference in realism.
  • I tried to use Mesh Enhancer to improve the tesselation of some parts, especially the tires, but I couldn't get it to run on my POV file.  Maybe this has something to do with the new LGEO parts.
  • I read enough of the POV manual to figure out how to turn on reflectivity and diffusion for the floor.  Have to be able to see the reflection of those exhaust pipes!
  • I turned on radiosity to improve the lighting and removed the standard light sources.
  • I added a High Dynamic Range spherical light probe to give the chrome something to reflect.  Specifically, I used the Eucalyptus Grove probe from Paul Debevec.  I chose this because it has standard outdoor lighting.
  • POV-Ray doesn't support HDR lighting, so I had to switch to Mega-POV.
  • I added an area light near and above the camera to provide some soft shadows for contrast.
  • Finally, I rendered at 4000x3000 pixels and then used Graphic Converter to reduce and dither using bilinear interpolation to soften all of the edges.

This is the result:
Posted Image

It took about 5 hours to render.  I'm open to thoughts, comments, criticism, or advice for improvement.  Note that I made this on a Macintosh which uses a higher gamma than typical PCs, so it helps to turn up the brightness a bit if you are using a PC.

Many thanks to Koyan for his excellent tutorialwhich pointed me in the right direction.

Some day, I'd like to add Ldraw files and renders to Technicopediafor each Technic set.  But I shouldn't get ahead of myself.   :pir-tongue:

Edited by Blakbird, 24 March 2009 - 06:00 PM.

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#2 Ras_Al_Ghul

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 08:25 PM

awesome render blakbird  :pir-classic: love the technicopedia btw
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#3 Front

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 01:50 AM

Great to see some fine rendering.
Back a long time ago I used 3DStudio (dos-version) to do rendering of still and animations. These days I'm using Unigraphics CAD software, but haven't really done any rendering projects the last couple of years or more. Last major project was modeling and rendering of a motorcycle.

I assume that the tesselation is the actual model being a polygon representation of the geometry. I don't know the LDD file format though. I see it on the tires (as mentioned) and also on parts of the front wing.
I wonder if there isn't any setting in your software that enables a smoothing of the different shades of neighbouring polygons, during the rendering proces ?
My memory tells me that that might be possible in other softwares, but I'm not 100% certain.

But I like your picture a lot. It looks great, although my first thought was that the car was floating above the mirror ground. Not sure why it looked like that to me, I clearly see it's probably firm on the ground.

I don't know the lightning technics of the software, but that is what might be worth experimenting with. What has often been said is that a great rendering is very much a result of something the model can reflect, that there is some environt (not actually in the picture). But that might be the trick you achieve with  Eucalyptus Grove probe.

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Edited by Front, 18 November 2008 - 01:51 AM.


#4 Asuka

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 12:22 PM

A very good work, it looks simply wonderful!  :thumbup:

#5 Guss

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 12:52 PM

really nice render ! looks great !
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#6 CP5670

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 12:09 AM

The lighting and reflections on that look great. Thanks for detailing the entire process, so the rest of us can do this too.

Quote

Finally, I rendered at 4000x3000 pixels and then used Graphic Converter to reduce and dither using bilinear interpolation to soften all of the edges.

It would probably be better to do the antialiasing directly while rendering the model, since there are some jagged edges visible, especially in the back. Most rendering programs should have options for that somewhere.

Edited by CP5670, 21 November 2008 - 12:09 AM.


#7 Blakbird

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 06:27 PM

View PostCP5670, on Nov 20 2008, 04:09 PM, said:

It would probably be better to do the antialiasing directly while rendering the model, since there are some jagged edges visible, especially in the back. Most rendering programs should have options for that somewhere.


POV-Ray does have anti-aliasing, but I did it the way I did because Koyan recommended it and he is much better at it than me!   :pir-tongue:  Maybe I will try rendering it again with built-in anti-aliasing to compare the two.
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#8 CP5670

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 08:06 PM

He probably suggested it for speed reasons. AA (especially supersampling) adds a lot of extra time to the rendering, but it would look better and the smoothing would be consistent across the model. I guess you could just leave it running overnight.



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