I’d like to make a visibly glowing spline render, with adjustable falloff and physical render compatibility. Actual light /illumination are not essential. Just the appearance of laser type glow. Ideally as efficient as possible for busy scenes.
- Hair material: this will render the spline and allow use of Physical render, but hair material does not have a luminance channel so it looks shaded. Also, I don’t think it has a “glow” type option, where opacity falls off along radius. You can turn up the colour brightness, or use an ambient light to simulate luminance.
- Cloned Volumetric lights: This seems like the best option, aesthetically, but its really slow to render if you want even just a few splines, I set the light just to Visible rather than volumetric, to disable volumetric shadows. But its still very slow, and you can’t set the cloner to render instances either.. and its not resolution independent (without some xpresso tweaking)
- sketch n toon: glow effect possible, but obviously no phys render compatibility (dof, moblur etc), slow to render, overlapping issues, fiddly to combine with lit elements.
- Sweep Nurbs / geometry: I will continue with this method if no better option is available. If I really want glow without using obj buffers in post then I can try the glow post fx option. The main downside to using sweep nurbs is that it can glitch out on sharp turns, it needs a lot of polys for complex shapes and depending on thickness, transparency can become an issue. But it still beats the previous options and is good for using instances.
I’ve been looking at this tools4D plugin, “White Lights” for a while now, but I’ve always ended up not buying it, because I haven’t needed it on a job yet. It looks like an ideal solution but after watching the video (https://vimeo.com/71983343) I noticed some possible issues with this, primarily that it seems like the colour control is globally set in the render settings. I guess this isn’t the appropriate place to discuss the issues though..
Well, I feel like I’ve explored all the options, but I should spend more time trying experimenting, I think the sweep/geometry approach with material glow feature might be a good way to go. But maybe there’s some tips and tricks I’ve missed..