Physically-based Rendering

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Not ones to stand still, and with the imminent update of our favourite 3D software LightWave to a new Physically-based Rendering (PBR) engine, the igils have decided to test-drive another piece of software already offering this technology. With the pipeline under our belt it means we can begin texturing our models in the new software, ready for an easy pipeline back into the new version of LightWave 3D when it hits the shelves.

What is Physically-based Rendering?

In a nutshell, physically-based rendering (PBR) is a materials system used in computer generated graphics that seeks to emulate the flow of light accurately, based on the real world. Photorealism is the goal of a PBR workflow, although not always – the world of CGI is one we can play with to our hearts’ content!

To further this goal to realism, we also use High Dynamic Range (HDR) images to light the environments into which we place our objects. These images contain a range of luminance that extends beyond the black of the monitor’s black, and way beyond the white of the monitor or printed page’s white. Imagine how bright the sun is – well HDR images can capture light approaching that level. Of course we can’t show these ranges when we print an image or view it on the screen, but the internal calculations carried out by our 3D software uses those values to get a closer to realism lighting calculation than would otherwise be possible.

The images of a set of Air Ministry WW2 binoculars you see here have been produced using PBR and HDR (good old acronym overload!) – we hope you enjoy them as much as we enjoyed making them. Keep tuned for more playing!