Ace Dragon's museum of art (sketchbook)

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).

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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).

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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.

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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.

Two more updated images, Pianissimo got another shading update (and Intel denoising) while Light Spheres got a shading/lighting, resolution, and detail update.

The difference from the original is especially notable in the latter, which doing so was made possible because Blender 2.81 dev has micropolygon stitching. The detail in the displaced exr has especially good clarity and sharpness compared to the old method of using the displacement modifier.


I haven’t updated in a while, and that is because I again looked at the tonemapping and decided to start utilizing a custom gamma value and lowered exposure (for highlight compression), but without the color-distorting effect of the custom curve.

The result is realism being bumped up again without destroying contrast and compressed, but not destroyed highlights.

Some images had little more than the tonemapping upgrade, though others got updates to shading and an upgraded resolution. Overall quality is also higher since I now have a fairly decent compositor setup for OIDN denoising.


And another quick scene conversion (with the resolution update and minor shading/lighting changes).

EDIT: Will post other conversions here to avoid making yet more posts.


Impressing architectures and hard surfaces.

Thanks, I’ve been doing Blender for over 15 years now so my skills have improved. That said, Blender in recent years has seen the addition of features that really help in hard surface stuff.

Shaft Attic

After being unable to render this cleanly in a few versions of Blender, the addition of Intel denoising has finally allowed me to render this out in just under 50 hours with a little post-pro (as opposed to the 200+ hours needed otherwise). It was tricky because I moved up from the old resolution of 1000x1000 and because the big caustic was an important component of the scene (which meant a filter glossy value of just 0.10).

The overall theme is similar to ‘shaft box’ (ie. shafts of light), but with a more detailed setting and more light variety).


Back through the archives, overhauling Islands of Angularity.

It’s the usual overhaul checklist, better lighting, shading, tonemapping, detail, and resolution.


Synthony of the Waters

Redoing an old idea from the ground up, this time it’s in a far better quality environment and the fluid fx utilizing the far more modern algorithm that is Mantaflow. It looks to me like it does very well with complex collision meshes at higher resolutions, and gives very realistic droplet and splash effects.

The original idea was an image called Song of the Waters using BI and Elbeem, as you can it’s not near as sophisticated as its brand new sibling.


Synthony of the Waters was also revamped with better simulation and tonemapping.

The first one is based on another older idea I have already done, but at a far higher quality and complexity. You will notice that when you notice that this is the original (made in the early days of Elbeem).

It just shows the superiority of Mantaflow overall

Sterilized Lines

I know how obsessed everyone is in making sure everything is squeaky clean these days, not a microbe in sight. That was a perfect time to remake an old idea from many years ago (the original was not actually inspired by viruses by the way).

Here was the original (Sterile Lines), a BI render, and obviously more “sterile” as far as atmosphere and details are concerned.