More Blender and Video work

More Blender and Video work

by Zach Harvest

Blender. I “learned” a new render engine called Octane!!!...or the demo of Octane. So “learned” is in quotes because I spent some time with the demo and got used to how it worked in general. It is technically a ray tracer on the GPU and there are parts of the path tracer you can turn on do do certain things like volumetrics and such and more things that I probably don’t understand yet. Installing it was easy, just install the server and download the Octane/Blender bundle.

The main issues were the constraints of the demo. 1000x600 max output resolution, watermarks out the ass, and no “Live DB” of materials. < this one is a bummer because I need to see the material layout in nodes before I can make my own. So I got tossed into an environment with only the knowledge of how a path tracer works and the tool around it (Blender). This should be enough but I wasn’t even all that comfortable with Cycles material nodes let alone having to do ALL of it nodes. The few materials I could squeak out looked pretty cool but I still struggled with getting any kind of bump map going. They said it’s easy, and it should be due to handling texture modification on the node itself so I don’t have to get a grayscale image and a color image, ect…

Another issue was how hard it was to do simple things like make an area light and subsurface scattering. Again, all in nodes. This will probably be remedied with Live DB but again, not helping my situation. I also didn’t get any exports because of the limiting factors of the demo. This week I plan on messing with it more but this time, I’ll just take screenshots so I have some content. I think I’ll end up buying Octane because it’s a standard anyway and a damn fine engine. The worst thing that can come of this is…”I know Octane now”.


Time Lapses. For video, I wanted to focus on time lapses. I guess "things learned" should be good enough

  1. Make sure to focus every shot before you start. Video or photo, this is a no brainer. But sometimes you think you can get away with it because you “focused last shot”. Just slow down, take your time, and focus the FUCKING SHOT. You think I would learn this by now, ya know, after some 8 years of photography, but under pressure, you forget sometimes.

  2. Condensation on lens. I went out on Friday morning to take a few time lapses of the sunrise on the lake and about 40min in...the lens fogged up -_- I didn’t even consider that this could happen until I had it happen to me! As the temperature goes up, closer and closer to the dew point, your lense glass is still cold and you get condensation. This was amplified by the extra cold wind coming right off the lake on the lens and then the sun warming the air and the front of the camera.

  3. Exposure control. There are a few options, of which I did none. There is shooting in aperture priority and editing out the flicker in post (flicker caused by the obvious change in exposure over time). Shooting at least one shot during the day and one at night and blend them in post. Or ramp the exposure/iso. I will have to work on the method there, but these are things I hadn't properly thought through.

  4. Dragging the shutter. This refers to the shutter time per shot. So on average, people shoot at less than 1/100 so that the image is smoother because it introduces a little motion blur making the movement more fluid looking. You can get away with this in time lapses because you motion is slow anyway and much of the frame is static where you will see no difference. The amount of motion blur is dependent on what you want out of it. If you want water to look smooth and not choppy, then choose a lower shutter speed. Sometimes a neutral density filter has to be used to achieve these shutter speeds.

  5. Don’t touch the camera. I didn’t do all of these with pictures, I did some with the cheap “take a video and speed it up” trick. My camera can only record 30 min at a time so I needed to start the video again. I had a timer handy and I didn’t miss any time, however, I had some issues with the camera moving slightly when I started a new video segment. This will be fixed when I get a nice, proper, not all busted up, tripod. I used the gorilla pod and it’s great if you don’t have to touch it during the shot.

That’s my progress. And here are some files. The videos look best if downloaded. I’ve noticed that the Google Drive “YouTube” player thing, does NOT stream at the bitrate that YouTube actually does. But it gets the point across if you just want to take a peak. It’s nothing crazy.

Some are Instagram versions

Last Edited on Tue Apr 05 2016 17:25:19 GMT-0400 (EDT)