2003 (Friday) - Day 21
Well, my folks stayed
until thursday and although I didn't get much time to work on the
Dragon it kinda worked out anyway. With the stonework finished and
in place it now takes what seems like forever to render the scene..
each night I tinkered with the scene a little and rendered overnight,
so it would've taken a few days either way.
I finally received my
GeforceFX this morning too (woohoo!) but I'll hold off installing
that until I've finished here.
It took a few attempts
to get the stonework right - the first tests (previous page) proved
to be too rounded. I liked that in a way, but for this image they
just didn't fit. Although they caught the light ok they just looked
too unbelievable (they would've never held together on a larger
wall in real life)
it took four attempts
to get the correct amount of bevelling/ chamfering and displacement,
but it's not as difficult as it sounds. The edge chamfering can
be done "en masse" for all the bricks at once, so it
was more a case of waiting for the renders than physical work.
What may look great in the Max viewport doesn't nescessarily translate
into the final render.
got there in the end
anyway, and I'm very happy with the result. It allows me to manipulate
individual stones in key focal points of the image without any
The next thing was just
to try different light settings and minor tweaks. I was determined
to try working in some complementary colours (green, blue) but in
the end I realised the image simply looked better with a warm scale.
One side effect of using
complementary background colours was that it gave the impression
of the scene being set outdoors.. I prefer the almost enigmatic
feel of the darkness behind as I imagined the scene to be set inside.
Renders galore: All the
following images are shrunk down to fit this web page format, but
the originals were rendered at full resolution. The first image
is carried on from the very basic tests with just a brick texture
applied to some primitive shapes. The second and onward are progressive
variations on colour and minor tweaks (including the occasional
takes around 3hrs without skylights.. I optimised the scene
a little (removing walls etc that were occluded from the camera
anyway) so the polycount came down to a little under a million.
I currently only have 512mb of memory in this machine so it needed
optimising to avoid excessive hard disk thrashing with virtual memory.
it's just a matter of tweaking fairly minor aspects in focal areas.
The eye for example is key to the image and I tried a few variations.
I spent a while working on a very lizard like eye (complete with
refractive lenses) but at the relevant scale of the whole image
it just got too "busy" and looked a mess. I much preferred
a simple black eye, or the version with a slight catataract.
The black eye looked
a little too much like a currant, and the cataracted version fits
very well with the scar.
|I like to
think he knows the viewer is there, but is waiting for movement. His
eyesight could be better, but he smells food!
At long last
the final composition is ready.
At this point I'd like to thank
you for following the diary and thank everyone who sent me emails while
I've been working on it. I've read every one, but not had a chance until
now to catch up with my email properly - I'll do so over the next few
days so if I've missed any then please just get in touch again. The feedback
has been surprisingly good and is of course the best inspiration a man
can have (beer aside).
Just one little extra for
those who have read this far (and I rarely do this) .. The full
image can now be downloaded by clicking in the eye socket of a skull on
an earlier page ;) (and probably ony for a few days)