Saturday, October 22, 2011

Almost there

This past month has been extremely busy, but the book is making progress. It can be rather difficult to fit it in around my many other life obligations, being full-time work and family. Along this line, is my thought of the day.

Thought of the day:
If you begin a large endeavor, you had better love it or you will not have the stamina to finish it. When the road starts getting long and you really wish you were already done, it is your initial fire and  belief in your project which will keep you going. For animators and CG artists, I have heard this in terms of creating your own short - that also can be a ton more work than you expected. Absolutely LOVE your idea or your project may very well die on the table, so to speak, half or 3/4 done because no team member had the stamina to finish. Someone out there is relating, I'm sure.

Other Thought of the Day:
Here's my other thought on a very long project - just keep putting one foot in front of the other. This particular book has been such a beast to write - at about 700 pages and about 2 images per page - that I truly have while in the middle of writing not known if or how I could possibly finish the darn thing. However, while climbing a mountain is not so easy, taking the next step is. Just a step... and another step... and another.... and eventually, there is the finish line in front of you after all. I believe that is an old adage:  "How do you cross the desert? (Answer) One step at a time". I like the other version myself "How do you eat an elephant? (Answer) One bite at a time".

Image of the Day:
Here's a render demonstrating the advantage of high dynamic range environment maps. Since high dynamic range images contain a larger range of data, they contain what are known as "superwhites", which are values above pure white. You will not see these values until the image is dimmed down. In the case of a digital reflection, what this means is that when the reflection is dimmed, you will still detail which shows up in the brightest areas of the reflection if you are using a HDR reflection or environment map. If you are using a regular, low dynamic range (LDR) map, these area will grey out and look unrealistically flat. The following image demonstrates this:

The center vase is at full reflectivity. The vases to the left and right are both at .3 reflectivity - they are identical but for the reflection map. The vase on the right uses a HDR reflection map, while the vase on the left uses a LDR map. Notice the realistic detail in the highlight on the right vase.