With July 10th looming I got cracking on the other stages of the animation. Today was the turn of the midground. To make things more interesting with the assortment buildings I twisted up the geometry to reflect aspects of Treacy's organic style. Time restraints and an effort to focus the eye mean these companion buildings are pared down in terms of detail compared to the more important structures, which use shaders while others use some simple textures that were recycled from other areas of the model. While working on hiding the opera house I discovered the matte opacity slider for blynn, background and lambert textures, which when tweaked appear to get rid of the ghost geometry. My best guess is that matte opacity "flattens" the model when light is taken into account but I might be wrong, I will have to see what it does to a model that I can see to understand what it does.
Perhaps not the best effort but one of the primary things I considered adding was detail to the ground. In previous entries this was some basic contouring. Today I added an ocean shader to what should be the river that flows around the city to make it look at least vaguely like water.
The forest ground appeared too flat for my liking, so I did some experimentation with bump-mapping to add a little texture. Not the best but I think it does some sort of job at giving the ground some texture to it.
There is a narrow band of a brown shader between the water and the tree texture. However I later discovered that after I added the lines I had created a definite and even ridge to the hill. In spacing out the geometry and smoothing the hill out, I discovered a rather appealing "roughness" to the shadowline that I think gives the area some depth.
The last frame is me fully satisfied with what I have and another all-night render has been planned. The initial frames are currently taking a little over 7 minutes each to render, an estimated average of 8.6 frames an hour (although the first hour has produced nine frames and a bit). This may get slightly faster as the focus changes and there are less lights and wireframes to deal with than the last phase.