o Step 10: Z-depth pass

This is a real workhorse render pass. A 16-bit Z-depth pass will allow you to simulate depth-of-field in your composite instead of at render time. Not only will this save you significant time—raytracers are horribly slow with depth of field—but it will give you a lot more control of the focus in the composite. You can also use Z-depth to add atmosphere, desaturate with distance, or any other number of effects that are simulated with depth. All these passes are powerful but when combined, give you complete control over your composite! Try to get as close as you can in the render, but the real massaging will be done in the composite. It's often much more time efficient to make tweaks in the composite instead of having to go back to 3D rendering.

128 ESSENCE The Face

Lights, camera, render

Lighting and rendering Monika

O Step 11: No SSS

The curse of "plastic looking skin" Is most llkelv ff Most respectable rendering packages have th<ahiilT i T uslnfl SSS days. I von though it can bo more expensive enlVwith? ^ SSS these you will have a very hard time getting similar resuir. Ii h * "tflan w^10"1 My recommendation is this: unless you ,re on atl ^ eXiensive trickerV your skinned character will bo seen in manv tinllnl fH production where better to let the computers spend their timerend* L 11 is Probab'V

your lime massaging the compl ' "wring, and for you to spend

tiltHCt Ts,

Lights, camera, render

Lighting and rendering Monika

O Step 12: SSS

Sub-surface scattering is a technique that simulates the bouncing of light through translucent objects, such as skin. By combining a variety of texture maps to address the specular, bump, and color of the various dermal layers, you can get pretty good looking skin. For this project, we are using mental ray's SSS Fast Skin method, meaning we are not scattering photons below the skin surface—we are just simulating the effect. Remember the light map—that's where the scatter light is stored.

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