The Joy of Volumetrics

Faking that foggy feeling

Experimental shot for volumetric lighting of the shuttles around the hanger

Since so many of my previous projects have been space shots or interior scenes, I haven’t had much use of volumetric lighting or fog like conditions.  “In space, no one can… see your beams.”  On an alien world at ground level though, it seemed like it might come in handy.  When I finally started playing around with the fog settings, I was initially disappointed with results.  I wanted there to be a very pale, nighttime fog with bright flood lamps and sidewalk lanterns cutting their light paths through that lightly misty atmosphere.  As I researched and learned how the fog effect was more of an illusion than anything else, and that light didn’t really interact with it directly,  it explained some failed renderings that were essentially images of washed out foreground objects with no light beams to speak of.  Such a delightfully successful illusion, which I’ve seen in other CGI imagery, is actually handled by the volumetric light settings on each individual light source.

Boy, do I feel dumb.  But I was able to fiddle with those settings and am very happy with the experimental results above.  And though it’s getting old, I was even able to render yet another take of that same nighttime shot with promising results.  I activated the volumetric settings on the two spotlights around the shuttle hanger and tarmac.  The effect was surprisingly similar to the Photoshop cheat I was using to bring beams into existence (at a such a long distance anyway).  I even did some blending of the 2 images (the cheat and the valid volumetric) to see if I could improve on them both.  😀  The street lamp beams however, are still Photoshop.  I updated the last post soon after I discovered this method but I wanted to show the experimental shot that made me a “believer.” 😉  I replaced main image on that posting with the updated render, but here it is again for convenience sake.

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~ by starstation on February 2, 2012.

3 Responses to “The Joy of Volumetrics”

  1. Very cool! Hope the render times dont skyrocket as a result.

    • Amazingly, no. I think it might have added a minute at most. That dome building alone added 3. 😀 Things are now taking a total of about 11 minutes. That’s pretty good for me these days.

  2. Not bad at all then. 🙂

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