Devlog#3 – Photo mode

Greetings everyone! Today we will talk about a new, interesting feature of the PhotoVoxel editor, called “Photo Mode”.

Editor with three active viewports, including photo mode one
Photo mode viewport, visible in the top right area of PhotoVoxel

What is exactly is photo mode?

Sometimes, when you are working hard to make your assets awesome, there is a moment, when you would show your work to someone, but in the standard PhotoVoxel viewport, it looks like the “preview” because standard viewport is optimized for editing, not for final presentations.

Then, two options are available, either export 3D mesh of your asset to an external renderer or quickly render it in real-time through the photo mode viewport, specially designed to be optimized for nice looking presentations, which also support animation creation.

One of the final images, rendered through photo mode viewport

Physically based materials

PhotoVoxel editor maintains voxel data to support physically-based materials. That means every single voxel has its albedo (raw color) along with material (sometimes called surface). The material contains three channels (red, green, blue in color) which are: metalness – responsible for how much reflective is the surface of a voxel, roughness – telling how the reflection is blurry is in short (because of surface irregularities) and emission – which takes care of the voxel self-illumination. If you are not familiar with the physically based rendering theory, you can read a little more here Basic Theory of Physically-Based Rendering | Marmoset .

In PhotoVoxel you can adjust how the surface/material is set for the current voxel by using a surface picker.

Surface picker

Photo mode features

Photo mode supports some cool stuff in terms of rendering, here are some examples:

  • Real depth of the field – true, world space depth of field effect, which is not based on screen space postprocess, but works through camera angle/position distortion.
  • Chromatic aberration – postprocess which gives final result more film alike look.
  • Real reflections – world space reflections, which works in real-time
  • Emission of light from emissive voxels
  • Translucency (refaction is still work-in-progress by today) – it allows to simulate glass and water
  • HDRI map reflection support
  • Isometric / perspective switch
  • Soft and hard shadows depending on particular light settings
  • Various tools including animation generator
  • Custom watermark support (for example your game logo, etc.)
  • And much more

This list is still not final, let us know in the comments what features you will be interested in 🙂

Various roughness levels in the bottom reflective surface
Isometric rendering
Mech rendered with photo mode with the animation tool
“Wet” road, simulated by metalness and roughness of voxels

As you see, the photo mode allows performing quick shots of your voxel assets, and everything is running in real-time. It still needs improvement, but what do you think? How such a feature is important in your workflow? Let us know in the comments, and see you later!

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