One! Sleep! TILL BROOKLYN! No, wait – CHRISTMAS!

Heyooo! Merry incoming Christmas! If you’re reading this on the day I asked WordPress to post it (or any subsequent Christmas Eve), then it’s only one more day until Jesus Day! Yay! πŸ˜€ When this is posted, I’ll be sliding down a big snowy hill on a toboggan in an attempt to beat my sister to the bottom and losing every single time because MY TOBOGGAN IS CRAP! πŸ˜› I’ll also be laughing at everyone else having massive accidents, of course. πŸ˜›

Anyway, I hope you’re excited for Christmas! Me? Nope. I’m too old now. πŸ˜› Jayzuz, “too old”… I’m only 28. XD But yeah, I don’t really get excited for Christmas like I used to. But I am excited to share what I’ve made for y’all. A Christmas RENDER! πŸ˜€ “ERMAGERD WHAT?! IT’S BEEN SO LONG SINCE YOUR LAST CHRISTMASSY RENDER!”

Yeah, my last Christmas render was done back in 2011, so that’s a whole 7 years. I think the reason I stopped doing Christmas renders was because I was discouraged. All of them have just been “meh”, or worse. I did start work on a Christmas render in 2012, but I ended up scrapping it. I still have a test render of it, actually… should I? Ah, what the hell, since it’s Christmas, here it is:

Ahhh, the good old SubDragon. πŸ˜€ I tend not to share old test renders because they’re embarrassing as fuck, but hey, there it is πŸ˜› Honestly, though, looking back, I’m not sure why I gave up on that one. The execution is bad, sure, but the concept is nice. Maybe I’ll visit the idea again some time.

Even though I don’t really share test/failed/quick renders, I still like to keep hold of them. Why? Well, like I say on the MongMaster’s Turd page, why do you keep hold of that Defend Globe when it only affects bug types? πŸ˜› They’re nice reminders. Some remind me of how far I’ve come since I started rendering, others remind me of certain things I did that I might’ve otherwise forgotten, and others remind me of the PAIN that DS puts me through. Here’re some examples, while I’m at it (I’m also testing WordPress’ new editor by doing this πŸ˜› ):

DAZ Studio did this while I was doing DOF tests and trying to fix infinite rendering times because of subsurface scattering. Why does it do this to me.
Test render of The Third Breed in Iray before I started using Iray properly. The lighting it rendered wasn’t even close to the lighting I asked for. I genuinely didn’t understand what it was doing.
Made quickly as a bit of fun for someone on a not-very-popular forum. Wish I could remember the details. πŸ˜› I wonder how those guys are doing now.

Stock raytraced shadows in 3Delight were solid black unless some unknown conditions were met. Thankfully, I learned about UberEnvironment.
Dueling Dragons test render. One time only, DAZ Studio decided to shit this out for some now-unknown reason. Pretty much ruined my evening. πŸ˜›
One of my very first renders, from 2009. You have no idea how much I hesitated to put this here. It makes me cringe. πŸ˜›

Wow, WordPress’ new editor has only given me a mild headache, and I only swore three times while doing all that, so it’s not horribly bad. I still refuse to stop putting the “WordPress Is Shit” tag on every post I make, though. TRADITION NEVER DIES! πŸ˜›

Anyway, I’ve gone off on a tangent again. That’s enough crap for now! I didn’t come here to give you coal for Christmas. I came to give you DIAMONDS*! πŸ˜› (*cubic zirconia)

So yes, it’s been a long time since my last Christmas render. Since then, I’ve gotten hold of the DAZ Dragon 3, I’ve learned how to use Iray relatively well, my scene composition skillz are much better, and my lighting skillz have improved, too. I also tend to have ideas more rarely, but they’re much higher-quality. So, when I started this scene, I knew it was going to be a nice way to see how far I’ve come. Here’s the result:

(Available in these tasty flavours: 1080p2K, 4K)


*ahem* Yes. I… think I’m a bit better at this than I was seven years ago. πŸ˜€ What do you think? Do you like? πŸ™‚

I’m not totally sure where the idea for this came from. I think it was partially inspired by my 2011 Christmas render, and I think “cozy” was the trigger word, but it was mostly a shower moment. πŸ˜› It was also the first time I’ve used the Crystal Dragon supermorph/geograft, which somehow worked way better in this scene than I was expecting. Using the regular Dragon 3 just… lacked something. The more “brutish” look of the Crystal Dragon somehow makes it cuter to see him like that. πŸ˜€ Oh, and of course, the ice crystals help with the wintery, Christmassy theme. Huh, what’s that? If he’s a dragon with ice crystals coming out of his scales, why is he sleeping next to a warm fire? Well, that’s because πŸ–•! πŸ˜›

Now, it’s render stats time! You remember that my previous render “Monster. Hunter.” took about 21 hours, right? Of course you don’t! πŸ˜› Anyway, at 4K, Rendering Quality 2, 98% convergence AND with Caustic and Architectual samplers on (something I’ve never done before because it increases render time), this one took… ooooohhh… 5 hours 52 minutes 11.1 seconds! Yeah. About 4 times faster, and one hour of that was the last 3% convergence. πŸ˜› The main reason it was so relatively fast is because the scene is quite a bit less complex. I didn’t have to faff around trying to get the scene memory usage below 4GB, because it only used 3.5GB. πŸ™‚ But another reason was becaaaause… I got a new GPU! AND IT’S A FRIGGIN’ MONSTER!!

GTX 1080Ti. I got it a couple months ago as a birthday present to myself. πŸ˜€ It’s got triple the VRAM of my old 970s, so I highly doubt I’ll run into any memory issues again, which is more than enough to make me happy. But of course, I was also expecting a bit more speed. πŸ˜€ I did some tests using the “Monster. Hunter.” scene and found that the 1080Ti is about 58% faster than TWO 970s, cutting render time by more than 4 hours! And then, amazingly, I found out that Iray can actually use any two GPUs to render! I tried putting one of my 970s alongside it, and it cut down the render time by an additional hour! :O So I’ve kept one of the 970s in, just to assist rendering. I’d’ve kept both of them in, but putting a 970 in the bottom PCIe slot covers up the motherboard’s USB 3 header. And I’m not sure if my PSU could handle it, anyway. πŸ˜›

Oh, and of course, the 1080Ti can run Monster Hunter: World at 90FPS. πŸ˜€ Just as long as you don’t put the volumetric fog too high, anyway. To be honest, I don’t even notice a difference past Low. πŸ˜›

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the render. And of course, I hope you have a great Christmas, or whatever it is you celebrate! πŸ˜€ I’ll see you again in the New Year! Probably the Chinese one! πŸ˜€