In order to get the best moving pictures these days, it is imperative to know how 3D images are rendered. Understanding rendering is not as difficult as you think but requires going through this piece with a high level of concentration because major issues on this topic are adequately discussed.
The term rendering means the calculations carried out by a render engine equipped with a 3D software package to interpret a 3D scene from a mathematical approximation to a finalized 2D image. Throughout the process, the scene's textural, spatial and lightning information are brought together to come up with the color value of each pixel in the compressed image.
There are two major kinds of rendering and they are differentiated by the speed at which they compute and finalize images. These two major kinds are real time rendering and pre-rendering (offline rendering). Real time rendering is mostly used in gaming and interactive graphics due to the need to compute images from 3D information at a very fast speed. Since it is going to be difficult to predict the way a game player will interrelate with the game environment, it is very important to render images in real time as the action open up.
Moreover, a minimum of 18 to 20 frames per second must be rendered to the screen so that the motion will appear fluid. If you want an improved real time rendering, endeavor to pre-compile as much information as possible and also make use of dedicated graphics hardware. The game environment's lighting information can also be pre-computed and developed directly into the texture files of the game's environment in order to improve render speed.
On the other hand, pre-rendering or offline rendering is the use of multi-core CPUs rather than dedicated graphics hardware to perform calculations. It takes a lot of time to complete and is mostly seen in animations and effects works that the owners believe more in photorealism and visual complexity. Since what will appear in each screen can be predicted, big studios dedicate a lot of time (about 90 hours render time) to individual frames.
Furthermore, higher level of photorealism can be achieved in pre-rendering than in real time rendering because the former occurs in an open ended frame. This gives room for characters, environments and their related textures and light to have higher polygon counts and a very high resolution texture files of 4K or higher.
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