The Book of Shaders
On the date that this post will be released, it will be the 96th birth anniversary of the great mathematician and polymath Benoit Mandelbrot. Benoit Mandelbrot is recognized for his contribution to the field of fractal geometry and for developing a theory of 'roughness and self-similarity" in nature. Because of the access he had to computers, Mandelbrot was one of the first to use computer graphics to create and display fractal geometric images, leading to his discovery of the Mandlebrot set in 1980. He claimed that anything chaotic in nature has actually some 'degree of order'. His research contributed to many fields, including of course - computer graphics.
The topic of fractals fascinates me and this is one of the reasons that I started to get into visual effects. Mandelbrot has led me to writing shaders and understanding how beautiful can math be (turns out it's not that evil), so I want to share 'The Book of Shaders' which is a gentle step-by-step guide through the abstract and complex universe of Fragment Shaders written by Patricio Gonzalez Vivo & Jen Lowe.
We have it good now with node-based systems to create shaders but I think it is essential to go a step further and really understand the math behind the nodes so you could fully understand what you are doing and what is happening behind the hood. You don't have to become a master but dipping your toe into the water will expand your horizons a bit more.
Blightbound's VFX breakdown
I want to share Blightbound's VFX breakdown that was created by Joost van Dongen in collab with VFX artist Kees Klop.
Blightbound is a multiplayer dungeon crawler that tasks three heroes to venture down from their mountain refuge to face the abominations of the Blight - a mysterious and corrupting fog that enshrouds the land.
In the blog post, Joost shares the tricks they used to combine 2D and 3D in the Blightbound VFX.
The blog post contains quite a detailed breakdown with videos, gifs, and images.
Vivian's Ding presentation about lighting
As a real-time visuals effects artist, I feel like you have to have various and different sets of skills to really know your craft. Effects now include modeling, animating, rigging, simulation, illustration, tool building, compositing, lighting, and much more. And this is why I love it so much, so much variation, you never get bored. I feel like what really is essential is to understand how lighting works and how it impacts everything. For the effects, you have to understand how the effect will look in the day time and night time, will the lighting break the effect or enhance it. This is why I want to share an amazing presentation about lighting from the game 'The Last of Us' that was made by Vivian Ding. Vivian breaks down the lighting pipeline and explains what was the workflow for creating lighting in 'The Last of Us' in a very simple and understandable way. I hope this broadens your perspective and will make you think more about lighting when creating the effects.
This is all for this week, have a creative week ahead!
Check out the previous Resource Fridays posts: