Light and Render

Vitality Pool – Houdini Flip Fluids Sim

I was asked to simulate a series of pools for a luxury development sales video, but I only supplied the final alembic caches for the water to be rendered in-house. So this is my render of the sim in V-Ray.

Houdini flip fluid sim, with a white water sim for the bubbles and foam. The water and the foam were exported as alembic caches into Max and rendered in V-Ray.

Vitality Pool – Houdini Flip Fluids Sim from Hugh Johnson on Vimeo.

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Winter 2016 FX Reel

Here’s my latest FX Reel:

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Phone Camera and PhotoScan

I was interested to see how good the results would be to use my phone camera (Sony Z1) for Photogrammetry (with PhotoScan).

It turns out the results were pretty good! The final meshes are rough, and the textures are pixelated, but the results are usable in production.

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Flip Fluids: Mud and Water

This is a test to see how 2 liquids of different densities would interact. Each fluid also has separate viscosity settings.

To get this working I created a volume in sops, scattered points inside the volume, and then gave them custom point attributes to describe density, and viscosity. The water and mud were each assigned point groups, and then it was possible to separate them and assign the correct point attributes.

The mud has a varying viscosity from 100 to 1000,000 which creates the clumps within the mud. This is set in an attribute VOP in sops, and is driven by a random noise.

In dops the particles are fed into a Flip Object node, and the initial data input type is set to Particle Field to pick up the points created in sops. I also matched the particle separation value in the Flip Object node to the Points from Volume node used to created the points.

The liquids were meshed in Houdini and exported to Max using alembic.

The scene was rendered with Vray using a single dome light set to image based lighting with an HDR used for lighting and reflections.

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Bluestone 42 Game Graphics

I was asked to provide the graphics for a video game in the TV show Bluestone 42. This is a quick breakdown showing the level building process I went through.

The brief was that I provide realistic current gen game graphics, so it was important for me to keep this in mind while building the level. I kept poly counts reasonably low, and used normal maps for extra detail. V-Ray was used to render the scenes, with cached GI. A game look for the shadows was achieved by using V-Ray shadow maps on a low setting

I delivered 17 shots for the show, based in 3 environments. The desert level shown above, a village level, and finally a recreation of the Bluestone 42 base.

I’ll upload some more videos showing my work on the show when I have a bit more time.

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Deadbeats Ghost – V-Ray Hair Test

So this is the same creature as shown previously, but I’ve spent some time working rendering the hair fully in V-ray rather than using a separate light rig, and the Hair Farm Renderer.

The hair is generated in Hair Farm, and then brought fully into V-Ray using the VrayHairFarmMod. The Hair Farm renderer is turned off and only V-Ray is used to render it. The V-Ray hair shader was used, with the white matted preset as a starting point. I still used Hair Farm’s Color Variation material in the diffuse which adds an individual colour to each stand. The Hair was also set to be opaque for GI, and shadows. Simplify for GI was also set.

Rendering hair can be problematic because of its potential to create noise in the image if the sampling is too low. The aliasing filter can also cause issues, so it took a bit of fine tuning to get this right.

Here’s the settings I used in the test:

Image Sampler: Adaptive DMC
Antialiasing Filter: Cook Variable set to 2.5

The DMC noise threshold is not as low as it could be, but I didn’t notice any major noise issues, so was set to 0.01

The scene is lit with 2 area spots, and an HDR dome light. Primary GI was Brute Force, with secondary set to Light Cache. Render times were pretty high using the HDR, but it was worth it for the final image quality. Without the HDR, and still using GI, render times were reduced by 3/4.

View fullscreen in HD for best results.

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Deadbeats Ghost: V-Ray Test

In 2012 I was asked to set up a small vfx team to work on a BBC comedy/horror pilot called Deadbeats. I was brought in at the pre-production stage to plan shots, and also breakdown the vfx requirements. Once filming started, I supervised the vfx shots over a 2 week shoot.

We produced over 75 shots ranging from 2D effects, to full CG creature work, and FX heavy shots.

Some of this work is visible on my latest reel, which you can see in the showreel section of my site.

Unfortunately the pilot was not commissioned, and will not be broadcast. But I wanted to show some of the great work we produced on the show.

The original ghost concept was produced by the awesome Lee Ray who I’ve worked with many times in the past: http://www.lee-ray.com/

I then sculpted and textured the ghost in Mudbox. I originally rendered the ghost in Mental Ray, but this new test uses V-Ray’s Fast SSS2 shader for some great results! (best viewed in HD)

The ghost is designed to have hair (hence why the back of the head is not sculpted or textured to any great detail), but the V-ray version of the hair is taking a while to setup, so I’ll post a new test when that’s complete.

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