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Marius Oberholster Hey! I'm having an incredible learning experience, not only learning how Blender works (yes, still learning), but also about Open-Source and the incredible software available. Stick around!

Rendering - Expectation vs Reality

Posted by Marius Oberholster on Monday, January 13, 2020 Under: Learning
Whenever we do rendering, we have a massive selection of options to choose from. We can choose to do most of the work in pure rendering, or we can do a lot of the work in post (lol, not like "we'll fix it in post"). For example, you can actually generate glares within the viewport, like with the Flared add-on.

We can also choose to do most of the work within the shaders themselves (my preferred method).

Many things can be defined with masks and separated out and so on, so you can find a large variety directions when it comes to rendering.

HOWEVER, there are two main areas where rendering becomes removed from reality for most people, that can bring down their dreams at such a speed, it makes them give up completely, when they honestly really don't need to - and you don't have to be an expert to solve these issues either.

Most people who really want to do animation, have dreams of making their own version of- or continuation of a series, or something original, but when the reality of rendering or the limitation of their software sinks in, they quit - often understandably so and frustrated.

These two areas usually come down to:
 - Render times
 - Styles

Render times are generally the biggest problem. I've been on the privileged side to make a few short films and I know what it means to be bogged down with serious render times. Someone once remarked that people expect to download blender and churn out a feature film over the weekend, lol! That won't happen, I can promise you, but you can do a lot to bring those render times down. You are going to have to come to terms with render times of roughly 2-10 mins. per frame (outside of game engines), at least for another year or so... That is a lot... It truly is, but guess what, Disney has much larger render times per frame.

For Esther, I had a max of roughly 10 mins. per frame. On the shorter end, it was maybe 3-4 mins, I don't recall to be honest. It is so rare to get a render time under 1 min per frame with offline render engines.

With Eevee, these times have come down drastically, but this is where older versions of Blender shine - NPR. Eevee is a Physically Based Render engine and this means it functions based on assumptions of photo-realism to produce close to real time high quality graphics. That means to make NPR, you would have to break the engine or by-pass certain assumptions with clever techniques.

Older versions of Blender contain an engine called Blender Render. It is THE NPR engine, imo. Blender Render does render slower than Eevee, but is still faster than Cycles by a long shot and is supported on older hardware. It sports the features you really need for butt-kickin' awesome NPR renders, such as light groups, render layers and a perfect mix of sampled VS game engine elements! If you love NPR, you will love Blender Render.

Now, render times can be super low if you need them to be, but faster times usually comes at a sacrifice - usually lack of Anti-Aliasing and noisy soft shadows or other features like reflectivity or the Edge feature instead of Freestyle, for example. There are many Post-Processing solutions for these things, but ideally you have to find an acceptable balance of quality and render times that you can practically deal with.

The principle is simple:
To reduce render times, you have to reduce the load on the computer. This rings true for pretty much any render engine. The only difference is what is adjusted and how much.

Recently there have been quite a few developments in regards to de-noisers. These allow you to render almost instantly on low samples and with great quality. Their only current draw-back is temporal continuity for animations - however, this I believe will be sorted quickly.

Remember, whatever engine you choose, render times are a fact of life, no matter how quick - the quicker the better though, lol. Don't let that put you off - go for that dream if you're really serious about it!

Next, Style!

My biggest issue with NPR in general is the copying of 2D elements into a 3D space. 2D and 3D are not the same and you have to make space for 3D to be 3D and for the 2D aspects to simply slide into place. My fav examples here would be the Guilty Gear franchise as well as the typical anime crowd that most people hate, that ironically, really does not look that bad in some examples - just a bit stiff (kinda mindless-zombie like in a way). There are many crowds that have great variety, but I believe the drastically reduced framerate might be partly the reason for the extremely jarring separation between the foreground and the background. That and the uninteresting nature of what the crowd is doing.

I do believe that reducing the frame rates have their place (stop frame animation and traditional 2D animation in 3D, like with the grease pencil), but it has to be somewhat randomized in order to really give a convincing feel to the style. For example, the computer works with math. An animator does not in the same way, so guess who's work is much more visually accurate - 3D's total give away - especially with interpolation. That accuracy is usually the biggest issue when it comes to animation that is done with 3D software. I can totally recommend adding things like displacement or noise modifiers (procedural animation to edit the final animation), to really get the perfect the look or go full-out for 3D and let it be 3D with a 2D skin, so to speak.

One thing that made GGXrd so great is that they actually had the camera move in sync with the characters and that made the characters move without stutter, but still allowed the background to move seamlessly. Usually, in anime at least, the background moves at the film rate, ie 24fps, while characters composited on top, move at varying frame rates, like 12fps (2's), 4 (6's), and even partial animation, ie when only the mouth moves or one hand does, etc. and only the camera pans or something.

All in all, there are many many difficulties when it comes to translating one style into another medium - like 2D to 3D - not just anime.

I recommend when starting with 3D, that you simply remember that it is much more accurate than traditional animation and to work with it. Remember that render times are a fact of life and that you will experience frustration and re-renders - it's normal. Goodness, even having to redo entire scenes is normal - not great, but normal, lol.

All in all, there are many add-ons and shaders available online that can help you get the desired look, but I really encourage you to study these things, so you can find solutions to get the style right that you need for your project!

I hope this gives you some encouragement that you're not alone in your struggle to achieve that dream to complete a special project! Believe it or not, you can achieve a lot with a simple PC or Laptop - just start and work on it keeping that end-goal in mind. Don't let it simply be a new-year's resolution, it has to simply cross and supersede these "I'm starting a new thing" date lines! YOU CAN DO IT!!!

Have a super day!!
GOD bless you! (^^,)

In : Learning 

Tags: god  jesus  holy spirit  blender  render  progress  render times  reality  sink in  motivation  you can do it 

"For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen."
Revelation 22:18-21

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Proverbs 30:6

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