Okay, fastforwarding a bit in time here. I was running behind schedule, so I had to sacrifice updating here in favor of getting work done.
So, to sum up the last couple of weeks:
I fixed my layout issues, cleaned up my models a little and smoothed them out, then worked on textures. I projected textures down from hi-res photos for the notepad and card deck. When taking photos I had forgotten to take photos of the notepad pages behind the main one, so I quickly bashed out an approximation in photoshop, which ultimately was faster than going and grabbing a camera, etc.
I used a photo for the harddrive sticker as well, which I added as an overlay in a layered shader – I used a simple metal shader for the rest of it. For the gameboy I used substance painter for the most part, and then projected the text overtop in Mari.
I did my initial test renders using Vray, but we haven’t spent much time with Vray in class and I couldn’t get the specular to work at all – for example, my gameboy in this image looks basically like rubber. No specular highlights at all.
I swapped to renderman after that, as I’m more familiar with it. I had wanted to use Vray for its faster render times, but ultimately for a single frame render that’s not very much of a concern. I’m quite happy with the results I got, but once I brought it into Nuke I was able to see quite a few coloring differences. The unaltered render is below.
I made my ID passes perhaps a little overly individualised. I had separated the gameboy out to the cartridge, buttons, shell, and screen. I separated the harddrive out to the shiny metal and dark metal (which did end up being beneficial), and the notepad into paper and binder.
Ultimately I found that most of the changes I wanted to make were for an entire asset, so rather than using four colorCorrect nodes for the gameboy for each render pass, I slapped a colorCorrect under the ID pass, and bumped up the offset for midtones and highlights. Then I slapped a grade node under that to clamp the white values, so that I had a pure white ID pass for the full asset.
I also couldn’t get the zDefocus node to work for me, so instead I chucked in a ramp node for each asset, used ID passes as masks for those, and then used the ramp nodes as masks for blur nodes. That gave me a lot more control over exactly how blurred each object was, and how that blur was spread. I’m pretty happy with the result.
I also ended up adding some noise to the image, to more accurately match the photo.
Overall I’m really happy with the overall result. There are still some issues that bother me, such as the different reflections in the gameboy screen and the specular highlight on the harddrive. I also didn’t get the displacement on the harddrive to match very closely. But I have learned a lot, and am now much more confident with modelling hard body objects and compositing, which previously had been weak points for me.