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Foley it up

Posted by Marius Oberholster on Thursday, September 7, 2017 Under: WIP
Hey all!
This week's vlog!


GOD is so awesome!!!

  - Bokeh blur
    This was an interesting addition to the new defocus node I was not expecting! I saw a render in the banner on BlenderNation and really felt led to add the Bokeh effect to it. You can check out the render I am talking about here.

   I talk more about the differences between the two in the video, but the main differences between the two is the way it blurs. The blur node is a very soft, very even blur, while the bokeh and other blurs, tend to have more shape to them - square, octagonal, hexagonal, etc. A much more cinematic, much more glitzy approach you could say. Of course, it can also have a filmic meaning to it as well. Confusion, introduction, sparkle, deep thought, etc. Sometimes the more in-focus defocus has just the right feel for a certain story element.

   It's very interesting how visual things like focus and composition can really add to a story. It's such a wonderful gift!! GOD is awesome!!

   Just as a heads-up though - the Bokeh in Blender isn't spherical like the one in the render, for some reason. It comes out very square. I know with the Defocus node you can tell it to be spherical, but I don't know if there is a way to do that with this specific blur node. We'll see if GOD shows me! HE is so good!

 - New look - less notes
   This week, when I went to upload, I was met with a very surprising change to my YouTube layout. I had received a brand new feel. While I really like the way it looks, it did remove the note feature from the playlists (at least for viewers of the playlist). This means that you can't locate the video based on notes anymore (I have referred a few, so I know it was useful).
   I think the biggest reason the new look doesn't include this is because the general playlists I saw just didn't have any notes about the video. Kinda like an under-used feature, or underrated feature, haha. Really luv the new look though!
   Not sure what solution to follow for this, but I know GOD will certainly make it clear in due time!

 - A slower pace
   I have to be honest, in personal pride, this request kinda surprised me, and in a sense kinda annoyed me. I've had a few people tell me that they'd prefer I go a bit slower in the tutorials, because it makes it very difficult to keep up - especially for newer users. I didn't understand why at first and GOD literally just showed me, (I write these posts as the week progresses) after getting the request again, why it's so important.

   The reason it's important that I slow down a bit is because the viewer doesn't know what I've been given and taught over the years. When I'm working on something, yes, the blinding pace is the way to go, but not when teaching someone. When you are teaching someone something, you need to meet them at their pace, so that whatever you teach them will not be something that pushes them too hard too far, but will be a blessing to them, they'll understand it and the knowledge will be fruitful (just like with the sower - the HOLY SPIRIT has to come and seal that knowledge as well as the knowledge that it came from HIM). The Bible says that it's the Word that is not understood that is stolen by the devil and while it was heard, it doesn't bear any fruit and any kinda pressure that comes from it can choke it out as well if it wasn't absorbed well. So while people are able to watch the videos, they don't always retain the knowledge and so, while they have watched it, can't functionally always use it, because the pace was too fast for a learning environment and consequently, the video proved useless beyond the initial purpose...

   I really want to do better on this and still keep the videos as short and to the point as possible, but without "speeding" through it. So I need you guys to pray for me on this and tell me how it's going on the newer videos! :D

   Big thanx to everyone who requested the slow down and a HUGE thanx to GOD for showing me why it is so important to just take it down a smidge. :)
Why? Because a tense "What just happened? What did he just do?! I don't know!! (0.o)" atmosphere doesn't produce good learning. The soil has to be tilled and ready to receive and that happens in a peaceful and calm mind set - focused, but peaceful, calm and desirous to learn. The latter is there, my part with the HOLY SPIRIT leading is to bring the former.

 - Workflow trials - 3D, 4K, 60fps
   Of course, these three are not new to the posts, but this week, the workflow process certainly took a turn I didn't expect it to! hahaha.

   I found out there was a competition about Simplicity from a post in the NPR group on FB. Sage posted that he forfeited his entry to sponsor the competition. I read about the rules and I asked GOD if I could enter and HE allowed me to make an entry, so I did.

   Unfortunately, it didn't finish rendering and processing in time, so I fell out of the running, BUT! GOD did use it in a massive way to help me trial run the workflow for a 60fps, 3D, 4K production and oh snap! It is really a production process on its own! hahaha.

   I experienced that ffmpeg will not process the 4K video that Blender outputs (not the first time it didn't want to handle video from Blender, hahaha). No matter what I did, it kept on giving me a gray block (and this with only the resolution and bitrate adjusted for otherwise functional footage). So, I instead opted for HD interpolation to 60fps and then upscale (the other way around failed miserably with the gray block). The process took quite a while and does require constant monitoring for errors, but I am happy to present you with the very first fully 2D to 3D converted, 30fps to 60fps interpolated and FullHD to 4K super-resolution upscaled video I've ever done, hahaha. GOD is so awesome!!

   The reason I use these methods is purely for budgetary and time constraints (mostly the latter, haha). Rendering out to 4K alone is ridiculous for my normal PC (easily between 8-10mins per frame and double the amount of frames too - exponential slow down...), unless you use some sort of game engine and unfortunately, Eevee is still unfinished. With a stunningly efficient game engine, rendering out to 2D, true 3D, in true 4K and all that at stunningly true 60fps would be practical - not there yet, haha. Yet being the key word! :D

   So without further delay, here it is:


GOD is so great!

   Oh, interesting thing about the transparency! When I was rendering the transparency initially, I had to have a lot of extra tools on so that the look would be what I was going for. The further on it gets, the less realistic and so less is needed. This meant that close to the end of the blast, I could start turning things off. Turning off raytracing and shadows meant that I cut just over 9mins off the render time per frame. Not just that, but a further 10 seconds per frame just by changing what format it saved to! GOD is awesome!! So the rendering finished before 00:00, but not the 3D conversion and certainly not the lengthy process of learning a 4K upscale workflow and upload, hahaha.

   The end of the workflow exercise is this:
 - Keep better tabs on what frames upscaled and how they rendered (this helps avoid doubles - which really pulls down a result - especially at high frame rates)
 - Check the results first in a lower res or proxy format in Blender
 - Interpolate first, then upscale (if you want to do anything higher than FullHD)

 - Cycles speed testing continues
   With the brand new approach GOD gave me this week, Cycles can indeed produce very very similar results to Blender Render's NPR stuff. Basically, you have three layers now.
1) Background
2) Toon shading
3) Freestyle lines

The first two contain the exact same objects, but different lighting setups. Basically, a single sun, but one is soft (background) and the other is sharp (toon shading). Of course, now with the new technique, the background also includes Environment and AO as part of it's rendering. This means that you get that soft interaction as well as soft shadows, while still having sharp toon shadows.

   There are however, a few issues still (not all these are Cycles only):
 - Transparency still struggles to shine through passes (typical problem that carried over from Blender Render for some reason... Possibly extremely difficult to code for passes or something, since it's a recurring problem regardless of engine...)
 - Freestyle still can't see through objects that have transparency (probably won't be fixed any time soon, as it's geometry based, not material primary - though I do believe it would be an awesome addition - can be sped up by using distance first and then material opacity to see where the object might be mixed with whatever color and modifier settings it has)
 - Overall Render speed is horribly slow (as in "OH NO - These aren't even comparable!!!" slow...)
 - Denoiser doesn't denoise passes - only the final result, making compositing a huge problem. The Despecle node helps, but it works a lot like the soften filter, so it doesn't help much in the line of denoising...
 - Setup is not directly responsive to light. While shadows do move as the light moves, intensity is totally dependent on your animating it.
 - No specularity (a Cycles problem - can be added by glossy toon, but the second you add glossy bounces, you get a reflective material and no longer specularity)
 - No 3-tone shading (compositing route not really an option here, seeing passes don't get denoised and adding another diffuse shader won't change it, because of the method used)
 - Ambient Occlusion is additive (good and bad, because it allows you to get environment lighting, but bad, because you have to add more through the compositor and it can flatten out colors especially when you switch to filmic)
 - No reflectivity through transparent toon objects (this is due to the way the toon objects are handled, but they're handled a certain way, because Cycles won't relent on the AO distance affecting the toon shader, haha).

   The irony is the time each one took to process. If the denoiser worked on the passes as well, I do think the time for Cycles could potentially be cut in half (assuming the render time dropped as it would now with the lowering of the sample count). For Blender Render, the compositing wasn't really more complex, but I have learned to do more with it, but with all the work-around for Cycles, it really takes waaaay too much to get it working right, haha. So, in short:
 - Blender Render, FullHD, CPU only, 7 samples (spl) world and 7spl sun lamp,
 00:45 at 125x125
 - Cycles Render, FullHD, BG = 20spl, Toon = 15spl, Freestyle = 1spl,
GPU = 02:11 at 96x96
CPU = 02:12 at 96x96


Like I said, I think that Cycles can be faster than that (and faster than Blender Render because of the GPU edge), but the sample count has to come down a bit and the denoiser has to denoise the passes as well and of course, much faster hardware won't hurt either, hahaha. Honestly though, I don't think it comes close to Blender Render ito result (more an taste thing with NPR and it's imo). On my PC, Blender Render is so much faster that Cycles is completely and totally impractical - even for NPR. It's so much slower than it's not even worth redoing a scene in Cycles to see the difference (it's just under 3x slower than Blender Render!!! 2.91' to be more specific).

Am I against using Cycles for NPR? No, it is absolutely fantastic! Gives a unique result and if it were faster, I would seriously consider switching (assuming GOD gave me the solutions I needed for the reflectivity and such through transparent objects). Personally though, I prefer the look, flexibility and speed of Blender Render. May not have GPU or have a billion issues in the code, lacking a few features, but it is by far my number 1 choice for toon shading - by far! From what I've seen in recent weeks, it is by far the number one choice for me.

 - Further sound work
   Wow, second week with the focus on sound! Hard to believe it's been a week! Feels like a month, hahaha. It wasn't boring, but a lot happened this week, as you read above.

   This week, I worked on sound specifically. I didn't work on music, I just focused on filling in the gaps with sounds that fit. Some honestly fit better than others, hahaha. While I still lack quite a few, these got done and added:
 - Magician cloud boom improved as well as reverse cymbals added for the light beams.
 - Moses' clothing rustle added everywhere it applies so far (opening and pharaoh confrontation)
 - Rapid movement rustle added to Moses' confrontation with Pharaoh
 - Drums added to magician stick tap so that it can intro music or queue music (might remove - sounds weird)
 - Transformation sound with the rods to snakes (somewhat of a crackle for the wood and for the fire and the techy sound to make it feel out of place...)
 - Magician transition got a whoosh
 - Magician throw got a whoosh too
 - Added a bit more to the confrontation with the same birds and water babbling as in the first scene.
 - Some pre-fine-tuning of sounds

My favorite part about getting to spend so much time on the audio is the fact that it isn't so quiet anymore watching it, hahaha. There's a very strong awkwardness showing family the progress when they stand and watch and you hear absolutely nothing, hahahaha. GOD is so good!
   I did notice though that some of the individual sounds like the whistle are waaaay too loud. So those were also adjusted.

 - Practical example
   In the vlog I also managed to show you guys a little bit of what goes into audio processing and how I work. It might not be the final sound, but it serves as an example for how I work and I really hope it helps you guys. If you know better, please don't follow my example, do better! hahaha. I'm just sharing with you guys what GOD is showing me.

   I talked mostly about this in the video, but I promised to tell you guys what I am using and you'd be amazed:
 - Samsung S4 for recording (it has a stunning stereo mic and probably the best screen on any phone I've ever seen)
 - A very basic tripod with a selfie-stick head to hold my phone (it screws on, you don't need to tape it on, haha - if you do, then tape it with joy - use what you have been given)
 - Audacity as DAW (I do make use of a lot of the built-in plug-ins, but I also use Elastique Pitch V2's demo)
 - Anvil Studio as MIDI handler so I can use those old tinny instruments as added foley (very very useful!).
 - Blender as video editor and "audio panner" (surprisingly, Blender supports 7.1 and 5.1, not just Stereo!)

As for what you use to create foley, that is a whole other thing entirely! You pretty much use whatever you can find. For example, I used a towel for Moses' clothes in combination with my jacket's sleeve for his slam down. The practical example, again, was an umbrella opening and closing. For the fire crackle, a crumpled plastic shopping bag, etc. You can look online - there are sooooo many sites that have foley tips and tricks!

   On that I haven't found is one for thunder. There is literally no foley techniques (I could find) for it. Most people tell you to go and record thunder, because it is just too layered and complex and I tend to agree, hahaha. It's not like the coconuts for the horse hooves, hahaha.

Anyhow, that is it for this week's post - a lot got done this week, so I am just so thankful for everyone who reads, comments and watches! Thank you!

Biggest thanx to GOD for helping me with this. Without HIM, none of this would be possible! :D

Know JESUS yet? GOD is reaching out to you through these videos. HE loves you more than you can imagine and wants you to know HIM. Not because HE's lonely, but because HE loves you and paid a heavy price to enable you to go to Heaven, where HE is. See, we all have sinned in some way shape or form. That makes us guilty before GOD. If you have ever said that you hated someone, in GOD's standard, you have committed murder (James 4). If you've ever looked on a person with lustful thinking, you've already committed fornication with them in your heart and you are then guilty of sexual impurity. If you were to face GOD on judgement day, saying: "I was a good person" will be a void argument, just like it would be before a human judge. GOD knew that we would have to pay that penalty and that we could not pay it, even if we tried, but sent JESUS to pay the price for us. Your sins were put on HIM and the forgiveness that is there for you was by no means cheap - the cross was not padded and comfortable, neither was the death.
But, HE was raised up on the third day (after being crucified) and finished the work so that we may enter through HIM paying the penalty we were supposed to pay, but it is only valid for you, if you accept it and live for HIM.
If that is you today, please, follow this prayer:
"JESUS, I believe that YOU are real and I believe YOU died for me and was raised on the third day for me. Please forgive me for my many sins. I make YOU the LORD of my life, full time and to fill me with YOUR HOLY SPIRIT. Teach me how to live for YOU, help me become what YOU have made me to be, in JESUS' Name! Amen!"

To find out more, you can check out this link:
http://www.crossallegiance.org/knowJesus.html
It gives you access to free Bible translations, free teaching videos and more. Remember, this is a decision with eternal consequence, choose life, choose JESUS. :D

Have a great one!!!

Thank YOU!!!!!!

In : WIP 


Tags: god  jesus  holy spirit  blender  anime  exodus  7-12  kjv  progress  wip  foley  sony  samsung  cycles  blender render  blender internal  speed test  comparison  bokeh  defocus 

About Me


Marius Oberholster Hey all! I've been doing CG work full-time since 2011. GOD has been with me, supported me and taught me all the way. HE tells us to do all things as unto the LORD and that is my goal. I do whatever I believe the HOLY SPIRIT is leading me to do and it's not always easy, but it's always worth it to be obedient! JESUS is awesome!! If you don't know HIM yet, follow the link above!

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