Comic 461 - Meanwhile back at New Troy

1st Mar 2009, 1:03 AM
Meanwhile back at New Troy
Average Rating: 5 (9 votes)
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Steven-Vincent 7th Jun 2015, 7:48 AM edit delete reply

I am consistently amazed at the level of CGI artwork you were able to do back in 2009. I can't fathom what you were able to do on a PC that probably had 10% of the RAM and 1/8th the VRAM that mine has right now, and even THAT is slow doing renders like this. The art holds up well even 6 years later.
Centcomm 7th Jun 2015, 2:31 PM edit delete reply

see I look back on these pages and cringe .. but looking at it from your POV it makes me very happy!
Steven-Vincent 7th Jun 2015, 3:12 PM edit delete reply

Why would you cringe? You were working on a computer with what? 2 GB of RAM? 4? Half a gig of VRAM? That is about what was standard in 2009. Maybe if you were a real rock star you had dual 512s SLI'ed together... I'm not sure what you could expect more than this from a machine like that.

Sure, you can see that the AA is not maxed out on the curved surfaces, but again, in those days, with this much stuff in the shot, I don't think max AA would have even been possible without bringing most PCs to their knees.

It's easy to forget this when my *laptop* has 24 GB of RAM and 8 GB of VRAM... but even a desktop back in the day was only a fraction this powerful.
Centcomm 7th Jun 2015, 3:46 PM edit delete reply

wow thats more ram than my desktop it only has 16 gigs of ram :D and I think the comp i was working on at the time had 4 gig of memory :D

I just know i can improve on it :D
Steven-Vincent 7th Jun 2015, 5:36 PM edit delete reply

Well sure, there is Iray now and all that. Which did not exist back in 2009.
GntlTch 9th Nov 2015, 4:40 AM edit delete reply
From my POV - a non-artistic reader - I don't have the chops to notice what you are talking about - or even know what AA is. If you mean what appear to be s series of flat panels making up the curved "legs" of the foreground building or the dome on the top of the tower, I interpreted them quite differently. To me they look like construction artifacts - flat panels used like bricks welded together to make the structure.

To my untrained eye, I can't see how the art can get much better. It supports and fleshes out the story but it is the story that is first and foremost important. And it is a most compelling story.

It is a very slow archive dive to start from the beginning and to read all of the comments - all while suppressing the guilt trip for putting off what I *should* be doing - but I can't seem to stop at "just one more"! Who needs sleep anyway?
Steven-Vincent 9th Nov 2015, 6:34 PM edit delete reply

AA = Anti-aliasing. In some of the curved forms you can see jagged edges that are a clear sign that the computer could not quite render the curves smoothly. For 2009, this would be as good as a render like this could get. In 2015, Cent would be able to do fully AA'ed renders.
antrik 24th Apr 2017, 12:04 AM edit delete reply
Actually, the anti-aliasing on this seems to be pretty good -- I don't see any pixelation, and no significant blurriness. What you are referring to as "jagged edges", is probably a low polygon count, which is an entirely orthogonal matter.

In general, you seem to be grossly over-estimating the gains in computing over the last decade. Typical memory sizes definitely did *not* go up by an order of magnitude -- not even close. Also, while I don't have hands-on experience, from what I've seen the quality of CGI depends mostly on detailed models, high-resolution textures, and good shaders. While these are limited to some degree by various technical constraints (memory, processing power, or both), I think it's mostly a matter of simply having good assets available. I don't think the renders would have looked much worse in 2009, if using the same assets.

A major factor of course is also a good scene set up (especially realistic lighting) -- i.e. the artist's skill. Along with the better assets, I think that's where we see most progress in this comic :-) If you compare this scene to more recent city shots, they are indeed way, *way* more realistic now.
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