Finally the comments work. At least they should. And I'd really like to hear your opinion about all this stuff. So... leave a comment!
I also added a poll on the right side. :)
And a small update on the project. Here's a preview of the hair shader with a nice anisotropic specular:
I still got some difficulties with the depth-sorting of the hair (you can see some borders of the hair popping up and down). But more on this next week I think.
[update: included a short demo video]
Normal maps are standard. It's a great and simple technique to simulate three-dimensional surface structure and details on low polygon object.
Often it's enough to have a static texture for that, but sometimes the surface changes in a way that can't be represented by joint moments or blendshapes, for example fine creases in cloth, wrinkles in skin and so on. For these things it would be nice, to have different normal maps which could be blended together at runtime. But how to do that?
With my project progressing, I finally have to take care about the hair.
All the rendering is based on polygons. But polygon edges are hard lines and hair is highly detailed and irregular. To get nice borders, some kind of transparency is needed. And here I ran into a problem, which I realized is well known, but has no real solution...
Ok, a little update on the skin shading, especially the calculation of the stretch correction map.
OPENGL & DERIVATION INSTRUCTIONS
I encountered a problem with the implementation of the stretch-map rendering. I use the ddx() function to get the derivative of the world position in UV space, i.e. how much the world position changes from one pixel to the next. This way you get a nice approximation of the texture coordinate distortion. For more information about the whole process have a look at my previous post here.
Interactive demo of my skin shader:
For older graphics cards I captured a video of the demo:
I tried to improve the build-in shaders, to see if it would be enough for a decent skin shading. Often the specularity of virtual skin does not look right, so I decided to take care of that first. The standard shaders had only one fixed value for "shininess" per material and the specular intensity was not angular-dependent. So I extended the Bumped Specular shader to take an additional specular-texture, where the roughness is stored in the alpha channel and an fresnel term, that increases the intensity at very low angles.
In the last weeks I concentrated on shader development, especially the skin shading.
I hadn't used ShaderLab, the shader language of Unity, before and the syntax was... well, a little bit tricky in the beginning. But after studying the build-in shaders a little bit, I quickly became familiar with it. The basic concepts of vertex- and pixelshaders I already knew from the time I wrote shaders in HLSL for a small testgame with Microsofts XNA Framework.
The first thing I implemented was a replacement for the ambient light. Ambient light is in most cases doesn't look very pretty, because it's the same color and brightness just everywhere. Instead of that I used a cubemap, to look up the color for each direction with something like this:
I spend almost the last year finishing my exams at university and doing some jobs. In that time I worked quiet a while with XNA, Microsofts free Game Framework, learning the basics of shader programming and realtime rendering techniques like "Deferred Shading", as well as rigging, sculpting, painting,...
But now I finally started to work on my diploma thesis. My goal is to expore the uncanny valley a little bit, while creating a realistic character. As I did the some scribbles for the character, I noticed that I always start to create more fictitious, than realistic characters. Also it would be fun to develop such a character, it wouldn't suited my "uncanny valley" topic well. I finally decided to create a copy of a real person. Here I have the possibility to take a lot of reference pictures and texture samples and compare the results of real and virtual model.
"...strong negative response humans have to an entity that is nearly human"
"...may stem from an ability to identify - and avoid - people suffering from an infectious disease."
"Part of the problem is fiction being held to higher standards of realism than reality itself is."
- ▼ 2009 (8)