Jump to content
ocalaf

classic retro grid 80s sci fi: best approach

Recommended Posts

Hi there, I'm totally a noob using Houdini and I'm trying to figuring out how to achive this classic retro look.

reference.thumb.jpg.92fecb97eae259df04ad21af39013395.jpg

I can imagine there's some basic options ie: compositing some textures with the wireframes or creating thin polywires to create actual meshes for this edges. I also found this interesting post abut glowing points.

 

I almost get to look I want playing with similar custom shaders, specially because I wanted to try with Nurbs in these lines, but of course it just deals with points, so I should somehow matte the grid faces itself to oclude edges behind other edges.

RetroGridv1.thumb.png.7abc1f0ff9c4b9e429f642b0c29803d2.png

RetroGridv2.thumb.png.52a40eb2b4b818a50849dcc0281d74af.png

It does make any sense this approach? Should I layer different shaders for the points or edge primitives and other one for the polygon faces itself?

Would like to credit Thomas Helze for the FastGlow used in this tries above.

 

Since this is a typical effect from all the times, I wanted also to know if anybody could just bring here some historical background about it, I'm feeling that the principles behind that look had changed a bit every time retro neon sci fi gets trendy again...

 

And of course, please feel free to send me back to the QuickStart guides and all that... just wish you understand it's my first time posting here and you know, I'm feel like a totally stupid noob asking loud a stupid question at the end of a masterclass... :unsure:

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wireframe is pretty vanilla, just an ends sop wireframe, made pink, merged over a solid black version of the geo as a cheap holdout matte.

All the fun/silly is in cops.

retro.hip

neon_pig.png.2c33870598a7882d365c46b69c005816.png

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank's for your fast reply and for the sample scene, is there any way of getting an smooth result from mantra or using wren? I'm trying to increase the rays and using the ray variance but it just spent more time to produce similar results. Increasing width doesn't help either because it also produces some kind of artefacts on the lines.

I can understand fixing and retouching this aliased render in cops can just do the work and still be cheap but I don't feel myself such a good artist to produce such smooth lines just by retouching in cops.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lazy way would just be to render double size and scale down. Should be very fast with shaders and geo like this. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Had a bit more of a play, upped the pixel samples to 10 10, changed the pixel filter to a wider smoother one (blackman at width of 4), and used camera-based uv's to get distance to camera, and scale the width accordingly. Looking pretty clean to me.

Also tweaked the bad 80s CRT stuff in cops cos, why not eh?

retro_clean.hip

 

neon_pig_cleaner.thumb.png.d8f9b20e9c848451d2a1086f4201dd6f.png

 

neon_pig_treated.thumb.png.bdcb317a56c82ce648a9646c8cfaee84.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, mestela said:

Lazy way would just be to render double size and scale down. Should be very fast with shaders and geo like this. 

lazy waaay???? that’s a pro tip hehe, even opengl does that to give you nice looking lines sometimes ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rendering oversize and using geometry that gets additive shading rather than straight wireframe renders would be a step in the right direction.  These kind of graphics were produced on vector displays, which were basically giant oscilloscopes.   No pixels.  No scanlines (though scanlines simulate looking at the result off tape, etc) no antialiasing because it was just beams of light across phosphors on the tube, but it wasn't originally needed because there were no pixels, just phosphors smaller than any pixel or grains of film.

The vector display was photographed by a film camera.  It's effectively optical printing in camera.  The displays were black-and-white so for the multi-colored graphics each frame would be built up through multiple exposures with colored filters.  In later software some fairly sophisticated "backface" culling and fill patterns were developed.  Because the image was photographed directly off the display, rather than output through some kind of framebuffer,  you got a natural glow and bloom and other visual effects like brightness gained at overlapping lines and corners.  The more true to the look you wish to get it'll be helpful to consider how the real deal was made, and then the further analog steps between the display and how the audience would see it (telecine...broadcast...duping, etc.)

This type of motion graphic was towards the end of the "Candy Apple Neon" design trend at Robert Abel & Associates, before they moved to mostly raster graphics and shaded models.  

Edited by pockets
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Does anyone have a clue of origin of this popular design with grid, mountains and sunset?

retrowave.jpg.000c187bd70f55377b7a3d2cb90c7155.jpg

Different variants can be found on image search. Did it exist in 80's?

Perhaps the mix of old and new? The Mattel Electronics toy catalog features the purple grid and some sort of sunrise, while Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon introduces wireframe landscape. I didn't find the stripped sun, though.

grid-mattel-1982.thumb.jpg.3beb945709030cfcfc05840cc5995c8a.jpgfar-cry-3-blood-dragon.thumb.jpg.e7d0c97c163a5e5a0898783bc80feb98.jpg

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are a bunch of others videos on youtube, even tutorials on how scanimate is working. 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I responded to the companion Facebook page thread on this topic,  to someone bringing up Scanmate as well, so sorry for it being a repeat for some folks.  Scanmate is related to this era, but it's not where the vector graphic stuff originated.  Scanmate is more of a manipulator.   Look at the results of what they're getting and that aesthetic, which is a bit more grungy.  You could get clean stuff based on the imagery being shown on a similar sort of oscilloscope display but it was often being photographed by ENG cameras at best which introduced analog video artifacts.  The high quality, early '80s motion graphics with vectors, etc. were photographed with 35mm film, pre-film recorder, right off the monitor.

 The software and technique that created TRON and a bunch of commercials is closer to that our current work is based on rather than something more like early electronic music.
 

 

 

 

Today's '80s nostalgia is creating ideas and new derivative looks that are reminiscent of the era without actually being something that existed then.  Like some of the retrowave music being done.   And like the aesthetic of something like KUNG FURY.  That reminds people of the '80s while it's actually a very new aesthetic based mostly on artifacts or "quirks" of various types of imagery, which it mixes and matches for a look that's not actually based on anything you'd find going back to real '80s films and analog imaging techniques.

Edited by pockets
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wowww, thank's for all your feedback guys! I know a bit about audio modular systems and also I heard about old similar "video synths", but I've never heard about that Scanmate, thanks for the link. My main objective with this thread was just that, learning some history! So many many thanks for that and other comments about CRTs, osciloscopes and analog stuff.

I was also figuring out the clue original reference for that sunset scene, its amazing how many similar ones could you found googleing a bit, but yes, for me its hard to tell where is the origin, I was also thinking that it had to be something "newer" than 80s itself, but its amazing how iconic of a classical retro look had become.

Rergarding the different scenes you attached, thank you so much for your help. I think that uv from camera prespective driving the width and this pixel filter at the out helped a lot!

Now let me process all this information, and I hope to come back with some results for you to show.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A couple of the more prolific artists/designers doing this type of looks nowadays:

Gustavo Torres/Kidmograph, James White/Signalnoise.

They seem to create their own stuff, not sure where they drag their insp from, probably partially from the stuff already discussed in this thread.

On 12/9/2017 at 12:48 PM, f1480187 said:

Does anyone have a clue of origin of this popular design with grid, mountains and sunset?

 

Edited by limeforce
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×