Friday, January 8, 2010

Ambient occlusion...with a bookstore!

Right now we're learning modeling in Maya, and I found a neighborhood bookstore building that seemed fun to model. Thank goodness for Google Streetview, so I don't have to go out in the snow and take reference pictures.

The ambient occlusion shader is surprising easy to apply; you can see a Youtube tutorial here.

The great thing is that detailed areas (the doorway, or the blinds) can be rendered out pretty well, without adding any external lighting whatsoever. The main purpose of AO is actually to compensate for occluded light, which may or may not be present/correct using traditional lighting methods in 3D programs. If this were rendered as a pass, and then composited to a 'beauty pass' that contained textures/colors etc, then a more accurate 3D render would be produced.

What's exciting is Eddy tells me there's a method (in progress) that manipulates AO and specular highlights to mimic a look of carbon dust in Maya. Now that would be an interesting rendering style to consider...yay.


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