Another image inspired by Homer (the Greek epic poet, not Simpson ), this time one of the key events in The Odyssey. Polyphemus was a cyclops, son of Poseidon, and not a very nice person at all. After killing a half-dozen of Odysseus’ men and eating their brains (very early Z creature?), the hero manages to get the giant to drink himself into a stupor that allows the Ithacan and some of his remaining crew to stab Polyphemus’ eye out with the sharpened end of the monster’s own killing club. Poetic justice, BCE.
This first test render is only 500 samples, so still grainy in the shadows, I may add a low-level fill to try and remedy that and pull the men out of the shadow more. The club/stake’s form is too ambiguous also. I do want to try & keep the light sources to a minimum, though, as it seems multiple lights tend to generate more fireflies.
All materials are very preliminary, the men’s poses need tweaking, and a round or two of sculpting on all the figures is planned. The setting is just blocked in to establish direct- & bounce-light patterns.
I got some tips about compositing a true SSS effect with the Cycles rendering to improve the overall look of skin tones, that’ll be quite the experiment. This little test took about 3.5 hours @ UI render size. I can just imagine the render time when both Cycles & the BI are cooking along in parallel, if my RAM-challenged 'puter can even make a go of it!
Maybe because of the “action frozen in time” aspect? The Greeks were pretty good at that kind of cartoon art (the word “cartoon” has another meaning besides the the modern one, btw), depicting vigorous action in both pose and composition.
After modeling the rocky cave a bit more I decided to reduce the intensity of the edge light from the cave entrance to try and reduce the noise, and man, what a difference! Not only is it a much more atmospheric mood, but the noise was scotched in many fewer samples (about 330 instead of 500), in less time, with only a few stray fireflies.
As I said, all the materials are very preliminary, just placeholders until I get the base modeling done and can unwrap everything. Until then there’ll be stretching & the like but I can still get a good idea of how a particular material will look when lit. The temp mapping does sometimes suggest some approaches to how I’ll be painting the textures for the rocks – I like the horizontal strata on the one boulder, may use that as a starting point when I begin to texture paint the setting.
I made some small adjustments to the camera view and now I like it better in this orientation again. I also fixed the duplicate particles in the torch flames, looks lots better now. I may have time tomorrow to start on the costuming, but want to do some more research on men’s clothing of the era first.
The translation I read says Odysseus’s crew drew lots to choose four men to confront Polyphemus with him. The giant ate two of the men just before Odysseus offers him the super-strong wine – it’s a bit ambiguous whether these two snacks came from the general crew population (there was an entire ship’s crew at least, minus the earlier tidbits) or from the four who volunteered to help blind Polyphemus. In any case, crowding the composition wouldn’t be useful – many of the images I came across show only one or two men besides Odysseus, and many just the hero himself. Artistic license, I guess, much as is applied to the giant, who is shown both huge as in my pic, and also rather puny as giants go, maybe 7 or eight feet tall, as on a couple of vases. The club/stake was tagged at 6 feet long – three guys could handle that easy. You know how the ancient Phoenician joke goes:
“How many Greeks does it take to put out a Cyclopes’ eye?” “Five, three to handle the stake and two to sing the khorus about it!”
You should read Homer – PG-13 at best! Really, sizzling flesh and spurting gore and all that, it’s in there. But then, sex and violence were meat & potatoes for ancient Greek drama, so 'tis to be expected.