Radiosity and Raytracing.

Radiosity allows us to create a more realistic atmoshphere using light as it would actually be seen. If you look in the picture above, the left picture uses direct illumination or standard lighting. The left pictures lighting is very straight cut and doesnt look quite realistic. Whereas in the right picture they have used radiosity and this allows the lighting to have a gradient on its edges. This is more like what happens in real life.

Photometric units are a measuring unit for light intensity. Examples of photometric  units are lumens and candelas etc.
A lumen is a unit of luminous flux. Luminous flux is the measure of the perceived power of light. The candela  is the base unit of luminous intensity.

Local illumination algorithms describe how individual surfaces reflect or transmit light. These algorithms can predict the intensity, colour and distribution of the light leaving the surface, from which it was shone upon. They are called shaders in 3d studio max.

The global algorithms take into account the ways in which the light is transferred between surfaces in the model. in 3ds max there are two global illumination algorithms, these are ray-tracing and radiosity.

A shader is a local algorithm and an algorithm is a mathematical function.


Rendering Hardware

What is an API? – API stands for Application Programming Interface and it is an interface of an application that allows the user to interact with the computer. When you click to create an object within a program this will help create the object. The API is there to help the user behind the scenes and it is something we take for granted.

 What is GPU? – GPU stands for Graphics Processing Unit. GPU’s are graphics rendering devices for personal computers or games consoles etc. Modern GPU’s are very good at what they do and can come with different capabilities and prices.  I think one of the leading graphics card manufacturers are nVidia and their flagship graphics card is the nVidia GEForce 6800 Model, made for gaming.

What is a shader? – A shader is a set of instructions within the software to perform the graphics rendering. A shader can be seen as part of the renderer.
Vertex shaders affect vertex properties like position, color, and texture coordinate.
Geometry shaders can add and remove vertices from a mesh.
Pixel shaders calculate the colour value of individual pixels when the polygons produced by the vertex & geometry shaders are rasterized.

3D Development Software

3D Studio Max – 3D Studio Max is a 3D graphics application developed by Discreet, also known as Autodesk Media and Entertainment. 3D Studio Max has strong modeling capabilities and a flexible plugin architecture. This program is mostly used by video game developers, TV commercial studios and architectural visualisation studios. It is one of the most widely-used 3D programs that you can buy off the shelf. 3D Studio Max has strong modeling capabilities and a flexible plugin architecture. This program is mostly used by video game developers, TV commercial studios and architectural visualisation studios.


 Cinema 4D This is a commercial cross platform high-end 3D graphics application. Cinema 4D is produced by a company called MAXON Computer. It is capable of procedural and polygonal/sub divisional modeling, animating, lighting, texturing and rendering. Cinema 4D is also noted for being very easy to use and artist friendly among high end 3D applications and is also known for having a very flexible interface. Cinema 4D was used in ‘Open Season’, ‘Monster House’ and ‘Polar Express’.

open-season-review1.jpg monster-house21.jpg polar01_polarexpresspefc-941.jpg

 Afterburn – AfterBurn is a volumetric effects plugin for 3D Studio Max software. 3ds max doesn’t come with any volumetric effects apart from “volumetric light”. AfterBurn is one of very few plugins to create and render true volumetrics within 3ds max. AfterBurn can be used to create Billowing smoke, Explosions, Thick or Thin Clouds, Dust and Flowing Water. Afterburn has been used in many feature films such as Armageddon, Flight of the phoenix, K-19: The Widowmaker, Paycheck and Scooby Doo 2.

armageddon-31.jpg water_hype_b_a_01_3171.jpg

 Maya – Maya is a high-end 3D computer graphics and 3D modeling software package. It was developed by Alias Systems Corporation but is now owned by Autodesk. Maya is mostly used in the film and TV industry, as well as for computer and video games. The software is released in two versions, These are: Maya Complete and Maya Unlimited. Maya Unlimited comes with tools that are not in the Maya Complete package, these are:

  • Maya Classic Cloth – Cloth simulation to automatically simulate clothing and fabrics moving realistically over an animated character.
  • Maya Hair – A simulator for realistic-looking human hair implemented using curves and PaintEffects.
  • Maya Fur – Animal fur simulation similar to Maya Hair. It can be used to simulate other fur-like objects, such as grass.
  • Maya Live – A set of motion tracking tools for CG matching to clean plate footage.
  • Maya Fluid – A realistic fluid simulator, this is for smoke, fire and clouds etc.


Unreal Ed