Before Vader's Hammer

December 2005

This is probably the last Star Wars image I'll make for the next little while. The render was started on December 31, 2005 and ended on January 1, 2006, symbolic of the end of an era that the year 2005 marks; the year that saw the release of Revenge of the Sith, the final chapter in the Star Wars saga. It's also interesting to note that the memory usage while rendering this scene was exactly 1138 MB. There's a feeling of completing a circle that started all those years ago when I was first compelled to create scenes from the galaxy far, far away. This battle shows two AT-AT walkers facing enemy missiles in front of rock formations (from which the scene gets its name). Originally conceived as a continuation of a previous battle with AT-ST walkers, it was supposed to have a re-textured AT-ST model guarding the flank of the AT-ATs. The AT-ATs were also originally supposed to intercept the incoming missiles with blaster fire and destroy them in mid-air. I didn't have time to add these things in. I ended up scrapping the terrain I built for it originally because it didn't look any good and replaced it with this terrain, which looks better but could still use a lot of improvement, especially to the surfacing. The terrain is modeled as a subdivision surface, with many layers of procedural bumps applied. The sky was done using SkyTracer and rendered out separately as both a backdrop and a skywarp, which is used for global illumination (via LightWave's ImageWorld and Backdrop Radiosity). Smoke trails are done using HyperVoxels sprites emitted from the missiles. There's volumetric lighting coming out of the sinkhole, plus an area light. The render time was ridiculously high for this level of detail; especially considering that the system I used is four times as powerful as my previous one. It's definitely something to think about. I split the scene up into two separate halves and ran two LWSN nodes on the dual-core system to render the scene; the split wasn't even (in terms of computational complexity) and for the last few hours only one half was left rendering, using only one thread. So the render times could be a little better.

Before Vader's Hammer

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Production Info

RendererLightWave 7.5
ComputerEcho-Base (AT-AT Model); Vader's Hammer (Other Elements & Final Render)
Render time12 hours, 11 minutes
Original resolution1920 x 1080

About Peter Yu I am a research and development professional with expertise in the areas of image processing, remote sensing and computer vision. I received BASc and MASc degrees in Systems Design Engineering at the University of Waterloo. My working experience covers industries ranging from district energy to medical imaging to cinematic visual effects. I like to dabble in 3D artwork, I enjoy cycling recreationally and I am interested in sustainable technology. More about me...

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