What is rendering?



  • Sorry for the very basic question you guys. 😁
    I have little real training at this art stuff. I just draw and paint when I can and I know nothing about proper tools and paper quality, or half of the terms that get thrown around on here. I also have zero experience with Photoshop, etc. so maybe this has to do with that? I have watched so many classes on here and never heard this term defined - though it's been used a lot. I thought it was just an art term for "finished" but I get the impression that there is more to it.
    The only feedback I've gotten from the teachers here has been that one of my 3d Thursday submissions looked like a "first pass". Does this have something to do with rendering? Any insight would be much appreciated.



  • @Pamela-Fraley I think there is no single definition of this term, and different artists may use it in different ways. The way I have been introduced to it, "rendering" refers to the painting of volumes - which is done through shadows, midtones and highlights (basically, the darkest, medium and lightest parts of an object exposed to the light). Through proper painting of these, you can achieve the feeling of a tri-dimensional object even if it is only a flat painting.
    There are various ways of doing rendering and different levels of stylization can be applied to it. A "full rendering" for me is when you try to mimick what your eyes see as close as possible (photorealistic painting would be the extreme expression of that). But it can also be done in a very simplified minimalistic way (for example like in Lee White's paintings) or not at all (like in more design-driven work or in primitive styles). To give you a traditional example, Disney classics were typically done with rendered backgrounds and non-rendered characters (as the characters needed to be animated, there was no time and no possibility to render the light-and-shadow on them. The backgrounds were painted and used for a whole sequence, so they could be "rendered").
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    There is a lot of terms associated with rendering of light and shadow that you may have heard - things like "core shadow", "cast shadow", "occlusion", etc... they all refer to the way you can paint with value to mimic the way light interacts with objects. I hope this helps!



  • @Pamela-Fraley Ah, regarding the "first pass" comment - I cannot know of course what the teacher meant exactly by that, but yes - rendering is generally done in "passes". For example you may paint the colors first as flat (no value), then paint the occlusion shadows, then the main shadows, then the highlights, then the reflected lights, etc....

    Small detour: in the 3D world of computer graphics you also use the term "rendering", which refers to taking the 3D model and putting it under a virtual light source and let the computer calculate the light-and-shadow structure of the object so that it looks tridimensional on screen. This is also done in "passes" (occlusion, highlight, reflections, etc...), and these "passes" have somewhat informed also the process for traditional 2D painting.



  • @smceccarelli Thank you so much for taking the time to explain. That makes a lot more sense. I never realized that about the old Disney movies. I can see what you're talking about though. Now, I guess the hard part is figuring out how to make my pieces look as rendered as they should be - to be consistent with my style? The style I haven't quite found yet. I don't want my pieces to look like first passes. Though, I think when I do my water colors they have that slightly flatter style to them. Not that they have no shadow to them... Work and practice I guess. And study. Thank you.



  • @Pamela-Fraley said in What is rendering?:

    @smceccarelli Work and practice I guess. And study.

    and try and get a good image library of pieces from artists you really like. more than likely, there is an artist (or artists) out there whom you would like to paint like. Do they have a "rendered" style? Or is it more flat? Somewhere in between?


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