Renderman, VFX and some NPR

For years, Renderman was my hobby and sometimes - a tiny side job. Now I'm working as pipeline software developer for animation studio, applying all the knowledge and experience I've got in practice. Quite a feeling, should I say.

During all those years, I've:

NPR investigations

For years, I've been interested in non-photorealistic rendering, working on algorithms, tools and exchanging ideas with people.

The most comprehensive source of information on NPR online is Stylized Depiction in Computer Graphics, an annotated survey of online resources by Craig Reynolds.

Escher-like drawings

This simple example of NPR look is illustrating how to possess the results using just shading, no additional tools required. However, I've used ShaderMan for faster turnaround during experiments:

ShaderMan screenshot with echer scene and some simple spaceship
Venus rendered with Echer Eskimo modeled by Nick Gabchenko, rendered with echer shader

Cartoon outlines with image filtering

This technique was discussed in Advanced Renderman book and is based on usage of Sobel filters on images produced by using special Renderman shaders and image techniques.

Note that even such production-verified technology has it's drawbacks, such as double-resolution rendering requirements and poor quality of lines for detailed models.

Wavelets for NPR

In February 2003 I've made a short presentation on ViAGra (Visual Art and Graphics) meeting in Moscow on modern NPR technologies, where I represented several new ideas on producing non-photorealistic images.

The main idea behind the presentation was a new technology on cartoon outlines extraction with wavelets. I've reused some corpus of knowledge from the parallel universe :) (face recognition) research and applied the same principles to the cartoon production.

The left part of the image below is an outline as produced by straight Sobel filtering; right part represents the intermediate results after wavelet outline extractor:

One can see much better outlines quality for wavelet-based image.

NPR and vectorization

As an advanced solution for line quality I proposed to reuse the raster-to-vector technologies. The image below is a simple example of such conversion made with Adobe Streamline; note lots of freeware and open source alternatives available for such application:

Current research

My current non-photorealistic rendering research is moving in a couple of directions:

Just a reminder - my current contract will expire soon, so I'm looking for job now! Not at the moment - thank you!