Recently I got involved in a movie project – doing some post production, visual effects, and compositing. One part of the assigment is to create a “in game” world, that will look very modern and high quality, but kind of old school at the same time. And then it struck me: Voxels!
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Definition (source: wiki)
A voxel (a blend of the words volumetric and pixel) is a volume element, representing a value on a regular grid in three dimensional space. This is analogous to a pixel, which represents 2D image data. Voxels are frequently used in the visualization and analysis of medical and scientific data. Some volumetric displays use voxels to describe their resolution. For example, a display might be able to show 512×512×512 voxels.
It looks pretty simple at first, but then you realize that what you want to do is to animate your characters (or whatever) in a “normal” way, and then have it rendered out as voxels… and that’s where it gets complicated. I’ve tested out several solutions: script and renderers, but found nothing that satisfied me, so I started to develop my own script. Here are some of the first results that I got.
The script converts any given mesh to a voxel based object. The shape of the voxel can also be defined as a mesh. For performance reasons there is an option to minimize processing time by building the voxel model while ignoring backfacing vertices.
After I’m finished with the script there will probably be a tutorial on FineCG.com.