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General => Image Sharing => NWDA Roadside Contest => Topic started by: cyphyr on February 24, 2013, 04:53:43 PM

Title: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: cyphyr on February 24, 2013, 04:53:43 PM
Ok here goes :)

I'm still roughing out the idea or ideas for this one but I thought I would start a WIP thread to document development as it progresses.

Roads join place to place but by implication also form a barrier, a separation, one side of a road can be very different from the other. My concept (which is liable to change somewhat and evolve) is to illustrate this duality, one side will be green verdant nature, rolling hills, pastures and forests; the other will be an industrial post apocalyptic wasteland, burnt out cars and crumbling buildings.

I also want to bring in the idea of a journey and destination, where dose this strange road lead? I'm unclear how to illustrate this part as yet.

Below are some concept ideas and montages of images attempting to show the direction I want to take this in. I'm also using this as an opportunity to get to grips with my pen tablet to sketch out the rough ideas first before diving into Terragen.

Good luck everybody and feedback is always appreciated  ;D

Cheers

Richard
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: FrankB on February 24, 2013, 05:04:35 PM
Interesting, Richard! Looking forward to the next steps
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: Dune on February 25, 2013, 07:25:36 AM
You've already got a winner, the way you handle this, Richard. Very interesting concept. I like it because I did a little animation some time ago about a road that starts in lush landscape and goes out into wasteland, so I'm really looking forward to your progress. You've just got your tablet? It's great! Never can work without it anymore.
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: inkydigit on February 25, 2013, 12:55:05 PM
great ideas so far... got me thinking already!
:)
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: cyphyr on February 26, 2013, 06:59:45 PM
Today I couldn't avoid diving into Terragen. These are nothing composition wise but are developing the "wasteland" look that will be on one side of the image. Also the beginnings of an idea of how to show a destroyed city with not too many variations of simple structures repeated but keeping their rotations at 0, 90, 80, and 270. Reasonable happy but I will need a fair number more.
Cheers and C&C very welcome
Richard
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: cyphyr on February 27, 2013, 12:21:52 PM
One more of the Wasteland test images. I need to make a lot more objects to populate for buildings, wall etc, maybe 10 more of each and drop the density right down so there's as little visible repeat as possible.
Richard
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: Dune on February 27, 2013, 04:08:13 PM
Promising start. You do have to look at the voronoi, warp it off its regularity, I'd say.
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: inkydigit on February 28, 2013, 09:38:14 PM
This looks super already!
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: Hetzen on March 02, 2013, 01:30:34 PM
The wasteland texture is working well Richard. Will it travel across the road into your green?
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: cyphyr on March 03, 2013, 02:40:55 AM
Just a small update. I've been working on the road, specifically the shape of it on screen. I've tried a number of configurations, long perspective, side on, even above. Nothing was doing it for me. I'm not there yet but I like the sweep of the central one in this group. Something like that.
C&C welcome.
Richard
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: Jo Kariboo on March 03, 2013, 04:59:04 AM
The central one of the group have a nice point of view, but I not sure about the voronoid for the ground of the road.
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: Dune on March 03, 2013, 07:22:26 AM
I'd go for the sweep.
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: Tangled-Universe on March 03, 2013, 07:53:45 AM
I like sense of scale, generally, and the top left and centre one work nicely in that regard.
The top left one has a bit too straight road though and yes like Jo said the centre has a bit too much voronoi, but I think the point here is look dev.
I'd go for one of those two.
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: cyphyr on March 03, 2013, 10:05:26 AM
Yes this is "Look Dev" so there are lots of inconsistencies, I also like to try out different lighting, atmo and surface ideas, anything really at this point, just so I get to see how things look in context. Lots of stuff will get abandoned, evolved from etc and little if anything is "final" at this point.
I'm liking the sweeping style of the latest ones (lighting don't work in the last one) but I want to get the view point better so I can see the flat desert area, the receding hills with the snaking road properly visible and the verdant hills more prominent to the left.
Cheers
Richard
ps: yes the voronoi in the middle of the road has gone and where it stays has had a little warp to break it up :)
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: cyphyr on March 05, 2013, 03:20:20 PM
Small update.

Firstly, I'm abandoning the fancy borders, not sure why I did it. It's not part of the competition, looks really naff and is not something I usually do anyway ... so it's gone.

Secondly, the road shape is pretty good now, it's got the sweep I'm looking for AND I've been able to knock back some of the hills in the middle distance so hopefully as the road receded there will be a "layering" of misty hills for it to pass by.

Thirdly I've started experimenting with the "verdant" left hand side of the image. It's going to need a LOT of trees. But I don't want them to obscure the road so they will have to be layered with the taller vegetation to the back.

I'm at present aiming for something between look_dev-04 and look_dev-05, mountains on the left higher, green over/under lapping the road but not so much as 04. The road probably will be lighter grey with brown mud/dust down the centre.

That's it for now, enjoy and C&C welcome.

Cheers

Richard
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: Dune on March 05, 2013, 04:59:10 PM
Going to be great!
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: Oshyan on March 05, 2013, 06:15:06 PM
This is looking really cool! I like look_dev_05. The way the vegetation cuts off abruptly seems like it should look unrealistic, but it doesn't (to my eye). It actually looks quite plausible in a "man vs. nature" kind of way. It also has an interesting, potentially political element to in that respect, though I realize that may not be intended or necessarily desirable. But it does make the statement *to me* that the road kind of creates the desolation on one side, kind of the barrier between wild nature and domesticated/used/abused land.

- Oshyan
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: cyphyr on March 05, 2013, 08:43:40 PM
Thankyou :)
And yes there is supposed to be a political/philosophical element to the image. Quite what that is I will leave up to the viewer.

I've had this sort of mini story running round my mind since I started this of an old man telling several generations of kids that:

... the ol road was always here, since time gone. Sometimes some men come to fix a hole but mostly they don't. No one really has knowing of who made it, or for why.
But mark I, we stay on our side and we hope they stay on theirs.


Something like that :)

I'm doing a large scale render now 1600 x 900 to check the detail is going to "pop". I'll post later.

For now here is the combination of 4 and 5

Cheers

Richard
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: otakar on March 05, 2013, 08:48:02 PM
I like the idea, something different!
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: Oshyan on March 05, 2013, 08:59:32 PM
Very cool. A remarkable amount of your story comes across just through the imagery, which is pretty impressive and cool.

- Oshyan
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: cyphyr on March 05, 2013, 11:25:29 PM
It's getting a little messy, it'll probably get worse!
Richard
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: yossam on March 05, 2013, 11:48:44 PM
That node network looks familiar.  ;D

I really like your work so far, looks like a winner.
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: TheBadger on March 06, 2013, 06:01:41 AM
cool
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: Dune on March 06, 2013, 06:34:42 AM
As soon as I got a section of nodes quite alright I ctrl-X them and put them (ctrl-V) inside some node (mostly surface shader). Cleans up the mess a bit.
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: cyphyr on March 06, 2013, 06:24:30 PM
Slight change of tack here, trying out a more overcast look. Actually I was going for a dark brooding Mordor feel but that didn't work out. It's going to be another of those interminable ones where I'm ever so slightly changing cloud values and sunlight direction till I can get it EXACTLY right. So I may stick with a simpler atmosphere.

The question of the day however is. Putting the Buffalo skull in, is this a tacky and naff move or is it appealing to archetypal imagery?

As soon as I got a section of nodes quite alright I ctrl-X them and put them (ctrl-V) inside some node (mostly surface shader). Cleans up the mess a bit.
I will do this as soon as I get to a final stage with the general layout (soon hopefully) but there is such a lot of interactive masking going on, I still don't know everything I need access easily to. So for now it stays :)

Cheers

Richard
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: otakar on March 06, 2013, 08:47:45 PM
It's the masks that make hiding nodes difficult, I reuse a lot. It actually makes it harder to follow all the connections then...

Render's looking good. I'd keep the skull, just make it a bit less prominent, perhaps.
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: FrankB on March 06, 2013, 10:13:04 PM
That's a very interesting composition, including the POV, very nice!

I am curious how this develops once you start tuning it for photo real.
One thing I noticed: you seem to be biased towards exposing the scene for the sky, as the ground is relatively dark. Intentional?

Cheers
Frank
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: cyphyr on March 06, 2013, 10:37:50 PM
Thankyou:)
No it's not intentional, at least not for the moment. I've nor really started on the sky and atmosphere. I'd certainly like the vegetation to be less dark, more luminous.
My working method is to develop different parts of the scene separately but nonetheless throw in any ideas I have along the way, partly to break the monotony but also to see if it sparks any new new inspiration. So we'll see. :)
Richard
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: Jo Kariboo on March 07, 2013, 12:46:44 AM
Very nice road with the sands on, also beautiful metaphor !
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: Dune on March 07, 2013, 06:32:45 AM
Great. But one thing bothers me; the road seems (seems!) like being on an angle. Maybe it's the POV, maybe it's the road itself. Or is it me?
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: cyphyr on March 07, 2013, 10:08:26 AM
Great. But one thing bothers me; the road seems (seems!) like being on an angle. Maybe it's the POV, maybe it's the road itself. Or is it me?
Well the camera is at a slight angle  but you're right the road follows the terrain so is sloped both forwards and to the side. I've not found an effective way to mask just one direction of slope and not both. Hopefully the terrain is "soft" enough so it won't be too much of an issue.
Cheers
Richard
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: cyphyr on March 09, 2013, 08:19:03 AM
Well I thought I'd work on the atmosphere some more. Trying to get that sense of brooding storm, high contrast skies. Some success, but if anything it's only highlighted how much more work there is still to do. This was rendered with GI at 4,4,8 to get some detail into the clouds, I could probably soften them somewhat and still keep the detail, the edges are a little too sharp. Changed the lighting angle moving the sun to the left. Trees are better lit but the scene has lost some of the drama it had previously. Reading the recent posts on the Photoreal thread (http://www.planetside.co.uk/forums/index.php/topic,15782.0.html) I can see that there are a stack of extra techniques still to employ.
C&C very welcome
cheers
Richard
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: FrankB on March 09, 2013, 01:09:26 PM
The scene setup is beautiful, Richard!  :)
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: Hannes on March 09, 2013, 01:12:18 PM
Wow, impressive!
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: Danny on March 09, 2013, 02:30:53 PM
This is killer Richard, very impressive
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: cyphyr on March 09, 2013, 05:56:38 PM
Thanks for the feedback guys.
A small update,I've been working on the road somewhat to day since the skies are really overnight render jobs.
Not too happy really. The cracks need "tightening up" and the sticks and leaves populations, well either I need a whole lot more or a different technique altogether.
Partly the sun angle is also annoying me now, it's dull :( but at least it works with the clouds (I think).
Over night I may render out a low res "anim" with the sun rotating a full 360 deg to see if there are any better locations.
Suggestions very welcome.
Cheers
Richard
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: Jo Kariboo on March 09, 2013, 07:57:13 PM
Nice sky !!!
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: TheBadger on March 10, 2013, 01:51:58 AM
Pretty sweet.
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: cyphyr on March 10, 2013, 12:03:39 PM
Another overnight render, 8+ hours, but the render settings were pretty high (and they will be higher in the final!)
The road trash is now working a lot better, still could do with some work. I don't like it in the distance where the road starts to bend, there's an odd overlap that sits uncomfortably in the image.
There are some scale issues, mostly due to the skull and building on the right, the skull needs to be smaller and the building larger, both easily done.
Also I'm not happy with the white flowers on the left, they seem far to regular. I may need to open the model in XFrog and make some variations
I tightened up the cracks in the road but maybe just a tad too much, again easily fixed.
I like the clouds but they are far from right, maybe some more softening.

So is this image even approaching "photo-real"? I honestly can't say. Partly because I've been looking at it too long I'm getting image blindness, partly because I still don't really understand what "photo-real" means but mostly because I suspect it simply isn't! lol

Still to do plans:
I need to expand the forest a little, bring it closer to the road without obscuring the road in the distance. This may require some slight re-modeling of the terrain.
Also need to add in some sparse scrub grasses on the right and possibly vary the grasses on the left some more
There's a temptation to place some sort of framing tree in the foreground on the left, overhanging the road. I'll try to avoid this as it's loaded with composition issues!
The final will be rendered three times and composited together, once with GI, once with AO and once with GI and soft shadows. Hopefully this is allowed.

As always C&C very welcome, c'mon guys tare it apart!

Cheers

Richard
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: Tangled-Universe on March 10, 2013, 12:25:01 PM
Keep on going Richard, I like it where this is going :)

Are you going to refine the clouds further? They have some shape and shading issues.
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: cyphyr on March 10, 2013, 12:30:54 PM
Yes, I'm working on them now. I'm aiming for a heavy "cumulus fractus" look ...
Richard
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: mhaze on March 10, 2013, 02:14:59 PM
Powerful sky and terrific POV. I prefer the sand on the earlier version and perhaps it should completlycovwer the road in places as if thewind had blown it.
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: cyphyr on March 10, 2013, 09:26:33 PM
Just typed in "desert storm" to look for some reference images with predictable results ...
:( ::)
Richard
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: cyphyr on March 11, 2013, 08:40:15 AM
Hmm, sometimes things don't go quite according to plan. Not that happy with the nights rendering, probably tried to make too many changes at once and the sun has moved, that may be the culprit. I'll update throughout the day as I work out what's gone wrong.
Cheers
Richard
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: cyphyr on March 11, 2013, 05:01:19 PM
Ok, moving toward something of a solution to last nights fail.
We now have two more light sources, a very pale (0.25 intensity) green and sand coloured to the left and right of the scene providing a little fill and tone. Also they are set to only light surfaces,not the atmosphere. Needs a little more tweaking but it's an interesting direction nonetheless and may provide an opportunity for a more dramatic lighting setup, something I've been wanting. I seem to have lost the sand filling the cracks, probably an easy fix.
C&C welcome
Cheers
Richard
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: cyphyr on March 11, 2013, 07:43:27 PM
Sorted out most of last nights problems.
A few ideas on lighting the scene a little more dramatically.
(inspired in part by some photos I saw on the Nikon site).
Now if I can just get in some god rays ...
Cheers
Richard
here's a link  (https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=476615319054733&set=a.352222894827310.75188.215546175161650&type=1&theater)to the image that set me off in this direction.  It's on Facebook but you should be able to see it as it's a public gallery.
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: Dune on March 12, 2013, 07:48:03 AM
It's going to be (already is) a beauty, Richard. Did you use a non-visible cloud layer (shadow cloud) for the extra shadows?
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: cyphyr on March 12, 2013, 09:31:45 AM
... Did you use a non-visible cloud layer (shadow cloud) for the extra shadows?
No all the cloud layers are fully visible, although of course now I'll have to experiment!

I had a minor realization. Terragens camera is a ... wait for it, this is awesome, a camera! Wow breakthrough stuff eh. The point being though that as with a normal camera you can mess with the exposure. Usually the only time i do this is to bring up the exposure because a scene has become too dark, I don't think I've ever dropped the exposure because a scene was too light. Well looking at the image in the link I posted above and the photographers site I saw that many of his images were taken looking directly into the sun, generally a big no no in photography. He must have lowered the exposure (amongst other settings). So I got to thinking what if I did the same in Terragen, I could have the sun in front of the camera, make it really bright (I think it's set at 14!) and drop the exposure to compensate (-2). Below is the result. It's a little similar to bringing up the contrast but also a little different. Worth perusing I think.

All that said I still feel the scene is missing something, it's become prosaic and rather dull :( Something is missing, a foreground element on the right, a lightening bolt in the distance,I don't know ... suggestions on a postcard :)

Any C&C very welcome.

Cheers

Richard
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: Tangled-Universe on March 12, 2013, 09:39:55 AM
Oh oh...you may have an issue now, now when your scene is set up and developed with such an uncommon setting for sun's strength.
It depends a lot on the atmosphere on how the shading of the terrain works out as well as the lighting for the clouds, but there's a slim chance you may need to rework your entire surface shaders network and your clouds (the least of work) to get it to work with normal sun's strength values.
I can imagine all may respond differently with the lowered exposure or lowererd sun's strength, but let's hope it's all fine and just a matter of rebalancing the camera exposure with sun's strength.
Why did you use such a value for sun's strength in the beginning, I'm wondering?
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: cyphyr on March 12, 2013, 09:47:59 AM
...
Why did you use such a value for sun's strength in the beginning, I'm wondering?

Just experimenting really, treating Terragen as a camera. I'm using relatively high GI settings to bring out the detail in the shadows (3,4,8, Super sample and GI Surface detail ticked) so the experimentation is a slow process.
Of course your right I probably will have to re-work the shaders to an extent. I may remove them all entirely and just leave the displacement component, get the lighting better and then start to put the colour back in.
cheers
]Richard
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: Hetzen on March 12, 2013, 09:50:57 AM
It's looking great Richard. Sometimes you do need to dial the sun up to get any GI light under thick atmospheres. It would be good to know best practice here, on whether to compensate with textures or exposure.

When I saw this last night I thought that some rain squals might look good, or at really darken down the horizon on the right.
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: Tangled-Universe on March 12, 2013, 10:03:38 AM
I feel with you Richard. Especially due to recent discussion in the realism thread you may become excited trying these things.

Usually I stick pretty much to the default values and do not deviate too much from them.
For sun's strength I sometimes bring it down to 3 and sometimes up to 5, but not more.
Only one exception: sunsets. There I tend to use values of around 10 or more, especially with very low sun elevations.

What you may try indeed is disabling the surface shader chain and re-balance that lighting, then re-enable surface shaders and see if they hold up.
If you need to make the surfaces darker/brighter then you can save yourself a lot of time by feeding the entire surface shaders chain as colour input of a surface layer and use the diffuse colour setting as multiplier for diffuse colour brightness. Very handy.

Another thing I often stick too is that I always use max albedo 100% for my clouds (0.25 for colour, that is).
Then I adjust lighting in such a way that my EXR can contain the cloud's brightness easily. Say about 3/4-way of the histogram.
Even in EXR you can get over-exposed areas of atmosphere easily.
If it's about 3/4-way of  the histogram you can push/pull it a bit when playing with exposure/gamma.

This all depends on your area of interest of course. Now I'm discussing mostly atmosphere, don't know why actually :)
The area of interest in this contest is roads and thus surfaces, so for the moment I would base these kind of decisions for your surfaces.

So in retrospect, you may not need to refine all your surfaces, but only set sun strength to default, adjust camera exposure (for vegetation mostly) and then refine atmosphere. Perhaps that's the most effective approach?

Good luck!
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: j meyer on March 12, 2013, 03:14:15 PM
....
All that said I still feel the scene is missing something, it's become prosaic and rather dull :( Something is missing, a foreground element on the right, a lightening bolt in the distance,I don't know ... suggestions on a postcard :)
...

How about a hint to a cause for the look on the right side?
Maybe something toxic or a bomb crater or so.
Keep it up,J.
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: Dune on March 12, 2013, 05:13:43 PM
Perhaps a last dust tornado leaving the devastated area, minor if in front, or huge when near the dark clouds far off.
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: Matt on March 17, 2013, 12:10:24 PM
Martin, Richard,

Don't worry about increasing sunlight strength and decreasing exposure. You're not doing any harm. But it's also a bit pointless ;) If you only have a sunlight and GI in your scene (no other light sources, ambient lighting or luminous surfaces) then sunlight strength and camera exposure have exactly the same effect on the final image. Doubling sunlight strength will double the brightness of everything, because there are only two sources of light: direct sunlight and GI. Because GI is scattered or reflected sunlight, its brightness changes as sunlight strength changes, so changing the sunlight changes the brightness of everything. Camera exposure is a final multiplier for the whole image. So if you double the sunlight strength while halving the camera exposure then you will produce exactly the same image.


However, if you use the ambient controls in your clouds or atmosphere, they are separate from sunlight. Enviro Lights set to "ambient occlusion" mode are also independent of sunlight, as are additional light sources and surfaces with luminosity. Therefore, if you want your scenes to be reusable with other assets that have light sources or luminous surfaces it's still a good idea to think of the sun as a constant in the world, keep its strength at the default 3.5 and use camera exposure to control your image.


Matt
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: Tangled-Universe on March 17, 2013, 12:19:24 PM
Thanks Matt for shedding some light on this ;)
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: cyphyr on March 20, 2013, 02:54:49 AM
I've been battling with clouds all week with only some success. I want a BIG complex pre-storm sky, something like you'd get in Africa.
I've used different cloud colours to see more easily what cloud element is doing what to the scene, it helps a "little" ...
Any suggestions for decent complex cloud scenes gratefully received.

Cheers

Richard
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: Tangled-Universe on March 20, 2013, 09:24:57 AM
You mean something like this?

(http://sphotos-a.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/335966_458936997449667_439568503_o.jpg)
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: cyphyr on March 20, 2013, 11:10:16 AM
Kind of, but I'm looking for that "ordered chaos" look. Regimented ranks of low cumulus clouds, higher wind swept stratos clouds coming off the tops of massive cumulonimbus calvus, that sort of thing, a little ambitious maybe but I'm not dooing anything else atm.
Cheers
Richard
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: Tangled-Universe on March 20, 2013, 11:49:17 AM
Yes this setup contains pretty much all of those elements, except for the calvus like cumulus...although I agree it doesn't have this kind of orderly look you're talking about :)

The Africa-like blu'ish developing storms is something I tried here too though.
Basically you can achieve these effects by altering the enviro light colour in the cloud node.
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: Dune on March 21, 2013, 07:20:39 AM
For the regimented clouds, you might use a very stretched large fractal, maybe even 'sinused' (and warped) as a blender for the cloud's fractal.
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: cyphyr on March 21, 2013, 10:07:06 AM
OK some small progress, I quite like the clouds like this, maybe I'll drop the foreground cloud layer, I'm un-decided as yet.
Something odd has happened to the atmosphere, the tonality is quite "flat". I'll have to work on that.
Speaking of "flat" I've managed to level off the road somewhat with the added bonus of a ditch running along side.
The "city" is a place holder made in City Engine, may be dropped altogether but if I keep it it needs to be seriously beat up.
Cheers
Richard
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: Dune on March 22, 2013, 06:46:55 AM
Tastes differ apparently, as I liked your previous clouds much better. The varying softness and darkness made them really brooding and suited the split world. These are a bit hard and 'popcorn like', I'm sorry to say. I do like the ditch, and my best part is the area around the pipe, also because of the colors and veggies (or lack of) . I would however give the ditch a little extra warp, especially down in the corner it's very smooth. Good that you gave the road a little tilt to the left, much better. I also liked some of the previous road surfaces better, in the center you now have some spiky displacements, and some voronoi lines of dust are quite similar to the cracks, which struck me as odd.
But.... it's going to be a great and well considered piece of art!
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: cyphyr on March 27, 2013, 10:03:35 AM
Some more work on the clouds, getting nearer to what I'm after.
C&C welcome
Richard
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: FrankB on March 27, 2013, 10:45:39 AM
It looks a bit like the smaller, stretched clouds in the middle have a darker color?
If I am right, I would advise you to keep the color as in the other clouds, and let TG2 do the shading. Looks more integrated this way.
I think it sticks out a bit as it seems that the huge clouds are lighter colored than the thinner ones.


Aaand if may say so, the billows on the right need more detail. Are these localized clouds? In this case then, the fall-off makes it difficult to produce detail, if what we see is already affected by the fall-off. If it isn't the fall-off, then I think you need more octaves.


Cheers
Frank
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: cyphyr on March 27, 2013, 10:52:32 AM
Yes your right the stretched central clouds are darker (0.25 as opposed to default 0.35). I have seen clouds like this where a denser darker cloud sits in front of a lighter softer cloud but the fact you noticed it means I need to change this, make it more subtle. I'll probably increace the density and bring the colour back up nearer default.
The billows were "tighter" but I softened them a little to see if I could get a little faster render! It didn't work lol
Cheers
Richard
ps the bit I'm most pleased about is how the cirrus clouds are developing
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: FrankB on March 27, 2013, 11:11:38 AM
You know you're making it hard for yourself with this kind of sky, right? But I understand that it's an interesting challenge.
On the upside: If you run out of time, you can still resort to a more simpler sky, that's easier to make look realistic. :-)

Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: inkydigit on March 27, 2013, 07:56:10 PM
epic catastrophic nightmare scenario...great imagination, and implementation of components!
:)
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: cyphyr on March 27, 2013, 10:03:33 PM
A minor tweak! I'm pleased the direction the cirrus clouds are going in, just trying to add in some more detail to them, make them more wispy.

Ulco, yes the clouds are "localised", all 15 of them! I tried adding more octaves, didn't do much, I'll try lowering the scale next time. And I've lightened the central low clouds, hmm,I think they need to be darker but all of this willchange a little once its rendered with the rest of the scene.

Cheers for looking

Richard
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: cyphyr on March 29, 2013, 09:43:03 AM
Slow progress, getting these clouds right is a bitch!
Times a running out and the pressure is starting to build.
C&C welcome
Richard

Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: mhaze on March 29, 2013, 10:05:36 AM
A very strong and painterly sky but I prefer the ominous, moody, dark sky of your earlier version.
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: cyphyr on March 29, 2013, 10:17:38 AM
Thankyou, I liked the more ominous, darker versions too, but the shape was wrong (there's always something! lol)
Funny you should say painterly, partly that's due to the pretty low res render (0.5, 3), but it's also is partly intentional. When I was a small child I remember telling my parents that I liked those clouds that "looked like they were painted on the sky".
Once I've got the shape better (nearly there) I'll go back and see if I can sort the lighting to make it darker and ominous but not loose the detail.
Cheers
Richard
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: Dune on March 29, 2013, 01:35:50 PM
I wouldn't 'waste' too much time on the clouds. I still think they're too obvious generated clouds, and take away photo reality. Also, the grasses on the green side are very green.
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: otakar on March 29, 2013, 02:30:56 PM
Got to agree with the comments. The initial cloud setup I thought was very good, unique and fitting. Superior to the latest, IMHO.
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: cyphyr on March 29, 2013, 03:54:47 PM
Which one do you mean by the "initial setup"?
:)
Richard
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: Tangled-Universe on March 29, 2013, 04:23:17 PM
Yeah I liked the initial setup better too, but that's only because this current setup isn't executed as intented / as like the references and just a WIP so we will have to look at this from that perspective rather than how it looks at this moment.
Like Frank already said, the current setup you're going for is very very challenging.
There's still plenty of time to get it right though, so at the moment I certainly wouldn't give up!


Perhaps, but I don't know your workflow of course, you can try to do each sky element separately.
First your cumulus shapes and their placements. Then smaller streaks of clouds and finally the smallest clouds.
What I personally find challenging with multiple cloud layers is the way their lighting differs because of depth and density differences.


Keeping the colour settings at default is perhaps the easiest to start with so you can focus on the right shape and density of the clouds.
From there you can tweak the lighting and scattering settings and as final step start matching the cloud colours.
Perhaps this is already your workflow, but I'm just trying to think along and sharing my ideas.


Looking forward to your next one!
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: cyphyr on March 29, 2013, 04:35:20 PM
...
What I personally find challenging with multiple cloud layers is the way their lighting differs because of depth and density differences.
...

Yes this is just the problem I'm facing. With a single layer the lighting is predictable but once other layers are added and clouds are viewed "through" there seems to be a tendency for the obscuring layer to change the lighting of the layer behind it. This may be an optical illusion but it is annoying nonetheless.

Still unclear what people mean by "initial setup" there's been so many! could you reference the pic?

cheers

Richard
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: Tangled-Universe on March 29, 2013, 04:42:43 PM
Well...this is your second idea for a cloud setup so I guess everyone, at least me, means your first one.


I feel with you about those layers obscuring lighting of others.
As a matter of fact there may be some limit to how many cloud layers you can have in an atmosphere before no light is passed on to the bottom layer anymore.
I believe Frank once said the hard limit is 3 or 4 cloud layers, but I have used more without much trouble. I guess it has to do with the composition of all those clouds.
In my case none had great depth and or density, so there might be a clue there. If there's a limit though.
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: FrankB on March 29, 2013, 08:47:45 PM
No, I didn't mean "hard" limit, as in "Tg won't allow more". I mean 3 layers is a practical limit, for cloud layers of reasonable depth and density. If you have three layers, all casting shadow on the layer below, there will be almost no lighting left for the lowest, except GI. But of course that depends on depth and density too.


You could use a trick, Richard: don't make the large cumulus so big. Instead, make them like 500 to 1000 tall, but pull them much lower, so that they appear bigger.



Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: Oshyan on March 29, 2013, 10:28:29 PM
I love the concept and general execution of this scene. Agree with others about the clouds. But I'm wondering too if anyone else feels there's a scale problem here, I think it's to do with the city. It just doesn't look big or distant enough. Not certain what creates this impression, maybe that the hills don't decrease in size with distance as much as you'd expect, in comparison to the theoretical/assumed size of the city which looks to be at similar distance. Richard, is the city actually at a "real world" scale? Is everything else also done at real world scales? If so, it may just be one of those optical illusions, but may be worth trying to correct for the sake of realism and judging. But again let me say I really like this scene, it's one of my favorites thus far.

- Oshyan
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: otakar on March 29, 2013, 10:33:11 PM
Sorry Richard, I know you changed the cloud layer up in each iteration, but the dramatic changes happened fairly recently. I think out of those you posted I like RaodTrashTest-02.jpg (http://www.planetside.co.uk/forums/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=15733.0;attach=41932) the best (just focusing on the clouds, mind you).
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: Dune on March 30, 2013, 07:50:20 AM
RoadsideAtmos-0013 was the best! Cloud and terrain wise. I would go from there with the terrain, but leave the clouds as soft and menacing as they are. I also liked the green side of the terrain better, as it wasn't too green. You still see some rocks and dirt.
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: TheBadger on March 30, 2013, 08:00:09 AM
I like the new clouds, but the old clouds look better with the terrain and composition. And not in any interest for compromise, but wouldn't it look good to have the old clouds under the new ones? Or do these cloud types not occur in nature together?
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: cyphyr on March 30, 2013, 11:01:19 AM
... , but wouldn't it look good to have the old clouds under the new ones?...
Absolutely, that was the look I was going for in the first place, got a little side tracked. Done a couple of quick tests and it's looking good, I'll post an update later today.
Thanks for the reminder.
Richard
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: Jo Kariboo on March 30, 2013, 02:51:34 PM
Clouds from 02 and 13 are excellent !!!
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: cyphyr on April 01, 2013, 08:56:52 PM
Phew, I think this is an improvement. A combination of some of the previous renders but keeping the new elements I particularly wanted. Specifically the high whispy cirrus and the partially hidden cumulus. This little section rendered in 5h20m and could do with a little less noise in the foreground cloud so the final will probably be at least a day to render, probably more! (Every thing else to render and at a larger size)

I will probably move the sun once I see how it's illuminating the landscape.

C&C very welcome  :) Couldn't have got this far without it!

Cheers

Richard
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: Tangled-Universe on April 01, 2013, 09:17:30 PM
I'm curious how this will look combined with the rest of the image.
That noise in the foreground can't be removed if you'd ask me. It's noise from the fractal and no matter how many samples you throw at it, it won't render smoothly, unless you make the cloud a lot denser and that's of course what you don't want.
The cumulus congestus are the only cloud element which could still use some work on shapes and especially lighting.
You can try something like this:
edge sharpness 15
density 0.025
cloud colour 0.25
scatter colour 0.15
propagation 2
propagation mix 0.5
fake internal scattering ~1

The scales of the new clouds look good as far as I can judge from this crop.




Speaking of scales; I agree with Oshyan about the scale of the city.
If you can fix that little scale issue then the image will probably start to work by itself, if you see what I mean.


Cheers,
Martin
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: TheBadger on April 02, 2013, 01:54:30 AM
^^



Me too! The new test looks nice on its own. But that does not give any assurance at all that it will work in context. I do like it though.
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: cyphyr on April 02, 2013, 09:51:11 AM
Rendered a lower res over night. It's shown up a few known issues but nothing new which at this stage is a relief.
I agree about the city, it needs to be re-modeled or abandoned completely and the grass/ground cover is far too vibrant.
It's still missing something though ...
C&C welcome :)
Richard
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: Tangled-Universe on April 02, 2013, 10:15:15 AM
The sky still misses some kind of coherency...how do you say.
The dark grey cloud could be quite a bit brighter, more towards the high altitude clouds.


I think this would/could become more realistic that way, since you've kind of exposed the shot for the sky now, hence the darker shadows in the vegetation. If you'd expose for the vegetation the sky would be blown out.
Therefore I think that the dark grey cloud could be brighter and also your cumulus clouds.

Perhaps when you have fixed this it will fall together more automatically?
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: Dune on April 02, 2013, 03:42:26 PM
I still think your original clouds were better, and the green side is too green. Sorry, Richard.
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: cyphyr on April 02, 2013, 03:54:23 PM
Yes I agree about the "green",  it's way too saturated.  The trouble with the origonal cloud setup is that it made no allowance for the high cirrus and cumulus, both of which I want to keep.
Ahhh well, more tweaking .... A TG'ers work is never done.
 ::)
Richard
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: cyphyr on April 04, 2013, 12:48:42 PM
I'm sorry to say that I will be officially (whatever that means) withdrawing from the contest. A personal family matter will be taking up most of my time over the next few weeks so it is unlikely that I will be able to finish to a good enough quality in the time left.

I do hope to complete the image in the near future; it's been a fun contest and I've learnt a lot in the process.

Good luck everybody, may the best render win.

Cheers

Richard
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: Tangled-Universe on April 04, 2013, 01:09:40 PM
That's so sorry to hear Richard that something happened in your family.
I hope all is well or will get well as soon as possible!

Your work as is now meets the criteria to be accepted, so if you still feel up to it you can submit it.
Nonetheless I'm looking forward to see it finished some day.

Take care!

Martin
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: mhaze on April 04, 2013, 03:23:39 PM
Sorry to hear that, Richard. I hope things get better soon - Mick
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: Dune on April 04, 2013, 03:25:50 PM
Yes, I also wish you well, Richard. Take care and come back soon!
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: TheBadger on April 04, 2013, 04:24:58 PM
Sorry Richard, see you back soon I hope.
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: Hannes on April 04, 2013, 05:16:47 PM
Oh boy, I wish you all the best!
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: inkydigit on April 04, 2013, 10:21:53 PM
I hope everything works out Richard...
I will look forward to seeing this again in the future...
cheers
Jason
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: yossam on April 04, 2013, 10:26:18 PM
Hope everything works out for you and your family.
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: Oshyan on April 06, 2013, 01:21:49 AM
Sorry to hear about your family difficulties Richard, I hope everything ends up as best it can.

- Oshyan
Title: Re: "ROADSIDE" NWDA IMAGE CHALANGE ~ Richard Fraser
Post by: Mor on April 06, 2013, 06:44:45 PM
Sorry to hear Richard. I hope everything ends up well.