Fall of Spartacus: Rendering
I am a games artist and I wanted to work somewhat within the confines of game art, so I decided to go relatively low poly and rely on my normal maps and standard shaders. Kind of challenge myself to see what I could do with it, so the characters and environment in the image is about 24000 polygons in total.
As for the lighting, I wanted to set it as a dark sunset shot, so I chose to have one key light set from the top to simulate the sky, with a high key to filler ratio to create a bit of contrast and shadows. I also put about 6 filler lights with a blue shade to soften the shadows a bit and light up the places that were too dark, while still keeping the illusion of darkness.
I still thought it didn’t look very nice. The lighting seemed off somehow, and the background seemed a bit “busy” and didn’t blend well with the character in the foreground. I decided to remove the background and just go for a plain black background, and then create a composed image in Photoshop later where I would include the background. I also put a volume light on the key light in order to create a bit of a glow around the character.
I decided to try my hand at render compositing. Rather than spend a day rendering out one image, I rendered one simple beauty shot, and then used the scanline render elements rollout to create a lighting, specular, z-depth, and diffuse pass. I also did an ambient occlusion render pass with mental ray.
I then took all my render passes to photoshop and composited them. The ambient occlusion render pass in particular was quite the eye opener. It added a lot of depth to my image that made all the difference in the world. With a little work with the dodge tool in photoshop, the specular pass was really useful as well.
For the specular and lighting passes, I played with the hue a little bit, to change them into more of an orange-y colour that would make the light and highlights warmer, to match my background image that was more of a sunset image than moonlight.