After some experiments with subsurface modeling and displacement–techniques that I will use for the walls, I got back into texturing the buildings around the main plaza. Here is my latest render (Yafaray Direct Lighting).
I have been modeling the buildings around San Fernando Church and have almost completed the two blocks north and south. Here is a test render. Note that I have not completed any of the texturing yet. (Using Yafaray Direct Lighting.)
Here is the latest result using Yafaray. I added canales (the roof drains) and put some wear marks on the textures. I have also begun to improve the models of the buildings around the church.
The render is ok but I think it still looks too ‘cartoony’. This is due to the limited palate, lack of texture variations, color intensity/saturation.
I decided to change my strategy for texturing the church. Instead of using one or two large image textures, I broke the model up into different materials. I am using procedural textures for the base materials and will use image textures for adding detail, dirt etc.
I also made more tests with Luxworks, Yafaray and Blender Internal. I think that Yafaray still looks the best despite the deficiencies.
Here is a sample:
I’ve been working on a model of the San Fernando Church–a focal point of San Antonio de Bexar. It is more detailed than necessary but it has been a good exercise in learning about UV mapping a complex object. Currently, I am working on the textures. The base textures are mostly completed. The next job is to improve their realism by adding more detail, color variation, defects and dirt.
Here are a couple of renders using Yafaray and Blender Internal.
Before seriously working on the materials and textures for the models, I found that it would be wise to establish my lighting so that the materials can be viewed as they will appear in the scene. After getting some less than satisfying test renders using the Blender Internal Renderer (BI), I began looking at other render engines to see if I could get better results.
The first renderer that I explored was Yafaray. I was not able to render my complete scene due to some unknown error. I could bring over pieces to a fresh blender file and test out some lighting conditions. The out-of-the-box renders looked much better than I was getting from BI and was pretty fast. I thought the shadows looked exceptionally good and the textures seemed to have more fidelity. I was encouraged by this until I discovered that Yafaray does not yet support Normal Maps — only Bump Maps. Since Normal mapping is an important improvement to my model, Yafaray is disqualified for now.
I had played with Kerkythea months ago and decided to give it a try with the test scene. Unfortunately, it appears that textures do not import with the model and must be relinked in the Kerkythea interface. This is too much trouble at the moment.
I downloaded Luxrender to see how an unbiased render would look. It worked but after about 30 minutes of rendering, the scene still looked completely noisy. This is totally unsuitable for my application.
There is a new version of Vray that works with an exporter for Blender. This ‘VRay for Maya Standalone’ costs about $300 but might be worth the price if it delivered good results. Unfortunately, I could not find a download for the demo version.
So all of this research led me back to BI to see if I could improve the render results. After playing with the settings for a Sun Lamp, a Hemi Lamp and Ambient Occlusion, I think I have some results that are as good as what I was seeing with Yafaray (for my scene). As a bonus, I found that the render in 2.50 looks a little better still and completes in about half the time.
My conclusion is that, for now, BI is still the way to go.