Comic 454 - Meanwhile back at New Troy

28th Feb 2009, 10:03 PM
Meanwhile back at New Troy
Average Rating: 5 (11 votes)
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Steven-Vincent 7th Jun 2015, 4:48 AM edit delete reply

I am consistently amazed at the level of CGI artwork you were able to do back in 2009. I can't fathom what you were able to do on a PC that probably had 10% of the RAM and 1/8th the VRAM that mine has right now, and even THAT is slow doing renders like this. The art holds up well even 6 years later.
Centcomm 7th Jun 2015, 11:31 AM edit delete reply

see I look back on these pages and cringe .. but looking at it from your POV it makes me very happy!
Steven-Vincent 7th Jun 2015, 12:12 PM edit delete reply

Why would you cringe? You were working on a computer with what? 2 GB of RAM? 4? Half a gig of VRAM? That is about what was standard in 2009. Maybe if you were a real rock star you had dual 512s SLI'ed together... I'm not sure what you could expect more than this from a machine like that.

Sure, you can see that the AA is not maxed out on the curved surfaces, but again, in those days, with this much stuff in the shot, I don't think max AA would have even been possible without bringing most PCs to their knees.

It's easy to forget this when my *laptop* has 24 GB of RAM and 8 GB of VRAM... but even a desktop back in the day was only a fraction this powerful.
Centcomm 7th Jun 2015, 12:46 PM edit delete reply

wow thats more ram than my desktop it only has 16 gigs of ram :D and I think the comp i was working on at the time had 4 gig of memory :D

I just know i can improve on it :D
Steven-Vincent 7th Jun 2015, 2:36 PM edit delete reply

Well sure, there is Iray now and all that. Which did not exist back in 2009.
GntlTch 9th Nov 2015, 1:40 AM edit delete reply
From my POV - a non-artistic reader - I don't have the chops to notice what you are talking about - or even know what AA is. If you mean what appear to be s series of flat panels making up the curved "legs" of the foreground building or the dome on the top of the tower, I interpreted them quite differently. To me they look like construction artifacts - flat panels used like bricks welded together to make the structure.

To my untrained eye, I can't see how the art can get much better. It supports and fleshes out the story but it is the story that is first and foremost important. And it is a most compelling story.

It is a very slow archive dive to start from the beginning and to read all of the comments - all while suppressing the guilt trip for putting off what I *should* be doing - but I can't seem to stop at "just one more"! Who needs sleep anyway?
Steven-Vincent 9th Nov 2015, 3:34 PM edit delete reply

AA = Anti-aliasing. In some of the curved forms you can see jagged edges that are a clear sign that the computer could not quite render the curves smoothly. For 2009, this would be as good as a render like this could get. In 2015, Cent would be able to do fully AA'ed renders.
antrik 23rd Apr 2017, 9:04 PM edit delete reply
Actually, the anti-aliasing on this seems to be pretty good -- I don't see any pixelation, and no significant blurriness. What you are referring to as "jagged edges", is probably a low polygon count, which is an entirely orthogonal matter.

In general, you seem to be grossly over-estimating the gains in computing over the last decade. Typical memory sizes definitely did *not* go up by an order of magnitude -- not even close. Also, while I don't have hands-on experience, from what I've seen the quality of CGI depends mostly on detailed models, high-resolution textures, and good shaders. While these are limited to some degree by various technical constraints (memory, processing power, or both), I think it's mostly a matter of simply having good assets available. I don't think the renders would have looked much worse in 2009, if using the same assets.

A major factor of course is also a good scene set up (especially realistic lighting) -- i.e. the artist's skill. Along with the better assets, I think that's where we see most progress in this comic :-) If you compare this scene to more recent city shots, they are indeed way, *way* more realistic now.
Oldarmourer 13th Jun 2019, 10:45 AM edit delete reply
To a casual eye, the buildings look futuristic enough, function follows form and all that...

In the bottom panel:

The rounded top of the tower on the back right side looks smooth enough especially if you're going for an understated phallic look ;)

The one on the left foreground looks to be sort of a geodesic design, capable of taking more stress...maybe built by Hitachi corp. ?

The legs on the central complex have a pre-stressed panel look to them, entirely appropriate and the glass/chrome bits are shiny enough.

All in all it looks great to me, little touches like antennae and traffic avoidance light extensions are well placed and everything just looks 'right' for a civilization that had to claw itself out of a series of world-wide wars, each of apocalyptic proportion and the aftermath thereof. The part where the city is inside a climate controlled dome means newer construction (after it was put up) can be different from the older parts and 3-C is at coordinates 0-0-0 after all.

In the top panel:
everything just looks perfect, a mix of older looking and newer looking styles just like you'd expect.
Timeghost 24th May 2020, 4:35 AM edit delete reply
Writing from a further 5 years in the future, I am amazed at the naturalness of the poses the characters have most of the time. I know of at least two other current webcomics where the character poses seem stiff and artificial, and at least one of them uses Iray.
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