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Old 05-23-2017, 02:08 AM   #1
Brian Redoutey
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 8
The Fountain Room

Hello. This is my first posting in many years. I'm undecided if this belongs in the professional feedback forum or here but, IMO it's about 95% but not completely done. I'm hoping for a critique and opinion of this project.

As for the scene, I feel it may be better with a metal band going across the back wall and the walls but maybe not. It could draw focus away from the fountain too much. I know I need to rerender with clamping turned on to get rid of firefly noise. I'm also a little undecided on the surfacing of the fountain. In general I'm curious what others think of this as a whole.

I wanted to depict a place of calm and tranquility but give it a bit of a setting. Somewhere in stone cut caves but very old caves. A place that use to be special when the rain water came and filled the fountain basins and overflowed into the drains. Almost a place of worship of water. But a very obvious lack of technology. No phones, no advanced metallurgy, no electricity. Only sunlight to illuminate.

At the same time I didn't want to go highly decorative. I wanted to go mainly minimalistic, but use that to detract from the idea of it being a place of worship. No ornate stonework, nothing too fancy for reflective shiny metal other than something to note the door frame and stone work.

I plan to add volumetric lighting but I don't want to go too strong with it. I used Maya, Arnold, and Mari. Lighting it with a SkyDome light. I did run into some heavy rendertimes in the process, to my knowledge it's because I'm doing an interior shot with with the sky dome light as the main light source, which results in noise, and in turn requires sampling being turned up. Kind of wondering if anyone knows a better approach. To be clear, it's a aiSkyDomeLight with the color channel conncted to the aiPhysicalSky. Which is known to be noisy for interior scenes, according to documentation.

I also wonder how well others feel the bump mapping is working. Though I ran into some kind of glitch when I went past 1.0 with the value on it. I may have committed operator error (grayscale image versus a purplish looking heightfield, tangents and other option), I might have set it wrong.

Also wonder if anyone feels it would look better if it were 'less flat', meaning if the floors and walls were a bit uneven, same bump mapping though.

Thank you for taking a look.

Last edited by BrianRedoutey : 05-23-2017 at 02:11 AM.
Old 05-23-2017, 05:28 AM   #2
Madness. Madness, I say!
InfernalDarkness's Avatar
Sho Pi
CG arch/viz
Seattle, USA
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 5,777
To be honest, your bump map isn't working. The lighting looks promising especially if you toss in some volumetrics - though I don't use Arnold and can't say how that will look, or how efficient it would be compared to mental ray.

I think it's mostly the hard, polygonal lines making the scene look CGI here though. Those should at least be rounded-corner shaded or beveled in your model itself. Look how rough the stone looks? Those edges should be bumpy too, not hard and infinitely sharp. Those stone steps look great. Go for edges like those.

On the fountain itself, use a displacement map. Since it's not in direct light a bump map isn't going to work well there. Even if the displacement is tiny, it'll help a lot. Right now it looks really smooth compared to the rest of your scene, even though it looks like it's a similar stone.
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