Cody’s 2014-15 Skyrise Field Render
Created using Autodesk 3ds max 2014, A&D materials and the iRay renderer
It’s become a bit of a thing for me to render the field each year. Obviously I used to create the animations for VEX but since then, rendering the field has become more of a personal challenge for me. The field really is a neat thing, something that people spend a lot of time thinking about and certainly something at the center of a lot of peoples attention given the size of the VEX Robotics Completion these days.
So basically every year I try to throw everything I have at a very nice still render but the story really isn’t what I do, it’s more how I do it. What special effects do I use, what’s my design goal here, etc. This year a lot of things changed with the render. So let’s talk about that.
For the first time ever I finally decided to switch over to nVidia’s iRay renderer. iRay is made by the same people who made Mental Ray, but it’s a completely new renderer. The renderer has actually been around for years now, but it’s just now gotten to a point where I feel it’s workable for production.
iRay is cool for a couple of reasons, first it’s a hybrid CPU/GPU renderer. That means it can use both the CPU and GPU to get work done, which is obviously faster than just using the CPU. Now the biggest bang comes from the GPU side, but you may as well put that CPU to work as well. iRay also doesn’t seem to suffer from the light leak issues that plagued Mental Ray. For example, the lights underneath the field in this render would magically light the top side in odd places, the issue drove me utterly mad for months, but with iRay it just doesn’t happen, cool. iRay also offers a much faster preview of what something is going to look like, this is because after two or three iterations (of the 2000 used to create this image) a very close to final image is produced. It takes the other 1998 iterations for the various different rays to settle, until then the image remains noisy.
Keep It Simple, Stupid
So last year I doused the render with effects. Depth of field, volumetric lighting, etc. Yeah the picture looked cool, but those effects kind of subtracted from the usefulness of the image. I mean DOF is essentially a blur that takes detail out of the frame, I mean sure it’s pretty, but that doesn’t sound useful for a still.
So I decided to take this train in a slightly different direction this year. Simple, sweet and elegant. This render is a story of less. In fact not only did I use less effects, but I actually made the field less realistic. I went for a more stylized look, which I honestly like quite a lot.
Non-commercial use of this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License..
Commercial use of this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
I’ll put out top-down renders again sometime soon. They’ll be posted further down this thread.
As always feedback / questions are welcomed.