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Topics - Ludvik Koutny

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Gallery / NyLeve Falls Remake
« on: 2017-06-28, 11:43:02 »

so for a past few months, I've been working on a personal project. I guess those of you who have played the first Unreal game will recognize the place a bit. It's the NyLeve Falls level. I love the game to this day for its amazing atmosphere and soundtrack, but these days, graphics are a bit dated. Back in the day, just those few polygons, textures and soundtrack were enough for my brain to draw all the details into the world, so I tried to re-create how the level looked in my imagination when I first played the game. There's quite a few things I am not happy with, but I had to just call it done at some point.

Here's some preemptive FAQ:

It's noisy/flickery af at some place:
Yes, it is. It was 3450 frames of fullCG animation of scene covered in foliage. I've pumped over 1400EUR out of my own money into a renderfarm for a personal project, and I just could not afford any more. So for all the money I got quite noisy frames, and what you are looking at is actually heavily denoised output. It's not very good, but I take it over not finishing the project at all :)

It's blurry af:
Yep, it again comes to not being able to afford more rendering resources. I had to render at 720p and upscale to 1080. I'm just too poor to renderfarm. I had something around 15 minutes of rendertime per frame. I find that a testament of how fast Corona is :) The scene had about 92 billion of instanced polygons.

Waterfall looks crap:
Yep, I did not plan to set the time aside for figuring out a good waterfall simulation, and Corona does not support many fluid sims anyway, so it's the best I could do at the time. I will make it better next time, I hope :)

There are no animals or nali:
Yup, I learned the hard way it's not possible to learn to become a character sculptor, modeler, texturing artist, rigger and animator at once on a level sufficient enough for it to look acceptable in a middle of a large, challenging project. I tried, I got somewhere but I ultimately failed. If I want to learn these skills, I will have to try on a much smaller and easier project first.

How did you render those volumetric clouds in Corona?
I didn't. It's volumeFog tool in Blackmagic Fusion, comped in :)

Trees move but branches and leaves don't
Yes, I am not very happy about that. I wanted the scene to feel a bit windy and dynamic, and I had tree leaves and branches animated and ready, but Corona 1.6 does not yet work very well with many instances with animated deformation. It is already fixed in 1.7 daily, and hopefully it will remain fixed until official 1.7 release. But unfortunately, commercial renderfarms don't do daily builds.

Do you have lowpoly version of the scene to prove you've made it?

You must have used V-Ray, Mari and ptex to achieve that.

So here it is :)

EDIT: Forgot to mention it was rendered in Ranch Renderfarm, their tech support is really great.

So, lately I've been thinking...

Every single time I do some look development these days, I first set my tone mapping to have some response curve that's somewhat resemblant of digital camera response curve. A bit of highlight compression, bit of contrast boost. It's very important to me in order to correctly see HDRI environments, and be able to correctly replicate materials from photographs to CG, because photographs are usually captured by a camera, which has such response curve.

It also seems that Fstorm's experiment to default to camera-ish film response rather than LWF/sRGB has met with great success and overall positive feedback.

Now, there are some valid reasons as to why most renderers still default to LWF/sRGB, two of the major being:

1, As soon as your output stops being linear, you can not correctly compose individual render elements anymore.

2, If you add some sort of tone mapping and and bake it into final output, you will destructively lose a bit of dynamic range data.

Non the less, I think that these reasons have became historical these days, because:

1, Compositing of separate render elements has became rather rare and niche workflow. It was essential back in the day, when rendering was not physically based by default, so things needed to be "made look right". That is not the case anymore. It would be more reasonable, if those, who utilize rare workflows, had to go extra step and make their renders linear if they want to be doing some advanced compositing, because majority of the Corona users do not.

It could be even implemented as one button solution, simply called "force linear output" or something like that. But there's not much of a reason to abstain from the joy of having Corona behave like digital camera by default just because of a few who still utilize workflows, which are now becoming legacy.

2, Main reason people choose not to do tone mapping in VFB, but instead in post is arguably because "they can bring back highlights in post". The thing here is, that if you apply some sort of tone mapping, such as highlight compression, you do it mainly to get bring those highlights back in the first place.

If you save tone mapped image with highlights that are not completely clamped, just a bit compressed by tone mapping, in some at least 16bit format, you will still be able to go back in post and adjust for example tonal contrast of highlights without getting any banding or artifacts. Yes, the gradient won't be as precise as it would be with linear image, but at the same time, neither would be footage from real movie camera.

The main idea here is that if you were in compositing, you would already start off with something that's a lot closer to movie camera footage, than to a linear render footage, so you could skip the entire one step of making it first look tonally realistic, before proceeding to some creative moody grading.

Many people praise Corona for being a lot like point and shoot camera rather than cumbersome technical tool, so I propose to push Corona even close to that ideal digital camera behavior. I think it's time to enter a new era of rendering, where renderers are becoming complete simulators of a movie/photoshoot sets, simulating most of the real world occurrences. Not just simulators of light transport, surface and volume shading, which then gets the printed onto pixel perfect radiometric grid (digital image), but also optical effects and digital film response to light, that reaches camera film back, such as contrast, glares, subtle blurring and sharpening, possibly even lens flares, and so on. Basically a state, where if you had near-perfect representation of real world scene, with scanned geometry and shaders, you would get an image indistinguishable from actual photo, without needing to work for it hard in Photoshop or other compositing software.

Therefore, I'd like to know your opinion about breaking old habit of linear being default in exchange for the greater good of the future. :)


I've put together a video with a bunch of Slate Material Editor tips for both people who are still a bit skeptical about it and still use Compact Editor, as well as those who already use Slate, and would like to find out a few more tricks that could make their daily work a bit easier :)

(beware a few infantile jokes ;) )

Gallery / Railgun
« on: 2016-11-28, 21:42:17 »

so a past few days, I could not sleep much so I modeled myself a railgun :) Spent part of friday and weekend days working on it.

Modeling is all inside of 3ds Max, shading is procedural, mostly using Corona AO. Everything is box mapped and there are no UVs aside from few planar projections for decals.

I don't think rendertimes matter but someone will ask about it anyways, so it was around 30 minutes per 2560*1440 image on my i7 5930k.

Something that will hopefully break a streak of houses, furniture and cars (not that they look bad ;) )

Gallery / Empty Esherick House
« on: 2016-10-10, 23:21:01 »
Due to some persistent occasional demand, I've decided to make stripped down version of my Esherick House scene available on Turbosquid. Unfortunately, I could not share entire scene because obviously many of the assets were not made by me.

Non the less, I took a bit of time to clean the scene up, and redo all the materials for Corona from scratch (Although kudos to Corona Material Converter, which saved me some time rewiring all the materials and maps).

You can get the scene on Turbosquid HERE

It's good for playing with light, various tests, or you can fill it with your stuff.

Here go some pictures. All of them are straight out of Corona 1.5, without any post processing other than CoronaVFB:

General CG Discussion / Riva Digital Dubai Warning
« on: 2016-04-30, 17:14:54 »

Just found this^ on CGtalk, and since they seem to be mainly archviz oriented, I guess it could perhaps help someone here from falling into the trap too :)

General CG Discussion / Google Nik Collection now free
« on: 2016-03-25, 12:22:53 »

Google Nik Collection is now completely free. It contains a lot of awesome tools to explore different looks of your images, that are adjustable with advanced gizmos, and is also great to emulate various camera response film curves. You can get it here:

It's really fun to play with it on raw unpostprocessed images. :)

Works well as a Photoshop plugin even with latest Photoshop CC.

[Max] Daily Builds / Corona 1.4 render setup UI overhaul
« on: 2016-03-02, 20:14:21 »
Here's concept for improved UI open for feedback:

Denoiser mode moved into scene settings:

Denoising is not something that affects true performance of rendering, it's more of a postprocess effect. Also, Performance settings are described as something only experienced users should touch, that's definitely not the case of turning denoiser on/off.

Denoiser radius moved from debug into scene settings next to the denoiser toggle:

When we are denoising images that are very close to the final, with very little residual noise, we may benefit from using lower denoiser radius, so we can clean up very subtle noise with nearly no detail loss. Also, when trying to denoise very noisy images, it may be beneficial to increase denoiser radius to get clean and less splotchy result, at the expense of some detail.

More control over how denoiser works

One more UI element bloating UI
May confuse new users who may set it up wrong and then whine on support portal denoiser causes too much detail loss or produces blotches.

Added % sign after Noise limit spinner

To indicate value is set in percent

Adaptivity toggle will remain in devel/debug settings

Adaptivity will be always on by default, and we should focus to make it more proof for all of the scenarios. So if you have any scene where adaptivity makes results worse, then definitely post it on mantis. Of course, adaptivity by design will often cause more noise on some areas of the image at the expense of cleaning up others. That's not a bug behavior. But if you find any scene where adaptivity makes picture truly worse, then definitely report it. It will stay exposed in deve/debug though, if someone ran across some rare scene, where it makes issues in the middle of production.

We may introduce "Adaptivity recalculation interval" setting

This value defines how often is image evaluated and adaptivity sampling focus adjusted accordingly. In early testing build, default was 2, now, in latest build, default is 10. While 2 was way too low, 10 is probably way too much. If we expose this setting, would you guys be willing to intensively test it and help us find the best default among different scene types?

Gallery / GDI Power Plants
« on: 2015-10-24, 22:37:47 »
I've created a short animation to showcase my latest asset from Tiberium universe.

News / Corona Scatter tutorial
« on: 2015-09-16, 11:12:44 »

I've made another tutorial. This time it's focused on Corona Scatter basics.

News / Car Paint Tutorial
« on: 2015-09-07, 11:04:26 »
Hi, here goes another tutorial. This time focused on creating car paint.


could you guys help me list all the most popular 3ds Max plugins Corona doesn't support yet? I know of:
  • FumeFX,
  • PhoenixFD,
  • Realflow (can't read motion blur from cache),
  • Ornatrix,
  • Hairfarm.
What else is there that people use a lot but Corona doesn't support yet?

News / New tutorial: Compositing CESSENTIAL Render elements
« on: 2015-08-07, 15:24:00 »
I've created another tutorial explaining how to properly set up, output and compose CESSENTIAL render elements. Enjoy! :)

Gallery / Fake Lumias
« on: 2015-08-05, 20:58:34 »
Some time ago I've created some fake new Microsoft Lumia 940/950 pictures and wanted to secretly seed them around the internet and let some rumors grow. Unfortunately plan did not work out as it did not spread much and I was worried if I pushed it too hard, I could get sued by MS for faking their products. So here they go at least :) First set are full CG renders. Second set is where composed them into a photos (you can see some errors here and there). Third set is just some studio shots to make it look like some leaked marketing slides :)

It was also fun to come up with some own design based on existing Lumia phones and leaked specs :)


Comped in photos:


News / QuickTip tutorials
« on: 2015-07-20, 15:36:18 »

this thread will contain list of the QuickTip tutorials that will be short tutorials showing how to do simple things quickly and easily. I am starting it off with two QuickTips:

Quick Masks:

Connecting HDRI rotation with CoronaSun:

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