'Staff Playtime' 1985
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A checker board ground abounds throughout this piece. The Gourad shading algorithm is only capable of interpreting the simplest play of light. To achieve the above illusion of the toy reflected in the shiny black tiles, an inverse upside down duplicate of the toy was made, positioned below ground level, and rendered underlit. White checks were rendered over the top of this, and then the actual right-side-up model.
Its a spooky world that doesn't cast shadows. The Cubicomp system couldn't render them at all. Before the 'PictureMaker' version of the system came along, we couldn't even render a transparent polygon. A shape a shade or two darker than the ground served to sit the model in its world and stopped that floating look.
My toy's shadow was crafted by hand in the method described elsewhere. It was chopped up into bits to match the checks travelling beneath it.
Because we shot stuff on 16mm film, this allowed us to do synchronised multiple passes by back-winding the exposed in camera with the shutter closed.
We could create matte shapes by turning off parts of CubiComp's bit-mapped colour look-up table, run the sequence through again with just the highlights featured and exposure a second pass with a fog filter.
You never saw anything so beautiful as
when those simple flat Gourad shaded surfaces caught the light. Beyond
ray tracing, beyond radiosity - into the world of natural photomechanical
physics at speed-of-light calculations.
and multiple exposures