[Bf-committers] From Farsthary another anouncement

Matt Ebb matt at mke3.net
Thu Feb 5 03:02:33 CET 2009

On Thu, Feb 5, 2009 at 10:44 AM, Yves Poissant <ypoissant2 at videotron.ca> wrote:

> I like this description. This is very similar situation in about every
> rendering pipeline today. A lot of human efforts are put into getting the
> look right. First by trying to tweak the multitude of material and light
> knobs around, even adding yet more specialized knobs. And then, because this
> invariably fail, by rendering in multitude of  layers and trying to force
> the look through the use of a compositor and a lot of labor. The SFX and
> entertainment industry if filled with rows after rows of specialist who
> tweak ad vitam eternam this and that until the magic recipie is found that
> makes the render look right.
> The problem is that a lot of jobs depends on the current insane pipeline so
> that won't disapear tomorrow.

Well, I agree with that to an extent but not fully. There's always a
need to tweak things, either in shaders or in comp, and it's still
extremely useful to have custom shading ability (programmable shaders,
nodes, whatever).

I see it as there being different types of tweaking though. There's
the bad sort of 'obligatory tweaking' which in blender is just the
same old steps you have to go through every time to set something up,
or fiddling with technical values in order to make things work
properly, and there's also a good kind of tweaking, which is more
about adjusting the visual output for art directed control eg. "I want
the hair to kick up more rim light from behind, so the silhouette's
more dramatic".

What I dislike in Blender is the amount of the first kind of tweaking
required. A lot of it is arcane fiddling that's required to get a
decent result, rather than visually crafting the look of an already
decent result. Pipelines in big feature films like you describe are
only a small part of the industry, where there's months to do look and
shader development. For example, at the studio where I'm working, we
just got given a week to do a 15s fully CG tv commercial, so in these
cases like this, or even just for non-hero objects it would really
help to be able to set up materials that you can be pretty sure will
look plausible, and react to light predictably, but also that can be
done simply.

The other aspect to this is in ease of use of the renderer. IMO most
of the materials in the aforementioned Blender material repository
site aren't very good (indeed that green glass material isn't even
using fresnel reflections) and I attribute part of the blame to this
being that Blender's material system can be awkward to use, especially
for more physically plausible results. Lately I've been trying to
teach other people at the studio Blender's material system, so they
can hopefully fill in for me while I'm gone, and it's quite difficult
for them to pick it up. Things like the tricks needed for strand
shading, and raytracing refractions have been particularly hard since
it can be easy to forget what to do even after being told. Adding
simpler materials to alleviate this kind of forced tweaking would not
only make it more convenient for getting work done quickly, but also
make it much easier for new users to adopt Blender's renderer.



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