Outside Hollywood at SIGGRAPH

Last month I mentioned that seeing Up in 3D had inspired me to do a few of my own experiments. Below is one of my renders (cross your eyes to see it).

Dual-eye renders are easy to produce from just about every animation program, but it’s tricky to tweak those images in compositing apps without destroying the illusion. See the flickery 2D-created shadows? This is why stereoscopic tools like Ocula have been created for high-end compositing apps like Nuke.

But the interesting part of that clip really isn’t that it just looks 3D. The interesting part is that it looks like a painting. This is a very simple rendering technique that I’ve been developing for a while in Lightwave. It’s not particularly new in theory, but I’ve spent some time extending it and documenting it, and now managed to get something that offers both flexibility and control.

I’ve always been eager to learn about various non-photorealistic rendering solutions, and wondered if other people might be interested in mine, so I prepared some notes and examples, and sent it off to SIGGRAPH.

To make a long story short, on the 5th of August, I will be presenting my material at the Painterly Lighting session, which should be great, because it also features talks from Adolph Lusinsky, lighting director for Bolt, Ivan Neulander of Rhythm & Hues, and Jonathan Stone of Double Fine Productions. If any of my readers will be there, I’d love to catch up afterwards.

You can read more about how this technique works and see more examples in the abstract, which I’ve posted here.

  1. Those look beautiful! Are these renders (namely from your “Painting with Polygons” video) from a real project or just examples?

    - Dallas
  2. I love that look! Ditto to what Dallas said about it being from current projects.

  3. Wow; looks great! How long has it taken you to develop this technique?

    - Nathanael
  4. The project is a real one, but not one that is in production at the moment. I needed to create some test renders and I just picked a few scenes from the script that would be good experiments for the technique (water, fire, smoke, foliage, etc). Most of the renders were created about eight months ago, and I’ve spent maybe three weeks total in developing the look.

  5. Fantastic work! I’ll dig up my Lightwave displacement shaders that I did a while back… they were more like pastel. I love the flowing strokes you’ve created. Congratulations!

  6. Thanks for sharing your technique. I really like the look.

    - Tom Wright
  7. Yes, it’s very easy to do. All you need is a 3D app that has normal displacement and iterative motion blur. Then you just tweak the lighting until it looks “painterly.”

  8. Funny how minds think alike! I came up with a very similar technique in 2005 for some projects I was working on. At the time only c4D had a canned solution to such issues, and I used another package. So I spent a lot of time working with cycles of procedural textures and 2D motion blur!




    I use NPR rendering quite a bit as many clients actually want the flexibility of working in 3D, but want something not so…real…or “cg”.

    Very cool- glad someone is compiling these ideas together.


    - Gideon
  9. Hi,

    I think this stuff is amazing, and I am trying to get it to work in Maya and cannot figure it out. I am not sure if there is a difference between displacement and ‘normal’ displacement in Maya. If there is, I dont know how to setup normal displacement. Also I have tried both 2D and 3D motion blur at all kinds of settings and cant get it to work.

    Can anyone help me? Or does anyone know of any Maya tutorials for this stuff?


    - Maya user

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