Skin rendering is really not my thing. Yet. I have too much figuring out rendering of opaque materials already to deal with ones exhibiting sub-surface scattering. But I got trapped reading one article and then another.. and before I knew I had a list I wanted to note for later reference.
Back in 2009, Iñigo Quilez was leaving everyone in awe by releasing the milestone 4kB intro, Elevated, in cooperation with the group TBC. If you haven’t seen this masterpiece, watch it, and keep in mind this was generated from only 4096 bytes worth of data (just the text of this article is already more than a third of that).
After that, news were that he was hired by Pixar, and besides some in progress screenshots from time to time and some live coding experiments, not much was heard from him.
Then a couple of months ago this interview was published, and more recently this praising article of CGW, where we could read he had been in charge of the vegetation rendering in Pixar’s Brave. Needless to say, many people were looking forward to seeing what he would do next, especially in the real-time domain.
Today the group he’s part of, BeautyPi, which seems to be focusing on interactive animations (they presented their work earlier this year at SIGGRAPH), has published the following video. Being a showcase of their last experiments, it is not entertaining like an animation, a clip or a demo are. You could even say it’s boring. But it is visually very impressive, both technically and artistically. Although this is some real-time material, the quality is not that far from movie standards. Regarding the interaction, I am suspecting they are only scratching the surface and they may come up with some very interesting things. What these folks are doing is definitely worth following.
Crytek has published a video showing the rendering technology used in the CryEngine, more specifically in Crysis 3. While I don’t really dig the artistic choices (I find the overall image to be messy due to the high contrast and not that appealing, aesthetically speaking), the technical side is impressive. I especially like the use displacement mapping and tessellation for the vegetation (by the way, see how great that leaf looks; they got the material completely right). The reflexions visible at 1’52 make me think they also implemented the cone tracing technique, just like Unreal did. On the downside, all the parts with falling water felt unrealistic to me.
Ubisoft made an impression at E3 by unveiling this video of its upcoming game, Watch Dogs. The mood definitely reminds the original Deus Ex.
Although I am not a fan of violent games, I like the effort put to make it not only look, but feel real: in particular the scene of the random guy trying to get his girlfriend to talk to him after getting shot is quite strong and disturbing.
On the rendering side, there is a lot to notice. Many materials completely nail it (look at that leather coat!), and the faces look really good, especially when back lit.