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Pharaoh's heart

Posted by Marius Oberholster on Thursday, August 17, 2017 Under: WIP
Hey all!
This week's vlog!


GOD is so cool!!

 - Anime backgrounds and 3D
   This is one I have been battling with for a very very very very very long time. While GOD has certainly given me a lot of ways to get closer and closer to the look, I think we have to face up to a few things, just to get some perspective here (I've spoken about at least some of them before):

 - Humans interpret
   Something I've heard a while ago is that your brain doesn't store images, but information and when you recall something, your mind reconstructs it. People with photographic memory, if this is the case, have a much more accurate storage system (and it certainly is a gift and there's a purpose for it). What this means for us is that we do things that are fundamentally and physically inaccurate (sometimes more, sometimes less). I'm going to use a silly example from when I was still learning how to color and shade. I didn't care about whether an object could receive light somewhere or whether something could obstruct it, I added those shadows on anything and everything opposite the light source. The same went for brightness. For example, let's say the light came from above and there is supposed to be a shadow from the upperlip. Nope, no shadow over that bottom lip, because the light came from above - that sort of approach. You don't notice it immediately, but as soon as you start studying it for accuracy, you'll quickly find light bending around corners, shining through things, making terribly innacurate, yet very pretty shadows, etc.
   The way we interpret what we see makes our handy work extremely innacurate for a 3D environment

 - Normal Editing
   This is quite the technique to use! One of the greatest additions to the toolset, this one allows you to alter the way objects receive light or respond to light. This means that edges that are truly round can be displayed as flat (like around the lips for example). It's a tool more for foreground (characters) than it is for backgrounds. It does however help hugely in the area of modeling trees' leaves.
You can check out this vlog, where I talk about normal editing with a tree example.

 - LOD (Level Of Detail)
   Anime backgrounds are often extremely well executed water colors. This means that the objects were not physically modeled and chucked into a scene and F12 got hit and boom! hahaha. No, it means that they have only so much detail they can put into a painting. This happens for two reasons:
1) Time constraints
2) Physical size of the brush
The second is not so much the problem as the first, but the first will kill any production stone dead if every leaf of every tree was to be reproduced, haha.
   In 3D, we have a space we move through and things have, for lack of better term, infinite detail possibilities. This means that, unless we purposefully cram 3D into a painted box (through parallax, still hand painted backgrounds, specially painted assets and other methods) or find a deep learning way of converting finals to water colors in a stable way, we have to accept that 3D space isn't going to give us that same detail reduction with distance, unless, again, we use all manner of fakery to make it do so, haha.

 - Color choices
   Not the biggest of issues when it comes to 3D, but this ties into innacuracy and interpretation. Some things in anime are loaded with ambient occlusion, while other have none. Some have a blending to suggest shape, while other sections are rife with fine details. The colors we may want to choose, for grass for example, may not always work in 3D with the lighting. When we do shaders, we would, again, be manipulating physics to create the look and feel that we want. A great example of this is making the ground material shadelessly fade into the grass to get that blend.

 - Fakery, good or bad? Any other ideas?
   Well, fakery is one way to go, and it's neither good or bad, just another option. The best idea is to find some form of deep learning that knows how to convert an image to a painted look, without altering too much of the original. There are new-ish things in development that do learn how to adapt images and photos to existing paintings or drawings and even video with very high consistency. The problem comes with color schemes and with separating out what you do want changed and what not, as well as what it does within things like Blender.
   In other words, you can clearly see, with the example set below, that the program doesn't just look at individual frames (see the Jungle Book one especially, since it represents a complex background scene and pans slightly), but the collective motion as figured out by using the pixel movements of the codec as well as seeking differences between frames. Much like interpolation and motion blur, but based on style.


GOD is so great!

   Filters would really be the best way to go. Getting the modeling, lighting and texturing right, will definitely be the primary objective, while the filter would provide the finishing touch to the scene's background.

In the meantime, GOD has certainly given me many tips already (most of which I have already shared with you guys through various tutorials), but still a lot to learn to get it looking just right in 3D! (^^,)

 - The heart that hardens
   This is an interesting one, even for believers, because it says that GOD hardened his heart. He (Pharaoh) also did, by being disobedient and not listening, but scripture specifically says that GOD hardened it. What is so tough about it? Well, the extent of free will. Without getting into it too much, this is what scripture says:

"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some. Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work."
2 Timothy 2:15-21, KJV.

It says there exactly what GOD did. Pharaoh wouldn't listen, did not follow GOD, worshipped the devil and his angels and so became a vessel fit to dishonor. Didn't have to be that way if they chose to treat people as if they were people instead of objects of possession. I believe there is also a warning here - this is not an Egypt issue, nor an Israelite issue - it's a spiritual issue. Whenever we think ourselves superior because of our circumstances (especially that which is beyond our control, like skin color or nationality), we are making ourselves "vessels of wrath."

"Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,"
Romans 9:21-23, KJV

We definitely need to remember that GOD has a side of justice and that even though HE is extremely patient with people, HE will act at some point. The irony is that we're so full of ourselves that we think we can judge GOD. When HE judges a nation for wickedness HE's labeled as a bully and a monster, when just the previous day we would have been screaming "Destroy them!!!!", hahaha. We change more than the whether and don't understand justice even as far as we can throw it - HE never changes and always does right and would rather people change than them be destroyed - Ninevah is a prime example of a nation that did change, but was destroyed because they turned away.

"Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.) Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God."
Hebrews 3:8-12, KJV.

Pharaoh made his choices. You get to choose too!
"And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth."
Exodus 9:16, KJV.

I touch on an interesting point in the Webster's dictionary in the next point that continues to clarify this issue, but for now, technical stuff!
   In the storyboards, I wanted to make a split screen here, but that just didn't sit well, so this kinda "float over" entity was the result and I really really really like it! GOD is awesome! Was HIS idea to make it float!

 - Heartrate
   The heartrate here was definitely something to consider (I didn't when making the heart initially). When someone's heart is hardening in that present moment, you want to show the heart in that present state, even if it is a "metaphysical representation" of it. Turns out, when you're angry, your heart rate goes to about 180 and sometimes higher. That means, if you have a resting heart rate of about 65, it goes to just under tripple! That is scary! haha. Now, 180bpm is about 3bps. That is at least twice as fast as the heart beat originally! Thankfully, I have about 30 seconds of heart progressively hardening to work with throughout the project.

 - Progressive hardening
   In the context of the entire narrative, the phrase from chapter 7, is not a full and total hardening, except a full and total hardening as it relates to a single act of disobedience. For example, a single mouth full from a glass of water is still a mouthful, but it's not the whole glass' content.
The section reads:
"And he hardened Pharaoh's heart, that he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said. And the LORD said unto Moses, Pharaoh's heart is hardened, he refuseth to let the people go."
Exodus 7:13-14, KJV


Initial reading, out of context, can imply that it is a total hardening, so that the next step can take place, but you can't further harden a fully hardened heart. For example:

"And the magicians of Egypt did so with their enchantments: and Pharaoh's heart was hardened, neither did he hearken unto them; as the LORD had said. And Pharaoh turned and went into his house, neither did he set his heart to this also."
Exodus 7:22-23, KJV

Context for the phrase tells us that it was not a full hardening of the total heart, but the full amount of hardening that comes from this specific single act of disobedience.

It's interesting that the word itself is a very literal term for heavy or great (StudyLight). It, at least to me, in a figurative sense implies that his heart is made prideful. I know that's what it means anyway, in that he becomes more difficult and refuses to listen, but it's fascinating that that's what the Hebrew also says - it's not talking about a physical callous or lesion on the heart, but the states of being prideful and humble as opposites. If you think of someone who is puffed up, you think swollen chest or raised chest. If you think of a great heart, as in size, it implies, again to me at least, a prideful heart.

Of course, these words are often quite broad, so I also checked the Webster's dictionary and found this (can someone say wow!!):
"3. To confirm in wickedness, opposition or enmity; to make obdurate.
Why then do ye harden your hearts, as Pharaoh and the Egyptians hardened their hearts? 1 Sam.6.
So God is said to harden the heart, when he withdraws the influences of his spirit from men, and leaves them to pursue their own corrupt inclinations."
Source: KJV Dictionary
Webster's American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828.

That last part makes total sense when you check this out:
"And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;"
Romans 1:28, KJV

I still believe we have a limited free will - in the sense that our free will, will not stop GOD's plans from coming to fruition, but we absolutely do get to choose for or against HIM.

Interesting side note there! hahaha.

 - Scene optimization
   Something I haven't mentioned before, as far as I know, is that whenever scenes take super long for no real reason, it's time to get extreme. In the case of this week's first shot (the magicians' defeat), the close-up of Pharaoh's eyes took about 5mins+ per frame. That is not in any way functional for the amount of work that still needs to happen. I went all out looking for samples to knock down and eventually did the following:
 - Turned off the lamps that didn't make anymore visual difference (includes all sun lamps)
 - Turned on View Map Cache for Freestyle, since the geometry doesn't change.
 - Reduced the environment lighting samples to 5, from 7 (big visual difference if in open scene)
 - Turned down and back up the point lamps for the fire-pots (made little to no difference in time)
 - Turned off every extra pass that made sense at the time
 - Deleted the View Node
 - Switched away from the UV Editor to the text editor
 - Turned off Free Image textures
 - And finally, reduced the Tile Size in the compositor

These changes gave me, along with the stop and continuation of the render, about a minute or two per frame back (personally, I believe the lights, passes and samples were the biggest culprits here). Whenever a scene is this stubborn to render fast, you have to use keyframing to turn off things when they are no longer needed. In my case, having keyframes the lights visibility would've made a great improvement, as well as the "free image textures" and View Map Cache for FreeStyle. Everything that you can do to make the load lighter on your system or render farm or whatever, you need to do it, because it means huge savings of time and resources for you. Spending a few minutes keyframing lights, samples and passes is definitely worth it!
Yeah, through HIS leading, I was able to knock about 2minutes total, per frame, off of the render times. Next time it feels like an animation render is taking just waaaaay too long, go on the offensive! hahaha. Yes, you don't have to have done it all from frame 1, but it sure helps to get everything keyframed before hitting the animation button! :D

 - Pharaoh super angry
   Of course, Pharaoh is upset with Moses and Aaron, because he probably wasn't a very good loser - seeing that he hardened his own heart and didn't admit defeat and GOD withdrew HIS influence. What better to use for reference than my own memories of tantrums! hahaha.
   My goal here is not to make anyone look bad or silly, so I didn't make him behave like I had in the past, but to show how shakingly angry someone can get when they know they have been hopelessly outgunned. I really felt led to go with the shaking fist and the "get out!" pose, because they fit the situation and have great potential to show how tiring a tantrum can be, haha.
   I absolutely luv how it turned out! :D
GOD is awesome!!

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  heart  hardening  revelation  backgrounds  painterly  painted 

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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