Rendering With Correct Math And Physics
Rendering engineer Angelo Pesce has posted an interesting two-part piece on the importance of rendering with correct math and physics instead of hacks. He argues that when when rendering engineers don't know what they're doing, they're giving artists models that can't achieve the result they're aiming for or that are too complicated.
According to Pesce, two problems can arise when artists take whatever models they're given and tweak them in unpredictable ways to make them fit the idea they want to express: "The first one is that such tweaking could end up with suboptimal use of our precious, scarce, computing resources. The second, somewhat related to the other, is that bad models could be too complicated to fit [and] to find parameters that achieve the desired look."
In order to avoid these problems, he suggests working together with artists to see what they're trying to do and ask them to make prototypes with their DCC tools. That way, you can see if it's possible to express their art in a more procedural way.
Pesce also advises that you find out what your artists need and the physics, basing models on their needs and good math: "Good math does not mean correct physics, we are far from that in real-time rendering, but reasonable physics, models that are based on solid ideas."