In most renderers, Depth of Field (DOF) is one of those terribly compute intensive processes that can bring even high performance workstations to their knees. In contrast, Visualizer’s innovative approach to ray tracing enables DOF to be real time and interactive. This means you can use it much earlier in your look development pipeline, eliminating all the guesswork and test renders before rendering your final frames.

In this final installment of the Steampunk Lab tutorial series, Ryan Montrucchio shows how easy and interactive it is to use DOF from the earliest stages of Look Development:

  1. To enable DOF,  simply select the camera, and under the shape tab (within the Attribute Editor), toggle down the Depth of Field. Once there, you will see the Depth of Field check box. Just turn it on and away you go.
  2. Once DOF is on, you can then adjust the Focal Distance, F Stop  and the Focus Region Scale. One trick that makes working with Depth of Field easier is creating an expression that marries Depth of Field with the Center of Interest. This is a simple expression created by using the RMB (Right Mouse Button) over the Focus Distance field to select “Create New Expression…” The camera in this example is named “camera_Anim”. Just substitute your camera name (like “persp” or “camera1″) for “camera_Anim” and you’re good to go.
  3. Here’s the expression that I created in the video: camera_AnimShape.focusDistance = camera_AnimShape.centerOfInterest
  4. Once this is typed in, click on the “Create” button and voilà, you now have the “Focus Distance” controlled by the “Center Of Interest”. To see the “Center of Interest”, select the “Show Manipulator Tool” in the toolbox.  Now you have a quick and easy way to find your focal point.
  5. The Focus Region Scale is great for adjusting the difference between the camera size and the scene size. In this scene, the scale of the camera is about 8-10x too large. So we can adjust the Focus Region Scale to fit what we’d expect by changing it from 1 to somewhere between 8 and 10. This will make it look more like what we’d expect.
  6. That’s it. Now what you see in the viewport with Caustic Visualizer will be what renders out with Caustic Visualizer.

On behalf of the team at Imagination, we’ve enjoyed bringing you the Steampunk Lab tutorials.  Stay tuned for more tutorials in conjunction with new releases of Visualizer that we have planned in the coming months.