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General => Image Sharing => Topic started by: pokoy on April 23, 2014, 11:02:09 AM

Title: Stormy Monument Valley (kind of)
Post by: pokoy on April 23, 2014, 11:02:09 AM
Been waiting for so long to create something in TG3... finally!

I've been to Bodensee (Lake Constance) with my family last week and after we had impressive looking cloudy weather for the most time I wondered if it was possible to create similar clouds in TG and was surprised to find it's easier than I thought. Needed some terrain and finally played a bit with the Strata shader.
I need to work more on the terrain, especially the foreground, and want to make the lighting a bit more dramatic but wanted to share this one anyways as it already looks kind of finished.
Title: Re: Stormy Monument Valley (kind of)
Post by: archonforest on April 23, 2014, 11:11:01 AM
Looks fantastic already! Love the atmo/colors/clouds/rocks and the composition :D
Cant wait to see the final render of this baby ;)
Title: Re: Stormy Monument Valley (kind of)
Post by: Kadri on April 23, 2014, 01:22:16 PM

"Kind of finished" ? I like it already as it is. Look great :)
Title: Re: Stormy Monument Valley (kind of)
Post by: Dune on April 23, 2014, 01:42:41 PM
Yeah, pretty impressive as it is. Those clouds are magnificent. Perhaps, if you want to do something about the terrain, give it a little more diversity in strata, I mean, mask it so it's not too regular. Maybe something on foreground and then higher settings to erase the grain. Stunner!
Title: Re: Stormy Monument Valley (kind of)
Post by: pokoy on April 23, 2014, 02:45:37 PM
Thank you all. Actually it's hard to stop tweaking the cloud settings, it's so much fun.
I guess I'll add some rocks in the foreground and some subtle vegetation on the closer plateaus. I' also try adding a subtle dust layer over the ground and see how this looks.

Forgot to mention that there's some heavy PS work, I wanted it to look like an old photo from the 60s, hence the noise and hue shift.
Title: Re: Stormy Monument Valley (kind of)
Post by: kaedorg on April 23, 2014, 02:51:22 PM
I like it a lot. I do like the clouds in the foreground (kind of dramatic purple, very nice)
Title: Re: Stormy Monument Valley (kind of)
Post by: oldm4n on April 23, 2014, 04:05:23 PM
clouds are superb.
Title: Re: Stormy Monument Valley (kind of)
Post by: pokoy on April 23, 2014, 08:03:21 PM
Decided to refuse working today and messed around with this instead.

I think I have f*ed up the sky at some point so it looks kind of painterly instead of photoreal, but I added some vegetation and a dust layer and took some time to play with light directions.

Next will be reverting the clouds to what I had and adding a dead tree and some rocks in the foreground... As this will take some time I guess I won't be able to update for the next few weeks.

Still, let me know what you think about these two, I'm not sure what's wrong with them but they're not where I'd like them to be.
Title: Re: Stormy Monument Valley (kind of)
Post by: Darknight on April 23, 2014, 09:21:38 PM
This is just brilliant! Well done pokoy!
Title: Re: Stormy Monument Valley (kind of)
Post by: TheBadger on April 24, 2014, 02:07:45 AM
Its really very very good. Print it!
Title: Re: Stormy Monument Valley (kind of)
Post by: Dune on April 24, 2014, 07:46:02 AM
First one has the best light, IMHO.
Title: Re: Stormy Monument Valley (kind of)
Post by: archonforest on April 24, 2014, 09:04:34 AM
1ST one is perfect! ;)
Title: Re: Stormy Monument Valley (kind of)
Post by: mhaze on April 24, 2014, 11:40:57 AM
Superb!
Title: Re: Stormy Monument Valley (kind of)
Post by: pokoy on April 24, 2014, 12:06:49 PM
Thanks for the feedback.

I agree, the first one really has something that's missing in the others. I'll make some minor changes to the lower cloud layer but will keep the general look and lighting. I also want to have different rocks in the background, the ones I have now are too regular.

Will have a look at GrowFX as welll, it's a tree generator plugin for max I have purchased long ago but never actually installed. I'd like to have a dead, dry tree in the foreground to make the image more interesting - but who knows, it might be another bad idea  ;)

Thanks guys!
Title: Re: Stormy Monument Valley (kind of)
Post by: ejgodwin on April 24, 2014, 07:24:42 PM
I'll add my 2 cents: looks great!
Title: Re: Stormy Monument Valley (kind of)
Post by: zaxxon on April 24, 2014, 11:47:14 PM
Pokoy, the angle of the light in the first image highlights the lower part of the mesa, and I agree that one is more effective then the other two where the upper portion of the terrain is lit more. Each one has the same bold and monumental composition, each has a sky that is one of those "oh my god look at that!" moments.  The Photo-shopped noise is not something I'm keen on, but certainly an individual choice.  As to whether one is more 'photoreal' and the others are 'painterly', you're the artist and have a vision in mind for what you want. From my view they could all be 'painterly' given the drama and contrast, or they could equally all be 'photoreal' and be 'capturing' that 'oh my god!' moment. However, Nature continues to trump my best efforts to differentiate the two  :). Here'a link to a painting by Wilson Hurley, that I think has a similar impact as your as your digital image:

http://artusa.com/product_details.php?id=9940

These are really fine images, I truly admire the artistry and hope you'll continue the theme!


Title: Re: Stormy Monument Valley (kind of)
Post by: DannyG on April 24, 2014, 11:58:03 PM
Atmo is a jaw dropper, great stuff
Title: Re: Stormy Monument Valley (kind of)
Post by: choronr on April 25, 2014, 03:51:23 AM
A dramatic atmosphere combined with this terrain is superb. Earlier, Dune mentioned to try and attain a more irregular strata. Attached is a file created by FrankB that could break up the strata.
Title: Re: Stormy Monument Valley (kind of)
Post by: pokoy on April 29, 2014, 08:23:55 AM
Thanks for the feedback, I really appreciate the vivid and friendly community here!

Zaxxon, that's a wonderful painting. Thanks for that, didn't know the painter and his work.

What I am going for, hence the term photo-real, is a believable atmosphere, and some drama of course. I don't think the image won't have the intended impact if it lacks natural (and photo-real) lighting and clouds. However, I totally agree when you say that 'photo-real' and 'natural' aren't necessarily the same thing.

I went back to the initial lighting, only need to do some tweaks on the foreground terrain, grass and rocks.
Title: Re: Stormy Monument Valley (kind of)
Post by: pokoy on April 30, 2014, 04:27:47 PM
So after tweaking (a lot) I finally found a way to make this more 'scenic', at least in my opinion. Not sure if I overdid the post production on this but it's hard to decide it's finished or too much already :)
I dismissed the idea of adding a tree and went for a dust layer instead to add a feel of a stormy atmosphere.
Title: Re: Stormy Monument Valley (kind of)
Post by: archonforest on April 30, 2014, 04:37:48 PM
I think u did a great job ;)
Title: Re: Stormy Monument Valley (kind of)
Post by: Dune on April 30, 2014, 04:45:13 PM
Agreed, very dramatic and powerful image.
Title: Re: Stormy Monument Valley (kind of)
Post by: zaxxon on April 30, 2014, 09:03:19 PM
Bold and Beautiful!
Title: Re: Stormy Monument Valley (kind of)
Post by: inkydigit on April 30, 2014, 09:11:17 PM
A most excellent moody sky here, a great image!
well done!
:)
Jason
Title: Re: Stormy Monument Valley (kind of)
Post by: choronr on April 30, 2014, 09:29:30 PM
Outstanding ...very nice.
Title: Re: Stormy Monument Valley (kind of)
Post by: oldm4n on May 01, 2014, 04:59:48 AM
very dramatic and beautiful image :)
Title: Re: Stormy Monument Valley (kind of)
Post by: pokoy on May 01, 2014, 09:54:30 AM
Thank you all for the positive feedback!!

I'm not sure whether to continue polishing some minor things or to call it quits but I think I can lean back now and get back to working again ;)
Title: Re: Stormy Monument Valley (kind of)
Post by: Jo Kariboo on May 03, 2014, 01:22:51 PM
Beautifull !!!
Title: Re: Stormy Monument Valley (kind of)
Post by: Oshyan on May 04, 2014, 09:39:42 PM
Really great "ragged sky" effect, the latest image is all around excellent. And I much prefer it without the heavy grain. :D Btw, photographically speaking grain is usually largely monochrome. At high ISO you get more color noise, but the monochrome (luminosity channel) noise is still the majority.

- Oshyan
Title: Re: Stormy Monument Valley (kind of)
Post by: pokoy on May 05, 2014, 02:53:48 PM
'Ragged Sky' returns some interesting results when taken through a google image search - cool :)

As for the grain, as a former pre-press guy in the analog era, I really never came across a color film with monochrome grain, even those I can find on google now have all more or less colored grain. I agree however that it looks unnatural when it's too saturated. I used to desaturate grain in PS from 100% to 50%-60% but didn't on this image. What's more annoying, after having posted the image I realized my monitor desperately needs a calibration.
Title: Re: Stormy Monument Valley (kind of)
Post by: TheBadger on May 05, 2014, 07:13:49 PM
Absolutely amazing!
Title: Re: Stormy Monument Valley (kind of)
Post by: Oshyan on May 07, 2014, 02:44:45 AM
True, perhaps "monochrome" was going a bit far. The noise tends to be less saturated than that though, as you say. So perhaps desaturating it a bit would help.

- Oshyan
Title: Re: Stormy Monument Valley (kind of)
Post by: pokoy on May 07, 2014, 03:18:37 PM
Ok, will remember this for the highres version.

I tested the scene with 'defer atmo' enabled, and while the clouds and fog looked way better and more defined, the image was a lot darker, probably due to the more thorough soft shadow evaluation from the cloud layer. I may have to get back to tweaking in order to get the same brightness... conclusion: TG is complex, but it's amazing  :D
Title: Re: Stormy Monument Valley (kind of)
Post by: Matt on May 28, 2014, 05:53:02 PM
I tested the scene with 'defer atmo' enabled, and while the clouds and fog looked way better and more defined, the image was a lot darker, probably due to the more thorough soft shadow evaluation from the cloud layer. I may have to get back to tweaking in order to get the same brightness... conclusion: TG is complex, but it's amazing  :D

Defer atmo/cloud shouldn't affect the lighting. Do you still have the defer atmo render? They're all great, by the way.

Matt
Title: Re: Stormy Monument Valley (kind of)
Post by: otakar on May 29, 2014, 05:22:59 AM
I completely missed this. Wow, this is stunning! Superb job on the sky, but the terrain is not to be dismissed, either.
Title: Re: Stormy Monument Valley (kind of)
Post by: bo0x on June 03, 2014, 03:58:57 AM
Awesome, just awesome. OMG.
Title: Re: Stormy Monument Valley (kind of)
Post by: Darknight on June 04, 2014, 05:49:53 PM
Great work! Is the sky entirely from Terragen?
Title: Re: Stormy Monument Valley (kind of)
Post by: pokoy on July 07, 2014, 04:22:34 PM
Sorry for the late reply, I've been drowning in work for the last weeks.
Thanks for the kind words everybody!

Matt: That's strange. I have a ground cloud layer, though. I guessed it might render a bit more 'solid' with Defer Atmo on, effectively having an impact on camera rays through that layer, resulting in a darker image. Once I have all my render PCs connected to the network again I'll do some tests with the cloud layer enabled/disabled and see if it helps.

Darknight: Yes, it's all Terragen. It wasn't that hard after all, a lot of tweaking, but I think TG really shines when it comes to rendering clouds and atmosphere in general.
Title: Re: Stormy Monument Valley (kind of)
Post by: sjefen on July 07, 2014, 07:22:32 PM
Would love to see this one rendered bigger. Its a fantastic render
Title: Re: Stormy Monument Valley (kind of)
Post by: pokoy on July 08, 2014, 02:26:57 PM
Sjefen,

thanks! Here's a version @1920px with slightly different colors. There's a visible artifact (straight vertical line) left to the center of the image in the clouds, not sure what it is, so don't look to closely ;)

http://www.mswee.net/pic/monumentvalley/home_overcast_41_v01_1920px.jpg (http://www.mswee.net/pic/monumentvalley/home_overcast_41_v01_1920px.jpg)

The original render of this is 3200 px wide. Once I have sorted out how to render this with Defer Atmo I'll post a link to the high-res final version.
Title: Re: Stormy Monument Valley (kind of)
Post by: Tangled-Universe on July 08, 2014, 03:31:21 PM
Great looking render, really like it!

Generally I advise against rendering with defer atmo, but I guess you want it in order to get the cleanest result possible, isn't it?
So what are your current render settings and especially AA setting?

I found out that 16 atmosphere with AA8@1/16th still performs reasonably well.
However, when clouds come at play and especially >1 cloud layers then this will change quite drastically.

My approach to testing this would be to test it on a per cloud layer basis and after finding the optimum for each layer render a crop "for real".
Quite likely, because of shadows from one cloud layer to the other, the result will have some more noise, but I estimate an increment of 0.1-0.2 for cloud detail will fix it then.

What you should keep in mind though is that with AA8, for example, the pixel noise threshold is 0.0375. If the pixel noise drops below that no more AA will be applied.
However, there's a chance you still see grain and you think you need to up the cloud detail, but there's still grain when doing so.
Likely, the AA value along with the pixel noise threshold (which actually determines how clean the result is) cause it to still be noisy.
Then you would need to up AA and start over again (a bit) with determining the cloud quality.

So perhaps it's wise to first see if your AA value of choice will give you the result you're looking for, before you're starting to optimize endlessly without realizing the AA value might never be able to give you the result you're looking for.

You may now understand why I advise against RTA and especially when you do so with clouds, because first of all it's complex and secondly it barely ever is faster than non-deferred rendering. So instead of experimenting for hours with RTA I just render it with several dozen of atmosphere samples and high cloud quality and I'm sure it will look fine. Kind of "fire and forget".
Title: Re: Stormy Monument Valley (kind of)
Post by: zaxxon on July 09, 2014, 02:33:11 AM
Thanks for the insight TU, while it's intended for the poster, this is much appreciated instruction for all of us.
Title: Re: Stormy Monument Valley (kind of)
Post by: pokoy on July 09, 2014, 07:09:23 PM
Yes, very useful information there, thanks!

The main reason to use Defer Atmo was that I've briefly tested it and all volumetrics looked better. The only drawback was that the image rendered way darker, I need to find out why. Render times went up as well, so I'll need to find a good balance between quality vs. time.