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Watch as author Ryan Kittleson introduces the skills digital artists need to create photorealistic 3D creatures for film, video, and game production. This course covers basic design, sculpting, texturing, posing, and lighting and demonstrates real-world workflow, starting with the basic sculpture in ZBrush and moving it into Maya for finishing, while editing textures in Photoshop.
So far things like render quality, light samples and shadow detail have been kept low so that we could do fast test renders. Now it's time to get final render quality, so we need to start turning up the settings. We'll be hitting lots of little things in this movie, but the main concept to keep in mind is to only make one change at a time. We'll be doing a test render after every setting that we change. If you change several things at once and then the render doesn't come out right or it takes too long, you won't know which setting it was that caused the problem.
By changing just one setting at a time, you get a better understanding of what they do, so let's start with our Render settings. I'll go up and click this button. We want to change the image size to 720 HD, so let's scroll down and set the image size and from Presets, let just scroll down a bit here and find HD 720. This will give us higher resolution renders than the default. Now let's do a render and see what we get. Okay, let me move this over here so we can see more of the render, okay, let's save this image, so that we can compare it with any future changes that we make.
Okay, close the Render window and let's go back to our Render Settings. The next thing I want to change is the quality preset, so click the Quality tab. Let's open up the Quality Presets. I'm just going to click and come down to Production as you may notice a few different things changed. The Min Sample Level went from -2 to 0, the Max Sample Level went from 0 to 2 and the Filter went from Box to Gauss.
The explanation of what these settings do is very technical and beyond the scope of this course. In simple terms the changes increased the amount of detail that goes into every pixel of the render. Now there's one other change to be aware of, let's open up the Indirect Lighting tab. The production quality preset doesn't include final gathering by default, so we need to go and turn that back on in order to get the bounce to light effects. Now let's do another render to compare. All right let's save this image and compare with the previous one, you might not be able to see quite so much of a difference right here, let me zoom in closer, so there's several things to notice here.
The new render is much cleaner and less noisy; edges are smoother and not so blocky. In addition to being better looking, the new render also takes about twice as long to compute. So 2 minutes and 43 seconds for this one and minute and 3 seconds for the previous one. Now that number is going to very greatly depending on what kind of computer you have. So in this new render you can see that some of the shadows are still kind of grainy. For example, right back here on the rim; it looks kind of noisy, so let's fix that up.
We've already saved this rendered, so I'm going to go ahead and close this window. I want to close the Render Settings for now and let select the Keylight. In it's attributes I'm going to change its Shadow Settings. I am going to slide this down, so we can see more of the attributes and let's open up its Shadow Settings and let's scroll down to the Shadow Rays. I want to change this from 8 to about 30, so that we will have more detail in our shadows. Now let's open up the Render view, but not do a render yet.
So this button right here will show us the previous render. There is a little trick that will help speed things up. What you can do is just click and drag a box over a portion of a render. Now if you click this Render region button, it will only render that small section and it will go a lot faster. If you only need to see a small part of a render for comparison, this will save time by not having to render the whole image. All right, it finished, let's save this image and let's zoom in to see what changed.
Okay, so notice especially right about here when I flip between the two images, there is a definite change in the graininess of that shadow. The setting of 30 turned out to be pretty good for the situation. Depending on what you're doing, you may want to go higher. Remember the blurrier the shadow, the more shadow raise you need to make it look smooth. A sharp shadow doesn't need as much, and a setting of 30 may slow down your renders unnecessarily. Now it looks like there's still a lot of graininess in the rim, let's close the Render view and see if Ambient Occlusion has anything to do with that.
Let's go into the hyper shade and open our Textures tab, and let's scroll down until we find the ambient occlusion node, here we go. Let's try doubling the samples to 32. Basically this number is just going to increase the number of competitions that go into calculating the ambient occlusion, thereby making it smoother, so let's see what happens. Again, let's open up the previous render and we'll just select a smaller box right now, since we don't need to see the shadow from the Keylight and let's go and click Render region.
All right, let's zoom in on it and let's store this render and I'm just going to flip between it, okay. The graininess is almost gone. It may not be worth it to try to get rid of all graininess, you have to balance quality with render times. If you bump up all the settings to 10 times the default, you might have perfectly smooth renders, but they would also take so long that it might not be worth it.
Now let's render the whole thing. I want to zoom back out by clicking the 1:1 button, so it displays the image at real size, and now let's click the Full Render. Let's compare this final render with the first one that we did, so that we can directly compare the difference. I'm going to save this one and then let's go and delete the intermediate renders. So let's see, here's the first one, let me go to the second one that we made and just click the trash can, and click the trash can a few more times, until we have deleted all the first and the last.
All right, let me zoom out of this render, so I can see how long it took. It's kind of hard to see this number right here. Okay, 4 minutes 7 seconds for the last one, and 1 minute, so about four times as long to get the extra detail out of this image, let's zoom in to just see how much better the detail is. Okay, so it's grainy and blocky here, and it's smooth and clean here. I don't turn up Render Quality until I get close to the end of a project, this is because I don't want to wait forever to renders while I'm setting up lights and testing out textures.
Again the other big thing to remember is to turn up Render in Shadow Settings one at a time so that you know exactly what effect it has on the render.
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