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Dany0

RAGE skybox?

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No I mean how did they photograph & post-produce it. I can wait for a nice clear day and take series of photographs and choose one that looks nice. But in any game it'll look distorted, unproportional and no way as detailed or just beautiful as in RAGE. And no matter how hard I try I still get something rather grotesque. Or like in Quake 3. No actually like this: http://img840.imageshack.us/img840/2602/toonsky.jpg

Just look at this:
[url="http://www.zgeek.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=38569&d=1281673590"]http://www.zgeek.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=38569&d=1281673590[/url]
[url="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_3oLB6Otdlcs/TULp-WoK1tI/AAAAAAAAJkk/dp1HLWfXCPE/s1600/rage-game-screen-2560x1600.jpg"]http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_3oLB6Otdlcs/TULp-WoK1tI/AAAAAAAAJkk/dp1HLWfXCPE/s1600/rage-game-screen-2560x1600.jpg[/url]
[url="http://images.gamersyde.com/image_rage-16596-1716_0002.jpg"]http://images.gamersyde.com/image_rage-16596-1716_0002.jpg[/url]

It's so detailed and fitting... and atmospheric. Now look at some other proposedly 'professional' and 'quality' skyboxes:
http://www.ascendantjustice.com/files/cocop/The%20Ark/The%20Ark%20Large/WaterfallArk-large.jpg
http://img175.imageshack.us/img175/9638/kanske.png
http://www.ascendantjustice.com/files/cocop/The%20Ark/The%20Ark%20Large/IsThat-large.jpg
http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o247/Buttonbasher/TheStorm.jpg

Disgusting, unfitting, unatmospheric, unprofessional, unrealistic. Doesn't come [i]close[/i].

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Personally i felt like Halo 3 had some of the most beautiful skyboxes i've ever seen.
calling the skyboxes in it "Disgusting, unfitting, unatmospheric, unprofessional, unrealistic" is completely unfounded.

Anyway, to answer your question, i honestly wouldn't be able to say, there's so many different ways that they could do it, most of them however i would think would require alot of artistic talent.

Now in saying that i think your best bet if you want some nice easy skyboxes is to look into something like Terragen (http://www.planetside.co.uk/).

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[quote name='Dany0' timestamp='1318797955' post='4873210']
Something that doesn't require artistic talent please.
[/quote]

You do realize those sky rendering techniques you are praising so much still require a lot of artistic talent to pull off? Just because you've got some nice ways of using ultra-sized textures and complementing them with god rays doesn't mean your sky will look as good as theirs... or that you really know enough to start thrashing other people's methods...

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Clearly you didn't even read my post [size="2"][color="#1c2837"]something like Terragen can be used to easily make realistic skyboxes [/color][/size][color=#1C2837][size=2][url="http://www.planetside.co.uk/"]http://www.planetside.co.uk/[/url] and as far as I know requires no artistic talent...

other then that if you have no artistic talent what you'll want to look for is something that can render atmospheres/clouds etc, [/size][/color]
[color=#1C2837][size=2]I'm not sure what capabilities the major 3D modelling/rendering applications have in this regard but you can probably look into them

- 3ds Max ([url="http://usa.autodesk.com/3ds-max/"]http://usa.autodesk.com/3ds-max/[/url]) (not free)
- Maya ([url="http://usa.autodesk.com/maya/"]http://usa.autodesk.com/maya/[/url]) (not free)
- Blender ([url="http://www.blender.org/"]http://www.blender.org/[/url]) (free)

(I'm assuming all you want is information on getting a rendered atmosphere type image based on your second post)[/size][/color]

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In my opinion, there is no freaking way Rage's skybox texture was done procedurally. I'm pretty sure it was created from high-quality photographs, where the texture artist took the best parts of several photographs and educatedly edited, colorized and collaged them together into an aesthetic composition and with a structure that works for skyboxes\skydomes\skyplanes\whichever technique they used.

It's not high-quality just because of the resolution, but also because it must've been taken by a professional photographer who knew how to take dramatic shots. Notice how the sun is coming from behind the clouds, and this gives them that interesting shading. You can see this even in old games, such as in [url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K7n641st2io"]Tenchu 2's menu screen[/url] (just watch the first ten seconds, ignore the rest of the video). When I played this many years ago I was mesmerized by it.

You can find this kind of photos in stock photography websites: [url="http://www.istockphoto.com/stock-photo-93176-dramatic-clouds.php"]http://www.istockpho...atic-clouds.php[/url]

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[quote name='Dany0' timestamp='1318797955' post='4873210']Something that doesn't require artistic talent please.[/quote]You want to produce high-quality art-work without artistic talent? Hire someone who does have artistic talent.[quote name='Dany0' timestamp='1318796769' post='4873206']No I mean how did they photograph & post-produce it. I can wait for a nice clear day and take series of photographs and choose one that looks nice. But in any game it'll look distorted, unproportional and no way as detailed or just beautiful as in RAGE[/quote]The 'professional' method probably involves:High quality camera, lenses and filters. Photograph a large chrome ball from at least 3 angles (with enough different exposures of each angle). Tonemap the exposures together into HDR. Unwrap the HDR angles into a single sphere map. Have a talented matte painter apply corrections to the result....and it's all of that effort that makes it professional looking.

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[quote name='Dany0' timestamp='1318785630' post='4873157']
The RAGE skybox is the most beautiful skybox I've ever seen. Does anyone have an idea how did they achieve it?
[/quote]

Take a series of photos using HDR, a good camera, and a panorama mount, after waiting a month or three for that perfect day with great clouds and lighting. Convert to a panorama. Tweak a bit more in photoshop. Employ some form of HDR/exposure simulation in your game engine. Tweak in photoshop some more. Project the panorama onto the skybox and hey presto, someone could be singing the praises of your skyboxes in the near future too.

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[quote name='Kryzon' timestamp='1318899986' post='4873705']I'm pretty sure it was created from high-quality photographs, where the texture artist took the best parts of several photographs and educatedly edited, colorized and collaged them together into an aesthetic composition and with a structure that works for skyboxes\skydomes\skyplanes\whichever technique they used.

It's not high-quality just because of the resolution, but also because it must've been taken by a professional photographer who knew how to take dramatic shots. Notice how the sun is coming from behind the clouds, and this gives them that interesting shading. You can see this even in old games, such as in [url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K7n641st2io"]Tenchu 2's menu screen[/url] (just watch the first ten seconds, ignore the rest of the video). When I played this many years ago I was mesmerized by it.

You can find this kind of photos in stock photography websites: [url="http://www.istockphoto.com/stock-photo-93176-dramatic-clouds.php"]http://www.istockpho...atic-clouds.php[/url]
[/quote]
Thank you, now that's half the answer I was looking for.

[quote name='Hodgman' timestamp='1318902611' post='4873717']
You want to produce high-quality art-work without artistic talent? Hire someone who does have artistic talent.[/quote]
I'm not really an artistic talent. I draw weird shapes and stuff...


[quote name='Hodgman' timestamp='1318902611' post='4873717']
The 'professional' method probably involves:High quality camera, lenses and filters. Photograph a large chrome ball from at least 3 angles (with enough different exposures of each angle). Tonemap the exposures together into HDR. Unwrap the HDR angles into a single sphere map. Have a talented matte painter apply corrections to the result....and it's all of that effort that makes it professional looking.
[/quote]
Yes thank you that's exactly what I was asking about. Now how to actually do that, huh? I guess trial & error for me then.


[quote name='latent' timestamp='1318917325' post='4873771']
Take a series of photos using HDR, a good camera, and a panorama mount, after waiting a month or three for that perfect day with great clouds and lighting. Convert to a panorama. Tweak a bit more in photoshop. Employ some form of HDR/exposure simulation in your game engine. Tweak in photoshop some more. Project the panorama onto the skybox and hey presto, someone could be singing the praises of your skyboxes in the near future too.
[/quote]

That's very generic answer, pretty much doesn't cover anything I didn't know at the time of posting.



I judge the skyboxes simply by how realistic do they look. And RAGE's skybox is just plain awesome. Really crisp, breathtaking! Too bad RAGE didn't last long... I felt like 1/4th in the game and then it just bam ended... =/

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[quote name='Dany0' timestamp='1318969781' post='4874032']Yes thank you that's exactly what I was asking about. Now how to actually do that, huh? I guess trial & error for me then.[/quote]
Scattered in these ILM documents, they give some details on their professional procedures for shooting HDR sphere-maps. To copy them though, you'll need to know some photography theory, like what [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F-number"]f-stops[/url] are, and will need some nice equipment like, [url="http://www.nodalninja.com/"]panoramic tripods[/url], [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutral_density_filter"]neutral density filters[/url], etc...
[url="http://renderwonk.com/publications/s2010-shading-course/snow/sigg2010_physhadcourse_ILM.pdf"]http://renderwonk.co...dcourse_ILM.pdf[/url]
[url="http://renderwonk.com/publications/s2010-shading-course/snow/sigg2010_physhadcourse_ILM_slides.compressed.pdf"]http://renderwonk.co....compressed.pdf[/url]
[url="http://www.spherevfx.co.uk/downloads/ProductionReadyGI.pdf"]http://www.spherevfx...tionReadyGI.pdf[/url]

There's a list of tutorials here, including how to stitch together your panoramic shots:
[url="http://www.hdrlabs.com/tutorials/"]http://www.hdrlabs.com/tutorials/[/url]

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[quote name='Dany0']Now look at some other proposedly 'professional' and 'quality' skyboxes:
[url="http://www.ascendantjustice.com/files/cocop/The%20Ark/The%20Ark%20Large/WaterfallArk-large.jpg"]http://www.ascendant...llArk-large.jpg[/url]
[url="http://img175.imageshack.us/img175/9638/kanske.png"]http://img175.images...9638/kanske.png[/url]
[url="http://www.ascendantjustice.com/files/cocop/The%20Ark/The%20Ark%20Large/IsThat-large.jpg"]http://www.ascendant...sThat-large.jpg[/url]
[url="http://i122.photobucket.com/albums/o247/Buttonbasher/TheStorm.jpg"]http://i122.photobuc...er/TheStorm.jpg[/url]

Disgusting, unfitting, unatmospheric, unprofessional, unrealistic. Doesn't come [i]close[/i].
[/quote]

note the difference in generations of these games.
Halo 3 is 7th Gen, RAGE is soft Gen. Soft gen being the generation of games in the later stages of the 7th gen consoles, when the consoles stopped growing and the software grew immensely.
Halo 3 is now a fairly old game but its still a beautiful game, the first play-through was unmatched in awe by any other game (personal opinion) The sky boxes / spheres / what ever was used, were magnificent and took an obvious amount of artistic skill to capture the atmosphere of the game.

I won't drag this out much longer, but I will say your too quick to compare games. Comparing Halo 3 with modern games of the Soft Gen is near the same as comparing Gen 7 with Gen 6.
[quote name='Dany0'][color="#1C2837"][size="2"]Something that doesn't require artistic talent please.[/size][/color][/quote]
If you want a game to look good it will always, no exception take artistic talent. Anywhere from sky boxes of magnificent panoramic shots, to painted textures, to picking the correct lighting models. To make a game look amazing every detail counts.

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Well as already pointed out: non of the Halo games are really visually technical. Rage or Crysis vs Halo Reach, I think all around Halo just looks weak (even trees). Not that its super bad but its obviously no Rage. Almost always the reason why game A looks better than B is simply higher resolution textures. I think the next jump is to really increase texture size and that is the biggest factor in hitting realism. The next consoles should hopefully be able to push texture size to 1Gig.

The question is I never played Rage so, are the skies dynamic or static? Do the clouds move? This would answer a lot more in technically what they did. Well I answered this by youtube, they are static. So I'm guessing just High Res. photos. If you are making a static sky, then I don't see any other reason to write a sky rendering system that outputs static images, but maybe they did in order to create more variations of skies.

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Textures of 1 gig are a very unrealistic expectation. My GTX 480 has 1.5 gigs of video memory and is a powerhouse. If you're talking megatextures like Rage then yeah it makes sense to have huge textures. Only parts of the textures are loaded in at once depending on what part of the world you're looking at. The stuff far away is loaded in at a lower detail level.

For average textures to be 1 gig in size to be practical you'd start needing an insane amount of video memory, way more than what's possible today. You also have to take into account that you don't just have one texture per material. You typically have diffuse, normal, specular, gloss, emissive, detail, height, and whatever other textures are supported by a game engine.

It would probably take another 10 or 20 years before textures start being about 1 gig in size. You can have very high res textures that are kilobytes in size if compressed well and using s3tc.

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