Sunday, July 26, 2009

Astana enhanced, part 17 - rendering progress

(Astana was a hurried video project where a camera flies through 1300 acres of property. Now, to answer my question, "what if we'd been given more time," I'm enhancing the entire neighborhood.)

frame 3276 (click for full-res)

It's months later and the rendering is almost halfway completed. Much of the time was spent figuring out the best settings to eliminate flicker without losing too much rendering speed. Flicker is caused by anti-aliasing, global illumination maps, and shader interpolation, if the settings aren't just right.

resolution comparison
(Each of these details accounts for less
than 1% of the entire screen area.)

After a few early tests, I abandoned my HD-res goal. HD, while beautiful in its degree of detail, can take 8 times as long to render as NTSC, and I simply don't have the computing power to crunch those numbers expeditiously. However, HD is the industry standard, so its hurdles can't be avoided forever.

This project has been valuable instruction for rendering gigantic scenes in a timely manner. I learned - for videos longer than 30 seconds - to render backgrounds and moving objects separately and composite them afterward. This will result in speedier renderings, higher-quality video, and greater control in post.

I also learned - for longer videos - to avoid global illumination (GI). This is particularly obvious in the wake of the HD standard. Two of the goals of my next video project will be GI alternatives and fast HD renders.

Below is a lower-res version of the video so far. This one contains audio, so adjust your speakers if necessary.

approximately 40% of frames completed

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