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General => Image Sharing => NWDA Iceland Contest => Topic started by: RogueNZ on January 19, 2015, 03:46:00 AM

Title: Rogues Icelandic WIP's
Post by: RogueNZ on January 19, 2015, 03:46:00 AM
Hi all,

Am going to begin posting my renders as I rush to come up with something quality for the competition, there is no lack of inspiration but I'm finding it hard to put anything nice together.

As for this render, its using the same terrain and surfacing as a previous render I have posted here - is that against contest rules? And I have used Photoshop to adjust using the vibrance/saturation tool.

I plan on replacing the flowers with something more Icelandic, and hope to keep improving the aurora.

Cheers
Title: Re: Rogues Icelandic WIP's
Post by: Dune on January 19, 2015, 06:44:59 AM
For a night feel I suggest reducing the saturation of the veggie colors, as at dusk falls you're likely to see less color (using different eye cells). And the stars are very bright in comparison to the light on the terrain.
Title: Re: Rogues Icelandic WIP's
Post by: TheBadger on January 19, 2015, 07:00:21 AM
Agree With Dune. But I also think this is a pretty strong image to start with. I like all the parts. Looking forward to see how you finish it!
Title: Re: Rogues Icelandic WIP's
Post by: DannyG on January 19, 2015, 12:48:44 PM
Second Badgers comment, strong start
Title: Re: Rogues Icelandic WIP's
Post by: inkydigit on January 20, 2015, 05:44:12 PM
Excellent vista, very cool aurora!  8)
Title: Re: Rogues Icelandic WIP's
Post by: Gannaingh on January 21, 2015, 12:11:53 AM
If it turns out even half as beautiful as your scene you're basing it off of, it's going to be spectacular!
Title: Re: Rogues Icelandic WIP's
Post by: RogueNZ on January 23, 2015, 10:04:58 AM
Switched it up a little, have tweaked the aurora and am pretty happy with it, rendering a slightly different version again right now. I feel its a bit too dense in places, but I'm scared if I try dropping the density I will loose some of the details on the right hand side of the image. Fortunately I am not having long render issues like some others have had.

Foreground is pretty temporary and will be next on the list of changes. DandelO's sky is super sexy and I couldn't have done anything like this without it, many thanks..

Cheers
Title: Re: Rogues Icelandic WIP's
Post by: Oshyan on January 23, 2015, 06:53:29 PM
Hot damn, that's looking really nice! I like the new PoV, and you have a much better sense of distance and scale now. The aurora to me seems a little over the top, this is either a really long exposure, or a geomagnetic super-storm: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geomagnetic_storm#Definition_of_a_geomagnetic_storm
:D

Also it looks like the image overall has been tonemapped, which is fine, but it seems to have possibly done some undesirable things to the highlights in the auroras. If it hasn't been tonemapped, perhaps it's something to do with the mix of colors in the aurora - not impossible, but again a little over the top. Generally the red areas tend to be at the edges, in the less intense areas of the aurora (in fact you hardly ever see super-bright red aurora). The green is what gets really quite bright, so having red within the brightest area may not be ideal.

Finally, yes the foreground. I will say this: mostly you see flowers and other really happy plants in the late spring and summer. However, during these months daylight is much more limited, to the point where in mid-summer it basically never gets dark. So the best time for viewing aurora is winter-to-spring (and maybe late fall). Which is why you mostly see barren or icy foregrounds in Iceland aurora shots. Conversely, in the winter the daytime is very short, and even when the sun is up it is relatively low on the horizon, meaning it doesn't provide as much warmth and energy for plants. Long story short, what you have here may be possible, but unlikely:
http://www.icelandguest.com/travel-guide/about-iceland/iceland-travel-faq/#When%20is%20it%20daylight%20in%20Iceland

One thing I'll say is that this actually reminds me a fair bit of the mountains around Jökulsárlón, the Glacier Lagoon, and if you could successfully depict the lagoon in the foreground with icebergs (don't worry too much, at night the subsurface scattering is much less of a factor), that would be *tremendous*. It's an ambitious thing to tackle however, that must be said. I've attached a couple of as-yet unpublished aurora photos I took at Jökulsárlón on my trip last March for reference (but there are of course better photos on the Internet, try "Jökulsárlón" and "aurora" for keywords).

- Oshyan
Title: Re: Rogues Icelandic WIP's
Post by: TheBadger on January 24, 2015, 03:17:52 AM
! 8)! Getting great. Great pics from you too Oshyan.
Title: Re: Rogues Icelandic WIP's
Post by: Dune on January 24, 2015, 07:37:40 AM
Good advise, and great pictures, Oshyan.
Title: Re: Rogues Icelandic WIP's
Post by: Oshyan on January 24, 2015, 09:54:33 PM
Thanks guys. Just trying to help with some direct reference. :)

- Oshyan
Title: Re: Rogues Icelandic WIP's
Post by: RogueNZ on January 25, 2015, 03:54:04 AM
Thanks all, I wrote a big reply yesterday but forgot to hit submit. In short, I am going down the watery foreground route, will certainly be a lot of work and I've never done anything like that before so just trying to read as much on water and surfacing as I can.

There is an issue when trying to combine water and aurora. To catch and aurora you generally need to take a long exposure shot, and the effect of this on the water is that it blurs. I really like this look but I don't know of any way to achieve it inside Terragen. You find very few aurora photographs where the water looks as crisp as what Terragen renders.
Title: Re: Rogues Icelandic WIP's
Post by: Oshyan on January 25, 2015, 04:53:31 AM
I think Soft Reflections might help you deal with that issue. They'll take longer to render, but should get you the correct look for a longer exposure, or close(r) to it.

To set this up, disable reflections in your Water Shader (set Master Reflectivity to 0), then create a Reflective Shader and connect the Water Shader output to the Reflective Shader's input, and then to whatever surface or object you're shading as water (e.g. Lake object). In other words you want the Reflective Shader *between* the Water Shader and your water object.

You want to start with very low values for Reflection Softness (and make sure Raytraced reflections is enabled, but it should be by default). Maybe try 0.002 or 0.004. The quality is controlled by the number of samples in the Quality tab. The default of 4 ought to work for lower softness values, but if your water is extremely rough or small-scale, it may take more samples and consequently more render time. Increment the number of samples slowly, and only if it seems necessary.

- Oshyan
Title: Re: Rogues Icelandic WIP's
Post by: RogueNZ on January 25, 2015, 06:13:57 AM
Initial tests show that your suggestion works a treat :D
Title: Re: Rogues Icelandic WIP's
Post by: Dune on January 25, 2015, 07:20:49 AM
What you could also try, and what I wanted to test (some day) anyway, is using clouds for blurred water.
Title: Re: Rogues Icelandic WIP's
Post by: RogueNZ on January 25, 2015, 08:15:15 AM
Another issue, I am using a displaceable plane underneath the waters surface to hold some fake stones which I will use as ice chunks, however the reflections are not rendering on the surface of the water, even when I reflection softness is set to 0. Any ideas?
Title: Re: Rogues Icelandic WIP's
Post by: Dune on January 25, 2015, 09:01:18 AM
Check visible to other rays.
Title: Re: Rogues Icelandic WIP's
Post by: RogueNZ on January 25, 2015, 04:33:28 PM
Here's another iteration, still early days. Visible to other rays is checked, but I'm still not getting the reflections I expect. See the ice chunk in the middle right. Rendering in a portrait orientation isn't the best to show the issue, but I wanted to test how changing the width and height affected the render (I've never done a tall render like this).

Title: Re: Rogues Icelandic WIP's
Post by: bla bla 2 on January 25, 2015, 05:01:33 PM
is good. :)
Title: Re: Rogues Icelandic WIP's
Post by: Kadri on January 25, 2015, 05:16:14 PM

Have you tried refraction index and-or horizon shift?
Title: Re: Rogues Icelandic WIP's
Post by: TheBadger on January 25, 2015, 08:14:24 PM
Very very very very very good. And still time enough to do more. Good job.
Title: Re: Rogues Icelandic WIP's
Post by: Dune on January 26, 2015, 07:53:35 AM
It's hard to see. I do get a bit of a wobbly feeling seeing this, especially by the mid horizon low land and the aurora reflection. Wouldn't you rather go for less reflective area?
Title: Re: Rogues Icelandic WIP's
Post by: RogueNZ on January 27, 2015, 05:41:35 PM
More progress, the addition of the ice has caused render times to sky rocket. Still plenty of work to be done, thanks for the suggestions :)

Didn't solve the issue of the water reflecting fake stones, but I intend to have some larger ice chunks in there somewhere so I will need to revisit it.

Should add that this is straight out of terragen, no post work. Still not with %100 happy with the colors in the aurora, and I may think about stretching the curtains vertically a bit more.
Title: Re: Rogues Icelandic WIP's
Post by: TheBadger on January 27, 2015, 10:24:26 PM
Really nice man. Love how you are playing with the details now. I see you are open to what to do with the foreground. I like what you have my self, but here are two image I found that you may be able to make use of. Kinda a blend of the ideas from your 1st image, and your last image.

[attach=1]

[attach=2]


In both cases you can still have water, still have ice, and still have those beautiful reflections, while also having more visual interest in the foreground like you tried in your first image.

Having already seen this, and because I am greedy to see even more TG renders, I would be happy to see even more changes like in my example image. But I am not saying make the lake into a river exactly. The thing I like most about the example images are the Marshes, which are common in Iceland, and would help to make your render even more of an Icelandic image. As it is now (last image), apart from this contest, if you told me that the scene was of the Arctic, I would believe that too. Adding in the marches and some still green moss with some winter moss, would help to define the image more as Icelandic, for me. But allow you to keep those refections to a more subtle level.

Just my thoughts. But again, I like what you already have now, a lot. So... Cheers  :)
Title: Re: Rogues Icelandic WIP's
Post by: Dune on January 28, 2015, 07:19:08 AM
I like this new iteration much more, but also agree with Michael and like his samples.
Title: Re: Rogues Icelandic WIP's
Post by: RogueNZ on January 28, 2015, 08:27:39 AM
Thanks for the input, they are very pretty photos. It's a shame I have to pick only one scenario :D

My major dilemma is whether or not I go for a portrait or landscape orientation. The benefit of portrait is I capture more of the aurora, especially the top most curtain which I really like, and more foreground detail close to the camera. Overall I think it feels like a more dramatic image. But with a landscape orientation I can see more of the details on the terrain, and would be easier to incorporate  some vegetation in both the foreground and mid ground.

I agree with the vegetation suggestion, and am waiting to make a decision on the orientation before I go all out on it. My girlfriend is moving into town tomorrow after living away for a long period of time, so I suspect time to work on this image is running out  :P
Title: Re: Rogues Icelandic WIP's
Post by: RogueNZ on January 28, 2015, 05:50:28 PM
No major changes on this one, just moved closer to the shore. I plan to flatten the the mid ground, to give less of an impression of dropping off into the sea and more of a lake feel. That should open the way for some grenery I hope.

This version has had a vignette and chromatic aberration applied, lens distortion, some sharpening and color adjustment. Not sure how far I will push it in my final version, but I'd like some some feedback as to whether these add or detract from the image. 

Many thanks  :)
Title: Re: Rogues Icelandic WIP's
Post by: TheBadger on January 28, 2015, 06:11:02 PM
The problem with that question is that it is dependent entirely on opinion for the answer. IMO I prefer more terrain than sky, so 1/3 sky and the rest the surface. But thats just my preference.

An argument could be made that the sky is not unique to Iceland, and therefore not as relevant. So a comp that includes more sky, whether portrait or landscape, would be less in line with the contest. But then as art, the sky could be everything.
Title: Re: Rogues Icelandic WIP's
Post by: RogueNZ on January 31, 2015, 09:10:38 AM
Progress. Comments and feed back still very welcome  :)
Title: Re: Rogues Icelandic WIP's
Post by: Dune on January 31, 2015, 09:44:24 AM
Now your talking!
Title: Re: Rogues Icelandic WIP's
Post by: TheBadger on January 31, 2015, 10:01:51 AM
I like it too.
I think the only thing is just to brake up the Population a bit. Even use a, (some), different plants maybe. Brake up the the straight line of the edge of the foreground shore a tad? Don't know. Looks pretty close to done. I would be glad if it were mine.
Title: Re: Rogues Icelandic WIP's
Post by: RogueNZ on February 12, 2015, 05:44:02 AM
Quick few questions:

What is the best method for editing and saving a final version out of Photoshop? At the moment I am saving for web as a JPEG at %100 quality and it seems to do an okay job.

Would it be against the rules to retouch the image to remove some artifacts as a result of rendering reflections? I can see distinct quads where the algorithm hasn't quite meshed with the surrounding grid.

Also the addition of a surface layer, which I was sure to mask to a very certain are of the ground, has messed up the shadows on the mountain. I am using displacement intersection on the new layer, and disabling it removed the errors. Can I render in two separate passes and combine in PS? My last render was 75h long due to the high samples I used for the water, which actually turned out a lot worse than I hoped.

Overall it looks good, you will see it soon I hope :)
Title: Re: Rogues Icelandic WIP's
Post by: Dune on February 12, 2015, 06:39:14 AM
100% quality might not even be necessary, sometimes 80% is okay. You have to take care of banding in the sky or in other large even areas. I suppose it's best to take the max size and do several options of saving and compare those (png, jpg).

Danny will have to answer your other questions, but as far as I have to say anything a little cloning out little pecks of error won't harm. He will probably ask you to also deliver the out-of-the-box render to see if you didn't clone in the whole mountain range  ;)
Title: Re: Rogues Icelandic WIP's
Post by: inkydigit on February 12, 2015, 07:44:53 AM
Great job - good luck  with the final run!
:) J
Title: Re: Rogues Icelandic WIP's
Post by: RogueNZ on February 12, 2015, 08:36:20 AM
I wish I had looked into soft reflections earlier and realised that I was always going to struggle with them. This would have been a huge help: http://www.planetside.co.uk/forums/index.php/topic,11326.0.htm, although there is no download link (plus I already owe DandelO for his amazing sky). I won't be able to render an improved version before the deadline I don't think.
Title: Re: Rogues Icelandic WIP's
Post by: RogueNZ on February 14, 2015, 05:09:09 AM
Finally finished, will be submitting what you see here. Thank you all for the inspiration, knowledge and invaluable suggestions that have helped craft this image - I certainly couldn't have done it on my own. Another big thanks to DandelO for the fantastic night sky preset. If I had more time I would have loved to look into this and see if it could be modified to take the shape of the milky way. A project for another day perhaps.

Far too much time was spent on this one, and the final render took over 75 hours. Now time to relax and enjoy Valentines day, I think I earned a beer for this one :)

Cheers,
Brendan
Title: Re: Rogues Icelandic WIP's
Post by: Oshyan on February 14, 2015, 07:10:18 AM
Very nicely done. Reminds me of a lake we visited at night early in our trip (possibly the first night), trying to find a good vantage point for the aurora. Neither the aurora nor the view were as spectacular as this that night, but still nice. :)

- Oshyan
Title: Re: Rogues Icelandic WIP's
Post by: Dune on February 14, 2015, 07:14:29 AM
Certainly worth all the work!
Title: Re: Rogues Icelandic WIP's
Post by: inkydigit on February 14, 2015, 01:55:00 PM
Stunningly detailed, awesome work.... Good luck to you too!
Cheers
Jason
:)
Title: Re: Rogues Icelandic WIP's
Post by: Gannaingh on February 14, 2015, 07:17:58 PM
Stunning! Excellent work!
Title: Re: Rogues Icelandic WIP's
Post by: luc BIANCO on February 14, 2015, 08:23:20 PM
Agree ! really beautiful picture

luc

Stunning! Excellent work!
Title: Re: Rogues Icelandic WIP's
Post by: oysteroid on February 15, 2015, 06:14:16 PM
This is a gorgeous image! Looks like a postcard from Iceland.
Title: Re: Rogues Icelandic WIP's
Post by: Jo Kariboo on February 17, 2015, 12:37:41 AM
Very nice !
Title: Re: Rogues Icelandic WIP's
Post by: DocCharly65 on April 07, 2015, 01:33:36 PM
Sorry - Though I'm sooooo late, I must congratulate... My special favorite detail I recognized today is the swimming crushed ice ... just want to take it in my hands to see if it's real :)