A rainy weekend was a good excuse to spend some time testing render engines that I haven’t tried in a while. First up was Thea Render. I was intrigued by a new feature called layer absorption. In theory it allows you to tint materials with absorption. Useful for simulating things like pearl paints.
I converted a model I had from VRay over to Thea and began configuring the absorption type paint. Seemed to work alright, example:
Thea Render test (bottom)
Unfortunately I experienced a lot of crashes using the 3ds Max plugin for Thea Render. Probably would have been more stable if I had exported the scene out to their stand-alone application. However, I prefer working directly in 3ds Max.
Next up, Octane Render. It was enjoyable working with Octane. I like the speed and color correction/glow/glare options. I didn’t experience any crashes with Octane so I was able to produce a few more images with it:
First Octane render.
Octane render (3ds Max plugin) 02
Third Octane Render test (3ds Max plugin)
I wanted to try out some different CG techniques to change the look of my images a bit. I’ll typically light my automotive scenes with a HDR, and that’s it. At times I’ll add a light source, mainly for shadows, but typically the modified HDR’s provide most everything I need for a typical shot.
In these tests, using a model from Christophe Desse, I added a black and white projector map of some tree leaves to a light source. Doing so provided some much needed shadow/light play. The materials are far from perfect here, especially on the tires. However, I definitely like the effect of the projector map on the scene and will be using it in my production work as needed.
Projection mapping or using a light gobo isn’t anything new. However, it’s something I basically stopped using some years ago when I started using HDR/EXR for illumination.
In this final shot I setup some lights as though I were doing a photo shoot of this vehicle on location. The lights were also set to influence the back-plate via the Shadow Catcher Illuminator option in Corona Render. Not a great example for that effect since the back-plate was somewhat bright to begin with. I’ll need to find a nice, dark/moody back-plate next time. However, it does work nicely.
Found THIS canyon HDR set at Turbosquid the other day. It’s a decent set, especially for the current price (free). Figured I’d pass the word along.
Siger Studio has created a free complex fresnel texture map plugin for 3ds Max. It’s a great way to enhance your metal materials (plug it into the reflection color). Some examples, rendered with Corona Renderer.
I’ve placed a 3d printed plastic material sample scene HERE (iray & 3ds Max 2013+). It’s not perfect but it may work in some situations depending on how close the camera is. Otherwise perhaps it would be a good starting point to refine it further.
NOTE: You’ll also need the iray material plugin. It can be found HERE.
Some recently completed renders of the new AMG GTs vehicle from Mercedes-Benz. The vehicle data set & back plate image was provided by MBUSA. I was responsible for lighting/materials/rendering. I used 3ds Max, Corona Render, and HDR Light Studio. I supplied each image to MBUSA in a layered file format (PSD) for final retouching and modifications by them.
Some additional info: The images were rendered at 8k to 12k resolution. I typically provide the layered PSD file with multiple variations that can be used or combined/blended to achieve different looks (different reflection passes, lights on or off, etc.). For kicks I’ll usually even include ‘my version’ in the file, which is just my own post-processed interpretation of the image. It’s usually discarded but I’m sure my fellow CG’ers know how difficult it is to not do some post-processing on our renders.
As an example, here was ‘my version’ of the yellow AMG GTs on the racetrack image (reduced scale):