Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Star Trek Enterprise shot is bothering me.

OK, I'm posting this here, because it can loosely be interpreted as a tip.
I love the new Star Trek trailer. I'm really looking forward to the movie. However, there is one shot that is bothering me. It's the shot of the Enterprise being built. No, I'm not a Trekkie who has some issue with a change in design or anything like that. My problem is that I don't feel like I'm seeing something real.

Here's the shot in question.

This is a screen grab from the trailer. When I see this shot, I feel like he's riding his bike up to a big painting. Part of this is because it's all in perfect focus. But also, I think it's because it doesn't feel big enough. This thing should be massive, but feels like it's about the size of a Macy's Parade balloon. That thing's details should be barely visible through the atmospheric haze, if you ask me.
So I did some quick touch-ups to the pic, and came up with this, which I feel emphasizes the sense of enormity that it should bring to the viewer. Let me know if you think I'm right or wrong.

EDIT: I just did a rough After Effects comp to try and better illustrate my point and I put the shot back into the sequence.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

easy to make CD/DVD Shader

So, I had to make a shader recently that I realized could be altered to make a few different things. One of those things is a CD/DVD shader, so we'll build one of those here.
I started with a flat disc model and then set up the UVs with a planar projection on the y-axis.
Next I started with the base gold-ish shader.

You want a kind of dark brown for the base color, with a yellowish specular color and low roll off and reflectivity.
Then we connect another blinn to the incandescence channel. This will be the rainbowy highlights that radiate from the center.

turn the color to black and map a circular black-to-white ramp to the bump channel.

set the bump to a high number. I wound up thinking it looked better as when I put the number in the negative, but you could just invert the black and white instead.

and finally, we add a colorful ramp to the specular channel and toy with the spec/reflection settings. Also, connect a sampler info node's facing ratio to the vCoord of the ramp. This will make the color change as the normals roll away from the camera.

Almost forgot, since I was rendering in Mental Ray, I added a tiny amount of reflection blur here. A value somewhere around 3.

I set up a sphere with an HDR to produce some reflections and hit render, and this is what I got.

And here's another test I did with it, going for a kind of brushed metal look.

You may not have to make a DVD shader any time soon, but you can adapt this for other looks. Vinyl records. Saucepans. See what you can come up with.