Transmedia Storytelling & 3D Graphics: Testing a Rendering Engine

3D computer graphics can add a lot to transmedia storytelling. While the professional grade applications like Autodesk’s Maya are expensive and have a steep learning curve, some of today’s 3D modelling software is inexpensive or free and can produce high quality images that could find a place in a transmedia story.

Over the past week I’ve been testing a new (to me) rendering engine for 3D models. I’ve been experimenting (playing?) with 3D modelling since the late 1990s. Finally the technology has reached the point where I can do what I want — create near photorealistic images — without starting a whole new career in 3D art and animation.

A test render of a 3D model using the Luxrender engine.

These models were developed as tests for the Luxrender rendering engine using the Daz3D Studio 4.6 software.

Lighting is a crucial element for creating images but it can get complicated in 3D modeling systems. The Luxrender rendering software makes it a lot easier.

These images were created with standard models and props. In the rendering software I was able to adjust film speed (ISO), shutter speed, and f-stop to get the effect that I wanted. The one downside — high quality renders take time. The first of these images took about 10 hours overnight to render, while the second was considerably shorter — just over an hour.

The Luxrender engine lets you stop and start the rendering process at any point and will run as long as you let it. The longer it runs, the more detailed the image rendered.

Another test of Luxrender 3d rendering engine.

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