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Thread: The Different Forms of 3d

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    Default The Different Forms of 3d

    This is really just food for thought, but I've noticed a tremendous difference in the style of 3d in print, movies, video games, and the industry our company is based in (for those who don't know, we provide training software with different levels of interactivity). The question is why is there such a difference. All of these (unless done as an artistic project) are under the constraints of a budget. You hear that pretty often I'm sure but what does it mean? If you have a certain amount of money to work with you can only pay your 3d content developers a certain number of hours. Proper planning and coordination can give you a feel for how long you have, what you need to create, and what major areas of importance. This can be used to determine how much detail you can put in and where you need to put it. Additional considerations are post-production/processing. Cinema differs in that there needs to be a certain level of believability in your characters. Don't confuse this with realism, they're totally different. If you've seen Antz or Finding Nemo then the difference should be pretty obvious. The characters had a personality though. A substantial amount of time is spent not only in modeling characters but in bringing those characters to life. Since developers for cinema typically have to compete for their jobs the work evolves itself. Video games are very similar with the exception that they are based on platform technology. This gets complicated even more by computer systems and differing requirements. Quite often the developers have to cut back the level of detail on certain aspects because of restraints determined by the target audience and the technology projections of the estimated release date. In the gaming industry the production timeline is typically rigid because of how competitive the industry is. In the field of educational 3d the level of detail expected can fluctuate wildly. Sometimes a simulation is needed where realism is the key and sometimes simply showing representative objects best serves the objective at hand. Print is probably the hardest industry on 3d artists because you not only have to create the objects and textures, but light the scene set up the camera and hopefully capture the exact message/feeling you were going for. These are only some of the reasons for differing styles and level of detail and quality, so feel free to let me know your thoughts on this.
    EDIT: I originaly posted this in my companies forums but thought it would be appropriate to put a copy here as well. I didn't take into account the engineering respects of 3d (my degree is in multimedia so I often unintentionally overlook this aspect). This is ironic since most of my modelling is closely based on engineering principles.
    Last edited by mlawler; 2005-12-09 at 08:44 PM.

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    I could stop if I wanted to de-co1's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Different Forms of 3d

    Quote Originally Posted by mlawler
    This is really just food for thought, but I've noticed a tremendous difference in the style of 3d in print, movies, video games, and the industry our company is based in (for those who don't know, we provide training software with different levels of interactivity). The question is why is there such a difference.
    Naturally. Different industries, in a sense have completely different target markets, and then you still, as you say, have to throw in those who do it as a personal thing, often taking the quality and detail of their work to a whole new level.

    The same exists even within a specific industry... again, based upon time-frames and budgets. I work in the architectural field, and am desperately trying to teach myself realism through rendering and lighting techniques. I feel I am quite proficient in my 3d modeling and applying materials, but the nature of my work wouldn't allow me to progress any further. We would receive a project, and the deadline would be set... within that time you have to develop a concept, draw it up in 2D, create 2D presentations, create a 3D model, render and include in the presentation - all this, very often, had to be completed within a matter of days... No time to fiddle with great realistic renders.

    The money was made in selling the concept, and the 3D was simply a tool...

    As far as advertising and movies go, the money is made by selling that final product, so the quality, realism and slickness do indeed HAVE to be at the level to achieve the desired financial rewards... Even here though, there are your typical time and budget constraints - fortunately for those artists, these constraints afford a greater amount of freedom, and the clients are paying for that final result, and not only the ideas or concepts beforehand!

    Add to which, the greater the industry, the more artists involved... A friend of mine knew someone who worked on Finding Nemo, and seemingly all this person did was animate and work with bubbles...! If it's true or not I don't know, but read any of the end titles on a movie or video game, and you'll see how many people are involved.

    So, yeah, take bodies, plus cash, plus large time-frames, and it it's more understandable. I have a friend here who does realistic architectural renders, and his time frames are close to a month, depending on the project...
    David


    "Artists to my mind are the real architects of change, and not the political legislators who implement change after the fact."

    William S Burroughs

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    Default Re: The Different Forms of 3d

    I know where you're coming from about the 3d simply being a tool. I hear quite often how it doesn't need to be perfect when I just want it to be believable. Fortunately, here and there I've managed to sneak in extra attempts at re-usable lighting solutions and refine some practices to allow time for tweaking. I don't know what kind of lights you use but I find a skylight provides excellent GI but needs to be tuned down to about .7 or .8 while using a target direct from the side angle of the object to provide fill/contrast. I usually change the color of the light from pure white to slightly off-white...this makes a bigger difference than you'd think. I guess pointing out here that while this isn't the best approach for quality when your emphasis is production like de-co1 and myself you sometimes have to do whatever it takes to get a decent picture. An important note about that lighting system though, if you use it you're going to have to tweak your materials unless you set them up after the lighting system and experiment with shadows being cast from one or both, sometimes the scenes have a life of their own.

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    Default Re: The Different Forms of 3d

    Unfortunately I have never had a system capable or powerful enough to use Mental Ray, or even use several basic lights (spots, omnis etc) with shadow maps on scanline without it crashing. I was also only using MAX 4 and VIZ 3 up until the beginning of this year.

    As a result, I have never really ventured into skylights and GI successfully. That should all change in the beginning of next year I hope with a new PC.

    My lighting set-ups would include 9 target spots spaced all around the model (to give a general ambient light and to create highlights in animations), and then only one sunlight for external scenes. But yes, the sunlight colour would be set to off-white (on the yellow side) with raytrace shadows.
    David


    "Artists to my mind are the real architects of change, and not the political legislators who implement change after the fact."

    William S Burroughs

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