So within my thesis ideas the third one was based around Physical-based Rendering methods. I was planning to explore and document different numbers and calculations that I used to achieve the most realistic quality while trying to confuse people and get them to question what was real and what wasn’t.
That said, my plan for experimenting with different materials to find their most accurate values has been quite handily swept out from under me. There are quite a few people within the industry who are aiming to achieve that and have made much more progress than I’ll be able to make. For example, there is the company “Mura” (www.muravision.com). They have developed a scanner that shines light onto different parts of the surface at different angles to achieve incredibly high quality depth, normal, diffuse, specular, and roughness maps. Similarly, there is Megascans by Quixel which also has a huge library of scanned objects and maps which are available for use though most of the packs available are based around flora and outside environments.
So what does this mean for one of my project ideas? Does it shift radically or does it simply shift focus? Honestly, I’m not sure. If I simply shift focus to trying to achieve a high degree of realism and instead of trying to pioneer my own presets instead use those that already exist, I wonder if I will be able to achieve more? If I learn new techniques and programs, without trying to blaze my own path, will the increased quality and knowledge gained offset the experience of forging my own path?
Honestly, probably. I don’t really see any point in trying to figure good PBR settings for materials that have been scanned. Researching how PBR is attained and how different attributes relate to real-life phenomenon will still be a core part of my thesis, but there doesn’t seem to be any room for meaningful or significant exploration.