This thingy works like this, the render features a Blinn material with an animated texture, HDRI reflections, soft shadows, real camera depth of field and a nice animated displacement. The scene is quite simple just a sphere.
By the time I made this scene like a year ago I was submitting a bug to Eyeon (which unfortunately is still there) so there’s actually no HDRI but an image I made in fusion copying the shape of the HDRI with some masks and background tools. Plus, I didn’t need to attach the file when submitted and rendered faster.
So here’s a little screen grab where you can see the whole process. The network is quite simple, it’s just a texture (the blue and yellow/orangish one in the lower left corner) which was animated and colour corrected. then that was mapped into the blinn’s diffuse and the alpha of it, colour corrected and used as a bump. The alpha, again was used for the displacement of the sphere via a spherical mapping tool. You can see the “fake” HDRI used for the reflections there.
…and now you are thinking, “…but wait, this guy said he used soft shadows and he rendered it in OpenGL… which doesn’t support soft shadows!” So here’s the trick…
If you thought of that, you were right, Fusion’s OpenGL render only supports hard shadows. So the trick is to render the shadows in the software renderer and since we have the whole scene already set up there, project the shadow render as if it was a pass over the textured model. In the screenshot you can see from the side, the texture swimming across the 3D model, of course, from camera view, looks fine. Another option can be to actually use it later render out all your passes and comp them together BUT here’s the thing, you wouldn’t get incredibly nice camera depth of field. If you have Lenscare you might get a really nice and decent result, still not as nice and accurate as this one.
Although, all this comes at a price. Sometimes quite high… geometry, for a smooth displacement, in any 3D package you need to subdivide your meshes. Whether it’s mental ray micropolygon displacement in Maya or a simple and basic mesh smooth using your old-schoolish and obscure 3d tools of choice (which we all know you like ;).
In my scene, I’ve used a Fusion primitive which was subdivided like hell, you can see the mesh before and after displacement, in both cases mapped and in wireframe mode. It does look way darker than the render, because the 3d framebuffer was not assigned a LUT and the texture is linear, so you are looking gamma 1.0 straight.
That’s about it folks, I was thinking in making this comp public since there’s nothing special about it or making another of this balls made out of glass. Maybe in a future post, because I have a rocky shader I might like to post also, if there’s a chance with a different or more detailed walk though.