Spherical rendering: Initial tests


I had originally planned on having a fully rendered, stereoscopic turntable ready for this week’s check-in, but I grossly underestimated how long it would take to render one. I left it running overnight, but I’m still on frame 81 out of 300 — technically double that, considering I’m rendering from two cameras at once.

Here is a single frame of what’s currently getting rendered (Left eye):


I was able to get Mental Ray working, but VRay for Maya still isn’t cooperating with the DomeMaster plug-in. According to the plug-in’s Github repository, It should work if I run it through VRay’s Standalone / command line renderer. I’ll aim to have a test of that done for next week, in addition to getting my mental ray renders polished and working.

VRay Standalone DomeMaster Render via https://github.com/zicher3d-org/domemaster-stereo-shader

This week’s renders will be viewable on the GearVR by formatting them in a top-down configuration and putting the finished .MP4 files in the root/Oculus/360Videos folder of my Galaxy Note 4. The built-in Oculus 360Video viewer plays videos as Monoscopic by default, so I need to rename the video files as “namingConventions_TB.mp4” to tell the viewer to split the files horizontally and playback as stereo. The aspect ratio of each eye will be compressed to 4:1 (so, 1920 x 216). When I test VRay next week I’ll try to render in at least 2K, to test the limits of my phone’s playback.

Top/Bottom stereo configuration for latlong videos via http://elevr.com/cg-vr-2/

The creator of the DomeMaster plugin also has a ton of really interesting dome/vr production tools on his downloads page. Some are free and some are paid, but they might be worthwhile purchases for the department if Drexel goes forward with creating a VR animation class, like Nick has mentioned.

A few noteworthy examples:

Playblast VR for Maya: Playblast in a dome / stereo VR format. Different from the Domemaster in that it renders nurbs, scene elements, etc — just like a playblast. Immersive animation breakdowns sound neat!

Dome2rect: Advertised as a turnkey way to make rectangular trailers from VR/Dome dome imagery.

Domemaster Photoshop Actions: Solves the problem of quickly converting between Dome and VR formats.

Fusion VR Macros: VR Compositing presets for Blackmagic Fusion. Might be worth looking at for workflow logic when moving to Nuke.

Powerpoint Dome: Even slideshows are getting on on VR!

So, to conclude…

Goals for Next Week:

  • Mental Ray VR Turntable
  • VRay VR Turntable
  • Stitch & stereo convert background plates
  • Research for the following week: compositing stereo-spherical video in Nuke