Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Rendering for Game Reels

Hey all!

As promised, here's the process I used to render shots for my Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time reel.  There's nothing fancy or complex about it.  In fact, it's about as basic as you can get, but it gives really nice results very quickly.


-Create Render Camera [Create> Cameras> Camera]
    -Set region in render settings:
    -Name render camera "RenderCAM_01"
    -Set RenderCAM_01 to desired location and lock channels
        -Highlight all info in channel box, right click, and "lock selected"
    -Set RenderCAM Environment color to white
        -RenderCAM_01Shape> Environment

-Create ground plain [Create> Polygon Primitives> Plane]
    -Make sure the ground plane is big enough to absorb all shadows
    -Name "GroundPlane_01"
    -Turn off "Casts Shadows" [GroundPlane_01Shape1> Render Stats> Casts Shadows]
    -Create a new lambert [Rendering tab> Lambert]
        -set color to solid white
        -set Diffuse to 1.0

-Create two directional lights [Create> Lights> Directional Light]
    -Light one, name "DirLight_Shadows"
        -Point relatively toward camera
        -Turn on Ray Trace shadows  [DirLight_ShadowsShape1> Raytrace Shadow Attributes> Use Ray Trace Shadows]
    -Light two, name "DirLight_Filler"
        -Point relatively away from camera
        -Set Intensity to 0.5

-Open Render Settings
    -Render Using: Mental Ray
    -Common tab:
        -Image Format: Targa
        -Frame/Animation ext: name.#.extension
        -Frame padding: 4
        -Start frame and end frame
        -Renderable Camera: RenderCAM_01
        -Width SHOULD already be set (See above)
    -Indirect Lighting tab:
        -Final Gathering
    -Quality tab:
        -Custom Sampling
            - Min Sample Level -1
            - Max Sample Level 1
        -Filter: Gauss
        -Filter size SHOULD set to 3.0 by 3.0
        -If you are using elements that might reflect or refract (glass, for example), you might want to tweak these settings.  Otherwise leave as-is.
    -Motion Blur:

-Set Project
    -Wherever you want the render to output to
-Render> Batch Render

I'd love to hear other people's rendering techniques.  Link in the comments!


Colin Brown said...

Hey Travis,

Perfect timing as I'm in the middle of re-rendering all my shots and upping the resolution to stay competitive.

Here is my quick and easy Ambient Occlusion for every shot:

1. Open Render settings

2. Click indirect lighting

3. Click physical sun and sky

4. Create

5. check ON for global illumination

6. check ON for final gathering

7. NOW click render and see what you get

Note: if you make a plane to have your characters on, you can’t make it bigger than the sphere of ambient occlusion/sun that is created or shadows will disappear.

It's definitely not as "clean" as yours but at least something quick for people who want well-lit smooth shadowed animations.

Animator Trav said...

I'm gonna give that a try, Colin! Thanks!

Tegan Jephcott said...

Hey clever guys,

Does this solve the flickering I'm experiencing from rendering with final gathering? I like the look of it but there are some issues with flickering.

Thanks, this sounds like the super handy simple lighting answer I have been pulling my hair out to find :)


Animator Trav said...

Hey Tegan,
Could you send me a qt of your render (unless, of course, it's not something you're allowed to show, in which case could you re-create the issue with a generic scene, such as a cube moving across the screen). I'm not sure I know the flicker you're talking about, but I'm sure we can get to the bottom of it.
Here's my email:

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