ANI210 – Wk10

Physically Based Rendering is a recent approach to texturing and rendering that focuses on creating materials which accurately represent real-world materials. PBR materials interact realistically with the surroundings and different lighting conditions to produce a result that mimics real-world surfaces.
PBR employs the use of specular reflection, translucency energy conservation and Fresnel, metals and microsurface which are described in detail below.

Specular and Diffuse reflection

When light hits a surface, there are two basic surface/light interaction outcomes. In the situation of specular reflection, light immediately bounces off a surface, like a ball being thrown against the ground. The result is a mirror-like reflection of the environment of a varying blurriness, depending on the roughness of the surface.

Diffuse reflection is when light enters through the surface of an object where some of it will either be absorbed or scattered internally. The light that emerges back is distributed randomly into the environment and depending on the wavelength of the light, produces different colors.

Energy Conversation

This refers to a real-life law which dictates that the light leaving a surface after it has penetrated it can never be brighter than the initial light. Basically, more light cannot be reflected by a surface than was initially received. This also means that reflection and diffusion are mutually exclusive so for example, very reflective surfaces will have very little or no diffuse light since most of the light has been reflected. Using these principles in PBR allows the artist to produce materials that do not violate the laws of physics.



Games, W. (2015) Physically based rering. Available at: (Accessed: 22 November 2016).end
LLC, M. (2014) PBR theory. Available at: (Accessed: 22 November 2016).


ANI210 – Wk09

This week I want to write a blog about the Uncharted 4 video game because I was so blown away by the environment and overall graphics of the game to the point that I kept dying because I was being distracted by things like the dimensional light rays seeping into a clearing or a certain texture on the side of a building..





Naughty Dog uses their own rendering engine, even for the cut scenes, which is built on the principles of Physically Based Rendering (discussed in detail in the next post) and the results are phenomenal. Tate Mosesian, one of Uncharted 4’s lead environment artists, says that the team aimed to integrate their signature handcrafted look into the PBR pipeline while maintaining artistry and unique quality of the textures (Minotti, 2016). An example of how certain elements are enhanced by PBR is the water that has varying reflection quality depending on the intensity of the sun light. Also, the way the character interacts with the environment has a great impact on the realism and quality of graphics of the gameplay. For instance, when Nathan rolls in the mud, his clothes and body get dirty, and when he interacts with a waterfall, the mud and debris are very realistically washed off, and the water soaks into his clothes (Smith, 2016).

Perhaps the prime reason for the outstanding quality of the game is the team’s dedication to detail and aesthetics. Rogelio Olguin, another lead environment artist, says, “we add as much depth as possible when it comes to the macro and micro of our environmental storytelling that may or may not even add anything to the greater story.” (Minotti, 2016) This also reflects the way the environment is modeled and textured as there is intricate detail in every asset, even seemingly insignificant.

There is a special level of realism to the way characters are rendered too. It combines excellent modelling, smart design and a comprehensive rendering engine. Major elements of the characters like skin and fat move and bend realistically, while details such as eyebrows, pupils and even stubble are intricately designed and rendered.

Skin and fat also bend and move realistically while details such as stubble, pupils and eyebrows are beautifully rendered in high fidelity. Beyond that, clothing is also taken into account as part of the simulation, such as the way Drake’s shirt reacts to the wind simulation or how his tools bounce around as he runs (Linneman, 2016). The environments are very vast, dense and interactive which brings the gaming experience to the next level. Along with PBR, wind systems were implemented to achieve a more realistic result that allowed the artists to set values for intensity and speed of the wind that directly impacts the environment.

Another aspect of the design and graphics that I found particularly fascinating are the volumetric light shafts and the technique implemented in Uncharted 4 allows for the light to remain visible even if the light source disappears from view (Linneman, 2016).




Minotti, M. (2016) How uncharted 4’s artists created their amazing landscapes. Available at: (Accessed: 20 November 2016).

Smith, B. (2016) Uncharted 4 graphics analysis: Next-gen begins when naughty dog says so « GamingBolt.Com: Video game news, reviews, previews and Blog. Available at: (Accessed: 20 November 2016)

Linneman, J. (2016) Tech analysis: Uncharted 4: A thief’s end. Available at: (Accessed: 20 November 2016)..

Byrneinator, K.B. (2016) Uncharted 4 news, multiplayer hands on, gameplay & release date – final trailer released. Available at: (Accessed: 20 November 2016).

ANI210 – Wk08

In this blog post, I will write about Disney’s recently released animation Zootopia that featured groundbreaking innovations in terms of fur modeling technologies.



Since the release of Bolt eight years ago, Disney has not worked on a furry character in the lead role..until this year, when the major animation  studio released Zootopia which consists of 800,000 character models of animals of 64 different species. To achieve the spectacular result, Disney’s engineering team developed a new brush based animation tool for controlling and styling fur called iGroom (17 interesting facts about the Disney movie Zootopia, 2015). According to senior software engineer David Aguilar, the plushness effect of the fur was achieved by creating “an imaginary layer with under-coding so the animators could change the thickness and achieve the illusion of having that layer to create the density of fur.” (Lalwani, 2016)


(B, 2016)

Although the characters are anthropomorphic animals, the aim was to make them as realistic as possible and preserve the natural mannerisms of each animal. The team spent eight months studying the movements and behaviors of wild animals and nine months were spent to develop the shader. Another technology used to achieve the realistic result was path tracing to imitate how light bounces off the hairs in real life as it predicts how the light will move through space depending on its origin (Lussier, 2016). A notable example of the team’s dedication to realism is the polar bear’s fur. In nature, polar bear hair follicles are actually transparent and the white color comes from the reflection of light and this is the same way how the hairs were created in the animation(Doty, 2015).

Another recent innovation utilized in Zootopia is the Hyperion renderer, initially developed for Big Hero 6. This renderer, developed by Disney over the course of two years, sorts rays according to their directions and optimists the rendering process, whereas in the traditional path tracing render, the light bounces around unpredictably(Amidi and Articles, 2015). This replicates natural light and produces photorealistic shots. It also allows the animators to get an idea of what a scene will look like as soon as the scene and cameras are set up.


Hyperion renderer principle (Jason, 2015)


17 interesting facts about the Disney movie Zootopia (2015) Available at: (Accessed: 17 November 2016).


Lalwani, M. (2016) Fur technology makes Zootopia’s bunnies believable. Available at: (Accessed: 17 November 2016).
Lussier, G. (2016) One animal in Zootopia has more individual hairs than every character in frozen combined. Available at: (Accessed: 17 November 2016).
Doty, M. (2015) Here’s why ‘Zootopia’ features Disney’s most detailed animation ever. Available at: (Accessed: 17 November 2016).
Amidi and Articles, M. (2015) Disney explains its powerful new Hyperion rendering engine. Available at: (Accessed: 17 November 2016).
jason (2015) Disney Hyperion render. Available at: (Accessed: 17 November 2016).


B, A. (2016) The fur-reaching tech of <em>Zootopia</em>. Available at: (Accessed: 17 November 2016).
(No Date) Available at: (Accessed: 17 November 2016).


ANI210 – Wk07

In this post I will talk about the texturing progress for the werewolf model which I was in charge of painting. The first stage of texturing almost had me convinced that texturing is a overly complex art which I could not tackle, but thankfully my skills improved gradually. The first time I linked the image to my model’s diffuse slot, the werewolf had the appearance of being an oil painted canvas bearing no resemblance to an organic being. I quickly came to the realization that I have underestimated the amount of time required for the texturing process and learned that to reach a desired result, one should consistently work upon and refine the painting, even when it may seem that it looks alright. Below are a few attachments showing the progress of the texture.

Wolf blog.jpg

Once again, I was faced with the challenge of nailing the anatomy of the muscles, which brought me back to the anatomy books…the torso proved to be the most challenging part on which I spent a few days (which is very slow in my honest opinion) during which my workspace was occupied by pictures of shirtless guys and bodybuilders used as reference. To achieve a nicely blended, smooth texture, I used a custom brush provided by one of our lecturers, as well as a blending brush and a few fur brushes. I also added some damage like the scar on the chest and back, as well as the muzzle. Finally, I applied an occlusion map and some Color Balance, Level adjustment and a Photo Filter.