4:30 AM at Cumbres Depot, Volumetric (+new "Absolute Final")

Started by Speedster, September 22, 2018, 11:51:10 AM

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Hi all!

Holy Shit!  Oops, I meant OMG.  Or some similar cliché, as frankly you run out of words when it comes to describing KeyShot 8!

Took two days of hard work, but I finally figured out "Volumetrics", mainly by studying the spotlights scene in the Scenes library, and a lot of horsing around.  I was getting discouraged, and then suddenly the lights went on, pun intended!

Volumetrics will benefit from thorough instructions in the manual, some videos, and hopefully more .vdb Density Textures in the Materials library.  I have no idea what a VDB is, or how they are created.

So, using my test bed Cumbres Depot scene, here's where I got on my first foray into the mysterious world of Volumetrics.

Cube is "Add Geometry", resized and positioned.  All rendered at 5400 wide, in the Interior mode, at maximum time of one-hour.  Volume Cube thumbnail below is shown in White Wireframe.

Ended up rendering a beauty shot with clown pass, using Photographic Image Style.  Then I rendered four "Volume" passes, each tweaked for a different effect.  I was after the typical swirling mist in the area.

Actually, #5 and #7 below are neat as is, with no post.  So consider all of them entered in the contest!

Then placed them all in turn in CS5.  Used a mix of masking and transparency, as well as curves and levels, to get the final effect I was after.

Cumbres, New Mexico, is at 10,000 feet, or three miles, elevation.  Cumbres is Spanish for "summit" and is the highest point on the narrow gauge Denver & Rio Grande Railroad.  Image is set about 1890-1900.  Being high, the air is thin, and it's very dry.  However, in the early morning some cloud mist is common, which when mixed with steam and smoke, is the mood I was after.  The crew is in the station enjoying some warmth and a large cup of coffee, before departing at daylight for the long and perilous trip on the downhill grade.  I always have a little story behind my work...

Anyway, the following images will show my workflow.  This was fun!

Bill G


After studying #6 above, I decided to revisit the final comp, with this result.  A bit much as to actual fog conditions at Cumbres, but I think it looks good, and better showcases the Volumetrics.
Bill G


Amazing on how much that really adds to the image feel. Very nicely done, bill. Always feels so satisfying when something "clicks". Hoping to try my hand at this stuff in 8 soon,m but very busy with work so not sure I'll get something into the contest or not. Very nice work.


Man, I haven't had this much fun since our honeymoon fifty years ago!  To paraphrase an old cliché: "As a young dog you know everything, but as an old dog you can always learn new tricks"!

After finding out what a "vdb" is, during my search I came across the Cubebrush website, and downloaded a huge set of FREE flat and round cloud .vdb files.  Be aware that by huge, it's zipped up at 1.64 GB.  I plan to cull them out...

So now it's 5:15 AM, just at dawn, and the crew is raising steam ahead of the scheduled 6:00 AM departure down the mountain.

From my learning curve, now there's just two layers (beauty and smoke), not including the all important clown pass.  Also, the beauty shot was adjusted using Photographic Image Style, as well as light source brightness and color, to give a brighter beauty shot.  Used one of the new Cubebrush round clouds.

Comp in CS5, with curves, levels, transparency and masking for the final image.  Plus some selective photo filters.

So this is about it, as being Monday, I have to get back to work.  Hate it when my clients mess up my play time!  Looking forward to playing with Displacement, but that will have to wait.

All in all, I don't see any red flags now ahead of the final release drop.  Good job, guys!

Bill G

Eric Summers

Wow Bill, this is really cool! The volumetrics really seal the deal. This is quite an impressive scene!


Thanks, Eric!  Sure been learning a lot!  What's most interesting is that I'm starting to think ahead as to using Volume, as well as to how Displacement can impact my regular work.

Here's my "Absolute Final".  I promise!  Maybe!

I was curious how the volume only would render out as a .png against black, and how it could be used in post.  For landscapes and such I feel that post is  necessary, as much as I like to do all within KeyShot.  There's simply too many variables...

So I simply hid everything except the volume, and rendered it out as before for one-hour using Interior mode.  Then dumped it in the master .psd and used masking.

I'm done!  I promise!!

Bill G



LOL, I love it, man! So glad you got the volumetrics to work here



Quote from: DMerz III on September 28, 2018, 03:19:55 PM

LOL, I love it, man! So glad you got the volumetrics to work here
David, this is the funniest shit I've read in a long time! I am so guilty of the aforementioned  ;D