What’s with the HDRIs?

I’ve been shooting HDRIs for a while now, and every now and then putting some of them on this blog for you folks to download.

Since the beginning of this year they’ve been downloaded 6861 times, and we’re only halfway through it!

I’ve only released the 2048×1024 sizes for free, but all of them could be at least 16384×8192. The problem is, the 16k HDRIs are about 500MB each, and if people downloaded those 6861 times every 6 months, that’d be almost 7 terabytes of data going through the server every year.

That kind of data would easily cost me $600 per year (based on Amazon S3 hosting), and that’s assuming I never publish another HDR ever again.

As it stands right now, I’ve spent $800 on my camera, $400 on the wide-angle lens I use specifically to shoot the HDRIs, $200 on a panoramic head, and $400 on enough RAM to actually be able to process the images in a reasonable amount of time.
That’s $1800 I’ve already spent on equipment alone just for these HDRIs I give out for free.

Holy crap I didn’t know it was that much O_o

Well, as you can imagine, I’ve now realized that it’s not really practical to keep giving them out for free. At least not the full-resolution versions.

I plan to keep releasing the 2k versions for free, but I do need to make a little bit of money from this otherwise I might not be able to continue doing so.

That brings me to….

You may or may not have noticed that I’ve put out a pack of five 16k HDRIs for $3.95 on the Blender Market a few days ago. This is a sort of test to see if anyone is interested in paying a tiny bit of money for the high-res versions. The grand plan is to start something like CG Textures for these HDRIs, asking for a tiny monthly membership fee to allow me to keep creating more of them.

The keyword there is tiny. Most other HDRIs will cost you somewhere between $7 and $20 each. Now I’m a cheap bastard to be honest. I rarely buy anything online unless it’s on sale, and you’ve really got to convince me your product is worth every goddamn penny before I’ll even consider getting out my wallet.

Maybe that’s just me and I’m a terrible human being, but either way, I won’t try to sell you anything unless I would buy it myself.

The teaser pack for HDRI Haven is $3.95 – that’s less than 80c per HDRI. If there is enough interest in this, I plan to ask even less than that for the monthly membership fee of the main site, which would give you access to dozens of HDRIs.

Oh and let’s not forget that both the free 2k versions and paid 16k versions are licenced as CC-BY, meaning you’re free to use them for any purpose and share them around as much as you like.

So what am I waiting for?

You!

So far, the teaser pack has had a grand total of 6 sales, and that’s not enough to make me want to spend any more time or money on shooting HDRIs. So if you’d like me to keep doing this, please consider helping me out by buying the teaser pack :)

[HDR] Fish Eagle Hill

Download HDR IBL image (2048×1024 – 6.78 MB)
Licensed CC-BY-SA


 

Format: HDR
Image Size: 2048 x 1024
File Size: 6.78 MB
Coverage: 360° x 180°
Dynamic Range: 7 stops
Location: Fish Eagle Hill, Pilanesberg National Park (-26.145138, 27.969041)
Time of Day: 18:04
Date: 2014/11/24

The Pilanesberg is a nice little game reserve that is only a 2 hour’s drive from where I live. My family and I go there every year for a week-long holiday, so naturally I brought my tripod with last time and took this HDR behind some rocks at a picnic spot next to the Mankwe Dam just after the sun had set.

A little more about the Pilanesberg from Wikipedia:

This vast circular geological feature is ancient even by geological standards as it is the crater of a long extinct volcano and the result of eruptions some 1,200 million years ago. It is one of the largest volcanic complexes of its type in the world.

Looks pretty interesting from above:

 

 

Beretta M9 (wip1)

Currently, I’m on a pretty terrible streak of not finishing any personal projects, but hopefully I’ll actually end up finishing this one. Maybe.

So far I’m mostly happy with the modeling, although there are a few finishing touches still to add (like the logo in the center of the grip, and a couple bolts and rivets).

Here’s a rather large wireframe render (click for 3360 x 2160 version):

And just for kicks, the pointiness:

I’ll admit, the modeling was pretty hard on this one. For every new bit I started, I thought to myself, “This has to be the hardest part”… until I started the next bit and realized how horribly wrong I was.

Once I’ve shaded and textured it, would anyone be interested in a thorough making-of?

Pointiness Output

pointiness

Woooo! I have to say I’ve been waiting for this for years!

It’s basically the same as dirty vertex colors, but on the final geometry (after modifiers) and without all the hassle of adding it to every single mesh.

The commit from Sergey [227a9407]:

Cycles: implement pointiness geometry attribute

This attribute means how “pointy” the geometry surface is, which allows to do
effects like dirt maps and wear-off effects on render geometry. This means the
attribute is calculated for the final mesh which means no baking (which implies
UV unwrap) is needed. Apart from this the behavior is quite close to how vertex
dirty colors works.

The new attribute is available as an output socket of Geometry node.

There’s no penalty for the render time, only some delay on scene preparation
(the delay is linear of the mesh complexity).

Reviewers: brecht, juicyfruit

Differential Revision: https://developer.blender.org/D1086

Commonly Ignored Feature #16: Randomize Transform

Ever wanted to randomly position a bunch of objects? Of course you have, and like me, you probably resorted to using Proportional Edit’s random falloff. Such cavemen we are. Or maybe it’s just me.

Turns out, there’s a function just for this, and it’s been around for years.

2015-01-24_19-23-58

What does it do? Yep, you guessed it! It randomizes the transforms!

When you click it, it may seem like it doesn’t do anything. This is simply because the default settings are all on 0, so you just need to press F6 to show all the options.

Cycles Gets Sphere and Tube Mapping

Sergey Sharybin added sphere and tube mapping options to the image node yesterday:

[12ccac6] Cycles: Support sphere mapping for the image texture

[dda3554] Cycles: Support tube projection for images

This way Cycles finally becomes feature-full on image projections compared to Blender Internal and Gooseberry Project Team could finally finish the movie.

What is it?

Just the same mapping types we’ve had in BI for years ;)

Sphere mapping allows us, for example, to painlessly map a texture of the Earth onto a sphere without needing to do any UV mapping.

How do I use it?

Simply change the projection method on you image node from Flat to Sphere or Tube, and probably you’ll want to use generated coordinates.