Sep 15, 2009

The planet is round

Was trying out some NPR (Non-PhotoRealistic) methods to render planets. Lightwave3D ships with several cel shaders, though I usually work with Super Cel Shader and BESM (BigEyesSmallMouth). Despite their respective limitations, they produce some pretty good results with minimal tweaking.

BESM gives you more control, but doesn't play well with textures (in fact, it totally ignores it) while Super Cel Shader has less controls and does not render edges.

If you are feeling adventurous, you can even fiddle with the node system to get you own custom cel shader, though I have little success in that aspect.

Other than the big honking watermark in the middle, the map of the planet was created entirely from procedural textures. The node system is a monster to learn, but it is already established that the degree of freedom it offers is enormous compared to pre-node versions.

This is just the node view. In each of the color nodes are layer upon layers of procedural textures and mattes.

Because I was aiming for a NPR result, I can settle with less amount of surface details compared to photoreal textures. Using procedurals mean I won't have to worry about texture pixelation, though I won't imagine going too near to the surface as there is not much detail to keep the close-ups interesting.

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