I’ve got a VFX shot project that I could really use advice/feedback on. It’s very ambitious but I thought I would give it my best shot before deciding it can’t be done.
Goal: I’m looking to create an approximately 20 second establishing shot, with the final product as close to photo-realistic as possible. The shot consists of a camera dolly-in as helicopters fly overhead toward a distant island in the Pacific Ocean. Not a particularly creative shot, but fun.
So far, I’m planning to make use of the Ocean modifier and Cycles. Being as I have very little experience with either, I watched a few CGcookie tutorials which gave me a good starting point. Below I have some renders from an afternoon of experimentation with placeholder models. Note that I’m using skymaps from David Keyes.
ToDo: Everything! The main thing I’m looking for critique so far is on the general animation (camera in particular). I would like to get that reasonably finalized before I continue.
Questions and Challenges
Are there ways to get better performance out of the Ocean Simulator? I tried the CGcookie suggestion of making a few different chunks at different resolutions, but the edges and repetitions are painfully obvious.
I know I’m at a severe disadvantage when I try to render everything out in one pass, as I did here. What can I do to help improve performance/gain creative control?
Since the water goes from closeup to a far shot, that presents quite a challenge in and of itself…is it even feasible to attempt this or should I instead stick with one distance or the other?
100% size ocean res 26 500 samples
50% size ocean res 18 500 samples
(Above picture uses an alternate ocean sim I set up with just one “chunk.” It solves the edge problem but chokes at higher resolutions)
rendered 50% size ocean res 10 15 samples
Thank you for looking, and I appreciate any critiques or suggestions! *Also, this is not quite the right place to ask, but if any Cycles/OceanSim/Compositor/Blender experts would happen to be interested in contributing in exchange for a VFX screen credit, I will happily discuss it with them.