Lighting Changes Everything

Lighting Changes Everything

Have a look at some of the winners of the Geomerics/Unity/Polycount competition. This is pure lighting magic!

Back in June 2016, we’ve announced an interesting lighting contest from Polycount. The artists were given Unity 5 + Geomerics’ Enlighten technology and the awesome Courtyard scene, developed by Alex Lovett (@HeliosDoubleSix). They were not allowed to change the models, but they could add their own textures and work with the lighting. Today we can finally have a look at some of the submissions, thanks to Alex Lovett himself. Most of them look shockingly good. It doesn’t even look like Unity. It looks like it was rendered with V-Ray! Enjoy these impressive images and some comments from Alex. This post was originally published in Linkedin.

I am proud to see the creative work of others as they take my original Courtyard scene and make it their own thru use of light, color, post effects, altering shaders, textures and adding new props. An interesting test of reinterpretation and digital remixing.

And so it got me thinking, a sometimes dangerous and time-consuming activity for me, and I spewed the following ramble about the transient nature of art / culture and the progress of real-time graphics in enabling people to both author, share and collaborate, and how VR is just damn cool; especially with all of the above thrown into the mix.


“Clean Architecture” by Eldon R. Tyrell

As an artist I always want my work to live on, though I never expected it to take on new life thru the eyes of others, something of a relatively new and interesting phenomenon of the digital age, the art of the remix. As Picasso said “Good Artists Copy; Great Artists Steal”

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“The Reveal” by Wiktor Wąsowski

As a programmer I am used to leveraging the hard work of others, nothing I do would be possible otherwise, so the concept of standing on the shoulders of giants is nothing new. And so as the digital age matures with more standardized formats for exchanging 3D data, ways of describing surface properties such as PBR, it opens up to wildly collaborative multi decade spanning works of shared creativity. The work of huge communities of people chipping away together can already be seen with games like Minecraft, truly fascinating detailed expansive demonstrations of what can be achieved in large self organizing groups.

Imagine if instead of competing against each other the entrants all worked together in a shared environment, like a garden it takes on a more fluid evolving form, which with current tools is tricky on so many levels, but in the near future with virtual work spaces bringing remote individuals together it could be huge.


“Tomb of an Angel” by Gabriel Coriiu

It is wonderful to see the advances in recent times that have now brought the required fidelity to real time graphics, such that a free tool ( Unity ) can immediately allow exploration of light and forms, facilitating instant feedback into the creative process like never before. As a kid I would have relished at a tool with such power and openness, the sand pit and Lego bricks of my youth would be no competition for the kind of world building students can enjoy today.

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“Lost in the cold” by Matthieu Ostertag

Sure it has a long way to go still, it could be easier to learn ( oh so much easier ), and has many hidden pitfalls when dealing with performance compared to the relative ease of offline pre-rendered video sequences, but when coupled with interactivity, say VR ( Virtual Reality with devices such as Oculus Rift and HTC Vive ) it’s pros are multiplied by a new level of interactivity and immersion simply not possible before in any other medium.


“Chromatic Dreams” by Jessica Sweeney

So while today’s competition winners are limited in producing a few selected still images for presentation when the source material is capable of so much more, I greatly look forward to experience the art and craft of others immersively in full surround 3D some day soon, as I know what it is like to take a walk around the Courtyard Demo, and feel the sense of awe and vertigo as you teeter on the edge of tall tower, the wind whistling between the columns, and I just can’t wait for more people to share in those kind of experiences, with new powerful tools for all, children, students, and artists to transport people to magical worlds, as real time 3D affords a sense of discovery, exploration and immersion that paintings, photography and video simply can not match.


“Tomb of an Angel” by Gabriel Coriiu

I often feel all my original ideas are merely things I ‘stole’ and simply forgot where from – the ‘art’ comes in making it richer, personalized as you make it your own, and as artwork is never finished; then you must iterate and improve till you abandon your work, this for me at least is the core of the creative process.

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“Future Courtyard” by Eric Kimberly

It is a pleasing thought that normally where work would be merely abandoned, it can now more readily change hands as new generations interpret and remix to make new again, and so I no longer own the Courtyard, they do… (  well, technically Unity Technologies own it, but that would ruin my sentiment! ?  ). grand-prize-winners – check out all the amazing finalists here! And don’t forget to study other submissions.





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