Took a drive out to Snoqualamie, shot several environment maps with the family. It was nice not having the city conundrum of people walking in the shot at one exposure, then being in the shot again at a different exposure.
I’ve been running Seabug for about five years now, and we rarely have a Seabug go by with out some demo effect. Sometimes it’s files not working or computer failures, but most repeatedly it’s people requesting recordings, and I can’t get my act together in the 20 minutes before Seabug starts.
No longer! Longtime Seabugger John Wickliffe has been recording them, and this time we transferred the vids soundly. These are from the February seabug, but we should have a pipeline in process now so that future ones are easily handed off and uploaded.
(PS: If you’re in one of these videos and want a shout-out to your site, or need NDA stuff blocked, let me know.)
This was shot during last Seabug, February 22nd. Which reminds me: next Seabug is March 1st! Last month we kerploded with a bunch of experts having a billion projects made over 2 months of wintry cabin fever. This month we should have a chance to aid beginners daunted by Blender, so bring your n00b questions one and all!
BTW, that guy off to the left with his hands in the air is Blender sensei Nathan Vegdahl. Go check his stuff out, he’s a beast!
Just a boat sculpture from my neighborhood. Frickin’ kids running around. Who do they think they are, running water? #hdrcomplaints
I’m a week and change behind on my 1/week environment maps. So here’s three! Next Saturday I should be back on schedule.
These were shot along the Fremont Canal under the Aurora bridge, and the weather was insane. A giant cloud of mist came up and bloomed the whole sun, and I don’t know if the light probe truly captured the experience. Look how engulfed the water is in this pic, and this was my lowest exposure photo! The rest were the lil silver ball, plus pure white mist.
This pic also highlights the weird physics-bending nature of HDR. The tripod is about 6 inches behind the light probe, and yet the spot directly under the tripod is about 20% up from the bottom of the gazing ball. This should give you a sense of how the reflection bends light to show what’s behind it.
I experimented with using fewer photos to generate the HDR. What’s better, more info per pixel, or less blurry pixels? Especially the shots on the end of the pier, with the water moving up and down, I erred against blurriness.
Environment maps shot via light probe have some problems you don’t see with full-on panoramas. The distortion around the probe’s rim will pull away from some detail, culminating in the blind spot behind the probe. This means you have to make hard decisions about what gets distorted. If several things are important, how do you put them in a heirarchy?
I usually try to make the angle from me to the probe to the sun 90 degrees. The pier at Anthony’s is one example where I make an exception. Since half this landscape is a view of the water, you’d end up using this in 3D scenes that also are at a water’s edge. So wouldn’t it stink to jam all those watery pixels into the rim distortion? But shooting parallel to the repeating boards of the pier also appealed as a detail to avoid distorting. I shot a little of everything.
Not that I’m trashing probes. Don’t forget, if you’re shooting a full-on panorama, you’re way more likely to have some jogger and his dog ruin your scene, or have the clouds and light shift over the time it takes to shoot. And who wants to slave over 2 gigs of CR2 files, just to make a single EXR that crashes Blender anyway?
Just to reiterate, these HDR environment maps are perfect for the small time crook. Because I use a probe, they’re much faster to make. My 3D scenes are usually budgeted such that any HDR environment is already above and beyond, so doing a full-on panorama stitch would be WAAAAAY out of scope. If you’re like me, these are right up your alley.
Last week’s HDR pack had a Blender file with a Cycles setup, if you’re not sure how to use them. I prefer the .HDR over .EXR; although you have to type in ludicrous values for the environment strength (.0005, which rounds up visually to look like it’s .001), you can REALLY see the potency of any given HDR pixel, especially when cranked through the gamma. But the EXR ends up a bigger file size, so it might be better data 😛
Can I do an HDR environment map a week for 2014? Let’s see! Last week I dropped some old biddies I had in storage, but this week I went out and shot a nice empty parking lot. I threw in a .blend file with a cycles setup, for those unfamiliar with an environment map’s uses.
Download the HDR file here! (Don’t bother with the jpeg below, it’s just a preview.)