Ace Dragon's museum of art (sketchbook)

Full filmic workflow has been applied to two more images that were among the first I made in Cycles, The Geometric Isohedron Room and Another Way Out. Rendered in 2.8 using its arguably improved denoiser.

The first one especially saw a major bump from updated materials and the fact it has not been done in Filmic color space before.

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Full filmic 2.8; Major refinement for Primi-Board; Even More Primitives

Compared with the old, you notice a much better sense of depth and contrast as a result, the shading has also been upgraded.


The first original work of mine done completely in 2.8. Enigmatic Lobby.

This still uses Cycles (as I want good quality realism). This was off and on work over many different and increasingly usable builds of 2.8 started in the second half of November. The UVmapping in a few cases had some difficulty due to bugs there, but since there was no need for sophisticated mapping it didn’t stop work altogether.

This was also an excuse to try out the new disk-shaped arealights only found in the 2.8 branch, they do work a bit better than a disk texture.

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I just updated the Dragon images again with a more realistic filmic curve and a minor tweak to the micro-displacement used. It is also an iteration rendered in 2.8 *which fortunately did not crash) so it gets an automatic improvement from proper subdivision in the UVmap and therefore no warping.

I replaced the images in the last post containing them rather than post them again (so as to not look like I’m spamming them).

I’ve sat on this enhanced scene for a few days, but earlier in the week I rendered out an improved version of
The Algorithm of Fun.

Now it is true for me at least, that I can at times be overly analytical about something and lose focus on just having fun with something. Along with the usual shading and filmic TLC is a displaced back wall and one of those “koosh balls”.

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Took a while to find the right setup, but I managed to bring out an improved (and clean) version of
Dragon Discovery.

Turns out the best way to render a scene lit by volume sources is to emulate the main lighting with Blender lamp types and use lightpaths to allow that for the main lighting while not having those cheats show up in reflections.

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The Lamp Room

Based on an idea I have had for many years (since well before the dawn of Cycles). I guess it’s a good thing I waited, as it allowed me to express the idea in a way that simply would not have been possible before (with light going through the shades and all that).

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So I decided that the current iteration of Purple Rooms had horrible light balance (in that you could barely see half the image due to no accent lighting on the left side). I decided to quick take care of that along with updated tonemapping to boot.

To note, I added a large area-light with a weak emission and no specular highlighting, it’s not based on physical lighting due to no real light sources on that side), but was needed for artistic reasons.

More image revisions, the two newest ones had an incorrect shading behavior in a few spots and Corridors of Intrigue got a higher resolution version with filmic workflow.

The new thumbnail size options are quite nice to have :sunny:

The next image to finally get the Filmic workflow (and a higher resolution, and better quality) is Fizzy Soda Dreams.

This time, I actually put some work into the surrounding environment and tweaked the soda material (so it really feels like you’re inside the bottle).

Another quick round for Purple Rooms, removed the fake accent light and added a couple of windows for a more balanced and natural looking scene.

The dearth of windows in back areas of the scene was due to trying to get darker lighting in the pre-filmic custom tonemap days (which caused a low contrast look with the incorrect albedo values).

I have been quietly trying to upgrade the shading and lighting further for my Dragon scenes, doing things like a reduction in the overall shader complexity while getting very similar to superior results (ie. less is more). Another thing was, once again, going all in in Filmic.

Only Regalis Draconis shown here is something I consider an official image.

The others are miscellaneous shots, mostly the other Dragon model I like to trot out.

Been doing a bit of game-related stuff in Godot, so I haven’t done much else.

Decided to give Dome of Oracles the full filmic treatment (with a notable change to the bottom right corner and a higher resolution).

As with other images, it was already rendered once using a ‘filmic’ transform, but heavily fudged with curves and gamma. The ER labeling is all about authentic filmic workflow with no fooling around.

Next in line to the full Filmic treatment (with a higher resolution even) is Laboratorium.

This time, there’s much greater depth in lighting than the old version. I also went with a very long render session with this because the highlights made it very hard for the denoiser to preserve everything.

The next overhaul reaches back quite a bit further (to my early days with Cycles) with The Pathways getting more resolution, detail, and overall quality.

For one thing, the light sources aren’t just plain emission strips anymore (even though that looked cool when mesh-based lights were new).

A little while back, my Dragon images were updated with enhanced materials, but Dragon Discovery did not have them, now I have updated that image and with the higher resolution to boot.

The human character might need an update of his own eventually.

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Next up for enhanced realism is The Blue Interior.

As with the last images, it too got a resolution bump. Also note the caustics that were not present in the original and the first iteration.

Next up for enhancement is Blockout; The Network Within

Aside from the now usual resolution and tonemapping updates, the core geometry of the image now has edge effects, brighter lighting from the strands, and corroded areas.

The following two images mainly got resolution updates, but they were both used as proof of concepts for the usage of the Intel denoising (with the detail preserved along with far less noise to clean up manually compared to the built-in solution).

The first one was a combo of the built-in denoising and OIDN and the second is pure OIDN with a different node setup. The only detail in the second one that was softened you pretty much have to zoom in to notice (because of the extremely high frequency).

This is pretty nice lighting on The Blue Interior. Some interesting experiments here.