For the upcoming Blender release 2.63 the Mango team worked hard to produce a splashscreen. We tested various concepts, as well as different techniques. It was a good exercise to take the tests to the next level and produce a “final-ish” image, that would also look good in the movie.
Both scenes still heavily rely on Blender Internal, in particular for the volumetric effects. The main renders come right out of Cycles, but halos and smoke could only be achieved by linking the scene to Blender internal, in a new scene, with it’s own setup of render layers and passes. As you can imagine that makes everything a bit complicated, since you work with different scenes, juggling around layers, passes and baked smoke files. The interactive preview capabilities of Cycles have been of great help and the speed and quality of the engine is improving almost on a daily basis! We are very excited to work with such great tools.
Grab the latest release of Blender here: http://www.blender.org/download/get-blender/
Here are the node setups for both scenes: