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General => Image Sharing => NWDA Roadside Contest => Topic started by: choronr on March 22, 2013, 04:11:51 AM

Title: choronr WIP Roadside
Post by: choronr on March 22, 2013, 04:11:51 AM
If I were to continue with this image, I'd call it 'Something Ominous this way comes'; but, not really happy with it. I'd like to request comments that say 'dump it and start all over'; or, 'continue on'.

Really tried to get a light source below the UFO and the mountain to illuminate the clouds with a reddish glow but couldn't get it to work. Tried other sun positions for a more dramatic atmosphere to no avail.

So, dump it and start all over; or, continue on ...would appreciate some suggestions. 
Title: Re: choronr WIP Roadside
Post by: Dune on March 22, 2013, 07:00:38 AM
Definitely continue!! Great start, really great. The distant clouds together with the small ufo really gives a menacing feel, don't change that. Very subtle and still menacing. I would work on the car and person (better model) and some of the stuff on the road. The humps that are there now should make way for more subtle debris, and perhaps some refinements to the road surface.
But don't dump this, Bob.
Title: Re: choronr WIP Roadside
Post by: Hannes on March 22, 2013, 07:58:07 AM
I agree with Dune. CONTINUE!! I like it.
Title: Re: choronr WIP Roadside
Post by: TheBadger on March 22, 2013, 01:46:52 PM
Good scale, good start.
Title: Re: choronr WIP Roadside
Post by: FrankB on March 22, 2013, 01:55:16 PM
it's already very good! Sure there is work to be done tweaking the details, but you can do it! The scene itself starts out really interesting  :)
Title: Re: choronr WIP Roadside
Post by: Hetzen on March 22, 2013, 02:31:48 PM
I agree with Frank. Some detail in the road and right hand slope would be areas that can be worked on. Maybe a darker atmosphere behind that really good hero cloud and some general reflectivity would make this a good scene with or without the objects.
Title: Re: choronr WIP Roadside
Post by: choronr on March 22, 2013, 03:46:29 PM
Thanks to you all and your encouragements. I guess when I've spent so much time working with this one I probably got tired of looking at it. I'll take a short breather and get back to it - time is running short.

Thanks again.
Title: Re: choronr WIP Roadside
Post by: Jo Kariboo on March 22, 2013, 09:50:29 PM
The clouds are excellent and are appropriate very well with this flying sorcerer.
Title: Re: choronr WIP Roadside
Post by: inkydigit on March 22, 2013, 10:47:41 PM
I love it Bob... keep going!
:)
Title: Re: choronr WIP Roadside
Post by: otakar on March 22, 2013, 10:53:30 PM
Why dumping it? Spend the time you'd use creating something else on refinements here and you have a very competitive entry, no doubt.
Title: Re: choronr WIP Roadside
Post by: choronr on March 23, 2013, 12:20:10 AM
Jo, Jason and Otakar ...thanks to you all. I'm beginning the process of making a number of changes ... some are trial and error; but, I think I'm getting there.
Title: Re: choronr WIP Roadside
Post by: Oshyan on March 23, 2013, 03:28:22 AM
Agree with the others, continue! *But* if you ask me, don't be tempted to change the major details, the structure and layout of the scene, and the things that are already working, like the vegetation, composition, sky, etc. I feel like some pieces kind of "go off the rails" through additional tweaking, and this usually, in my view, occurs because people are tempted to change *too many things at once*.


Personally I think this needs *relatively* minor work from here. As others suggested, make the bumps and wear on the road more subtle and integrated, improve the models for the car and figure, fix up the road edge a bit (asphalt overlapping rocks, etc.), and give a bit more detail/texture to the large mountain shape(s) on the right. I'm not sure I would even touch the sky at all, I *like* the UFO being a bit subtle, and the large clouds add drama without losing that subtlety. It's really an interesting composition actually, I could see a real, historical UFO photo looking like this.

Keep going!

- Oshyan
Title: Re: choronr WIP Roadside
Post by: choronr on March 23, 2013, 05:05:19 AM
Oshyan; and, all of you make me feel good about this contest project, the community, - and, the tweaking of the image I'm pursuing now.

Thank you so much for your ideas and suggestions.   
Title: Re: choronr WIP Roadside
Post by: choronr on March 30, 2013, 01:01:21 AM
I think I've taken this one as far as I can go. Made several changes including what appears to be rain on the road. I have been in rainstorms where a short blast of heavy rain comes and goes leaving the road looking a mite flooded as it does here.

Many thanks to all who contributed to my knowledge of the many elements used here. Now to email this one to NWDA.
Title: Re: choronr WIP Roadside
Post by: Oshyan on March 30, 2013, 01:11:50 AM
I quite like all the changes, except how very, very rough the road is now. Maybe intended to look wet, but it just looks like it's been roughed up too much, to my eye. I know you don't like to tweak beyond when you consider something "done", and I tend to agree that you want to avoid over-tweaking too, but given this is a contest, I think it's worth considering just that last minor change to the road surface. We'll see if other people weigh in with different perspectives, perhaps it's just me.

- Oshyan
Title: Re: choronr WIP Roadside
Post by: FrankB on March 30, 2013, 01:32:39 AM
you're right Oshyan, I thought exactly the same. Just fix that road surface and we'll have a very competitive image, and certainly a very spectacular scene overall.
Come on Bob, one more iteration, just on the road surface!
Title: Re: choronr WIP Roadside
Post by: zaxxon on March 30, 2013, 01:43:26 AM
The 'ominous mood' is really well portrayed. Perhaps in the spirit of the competition and 'photorealistic' it could be pushed a bit further, but as is it's pretty darn effective!
Title: Re: choronr WIP Roadside
Post by: choronr on March 30, 2013, 03:01:46 AM
Thank you Oshyan, I needed that look from you. I'll wait and see what others say during the next day or two. Really appreciate your comment. I see one other area that could need improvement as well.
Title: Re: choronr WIP Roadside
Post by: choronr on March 30, 2013, 04:34:26 AM
Thanks Frank and Zaxxon for the push. I'll try the best I know to remedy the issues.
Title: Re: choronr WIP Roadside
Post by: Dune on March 30, 2013, 07:00:36 AM
I agree of course with the observation about the road. If you want some wet areas, you'd better use a quite large (very hard=black-white) perlin or billowed fractal, minimum size 50cm, or some warped simple shapes, which you use to blend a no color surface shader with a RT reflective shader as a child. That on top of the road shaders. Restrict it to the front area, in the distance it might look too patchy.
I would also add another fill light or use more GI to fill in some very black shadows. And consider dumping the car and guy. It might even be more photo-realistic without them (and less of a story, more like a quick snapshot), as if the viewer is alone on that road, watching that quiet ufo appear. You might even consider using some blur and a tilted angle, as if the viewer hastily and frightened (shivering with fear) took his proof snapshot.
Good luck, Bob.
Title: Re: choronr WIP Roadside
Post by: choronr on March 31, 2013, 01:22:23 AM
I agree of course with the observation about the road. If you want some wet areas, you'd better use a quite large (very hard=black-white) perlin or billowed fractal, minimum size 50cm, or some warped simple shapes, which you use to blend a no color surface shader with a RT reflective shader as a child. That on top of the road shaders. Restrict it to the front area, in the distance it might look too patchy.
I would also add another fill light or use more GI to fill in some very black shadows. And consider dumping the car and guy. It might even be more photo-realistic without them (and less of a story, more like a quick snapshot), as if the viewer is alone on that road, watching that quiet ufo appear. You might even consider using some blur and a tilted angle, as if the viewer hastily and frightened (shivering with fear) took his proof snapshot.
Good luck, Bob.
Thanks all. Here is a 'quick render'.

Ulco, think I'll forgo the road wetness before I screw up what I now have. I did increase GI and lowered the road roughness. Doing so appears as an improvement - hope you agree.

I wanted to retain the car/guy in that it is a part of the triangle: UFO at the apex; Saguaro at the right; and, the car/guy on the left. I feel this setup augments the scene. I'll hold off the final render for a few days and continue some final tweaking.

Bob
Title: Re: choronr WIP Roadside
Post by: Dune on March 31, 2013, 06:37:11 AM
The road is still quite rough, maybe use smaller sized tarmac 'stones'. And how about some more rock structure on the right? It's too smooth. Maybe some voronoi/ridged erosion channels (stretched perpendicular to road) and some rock debris at bottom.
Title: Re: choronr WIP Roadside
Post by: choronr on April 01, 2013, 03:42:12 AM
The road is still quite rough, maybe use smaller sized tarmac 'stones'. And how about some more rock structure on the right? It's too smooth. Maybe some voronoi/ridged erosion channels (stretched perpendicular to road) and some rock debris at bottom.
Thank you Ulco, you are a true taskmaster. I will be trying to enhance the scene with your suggestions. Each item shouldn't be too difficult to achieve ...we'll see.
Title: Re: choronr WIP Roadside
Post by: choronr on April 04, 2013, 05:38:52 AM
A quick render with the latest adjustments for the road and the mountain on the right adding some stone and additional plants. Will make one more adjustment on the final hopefully improving the lighting.
Title: Re: choronr WIP Roadside
Post by: gregsandor on April 04, 2013, 07:08:50 AM
Nice image so far.  I would suggest you modify the color of the road.  It looks like fresh asphalt that has been swept clean of dust and washed thoroughly of all the red dust of the surrounding landscape.  The rocks around it are eroded and bleached and dusted, it should be too.  It can still be a new road, but put some dust and effect of sunshine on it.
Title: Re: choronr WIP Roadside
Post by: Dune on April 04, 2013, 07:47:29 AM
That's good advise, and I still think the road should be smoother on the whole. And add a non-RT reflective shader with a little reflection.
Title: Re: choronr WIP Roadside
Post by: choronr on April 04, 2013, 07:25:35 PM
Thanks Greg and Ulco. I'm playing with those ideas now.
Title: Re: choronr WIP Roadside
Post by: choronr on April 08, 2013, 04:32:15 AM
Seven days to go; and; tweaking goes on. Most going on this last session included some improvements to the roadway including some dust scatterings and adjustments for better 'road-rash'.

In all, I'm feeling this is ready for entering - your thoughts please; and, thank you.
Title: Re: choronr WIP Roadside
Post by: Oshyan on April 08, 2013, 04:40:21 AM
Looking really good! I like the subtle dust on the road, color of the surrounding land. And the road looks appropriately worn, but still realistically smooth. My only remaining comment is that cactus on the right looks rather over-saturated and bright, especially as most of it is in shadow. I would make sure it has no (or very little) translucency, and certainly no luminosity. In a previous image there was a bush in front of it and I thought that helped break up its very straight profile, which was also good.

- Oshyan
Title: Re: choronr WIP Roadside
Post by: choronr on April 08, 2013, 04:54:35 AM
Looking really good! I like the subtle dust on the road, color of the surrounding land. And the road looks appropriately worn, but still realistically smooth. My only remaining comment is that cactus on the right looks rather over-saturated and bright, especially as most of it is in shadow. I would make sure it has no (or very little) translucency, and certainly no luminosity. In a previous image there was a bush in front of it and I thought that helped break up its very straight profile, which was also good.

- Oshyan
Thanks Oshyan, I'll have a look at the cactus settings. Interesting you mention the bush on a previous image. Why it is no longer there is a mystery to me. In the earliest images, it wasn't there either; then, it appeared in that last image you are referring to. Once again, in this latest image, it disappeared again. An anomaly of too much tweaking I think.

This image took a little more than 20 hours to render. I'll go back and see what can be done with the cactus settings.
Title: Re: choronr WIP Roadside
Post by: Oshyan on April 08, 2013, 04:57:30 AM
To save time, if that's the only thing you want to tweak, you could just do a crop render of only the cactus. I think that is OK with the rules of the contest. If you're using GI, just remember to give some GI prepass padding.

- Oshyan
Title: Re: choronr WIP Roadside
Post by: choronr on April 08, 2013, 05:25:28 AM
To save time, if that's the only thing you want to tweak, you could just do a crop render of only the cactus. I think that is OK with the rules of the contest. If you're using GI, just remember to give some GI prepass padding.

- Oshyan
The major components of the cactus don't have translucency or luminosity. I think the only thing to do is reduce their diffuse settings to something less than the default of 0.5.
Title: Re: choronr WIP Roadside
Post by: Oshyan on April 08, 2013, 05:42:11 AM
Hmm, I'm not sure that will fix it, but worth trying in a crop I guess (definitely don't re-render the entire thing just to test these changes). I think what's actually odd are the black stripes down it, almost looks like a texture issue, though it may just be dark shadows or something. I'm not sure, but it's a bit odd. Maybe just not the best model?

- Oshyan
Title: Re: choronr WIP Roadside
Post by: choronr on April 08, 2013, 05:52:24 AM
Hmm, I'm not sure that will fix it, but worth trying in a crop I guess (definitely don't re-render the entire thing just to test these changes). I think what's actually odd are the black stripes down it, almost looks like a texture issue, though it may just be dark shadows or something. I'm not sure, but it's a bit odd. Maybe just not the best model?

- Oshyan
Some years ago, I took some photos of Saguaros for 'Lightning' who created three cacti models. With a few exceptions, they are the best I have found. Those made by XFrog are segmented; Saguros are not segmented like some other cacti.

I'll work with the diffuse settings to see if I can get some improved results.
Title: Re: choronr WIP Roadside
Post by: Dune on April 08, 2013, 06:56:55 AM
Great work, Bob. The road is superb now. I agree about the cactus, there's a repetition in it. Perhaps you can color it procedurally? Or just replace it by another or a tree stump or bush. Good luck with the final details!
Title: Re: choronr WIP Roadside
Post by: choronr on April 08, 2013, 03:32:52 PM
Thanks Ulco, I'll try darkening the model by adjusting the diffuse setting of some of the object's components. Hopefully, this will do it.
Title: Re: choronr WIP Roadside
Post by: inkydigit on April 08, 2013, 03:41:49 PM
great update Bob!
the final straight!
:) cheers
Jason
Title: Re: choronr WIP Roadside
Post by: otakar on April 08, 2013, 03:58:05 PM
Yeah, the render looks very close to finished to me. Dramatic clouds for sure.

As for plants suddenly not showing up where they were before happens to me all the time. Usually it's due to me reopening a project and forgetting to generate a heighfield or adding a surface shader with displacement and forgetting to check the "Sit on Terrain" shader for populations. I wish there was a setting to reset them all to the last shader before the planet node. Or the requested population group function would solve that particular problem as well...

Anyway, really nice entry.
Title: Re: choronr WIP Roadside
Post by: choronr on April 08, 2013, 04:23:58 PM
Thanks Jason and otakar. Looks like the adjustments to the 'diffuse' settings to the cactus did the trick to darken it worked. However, I'll have to re-render the image ...ugh! 20+ more hours!
Title: Re: choronr WIP Roadside
Post by: Mor on April 08, 2013, 04:37:12 PM
The road is looking very good now. Keep on pushing the last minute tweaks, you surely are close to the finishing line.  :)
Title: Re: choronr WIP Roadside
Post by: choronr on April 08, 2013, 05:38:12 PM
Thanks Mor, working with TG2 enables one a doctorate degree in patience. 
Title: Re: choronr WIP Roadside
Post by: Dune on April 08, 2013, 05:48:18 PM
20+ hours? You don't need a very big image to win. What system do you work on and what are your detail specs?
Title: Re: choronr WIP Roadside
Post by: choronr on April 08, 2013, 09:41:07 PM
20+ hours? You don't need a very big image to win. What system do you work on and what are your detail specs?
I don't mind the 20 hour render Ulco. The image size is about right and close to what I usually render. I use Win7, 64 bit on a machine I built about 6 years ago. Intel quad-core with 8GB of RAM. As soon as I find my detailed specs, I'll post them.
Title: Re: choronr WIP Roadside
Post by: choronr on April 09, 2013, 01:17:46 AM
Rendering is at Detail 0.75 and AA is 6.
Title: Re: choronr WIP Roadside
Post by: TheBadger on April 09, 2013, 02:24:36 AM
Its a good scene man. It has a real decent feel to it. Some good old fashion Syfy.

Adding the photo treatment should finish it off nicely. MAybe a historic look, like it fell out of a Roswell file? Don't render it to real though, Jesse Ventura will find you, and ask you questions in a very stern voice.
Title: Re: choronr WIP Roadside
Post by: choronr on April 09, 2013, 03:55:08 AM
Its a good scene man. It has a real decent feel to it. Some good old fashion Syfy.

Adding the photo treatment should finish it off nicely. MAybe a historic look, like it fell out of a Roswell file? Don't render it to real though, Jesse Ventura will find you, and ask you questions in a very stern voice.
I think George Noory will get to me first.
Title: Re: choronr WIP Roadside
Post by: Dune on April 09, 2013, 05:45:28 AM
The 6 years does it, I guess, as an i7 64 bit and with your specs it should render within a few hours. But good that you don't mind, it's a great image to wait for (and have a drink while you do it).
Title: Re: choronr WIP Roadside
Post by: choronr on April 09, 2013, 06:09:10 AM
The 6 years does it, I guess, as an i7 64 bit and with your specs it should render within a few hours. But good that you don't mind, it's a great image to wait for (and have a drink while you do it).
Thanks Ulco, its cooking right now. If I get lucky, I'll be building another system with the i7, 64 bit and some SSDs.
I played with the cactus settings and hopefully this render will be better. And, having a beer now as the render works on while listening to 'Coast to Coast' radio (a four hour program that goes from 10 pm to 2 am). Wish you guys could hear it. Go to coasttocoastam.com for the site.
Title: Re: choronr WIP Roadside
Post by: Dune on April 09, 2013, 06:15:29 AM
Cheers Bob. It's too early for beer here though, still trying to wake up.
Title: Re: choronr WIP Roadside
Post by: choronr on April 09, 2013, 06:26:53 AM
Cheers Bob. It's too early for beer here though, still trying to wake up.
Getting ready soon for a good night's rest. Had some high winds and desert dust today with light rain this evening. Will be cleaning up the mess tomorrow.
Title: Re: choronr WIP Roadside
Post by: FrankB on April 09, 2013, 08:34:36 AM
Its a good scene man. It has a real decent feel to it. Some good old fashion Syfy.

Adding the photo treatment should finish it off nicely. MAybe a historic look, like it fell out of a Roswell file? Don't render it to real though, Jesse Ventura will find you, and ask you questions in a very stern voice.

Actually, there is a contest rule preventing what you suggest, Michael:

Quote
"Photorealism" means that the submitted render should look, at close as you can get it, like a photograph made of the scene by any modern camera with a general purpose lens. Submissions that attempt to emulate vintage photo realism, or the look of worn and bleached photographs do not qualify. (Rule amended March 7th)"

Regards,
Frank
Title: Re: choronr WIP Roadside
Post by: inkydigit on April 09, 2013, 12:17:23 PM
hi Bob...I have a 2007/8 iMac... so I know what a long render feels like, I wish iMacs were more 'upgradeable'...maybe I'll save up for a mac pro next time!
:)
J
Title: Re: choronr WIP Roadside
Post by: Oshyan on April 09, 2013, 08:15:57 PM
Don't worry about it Inky, Mac Pro's aren't really upgradeable either. ;) (aside from memory and hard drive space, neither of which helps with render time)

- Oshyan
Title: Re: choronr WIP Roadside
Post by: choronr on April 10, 2013, 04:16:11 AM
OK, I have my hammer and nail in hand; and, here it is.
Title: Re: choronr WIP Roadside
Post by: yossam on April 10, 2013, 05:03:55 AM
I like.................... ;)
Title: Re: choronr WIP Roadside
Post by: Oshyan on April 10, 2013, 05:19:20 AM
I'll not dispute you calling it a day. It's a fantastic image. :)

- Oshyan
Title: Re: choronr WIP Roadside
Post by: choronr on April 10, 2013, 05:34:16 AM
Thank you Yossam and Oshyan. This has been an enjoyable experience.
Title: Re: choronr WIP Roadside
Post by: Hannes on April 10, 2013, 05:47:53 AM
Great image! I really like the mood.
Title: Re: choronr WIP Roadside
Post by: choronr on April 10, 2013, 06:11:37 AM
Thank you Hannes. One could go on tweaking for a long, long time. Funny how some good ideas emerge when its too late to accomplish in order to meet the deadline.
Title: Re: choronr WIP Roadside
Post by: Dune on April 10, 2013, 06:47:27 AM
You have done a great job, Bob. It's turned out really well. Subtle and still threatening. Now hope for the best....... :-\
Title: Re: choronr WIP Roadside
Post by: choronr on April 10, 2013, 06:57:37 AM
Thank you Ulco. Yours, and suggestions of others have helped this come together. Thanks to all.
Title: Re: choronr WIP Roadside
Post by: Jo Kariboo on April 11, 2013, 03:37:32 AM
Very nice and beautifull composition !!!  :)