It has been a LONG time since this has been touched here on CGTalk - mainly because over the past few months our work had ground to a stand still due to personal obligations and other things. However a lot of things have been done since the last post in July, so much so that it would be almost impossible to cover it all in one post so I will stretch it out over a series (over time of course).
First thing I wanted to address is that because of ‘Project Widow’ and our involvement with the Aqsis team, the recent Aqsis release actually has an updated OpenEXR display driver that handles multiple layers. This was a direct result of our desire to have it added, in fact during the summer and up until the release date we were testing out the daily builds. An improved Piqsl framebuffer was also developed because of our suggestions.
Mosaic was also worked on quite a bit during this time. Since the OpenEXR display driver was being worked on, Eric had also developed the handling of that particular driver into Mosaic itself so that there was no longer a need to manually type in exactly the kind of image type needed for a particular AOV function, instead it was all there ready to added to the scene export option as a preset.
As shown below in the Blender composite nodes - an example of the Multilayer OpenEXR display driver and how it was designed to work within Blender in post.
The thing that did fail, something that is still in the air, is the file control system. At first, Paul Gregory (creator of Aqsis) had developed a script based version control system called Arachnid, which was built on top of Unison. The testing did well at first with small files, though when it came down to working with the hundreds of files that have accumulated so far, some of them quite large in size, it started to choke. Currently we are still using the Dropbox application and that has served us very well simply because it is the only one that has not failed at all. SVN was also considered and still may be but so far Dropbox has performed well and on the free account we still have yet to fill our space to %50.
Now to the good stuff…
These images were from this past late summer, made to showcase during the Animux Bird of a Feather meeting during the 2009 SIGGRAPH.
The set design is pretty much the same, though some of the shaders have been reworked due to some issues, or visual appeal. Also - pay no mind to the render error in the second image, nor the lack of shadow maps in the last two images. The only REAL quality work was that first image in the series.
One of the newest ideas we are working on right now is using image maps in Blender to control varying amounts of dirt, grime or rust on several of the objects, mainly for visual appeal as some the shaders seemed too procedural and did not follow reality. This method also is allowing us to kind of “paint” the dirt on where we see fit, all of which is done by modifying the RSL code a bit. Grant you this is still in the “R+D” stage but so far our testing has gone fairly well.
Our main subject - the spider, really has NOT gone under any modifications since this past summer. The only thing worked recently is fixing up particular bad weight paints that control the hair. This image below is a render, just not with hair.
Mind you all these renders are done using Aqsis 1.6.0 (or a developmental version), none of them came from Blender itself.
Again - long overdue post and hopefully more to come very soon. Now that we are pretty much done with modeling, we are setting up scenes and will soon be working on animation. While our original timeline was for a few months of work, it looks as if this will go on well into next year, we are hoping that this will be complete by SIGGRAPH 2010. Time will tell though!