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 Post subject: Looking for a little advice.
PostPosted: Sun Sep 08, 2013 4:09 pm 
Ewok
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Hey there folks, I'm currently working on a personal project (3d is a hobby not a vocation.) I'm always learning new things, constantly looking at tutorials but sometimes I feel I miss a certain aspect of things. So I have a couple questions to further my education.

1) Mentalray or Vray... why use one over the other? I've noticed allot of tutorials coming up these day's that involve vray, I understand that these are rendering engines and have a different set of rules when working with the materials but that's about all I get from it.

2) I am currently working on a personal project, a character/characiture design, I'm trying to make it fit esthetically with my favorite movie "Megamind" I am currently just using mentalray as I am most familiar with this rendering engine, and using a MR SSS for the skin. But can't quite seem to get the feel of the movie out of the shaders that I would like. I understand that a great deal has to do with the lighting set up and am not that far in the process that I have any kind of lighting set up. How ever I would like suggestions or even directions to tutorials on how/what exactly makes those sorts of movies look the way they do from a shader perspective. If at all possible.

Any advice on these questions would be greatly appreciated.


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 Post subject: Re: Looking for a little advice.
PostPosted: Mon Sep 09, 2013 12:48 pm 
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Hey Dude,

Its a good hobby to have... it does slowly take over your life tho...

Q1)
Mental Ray & Vray are just render engines. Software designed to take high level 3D information and resolve it into an image. They are just 2 of a whole range of options including things like maya software, turtle, maxwell, arnold, renderman etc.
While each of them do the same sort of thing, they do it slightly differently, often to do with how they handle light. Often they have fancy toys, shaders, or extras to do different things.
They all have pros + cons. Probably the 2 biggest cons would be the technical proficiency required, and the cost of the software.

Mental Ray has been around for ages, comes with maya (and other 3D packages) these days so its a really common choice. But it does have a few.... bugs in its operation.
Vray has been around a while, but its a bit of an up and comer, lots of people are starting to use it - and make tutorials for it, but you need to get it separately. and it can be quite expensive.

Q2) is kinda related to the first. everything you've said is fairly spot on - but considering your first question I want to point something out.
Big budget films, like megamind, are developed by big companies that usually use their own software, or customised versions of existing software. They will have a team of people whose job it is to write shaders to create "the feel of the movie". They aren't really using out-of-the-box buttons, but they are using concepts similar to what the shaders in MR and VRAY are doing but put together very specifically.

However, a little bit of digging around and you will find tutorials and demos on how to create similar, if not the same effects.

Relevant to your project tho. Lighting is really important. the shaders are talking about how the surfaces react to light, if there isn't any light they won't work properly.

SSS in particular only really shows up when there is light across the surface, or light behind the surface.
Specifically to your project I would suggest manipulating the "scale" of the SSS effect - the default values are often out of whack when you aren't modelling to scale. On the SSS node there is a tab called "algorithim control" and a setting called "scale conversion" Put a single strong light behind your character and work with the scale control until only the edges of his ears are red. the rest of his head should be black (or pretty much black) If the scale is set incorrectly the character tends to go bright red, or look sort of waxy and transparent.

I hope thats helpful.

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 Post subject: Re: Looking for a little advice.
PostPosted: Mon Sep 09, 2013 12:59 pm 
Ewok
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Wow that gives me a great deal to think about. Yep I will get on it at my first opportunity thanks heaps :)


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 Post subject: Re: Looking for a little advice.
PostPosted: Mon Sep 09, 2013 2:44 pm 
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I just stumbled on this.
Its pretty heavy in places - but its a really interesting breakdown of render engines the whys and hows...


http://www.fxguide.com/featured/the-art-of-rendering/

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