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Welcome to The

3D Art & Design The world of 3D art and design is vast and continuing to grow. It’s an exciting place for an artist to develop skills and techniques in order to ultimately express their artistic creativity. The third volume of The 3D Art & Design Book not only assists in developing these areas, but also provides inspiration – the other essential ingredient. Whether you follow along with the tutorials step by step, or simply use the ideas and techniques to create your own, original artwork, the choice is yours and, either way, you are guaranteed to create something to be proud of. Split into six key areas of art and design, the book explores character, architectural visualisation, photorealism, environment, vehicle and animation. There is certainly something for everyone on the pages within, and perhaps you will discover a passion for something you hadn’t considered before. If that wasn’t enough, we’ve also included a free CD packed full of 3D models, video tutorials and source files in order to help you complete many of the tutorials found in the book.


The

3D Art & Design Imagine Publishing Ltd Richmond House 33 Richmond Hill Bournemouth Dorset BH2 6EZ  +44 (0) 1202 586200 Website: www.imagine-publishing.co.uk Twitter: @Books_Imagine Facebook: www.facebook.com/ImagineBookazines

Head of Publishing Aaron Asadi Head of Design Ross Andrews Production Editors Hannah Kelly and Sarah Harrison Senior Art Editor Greg Whitaker Design Lauren Debono-Elliot Photographer James Sheppard Cover image Matthew Burke Printed by William Gibbons, 26 Planetary Road, Willenhall, West Midlands, WV13 3XT Distributed in the UK & Eire by Imagine Publishing Ltd, www.imagineshop.co.uk. Tel 01202 586200 Distributed in Australia by Gordon & Gotch, Equinox Centre, 18 Rodborough Road, Frenchs Forest, NSW 2086. Tel + 61 2 9972 8800 Distributed in the Rest of the World by Marketforce, Blue Fin Building, 110 Southwark Street, London, SE1 0SU. Disclaimer The publisher cannot accept responsibility for any unsolicited material lost or damaged in the post. All text and layout is the copyright of Imagine Publishing Ltd. Nothing in this bookazine may be reproduced in whole or part without the written permission of the publisher. All copyrights are recognised and used specifically for the purpose of criticism and review. Although the bookazine has endeavoured to ensure all information is correct at time of print, prices and availability may change. This bookazine is fully independent and not affiliated in any way with the companies mentioned herein. The 3D Art & Design Book Volume 3 Š 2014 Imagine Publishing Ltd ISBN 978 1909 758 933

Part of the

bookazine series


08 The evolution of CG software Character

Photorealism 70

Make a realistic human portrait

18

Create a portrait

Architectural visualisation

24

Render your character's skin

48

Build a wooden interior

77

Gallery: Then Flying The Youth

26

Sculpt intense facial expressions

52

Build C4D arch-vis assets

78

Design a stunning dress

30

Design and model sci-fi characters

56

Make atmospheric renders

84

Create hair and fur

37

Gallery: Equilibrium

63

Gallery: Butterfly

91

Gallery: Photorealistic CGI

38

Mesh-shatter your characters

64 Add post-production touches

92

Bring still-life objects to life

45

Gallery: Fatal

67 Gallery: Contemporary Living Room

6 3D Art & Design


161

154

178

171 Environment

Vehicle

Animation

100 Build a city in 60 minutes

134 Model a complete car

166 Animate a dialogue shot

106 Use modular textures

141 Gallery: No More Gas

171 Gallery: CTN Animation Expo Kirk & Lucy

112 Create a videogame environment

142 Build a vehicle game asset

172 Shatter moving characters

118 Build matte paintings

149 Gallery: AEG27Cern 05

178 Master blend cycles

124 Create underwater renders

150 Create Bunkspeed renders

131

154 Model a fighter jet

Gallery: Seedy City

185 Gallery: General Shellshock 186 Animate vehicles

161 Gallery: Waldo 162 Create wireframe renders

3D Art & Design 7


Evolution of CG software

THE

EVOLUTION OF

CG SOFTWARE

From early wireframes to Avatar, we talk to the pioneering founders of the most prominent CG software, ďŹ nding out where the tools came from and how they got to where they are today 8 3D Art & Design


Leader of the Yost Group, which created and developed an early version of 3ds Max

Gary Yost

Lead designer for 3ds Max. Worked with the original creator of 3D Studio (Bent Image Lab)

Fred Ruff

President of the LightWave 3D Group, a division of NewTek Inc, with numerous film credits

Rob Powers

Author of Cg101: A computer Graphics Industry Reference. Technical director at ILM

Terrence Masson

Senior software engineer at MAXON. Co-writer of the precursor of CINEMA 4D

Philip Losch

Hired to define, test and abuse software such as Maya. Has Oscar-winning animation work

Chris Landreth

Senior developer and programmer of CINEMA 4D at MAXON studio

Tilo Kühn

Main developer of 3D Studio, as well as its precursors and prototypes (Yost Group)

Tom Hudson

Founder of Derivative and co-founder of Side Effects Software Inc.

Greg Hermanovic

Co-founder, chief executive officer and president of Side Effects Software Inc.

Kim Davidson

Inventor of Bump-mapping, the Blinn-Phong shading model. Researches realistic rendering

Jim Blinn

Head of computer animation at Omnibus. Early work at Alias working on PowerAnimator

Will Anielewicz

Evolution of CG sofware

3D Art & Design 9


Evolution of CG software 01

02

HOUDINI & PRISMS “My big break came in 1985,” begins Kim Davidson. “I was hired at Omnibus Computer Graphics in Toronto as a programmer, helping it develop its internal 3D animation software.” The largest computer graphics company in the world, Omnibus was already using mainframe computers to create flying logos and station IDs as well as boasting state-of-the-art computer animation studios in Toronto, New York and Los Angeles. It was here that Davidson first met Greg Hermanovic who, after a background as a programmer working on everything from real-time flight simulators to a training simulator for the Space Shuttle’s robot arm, was hired as the new head of the Toronto R&D team. Together, they began developing the early version of Houdini’s predecessor: Production of Realistic Image Scene Mathematical Simulation, or PRISMS. However, their time at Omnibus was short-lived. In 1987, after having swallowed both Digital Productions and Robert Abel & Associates, the company that had seemed so powerful suddenly went bankrupt under the weight of its many debts. “I don’t think of myself as entrepreneurial, or a risk-taker, but I loved it so much that when Omnibus went bankrupt in 1987, I didn’t hesitate to jump into starting a company so I could continue working on computer graphics in Toronto,” explains Davidson. “There was nothing close to what we had created at Omnibus and that was the reason for starting Side Effects.” Luckily, the struggling Omnibus had licensed PRISMS to other companies in order to bring in extra revenue. This meant that when Davidson and Hermanovic acquired the rights to PRISMS, they had their first licensed customers right from the start.

Evans & Sutherland founded, marking the first computer graphics company

Kim Davidson was hired by Omnibus Computer Graphics in 1985 and went on to found Side Effects Software in 1987

UNIX operating system developed by Kenneth Thompson and Dennis Ritchie at Bell Labs

1972

First public demonstration introducing the computer mouse by Doug Englebart of SRI

1969

10 3D Art & Design

1968

CG software: a few key events

computer-generated sequence for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Barely a month later a huge 20 minutes of full 3D CGI created by Information International Inc, Robert Abel and Associates, MAGI and Digital Effects was revealed within Disney’s TRON release. It was only a matter of time before commercial software companies with products made specifically for computergenerated imagery started to trickle into the public sphere, with many co-developing their software together with the in-house software at successful studios such as ILM. As the hardware also began to lower in price, the early Eighties marked the introduction of the first startups, as well as successes and failures of businesses such as Autodesk, Alias Research, Wavefront and Omnibus

1968

W

e may not think about it often, but it’s difficult to go even one waking day without some form of CG somehow making its way past our eyes. Whether in adverts, music videos, YouTube streams, screensavers, or any other number of computer-generated imagery, the art form has fully entrenched itself in our day-to-day lives. Strange then, to think that just 50 years ago there was effectively no such thing. By the late Sixties, the few computers in the world capable of producing any form of line-drawn animation cost the equivalent of nearly $700,000 today, were the size of a bunk bed and used only paper tape. Even computer science itself was so unheard of that when computer graphics pioneer and inventor of Bump-mapping Jim Blinn attended the University of Michigan in 1967, it wasn’t even offered as a subject. However, during the early Seventies, hubs like the University of Utah began to showcase 3D imagery produced by pioneers like Blinn. There were early examples of shaded 3D CGI, produced with framebuffers for display on TV monitors, and even the first 3D, computer-animated graduate shorts like ‘A Computer Animated Hand’, by Fred Parke and future Pixar founder Ed Catmull. Nevertheless, CG remained something only a programmer could realistically develop for some time to come. Also, bizarre by today’s standards, special effects in the movie industry were by no means prevalent. In fact, when George Lucas began to produce Star Wars in 1973, he quickly discovered that the Special Effects Department at 20th Century Fox was actually no longer operational. It was in order to create the effects required to match Lucas’ vision that Industrial Light and Magic was born in 1975, and the result of its work is hailed today as one of the first examples of the modern-day blockbuster. Star Wars even included 3D effects. A year after a brief 3D-digitised representation of a face and hand was first seen in Futureworld, 1977’s Star Wars Episode IV contained the first truly extensive use of 3D computer-generated imagery and animation ever seen in a feature film, during a very basic, untextured wireframe sequence of the Death Star trench. “Larry Cuba, back in the Sixties and Seventies, single-handedly completed the wireframe of the Death Star simulation in the original Star Wars,” explains Terrence Masson, author of CG101: A Computer Graphics Industry Reference. He tells us that by 1982, ILM had produced the first entirely

‘A Computer Animated Hand’, a short by Ed Catmull and Fred Parke, is developed at the University of Utah

“By the end of the Sixties it got advanced enough that people began realizing it had potential outside the research lab” Terrence Masson


Evolution of CG sofware 03

01 “The procedural version of PRISMS started to see the light of day around 1989,” explains Hermanovic. “It became popular because it automated and visualised what CG artists were already doing blindly” 02 PRISMS also included Mojo, a morphing package, as well as motion-control interface Moca and ICE

04

03 The Omnibus team in 1987. The struggling company had licensed PRISMS to companies in Japan and the UK a few months earlier, so when Davidson and Hermanovic acquired the rights they already had their first licensed customers

Emerging as early as 1989, PRISMS was extensively tested by the founders of Side Effects, Kim Davidson and Greg Hermanovic

04 SIGGRAPH 1993

NEW STUDENTS ARE BETTER IF THEY UNDERSTAND THE EVOLUTION OF THE SOFTWARE AND WHAT’S BEEN MADE WITH IT – THAT’S ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL

1974

© 1972 The University of Utah

TERRENCE MASSON, independent VFX supervisor

AMC-SIGGRAPH, the special interest group of the Association for Computing Machinery, is first established

Martin Newell develops the now famous Utah Teapot, now one of the most iconic images in the world of CG

Bump-mapping is introduced by Jim Blinn and Martin Newell

“The other big milestone probably was the explosion of commercialisation in the Seventies “ Terrence Masson

1978

“It’s amazing how many advancements have happened in computer graphics over the last 25 plus years. Mobile phones have graphics capabilities that far exceed the early graphics workstations and at a fraction of the cost and size,” says Kim Davidson, co-founder and president of Side Effects. “However, I’m frustrated that Side Effects and the industry aren’t further than we are. There were animated CG humans 25 years ago… The industry is just doing more a lot easier, but I don’t think we are doing it a whole lot better. The majority of animation is still done by an animator sitting with a mouse moving a limb and creating a keyframe and it’s still nearly impossible and expensive to create photoreal CG humans. John Pennie, president of Omnibus, said in 1986 that in two years we would be creating CG humans that were indistinguishable from real actors… I knew it wouldn’t be two years, but I thought it would be a reality 27 years later. So for all the accomplishments we have obtained, there’s still lot to do. That’s exciting to me and that continues to be our motivation.”

of a sudden, Side Effects found itself in competition with three public companies all vying for a market share. With Houdini, the co-founders aimed to shift from PRISMS’ C to C++ and take advantage of the advancements in hardware graphics. However, they also made the conscious decision to switch tactics, rising above the competition by focusing on a segment of the market where they felt they could make the most difference: film VFX. “It was a good move for us,” Davidson concludes, something that is more than clear, given that Houdini is now used by leading film studios and Side Effects has won three Academy Awards in recognition of its phenomenal work. “The inspiration for PRISMS was to create efficiencies for ourselves, as clients are always changing their mind. It’s satisfying to see how well the overall architecture and procedural paradigm has stood the test of time. While we have rewritten some big chunks of Houdini and added tons of features, the basic architecture and data flow have remained the same.”

1975

The need to innovate

In their first years running Side Effects, the co-founders continued to not only keep coding the software but also to use and test it themselves as a production company, which enabled PRISMS to improve all the more quickly. “The procedural version of PRISMS started to see the light of day around 1989,” explains Hermanovic. “It became popular because it automated and visualised what computer graphics artists were doing blindly and non-interactively before.” With their client base growing rapidly, the pair soon made the decision to pull away from production to focus solely on developing the software, and by the Nineties PRISMS had been used to produce the visual effects for feature films as impressive as Apollo 13, Twister and Titanic. Yet despite this success, Side Effects had long been thinking about where to take the software next. “Although Houdini 1.0 shipped in December of 1996, we had started the design of Houdini in 1991,” reveals Davidson. The Nineties saw the start of exponential growth in the 3D industry thanks to further advancements in affordable graphics and, all

3D Art & Design 11


Evolution of CG software 04

05

Today, Will Anielewicz works at Caustic Graphics Inc, writing shaders. “One of my main roles at ILM was to match the in-house prman shaders using mental ray. That history makes me the perfect person for this task,” he explains

Autodesk is founded in CA by John Walker

1980s

20 minutes of full 3D CGI released within Disney’s TRON

during Toronto’s harsh winter months, a lack of funds lead to a new change in focus: Alias 1. The team aimed to produce a system that would enable users with minimal training to achieve complex computer animation. However, in 1985, Alias signed a landmark deal with car manufacturer GM, receiving a sizeable investment out of an interest in using the spline-based software for design instead. “I created the first prototype graphic interface for this system in a few days,” Anielewicz says. “Our first demo was mostly smoke and mirrors but we won the contract.” Chris Landreth was hired and started working at Alias in 1994. “It was a good time to start because the company really wanted to show its potential market that the software it was developing could be used to do production.” Alias’ profits had soared throughout the late-Eighties and early Nineties, as its second- and third-generation Alias and PowerAnimator software began to be used for Academy Award-winning VFX on films such as The Abyss, Terminator 2, Jurassic Park, Forrest Gump and The Mask. “What my job turned into was to use Alias’

Jim Blinn receives the first ACM SIGGRAPH CG Achievement Award

developing software – which was later to become Maya – in an actual animated film to test the software,” Landreth continues. In 1995 Silicon Graphics bought Alias Research and Wavefront Technologies, merging the two companies. Landreth spent the following year developing multiple new Maya features, putting them to the test on his short film, ‘The End’, which in turn earned him an Academy Award nomination. In 1998, the new Alias|Wavefront merger finally released the first version of Maya, which quickly became a new industry standard. The team continued to develop it until 2006, when Autodesk acquired the company. “I

I HAVE ALWAYS THOUGHT OF MYSELF AS AN ARTIST. THE COMPUTER IS BOTH MY BRUSH AND COLOUR PALETTE WILL ANIELEWICZ, software engineer, Caustic Graphics Inc

Alias founded in Toronto by Stephen Bingham, Nigel McGrath, Susan McKenna and David Springer

1985

12 3D Art & Design

1982

06 Image from ‘Subconcious Password,’ Chris Landreth’s latest short film, which he created using Maya

1983

05 An example of plotter art by Will Anielewicz, created from 1976-79

1982

04 Interior Pool by Ryan Montrucchio and Will Anielewicz, Geometry: Tasso Ringas and George Nikopoulos; Software: Caustic Visualizer for Maya

Before Greg Hermanovic took over as head of R&D at Omnibus, Will Anielewicz had the job. After studying a Masters program – during which his computer science advisor declared his project was not viable due to there being no future in computer art – Anielewicz set out to prove him wrong. “In 1979 I was hired by Omnibus Video to head up its Computer Animation division,” he tells us. “Although I knew nothing about animation, they hired me anyway since they got no replies for their ad: ‘Required: Experienced computer animator.’ I was the only employee for almost the first year.” It was only three years later, when Omnibus was becoming a powerhouse, that he first heard of a tiny startup founded by Stephen Bingham, Nigel McGrath, Susan McKenna and David Springer, named Alias Research. “They welcomed me with open arms. I now had three years of experience in computer animation, which in those days was a relative lifetime,” Anielewicz explains. Working in a run-down warehouse where the computers doubled as room-heaters

1983

MAYA & ALIAS 1

06

NewTek founded by Tim Jenison


Evolution of CG sofware really did not expect Maya to still be in use,” reveals Anielewicz. “It’s been almost 30 years. I use it every day.”

3DS MAX & 3D DOSR1 “I’d been going to SIGGRAPH since 1986, drooling over the SGI Iris workstations and software from companies such as Wavefront, Alias and Vertigo,” begins Gary Yost. “However, those solutions cost upwards of $40-50,000 at the time and were totally unavailable to mere mortals such as my friends and I.” Yost had already founded Antic Software in 1984 and, together with fellow developer Tom Hudson, had been working on the creation of a set of 3D tools, before becoming limited by the graphics their budget could afford. Then, in 1987, they were asked if they would be interested in developing 3D software for the PC under license to the ever-growing Autodesk. By 1988 the Yost Group was formed with Gary Yost at the helm. The small team began working on a modelling and rendering application internally, code-named THUD after Tom Hudson, who was the only programmer on the project. Impressively, the first version of 3D Studio DOS was released only two years later. “The response to DOSr1 was huge,” remembers Yost. “There was just a lot of pent-up demand for something like that. Once it took off, we just got on the train and didn’t look back.” There were two huge shortcomings with 3D Studio DOS. There was no Undo function and there was a lack of animatable controls, meaning that once the user created something, the mesh would be fixed aside from scaling, rotation or morphing. The core group made up of Yost, Hudson, Dan Silva, Rolf Berteig, and Don Brittain were soon joined by Mark Meier and Gus Grubba. They spent the next seven years working to rewrite the entire code base of 3DS DOS, leaving what would become 3ds Max.

“We were motivated by a lot of things, not least of which was our royalty-based licence with Autodesk,” says Yost. “We were in our 30s, so if what we did became popular we’d see enough financial reward to make all the intense work worthwhile. We were on what we called a ‘deferred life plan’ for so long.” In addition to the extra funds a royalty agreement brought, the team were also motivated by their users. At the start of each 18-month development cycle, Yost would spend three months collecting feedback to help develop the feature set for the next version of the software, before embarking on development over the next 14 months. “That enabled me to rapidly develop ideas for new features. Tom, Don, Rolf and Dan took every suggested function as a personal challenge. I don’t remember any of them ever telling me that something couldn’t be done. Our motto was ‘it’s only software, so why not?’” Each member of the group worked from home in different cities, sending data files back and forth over slow modems. The main goal for the developers was to essentially democratise 3D software, making it possible for creative people who were working for others to be able to begin working for themselves. “I think a huge part of 3D Studio’s legacy that continued into 3ds Max is the concept of making easy-to-use software that is priced at an affordable level,” explains Hudson. After unveiling the new software at SIGGRAPH in 1995 to a shocked audience, the Yost Group delivered 3ds Max in 1996. By 1997 the team decided it was time to start living out their previously deferred life plan. “Between 1997 and 1999 we transitioned the code to a great in-house development team at Autodesk and then went on to other things,” Yost continues, “I tear up a bit when I recall how exciting it was to wake up every morning after only four hours sleep and get to work. Never did so few developers make so many people so happy.”

WE ALWAYS SAID THAT WE WERE TRAINING OUR USERS TO BECOME MUTANTS WHO WANTED TO PLAY GOD, CREATING WORLDS WITHIN THE COMPUTER GARY YOST, leader of the Yost Group

07

08

Giving up on 3ds Max

07 ”This is my character, Klanky the Robot, with the cornerstone character from my first 3D Studio DOS animation, ‘Corner Stone’,” says Hudson. “The animation was created with a pre-release version of 3DS DOS and I had thought the scene files were lost, but I found them in 2010” 08 “I felt like a roadie working with rock stars! I remember Gary Yost and his Hawaiian shirts,” says Fred Ruff, who worked as a lead designer for 3ds Max and created this image using an early version of the software

Omnibus caves to crippling debt and files for bankruptcy

Side Effects Software established

1988

09 Right after the launch of Max at SIGGRAPH in 1996. From left to right: Jack Powell, Don Brittain, Rolf Berteig, Mark Meier, Martin Doudoroff, Gary Yost, Dan Silva, Kyle Peacock, Tom Hudson. Missing is Gus Grubba

1987

Steve Jobs purchases the Computer Graphics Division from George Lucas and establishes Pixar

09

1987

MAXON formed by current CEOs Harald Egel, Harald Schneider and Uwe Baertels

1986

1986

“In 1994, when we started writing code in earnest, our source code control/versioning system was running over analog modems from a server in Don Brittain’s house,” explains Gary Yost, leader of the Yost Group. “Within the first two months of development it was obvious that dialup was too unreliable for us to share code in this way.” Incredibly, by September the developers had almost given up work on 3ds Max. “I had a conversation with Autodesk’s then-CEO Carol Bartz in early October, saying that I thought we’d have to give up the project unless we could figure out something else to do,” says Yost. “Just that week, Gus Grubba found that the new Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) system was being deployed nationwide and that it would support what we needed. Between October and December we were able to get the brand-new ISDN service and that solved the problem, enabling us to get on with development in earnest in January. What’s amazing is that only seven months later, at SIGGRAPH LA in July, we unveiled Max along with the Character Studio/Biped plug-in by Michael Girard and Susan Amkraut. Max was kept secret until then and nobody expected us to ditch all of our 3D Studio DOS code.”

Yost Group formed with Gary Yost at the helm 3D Art & Design 13


10

11

Image by Philip Losch using early CINEMA 4D. Losch still works as one of the most important developers for the software today

I THOUGHT OF BUMP-MAPPING WHILE LOOKING AT MY SHOES. I THOUGHT WHAT MAKES THEM LOOK BUMPY IS NOT THE HEIGHT OF THE DISPLACEMENT BUT THAT THE ANGLE OF THE SURFACE CHANGES FROM ONE PLACE TO THE NEXT JIM BLINN, computer graphics pioneer

10 Spinning top from The Mechanical Universe (1985) by Jim Blinn, forming part of a 52-part telecourse to teach college level physics. During these productions he developed other standard CG techniques 11 Images by Ron Thornton, an innovative LightWave artist who created the iconic CG in Babylon 5 using the software

NewTek Video Toaster, for the Commodore Amiga computer, is launched

1990s

1990

14 3D Art & Design

1990

12 “I never understood why in most applications you had to define a light source, a camera and material before rendering… We implemented a different behaviour in CINEMA 4D,” explains Losch

3D Studio released by the Yost Group only two years after the group was founded

1991

12

When Tim Jenison founded NewTek in 1985, he too aimed to develop sophisticated yet affordable tools that everyone could use. In 1990 the company first began to enjoy widespread fame with its release of the Video Toaster for the Commodore Amiga personal computer, which also incorporated the first version of LightWave 3D. Replacing video-processing software that had previously cost around $100,000 for less than a tenth of the price, today Jenison is still considered the visionary force behind the desktop video revolution that followed. Despite the success, NewTek ran into problems after the failure of the Commodore Computer Company and the Amiga computer, subsequently affecting the Video Toaster. “This caused NewTek to port LightWave to Windows and Mac computers as a standalone product not associated with the Video Toaster,” explains president of the LightWave 3D Group, Rob Powers. NewTek survived the challenge and the standalone version of LightWave has since enjoyed worldwide success. “The founder Tim Jenison is one of those unique genius personalities that easily inspires others,” effuses Powers. “While I was in school, Babylon 5 premiered on television and it

FastRay developed by brothers Christian and Philip Losch

showcased all of this amazing new computer-generated imagery made with the LightWave 3D software. The genius behind those cutting-edge images was Ron Thornton, who subsequently released video tutorials that were excellent learning tools. They helped me build my LightWave 3D skill set, which made it very easy to get work in Hollywood at that time, because computergenerated graphics were essentially in their infancy. It was a golden opportunity for a student fresh out of film school.”

FASTRAY & CINEMA 4D “In 1988, when I was 13 years old, my parents bought an Amiga computer and I was instantly fascinated by its graphics capabilities,” begins Philip Losch. “Shortly after this, my brother and I decided to write our own raytracing software.” Aiming to convince MAXON Computer of their newly written software’s potential, the brothers entered it into a monthly contest run by MAXON’s Kickstart magazine and promptly won the competition. Little did they know, they had just developed the very beginnings of what would become CINEMA 4D. The Losch brothers were hired as developers and, in 1991, FastRay was born. “To be honest, I would say FastRay was just

1994

LIGHTWAVE

DreamWorks SKG founded by Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen


Interviewing Jim Blinn Computer graphics legend Jim Blinn (see www. jimblinn.com/publications for his work) discusses what led him to take an interest in 3D art, as well as his research into the Blinn-Phong shading model.

14 Image created by Philip Losch using early CINEMA 4D. When he was just 13 years old, he and brother Christian Losch wrote their own raytracing software – the earliest predecessor to CINEMA 4D

14

BEHIND THE PIXELS As exciting as it can be to theorise on what’s next for CG, it’s important to remember the past – to think on the people that brought us to where we are today. “The people that have made this industry – they’re just the smartest, the most creative and the most friendly, it’s so humbling,” praises Masson. It’s interesting to consider that, despite his years of research on the history of the computer graphics industry for his CG:101 books, when Mike Wahrman, a friend who used to work at Wavefront, asked Masson whether he knew who first wrote the standard OBJ file format, he had no idea. Together, they had asked everybody who had worked with Masson in the Eighties and, despite how widely used OBJ is today, nobody could remember. “Just about everybody who started this industry in the Sixties and Seventies is still alive and active, but it’s getting to the age that we’re starting to lose some of our founding members. They’re going to pass away and even before they do, memories go as well; like the OBJ file – somebody made an OBJ file but nobody knows who it is,” Masson continues. “It would be a tragedy to have some of these folks pass away with these histories in their head… I’m interested in the people behind the pixels. I want the stories of how all this happened.”

Houdini 1.0 ships after five years in development

1996

Pixar releases Toy Story, the world’s first computeranimated feature film

years ago are still on board,” continues Losch, who is himself still one of the most important developers at MAXON. “Everyone on our team works from home in a relaxed atmosphere and loves 3D – it’s not just a normal job.”

1996

1995

a big learning exercise!” says Losch. “Everything we did was self-taught and at the time it was very hard to come by any real information. We often went to the library and ordered books or scientific papers that then would arrive weeks later.” He explains the developers faced significant challenges at the start – not least because though they had entered a very new industry, by the early Nineties many competitors had already existed for five or even ten years. However, as the team began to get increased access to literature and several examples of the competing software itself, Losch realised there were several crucial ways their software could stand out. “20 years ago I never understood why in most applications you had to define a light source, a camera and material before rendering. If you left out any of those steps, your render would show up pitch black,” he explains. “So we implemented a different behaviour in CINEMA 4D.” MAXON’s new software became focused on avoiding the same difficult UI and many illogical steps required to do even basic tasks in other software, making 3D more accessible, inexpensive and as fun to use as possible. “Pretty much every time you need to consult the manual, it’s a failure on our side, because we didn’t design an interface or component obvious or intuitive enough,” Losch reveals. As the years passed and other competitors began to fail, he tells us it was a matter of persistence coupled with a committed team and healthy working environment that led to CINEMA 4D being a success today. “Most developers that started to work for us five, ten or even 15

3ds Max delivered after being initially unveiled at SIGGRAPH in 1995

Can you tell us more about your time at the University of Utah? What led you to first begin research on realistic rendering? I was first made aware of the UofU when my office mate at Michigan showed me the PhD thesis of Utah student Gordon Romney (in 1970) that had some early crudely shaded images. I was fascinated by the images but the computers I had a UofM were not capable of displaying shaded images. I continued to play with line drawing for several years, but in 1974 I decided to apply to UofU graduate school to join the crew making images there. I had kept up with the developments at UofU during the intervening years and was particularly intrigued by the work of Ed Catmull. When I got to UofU I was surprised to find that they didn’t have computers that could display shaded images either. All their images were created by doing a time exposure of the computer display slowly scanning out the results of their computations. I got there just as they were getting the first frame buffer from Evans & Sutherland Computer Corporation, which could display a shaded image on a TV monitor. I started implementing Catmull’s rendering algorithm and began tinkering with it. I didn’t have a long-term goal, but just began tweaking various lighting and shading algorithms to make the images look better. I guess that’s symptomatic of my career – I just did what seemed interesting at the time and wound up being involved in some of the most interesting projects. What first led you to create realistic specular light models, bump mapping and environment/reflection-mapping? Environment mapping began as Martin Newell’s idea. We were teaching the Computer Graphics course at Utah at the time. He was a professor there and I was a teaching fellow, and we spent a lot of time taking about rendering and geometry in preparing for the lectures. I think we taught each other more than we ever taught the students. He came in one day and told me he had been thinking in the shower and said, ‘What if were to take the calculation for the lighting and, instead of doing the regular dot product with the light source that would give you the colour of the surface, what if you took the light and reflected it backwards?’ I first thought of Bump-mapping while looking at my shoes. They were made of leather but they had this embossed pattern in the surface, and I was looking at the highlights on them and thought what is making these things look bumpy is not the height of the displacement but that the angle of the surface changes from one place to the next. I realised I could nudge the surface normal from one place to the next, plug that into the lighting equation and that would be a good approximation of a more realistic effect. Did you expect 3D imagery and software to be able to reach the heights they are at now in so relatively short a time? I’ve never used any commercial software, only seen it from a distance. I come from an era where everybody did his or her own programming. Having off-the-shelf software that’s reliable enough for non-programmers to use is an impressive feat. CG has already gone way beyond anything I could have dreamed of. There are two aspects to visual creative art: figuring out what to draw and figuring out how to draw it. The second of these is what a lot of people think about and teach, but the ‘what to draw’ part is more personal and subjective.

Alias|Wavefront first introduces its new flagship 3D product, Maya, to the 3D community

1998

13 The Utah Teapot is one of a handful of iconic models from the early development of 3D computer graphics, having been developed by Martin Newell and modified by his co-worker, Jim Blinn, in 1975

1998

13

When did you first gain interest in CGI and 3D imagery? I first took the introductory programming course in spring 1967 while an undergraduate at the University of Michigan… Somehow during this time I saw a picture of a graphics terminal and knew right away that was what I wanted to play with. While there was no official major called Computer Science at the UofM there were several programming courses in the Science department and in the Engineering School. I tried to sign up for all the ones I could. I finally declared a double major in Physics and in Communications Science – a sort of precursor to what later became the Computer Science department. The computer I used at UofM was expensive and there were only a few of them in the world. I did a few line-drawing animation projects with students in the Art School but never really dreamed that the computers would get so cheap so fast that artists would have their own dedicated machine.

Blender is first released to the public by NaN

15


Character Bring your character concepts to life 18

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Create a portrait Follow this ZBrush workflow to create a 3D interpretation of a character concept

24

Render your character’s skin Learn how to use ZBrush in order to render your sculpts

26

Sculpt intense facial expressions Sculpt a character, building emotive facial expressions using ZBrush

30

Design & model sci-fi characters Learn to create a highly complex and functional armoured alien character

37

Gallery

24

Equilibrium by Daniel Arnold-Mist

38

Mesh-shatter your characters Create an abstract character constructed from various pieces of geometry

45

Gallery Fatal by Adam Martinakis

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16 3D Art & Design


You feel a great sense of achievement when you create a fully developed character from its initial concept 37

3D Art & Design 17


Character

Artist info

Easy-to-follow guides take you from concept to the final render

Adam Fisher Personal portfolio site www.afisher.com.au Country Australia Software used ZBrush 4R5 Expertise 3D character art for the videogame industry

Create a portrait The Prisoner 2013 Follow this ZBrush workflow to create a 3D interpretation of a stylised character concept Adam Fisher works as a 3D artist for the videogame and simulation industries

T

aking the concept of a menacing convict, I’ll be taking you through my workflow for creating a character bust. We’ll go over the whole process, from sculpting the main forms to refining the model with pore and wrinkle details. We’ll be using DynaMesh to create the clothing and the chain, FiberMesh to add facial hair and we’ll also go over some Polypainting techniques to bring the character to life. ZBrush is the tool of choice for this process because it gives us the freedom to create without the need to jump between multiple software packages or worry about technical limitations. Once our character has been sculpted and Polypainted, we’ll pose him and render multiple passes to be composited in Photoshop.

Establish initial form Block in the basic shapes of the character

01

Build the base mesh With the DynaMesh tools in ZBrush it doesn’t really matter if you’re starting with a sphere or a pre-existing base mesh. The main thing is to keep the subdivision low at this point. I like to keep my brush size large and avoid zooming in on the character early on. This way I’m only concentrating on the overall silhouette of the character. To start we’ll concentrate on getting the main shapes and proportions of the head, neck and shoulders. Hitting Y will toggle between the default white and black of the SubTool, enabling us to check the silhouette easier.

02

Work out the major forms I like to exclusively use the Move brush early on to manipulate the major shapes into place. Looking at the concept we’ll try to establish where the eyes, nose and mouth sit in relation to one another. At this point we can begin to subdivide and, using the ClayTubes brush, block in the major forms and structure. Using the DamStandard brush we can also cut in some guidelines for skin folds and concave shapes, such as the nasolabial fold, philtrum, eyelids, brow and lips.

Control subdivision When starting a sculpt it’s important to keep the subdivision level low, especially when blocking in proportions and main shapes. You can then slowly subdivide (Cmd/Ctrl+D) to add polygon density as needed. Doing this helps prevent your sculpts from looking bloated and gives you more control over your mesh. If you are working on a higher subdivision level and need to make large changes to the mesh, drop down to a lower subdivision level (Shift+D) to enable smoother transitions and easier control.

03 02

01 Having the SubTool black is easier to quickly

visualise and check the silhouette 02 Concentrate on establishing the forms before

starting on the details 03 Once the teeth are sculpted, adjust their

position within the character’s mouth

18 3D Art & Design

01

03

Add eyes and teeth For the eyes, click on Append in the SubTool palette and choose Sphere3D. Using Deformation>Size, scale down the eye to fit the character’s head. Then, using Transpose Move, we can position the eye in place. To create the other eye, simply use ZPlugin>SubTool Master>Mirror and choose Merge Into One SubTool. Once the eyes are in place, make adjustments to the eyelids to fit the curve of the eye. For the teeth we can append a Cube3D and resize it using the Transpose tools. Under Geometry>DynaMesh, set the Resolution to a low amount (such as 128) and create a U shape for the gums and teeth. Turn off DynaMesh, increase the subdivision, then block in the teeth and gums using the Clay brush. Slowly refine the teeth with the DamStandard and Standard brush while increasing the subdivision level.


Create a portrait

ěũũĥ1(2.-#1Ĵ.+8/(-3Ĵ (,#+/2#ē,/ČĦ

Concept We’re going to be making an interpretation of Simon Dominic’s concept. The character has some strong features that we’ll focus on, like his jaw, brows and substantial scars. 3D Art & Design 19


Character

Make refinements Create clothing and add details

04

Sculpt the scars In the concept this guy has some pretty gruesome scars. The

04

one over his left eye and upper lip are indented, so we’ll start by using the DamStandard brush to create the initial line and flow of the scar. Next we’ll go back over the line and include some irregularities, then by using small strokes and the ClayTubes brush we can build up the scar tissue around the edges. The ClayTubes brush is great for these kinds of details and we’ll use it again for the small raised scars on his head, by blocking in the rough flow and shape of the scar. To add some more irregularities we’ll set the Intensity a little lower. Using short strokes that alternate between Zadd and Zsub (holding Opt/Alt) we can build up the grisly scar texture.

05

It’s all in the eyes I like to apply some Polypaint to the eyes before I finish the

sculpting phase, to bring some life into the character as I’m working on it. The MatCap I’ll be using is the zbro_EyeReflection and can be downloaded from http:// luckilytip.blogspot.com.au. Select a base off-white tone and, with MRGB turned on, go to Color>Fill Object. Next, choose the Standard brush, turn off Zadd and only have RGB turned on. We’ll select a brush size that fits the size of the iris and paint the darkest outer-edge of the eye. Next we’ll choose a lighter saturated tone and paint in the iris, giving a slight taper to the lower half. This enhances a concave effect around the iris. Add some lighter flecks to the iris, then include a black pupil as well as some subtle veins and colour variation to the sclera. To finish this element, we’ll paint in some fake occlusion to give the eyes some grounding in their sockets.

04 Use DamStandard and

05

ClayTubes to create the scar 05 Polypainting the eye with the

Standard brush 06 Use masking to pull out the

overlapping shapes 07 Position the SubTools then

use DynaMesh to merge and subtract the shapes

06

06

Create the shirt To clothe our character we’ll

begin by appending a sphere and resizing it to roughly fit. With the DynaMesh resolution low, we can use the Move brush to block in the basic shape of the shirt. We can then begin to subdivide the mesh and build up details. For the collar area of the shirt, we can mask the areas where we want to create the appearance of an overlap and use the Move brush to pull these areas up and over. Use the DamStandard and Standard brushes to refine the details.

07

Build the chain collar To shape the chain collar we’re going to use DynaMesh to

subtract and merge different meshes. Subtract one cylinder from another to create the neck opening, then merge a cube and subtract another cube to produce the area where the chain links in. To subtract one mesh from another in ZBrush, go to the SubTool palette, move to DynaMesh (A) above the SubTool (B) you are going to use to subtract. The lower SubTool (B) needs to have the Difference SubTool icon selected, which is the second icon. Select the top SubTool (A) and go to SubTool>Merge>MergeDown to combine both SubTools. To create the subtraction, hold down Cmd/Ctrl, then click and drag on the canvas to re-DynaMesh.

07

20 3D Art & Design


Create a portrait Morph Targets and layers The use of Morph Targets and layers can be extremely beneficial to non-destructively add detail. For example, you can store a Morph Target then start to sculpt scars and if you aren’t happy with a particular area, use the Morph brush to paint back to the stored version of the sculpt. Layers can be helpful for controlling tiny details like pores. By placing the pore details on their own layer, you can increase or decrease the amount that they’re visible, giving you greater control over them.

08

Add the chain links For the chains we’ll need to append a Ring3D. Go to Deformation>Inflat to add some thickness. By masking half of the ring we can use the Transpose Move tool to drag half of the ring upwards to extend the middle area. Next we’ll use DynaMesh to reconstruct the topology. With the first link created we can now duplicate and position a few more links using the Transpose tools. This enables us to add a sense of movement to the character.

09

Detail the accessories We can now do a cleanup pass over our accessories and apply some more detail. For instance, we’ll want to add some wear and tear to the chain links. To do this we can use the Mallet Fast brush which can be found in Lightbox>Brush>Mallet>Mallet Fast.ZBP. Just use small strokes to add some dents and scratches to the collar and chains. We can add some seams to the shirt using masking with the Move and DamStandard brushes, then also add some more folds to the shirt using the Standard brush.

08 10 09

10

Focus on the face With the sculpting phase

almost complete, it’s now time to add some finer features. DamStandard is the main brush I use for applying wrinkles and the smaller details. For the pores and stubble texture, I use the Standard brush with a pore Alpha and the Stroke set to Spray with a low Intensity. Try to keep in mind places like the nose, which tend to have larger and more visible pores. You can also use a mask for areas like the lips, where you don’t want any pore detail. 08 Create the chain links and

position them using the Transform tools

10 Use a pore Alpha with the

Stroke set to Spray to achieve the pore details

09 Add a mask, use the Move

brush to define the seam, then Standard and DamStandard to refine 3D Art & Design 21


Character

FiberMesh and Polypainting Apply the texture and build the hair

11

12

11

Apply and adjust the hair FiberMesh works by applying hair strands to any masked

area of a SubTool. To create the head stubble, we’ll first need to create a 054 black-and-white image in Photoshop to be used as a mask. We can then mask the area of the head we want to add hair to and subtract the 054 shape using the created Alpha. Click the Preview button under the FiberMesh palette. Under Modifiers, change Length to 10 and Coverage to roughly 70. Change the Width Profile to create thinner strands and the Base and Tip colours should be a dark brown. Use the BPR Render (Shift+R) to test what this looks like. Once you’re happy with the results, go to FiberMesh>Accept.

12

Shape sideburns and eyebrows Mask the sideburns area and select Lightbox>Fibers under the FiberMesh menu. This will provide some presets to choose from and edit. For the sideburns we can use the Fibers196 preset. Set Length to 14, Coverage to 10 and adjust the Width Profile. Turn the texture off and set the Base and Tip Color to brown again. Click Accept and then mask the area for the eyebrows. This time we’ll use the Fiber160 preset and change Length to 110, Coverage to 2.25 and Gravity to -0.5. We’ll also need to adjust the Width Profile, and change the Twist and Revolve to approximately 135. Select dark brown for the colours and render to test the hair. When happy with the results click Accept. Now we can use the Groom brushes to style the eyebrows a bit more and really get them looking rugged. 13

Masking tips There are some masking tools in ZBrush that can be used to help speed up the workflow and create some interesting effects. Masking>Mask PeaksAndValleys can be used to quickly create versatile patterns for texturing. In this case it was used for Polypainting the chain. Masking>Mask By Smoothness is also very useful for quickly painting edges and dents, especially when working on hard surfaces. Play around with the sliders to see what you can come up with.

13

Begin Polypainting For the skin I like to use the

11 Mask the head and apply the

FiberMesh options to fully build up the hair

22 3D Art & Design

12 Edit FiberMesh presets to

create the sideburns and rugged eyebrows

13 Layer on the colours and

tones for the most-effective skin tone

zbro_Viewport_Skin2 MatCap, which can be downloaded from http://luckilytip.blogspot.com.au. To begin painting the skin, fill the SubTool with a neutral skin tone as the base colour. Using a Standard brush, with just RGB on and a blue selected, block in the beard area and around the eyes. Add some red around the nose, lips and cheeks, then a yellow tone on the forehead and slightly on the cheeks. Using these more-saturated colours will give us some nice variation and a good foundation to work from. We can then begin to build up on the darker and lighter skin tones and use a pore Alpha with the Stroke set to Spray to add some more texture to the skin. Now we can slowly build up and refine the textures and values.


Create a portrait

Finalise the sculpt Add the last touches to bring out real personality

14

Final posing To finish we’ll need to add asymmetry

14

and pose the character. This can be done with ZPlugin>Transpose Master>TPoseMesh. Then, using masking and the Transpose tools, we can position the character into an interesting position. In this case I’ve tried to achieve a pose that would fit the concept artist’s description of this character. When this is done, go to Transpose Master>TPose-SubT to transfer the pose back to the SubTools. We can now tweak the mean expression. 15

15

Set up the render When the sculpt is finished and

ready to be rendered, we’ll need to find a nice camera angle and store its position in Document>ZAppLink Properties>Cust1. For the lighting setup I like to use one main light from the front and two rim lights from behind. We’ll render these out separately to be composited together in Photoshop. To create a rim light, simply click on the dot in the Light Placement Preview window in the Light palette. This will send the light source behind the character. When rendering the rim lights, turn off Polypaint for each SubTool and use the Basic material. I also set my colour to black.

16

Make render passes Once the lighting is set up, we can begin to render out the

different passes. The starting render passes I use are the main BPR Render, Shadow, the Rim Lighting passes, Ambient Occlusion and Depth. The next passes I render are the Cavity, using the SketchShade2 MatCap; a Specular pass, using the Basic material and the Color set to black; then finally a Reflection pass for the chains, using a combination of the Reflected Map and Chrome materials. 16

17

17

Unify the bust Once we’ve rendered out our passes

14 Use Transpose Master to

pose the character 15 Set up the main and rim lights 16 The ZBrush render passes 17 Compositing all of the render

passes together

Experimenting with MatCaps Don’t be afraid to experiment with layering different MatCaps in your render passes. You can also edit existing MatCaps to suit the material you’re trying to render. Trying out different MatCaps and blend modes can lead to some interesting effects and an overall more engaging render.

it’s time to put everything together. I like to experiment with the different layer blending modes in Photoshop to see which effects I can find. In this case my Ambient Occlusion, Cavity and Shadow passes are all set to Multiply with the layer opacity lowered. For the Rim Lighting, Reflection and Specular passes I’ve ended up using a combination of Color Dodge and Screen. Once you’re happy with how the image is looking, you can make a final Levels and colour correction to really make the image pop. 3D Art & Design 23


Character

Easy-to-follow guides take you from concept to the ďŹ nal render

Artist info

ěŊ(-+Ŋ2*(-Ŋ,3#1(+Ŋ2Ŋ ŊŊŊ!1#3#"Ŋ(-Ŋ343.1(+Ŋ ěŊ(-+ŊŊ!.,/ ěŊ43.1(+Ŋ2!1##-2'.32

Thomas Lishman Personal portfolio site 666Ä“3+(2',-Ä“!.Ä“4* Country UK Software used 142' ExpertiseĹŠ'.,2ĹŠ(2ĹŠ-ĹŠ #7/#1(#-!#"ĹŠ"(%(3+ĹŠ13(23ĹŠ 2/#!(+(2(-%ĹŠ(-ĹŠ2!4+/3(-%Ä“ĹŠ#ĹŠ !411#-3+8ĹŠ6.1*2ĹŠ2ĹŠĹŠ$1##+-!#ĹŠ 2!4+/3.1ĹŠ$.1ĹŠ24!'ĹŠ!+(#-32ĹŠ2ĹŠ ĹŠ.82ĹŠ-"ĹŠ !1+-#ĹŠ.82

Render your character’s skin Learn how to use ZBrush to render your sculpts

01

R

endering in ZBrush has improved vastly since its initial release, with users now able to create results that can even match the results of any high-end software that’s been designed speciďŹ cally with rendering in mind. In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to set up materials, lights and render settings that can provide brilliant results with minimal time, using only ZBrush and Photoshop. When creating a progress render for a client, I like to keep a steady workow. As such I use a preset ďŹ le that I can import my sculpts into to instantly render export passes then composite within Photoshop. This keeps my entire workow within my main two programs: ZBrush and Photoshop. Although it may take a few hours to set up initially, once completed it provides a quick way to present your work, and then make alterations afterwards. Unlike some methods, I prefer to render each light out separately then comp those together so I have more control over the mood and feel of the scene. As rendering in ZBrush is relatively much faster than external renderers, you can afford to do this. With practice you can create a range of lighting setups, and even save those out separately and load those them in whenever they are required for use.

24 3D Art & Design

01

Set up your skin shader Take

SkinShade 4 and click Copy SH in the material loadout, then open up a new Double-Shader and paste SH into the S1 slot. Now for the S1 slot; reduce the Ambient to 10, Diffuse to 60, Spec to 5 and also tighten the specular curve. Add a value of just 0.2 Noise to the curve. Now take the ToyPlastic material and copy the S1 slot into the S2 slot of the Double-Shader that we are working with. Reduce the specular of the S2 slot to 5, and then increase the Colorize Specular to 100. Change the spec in the material to a pale, sky blue. For the wax settings, simply do: 30 Strength, 0 Spec, 20 Radius.


Render skin 02

Apply your Shaders Copy your Double-Shader and paste it into a new slot, so you have DoubleShader1. Increase the specular on both shader slots to 15. This new shader will be for your high spec areas such as lips and sweat. Once you have textured your sculpt, it’s time to set up your materials. On each subtool for skin, get any brush and make sure only M is enabled. Now go to Color>Fill Object with the material you want selected, for example Toy Shader for eyes and your Double-Shader for skin. You can then select Double-Shader1 and paint on lip areas and wherever else your model will be wet.

03

Render settings and canvas In the attached

screenshot you will find the settings I use for my renders. I usually keep the AO resolution at half the Shadow resolution to keep renders quick, but be sure to set your resolution at roughly the same as your final output. Next you need to set your canvas up. Go to Document and adjust the Back colour to black, with Rate to 0. Below that, uncheck the PRO button and adjust the sliders to your final render size, then hit resize. Use Ctrl+N to clear the background, then drag your model into view.

02

04

03

Lighting and passes I use a single light for each render, only enabling different ones

for rim and fill. My key light is set at 1.5 brightness with default settings. For my rim I usually set a blue hue and to bring it to the back. I click once on the small preview sphere. I drag and angle this so it creates a decent rim. Set this to about 3. I usually create a third, cool light for fill, at about 1. I render each lighting pass out and export them via Document>Export Document. Next export the AO and depth passes from Render>BPR Renderpasses.

04

ZBrush perspective ZBrush doesn’t use true to life perspective; instead it’s quite distorted. Use low levels to zero for sculpting. When rendering, amp up your Angle of View to get the best possible result. Below the floor button is a Local Transformations button, which when enabled will rotate the camera around a certain point on the model. Try disabling this when rendering as it will snap to the world grid centre instead, enabling you to find better angles to view and render your scene.

05

05

Compose in Photoshop Open your passes in Photoshop, and copy and paste each

06

Photoshop Composition 2 For your AO pass you can try a few things. I usually

one into the first pass. Hide all but fill. Now unhide the rim and set it to screen. This will overlay it over your fill layer. Adjust Opacity and Color however you desire. Next unhide your fill layer and bring it down to a low opacity, and change the colour with Ctrl+U to a cool blue. I usually experiment with levels, colour ranges and opacity to try and find something that looks good. But if I don’t have the time, default settings are usually best.

06

increase the levels and set it to multiply to darken those cracks and shadow areas, but I also change the colour with Ctrl+U then click Colourize. You can use the AO pass to create ambient lighting. Set your unaltered layer to Hard Light and reduce the opacity to 5-15%. The best thing is to play around and push each pass to add realism. I take the depth pass, Ctrl+Select the RGB layer in channels and invert that selection to use on the main render. I then use Lens Blur and also add some small noise to really achieve that depth of field. 3D Art & Design 25


Character

Artist info

Easy-to-follow guides take you from concept to the final render

Chévon leo Personal portfolio site www.danroarty.com Location Cape Town, South Africa Software used ZBrush Expertise Chévon specialises in creating believable facial expressions

ěũ-ũ3'#ũ"(2!ũ8.4Ħ++ũăũ-"ũ++ũ .$ũ'_5.-Ħ2ũ343.1(+ũ screenshots, as well as 3'#ũăũ-+ũ ũăũ+# Final render of the sculpted character

Sculpt intense facial expressions Sculpt a character, building highly emotive facial expressions using the optimal tools in ZBrush

W

ithout expression, characters run the risk of becoming boring. Giving them a good expression is vital, as it portrays personality and brings them to life. Throughout these steps I will be demonstrating my own process for sculpting a character, focusing mainly on giving him a believable, yet characterised, facial expression using the optimal tools in ZBrush. Expressions play a huge role in everyday life. When we look at somebody, we can tell what kind of mood they are in. We are even able to get a lot of information about people without ever having to speak to them. This is made possible by our natural ability to recognise human expressions. When sculpting expressions, believability is imperative. One of the first steps to a believable expression is to look at the face as a single object. So, grab a mirror, follow this little experiment and things should become a lot clearer.

26 3D Art & Design

Look at yourself in the mirror and try to keep a neutral expression. Now smile. Switch between the two expressions and observe the changes that are occurring. Notice that it’s not only the mouth and its immediate surrounding areas that are affected, but there are changes happening across the entire face. For example, your nasolabial fold or laughing lines are more defined, your nostrils have widened, your eyes have narrowed and your ears have even moved up slightly. Due to this observation, it’s safe to say that conveying expression in your artwork can be a fairly complex task. In order to simplify things, we need to break the face down into individual areas, while still remembering to observe all the changes in the face as a whole. Keep your mirror close by and grab a sheet of paper. While smiling, cover the lower half of your face. You’re still able to identify the expression, right? So, nailing the subtle changes

and details in all individual areas of the face is key to producing a successful expression. Here we will be creating the character/bust from scratch, using ZSpheres to start on our base mesh. We will then give the character an identity, pose him and spend a lot of focus on the eye and mouth areas of the facial expression. The final steps will be focused on refining the model as well as adding supporting wrinkles, folds and hair to further enhance the personality and final look of the character. We will then export our character to Maya and render him using V-Ray. This process shows the approach that I have found is best suited to my projects’ needs, however, it is by no means the only way to achieve the same result. I believe that, as an artist, you have to find the workflow that best suits your needs, so experiment and I hope these tips point you towards some great results.


Facial expressions

Give your character some personality Sculpt a character with realistic facial expressions Maya viewport screenshot

ZBrush screenshot of final sculpt

01

01 02

Start with ZSpheres ZSpheres can be used to create the basic structure of the character. While this is not the only way to go about it, I prefer using them because they provide a quick and flexible way of building a custom, unique base mesh. When working with ZSpheres, I set the Draw Size to 1, because this makes it easier to manipulate them without affecting any adjacent ZSpheres. I start by making a neck and head from the base sphere, and also create a shape that represents the chest. I then continue by adding the torso and arms. Once I am happy with the structure of my ZSpheres, I navigate to the Tool palette and click Make Adaptive Skin.

02

Form and proportion Once the base mesh is complete, the next step is to capture the general form and proportions of the character. Proportions play a vital role in the believability of a character and their expressions. Whether you’re working on a photoreal or a stylised character, your proportions need to be appealing to the eye. Having an amazing expression and detail means nothing if your proportions are wrong, so spend some time on this important step. Enable DynaMesh at a Resolution of 64, then tweak the proportions using the Move brush, all the while adding and subtracting volume with the Clay Tubes brush. When constructing forms, identify the bony landmarks on the body and use them as a guide.

03

03

Refine the forms Now that we have our general form set in stone, we are able to

increase the resolution and get to work on refining the character to give him a unique identity. Use the Standard brush to define areas where bone and cartilage protrude, as well as the Dam Standard brush for creating creases/folds and the Clay Tubes brush, with a low Intensity (3-6), for volumes. During this stage, focus on the planes and structure of the face. Don’t go into too much detail here, as we’ll get to this in a later stage, once our character has been posed. It’s a good idea to retopologise your mesh now, as it makes posing easier and more efficient later on.

Anatomy In order to achieve a believable humanoid character, complete with good expression and personality, it’s beneficial to have some understanding of basic human anatomy. When solely relying on reference, without any basic understanding, you could easily fall into the trap of thinking your anatomy is correct, when it could perhaps be slightly faulty. You don’t necessarily need to devote your life to understanding every bone and muscle in the body, but understanding the forms and planes that these bones and muscles create can be key to a believable sculpt. I encourage you to do some research on the subject as it will help you a great deal on all further projects. There are many fantastic books available on the subject, one of my favourites being Artistic Anatomy by Dr. Paul Richer. 3D Art & Design 27


Character Workflow efficiency ZBrush is fully customisable and enables you to create a shortcut for almost all commands offered. To apply custom shortcuts, hold Cmd/Ctrl+Opt/Alt and click on the function you wish to create a shortcut for, followed by the key you want to allocate to the shortcut. I use shortcuts for everything from brushes to creating polygroups. Try to create shortcuts for the tools used most in your workflow. Another efficiency tip is to store a morph target before sculpting and utilise the Morph brush as an eraser, rather than the Undo command, as it can become sluggish when working on dense meshes.

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Capture good reference Reference plays a vital

role in the sculpting process and with the invention of the internet and Google, it’s just a mouse-click or two away. However, because we have something very specific in mind in terms of expression, a trusty old camera and a helpful model to pose for you is more useful. Another way to obtain reference is by observing yourself. Keep a mirror at your workstation and constantly use it to analyse the creases, wrinkles and tension areas that form expression. It may feel weird at first, but it’s one of the quickest and most convenient ways to obtain reference.

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Establish the pose Body language is important when portraying emotion. As such, it’s beneficial to give the character a captivating pose. At this point in the creation process you can turn off Symmetry. When posing a character, drop down to the lowest subdivision available, then isolate and mask the polygroups of the parts that you need to pose. Once you’ve properly masked the required body part, invert it and reveal the rest of the body. You can then proceed to manipulate the part into the desired position using the Transpose tools. During this process, be sure to observe the silhouette of the model from all angles by hitting the V key on your keyboard. This switches to your secondary colour, which is black by default.

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Block out the expression Now that the pose is properly established, use the Move brush in conjunction with the Smooth brush to repair any errors that may have occurred during the posing phase. Next, begin loosely blocking out the major influence areas of the expression, such as the brows and general shape of the mouth.

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Sculpt the eyes and nose As mentioned earlier, we will be isolating areas of the face while working on the expression. This is to ensure we get as much emotion in the eye region as possible, without being distracted by the rest of the face. If we are able to properly capture the details of the expression in each isolated area, the overall expression should be easily readable. I rely mainly on the Move brush to shape the expression. It’s best to tweak the brow areas, raise the lower eyelids and focus on the areas directly around the eyeballs. Even the areas under the eyes need to be given some form and definition. It’s also important to focus on the area between the eyebrows, known as the glabella, to ensure that the skin is folding – or not, as the case may be – as it would in real life. If you want to convey extreme detail, then focus on all areas of the nose, including the supra-alar crease, alar-sidewall, columella and nostrils, ensuring all these different parts of the nose are reacting to the changes in the face.

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Build up the mouth The Move Topological brush is

useful for morphing the mouth into the desired shape, which affects the mesh based on the topology, rather than the overall area. This lets us manipulate the lower lip without affecting the upper lip. Remember, you should be continuously looking in the mirror as a source of reference. By using this reference, you’ll see what the character is lacking, such as some volume in the lips. To correct this, add volume using the Inflate brush. When sculpting the mouth, focus on the bottom half of the face as if it were a single object. Look at the tip of the nose, the chin and the nasolabial folds. It’s vital to correctly capture these areas, as they portray tension in the muscles. Pay particular attention to the corners of the mouth and the shape of the lips.

28 3D Art & Design

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Facial expressions 09

Polish things up In order to polish the model, increase the subdivision level and use the Trim Dynamic brush, as opposed to the Smooth brush, which is far too destructive on the forms we have spent so much time creating. It’s at this stage that we can also look at the expression as a whole and focus on getting all of the elements to work well with one another. Any changes we make at this stage should be incredibly subtle. To view the before and after meshes, first store a morph target before sculpting. Then, by clicking the Switch button in the Morph palette, you can view all the changes made and review their merit.

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10 The clay material When creating the material, I opted for a simplistic approach. I created a VRayMtl, setting the Reflection to white, decreasing the Glossiness and enabling Fresnel Reflections. Fresnel uses the viewing angle to determine the amount of reflection that occurs on any given material. This mimics real-life reflection behaviour – if you would like more information on this, I encourage you to search for BRDF online. For my specific material, I wanted it to resemble clay, so, I plugged a fingerprint texture created by Jeff Patton in as a Bump map. I played around with the Intensity until I found something that I was satisfied with. Because I hadn’t created any UVs for my character, I applied the texture as a projection based on my render camera.

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Add wrinkles and folds By utilising ZBrush’s layer system to maintain control over the Intensity, you can start adding supporting wrinkles to the face. Begin with the larger folds, such as those below the chin, using the Dam Standard brush with a large Draw size and a small Focal Shift to give a more gradual, less harsh crease. To give the feel of compression, gently go over the creases with the Inflate brush. Add finer wrinkles and details wherever you deem necessary. While there are many Alphas available on the internet, ZBrush’s default set of Alphas is more than sufficient. Use the Standard brush with the Alpha set to 58, as well as a Radial Blur and Spray Stroke to apply finer details. Play with various Alphas, as they can produce some interesting results.

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Make some tweaks Before exporting the character to your external 3D package of choice, make sure you assess the model, make subtle changes where necessary and start work on the hair. Begin by creating an additional layer and blocking out clumps of hair with the Clay Tubes brush. Refine the hair using a low-intensity Rake brush, which mimics strands of hair. Both these brushes are used in conjunction with the Lazy Mouse to create clean strokes. Obviously hair does not react to expression, but a furrowed or straightened brow can move the hairline. As for the eyebrows, I created a custom Alpha and applied it with the Standard brush and the Drag Direction stroke.

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Set up the render We are now ready to bring our character to life. In order to provide the scene with some ambience, create two V-Ray Dome Lights. Light 1 affects the Diffuse attribute, while Light 2 affects the Reflection. This ultimately provides us with additional control over the final render, because we are able to tweak the Reflection and Diffuse amounts separately. Lighting is important when creating expression, as it will ultimately add more definition to the character and the details you have created. Accompanying the V-Ray Dome Lights are three V-Ray Rectangular Lights. Light 3 is the key light and Light 4 is the rim light. To calculate GI, use an unbiased solution by setting both the Primary and Secondary Bounce to Brute Force. Please note that this will increase your render time significantly, but in my experience it produces the most accurate results. By default, V-Ray also produces too much GI, so lower the Bounce values to around 0.65. The final image is rendered out at 3,000 x 1,800 pixels as a 32-bit OpenEXR. 3D Art & Design 29


Character

Artist info

Easy-to-follow guides take you from concept to the final render

Design & model sci-fi characters Lukruk – The Thelarian Elite 2012

Ben Erdt

Here I’ll discuss how I created a highly complex and functional armoured alien character, from concept through to final vision

Username: Benjamin Erdt Personal portfolio site www.ben-erdt.de Country Netherlands Software used Maya, 3ds Max, MODO, ZBrush, MARI, NUKE, Photoshop Expertise Concepting and producing both hard-surface and organic models

Ben Erdt is a professional artist currently living in Amsterdam and working at Guerrilla Games

L

ukruk is an armoured alien character I created as an exercise at Vancouver Film School. During this process you’ll get an insider’s view of his creation from the first spark of inspiration to the final render. By the end of the steps you’ll have a full understanding of how Maya, MODO, ZBrush, MARI, Photoshop and NUKE can be used to achieve the final result. Lukruk was a very complex project from both a design and technical point of view, so here you can get a closer look at

how to design and build complex characters with rigging and animation in mind, without compromising the original design intent. I’ll also share my approach for keeping clean topology for efficient subdivision, rigging, texturing and rendering. This project was a great learning experience for me in fields such as design, modelling, texturing, rigging, animation, rendering and VFX, as well as how to collaborate with other disciplines. I hope the little nuggets of experience shared here will help and inspire you with your own characters.

Make a concept Develop who and what your character is

01

Turn inspiration into a concept I imagined a futuristic knight standing on a high

platform. Since he’s extra-terrestrial, I wondered what if an alien race – after their first contact with mankind – became inspired by human history, especially by the stories about the Knights Templar and the samurai. If they used their superior technology and created their own group of protectors, what would a member of this group look like? I imagined them as characters who are spiritual, intelligent and serene – like a group of contemplative listeners – but also as powerful and unpredictable creatures. They have a monastic lifestyle defined by traditions and strict rules. Only their strongest hatchlings are selected and Lukruk was one of the chosen.

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Find energy and flow

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Take the design in-depth As the head is the focal point of the character, I wanted to make sure Lukruk had a very expressive face, attitude and a great design. I wasn’t happy about the first iteration, because he didn’t look as powerful as I wanted. I decided to make his head more angled and sharp along the jaw. The argus monitor lizard was a great reference for this. The elongated cartilage tips on Lukruk’s chin further helped to emphasise the shape of the head. To counter the aggressive features of his design a little, as well as to add some conflict to the design, I gave him two small ears.

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30 O3D3DArtist Art & Design

02

Imagine the body and armour Lukruk’s armour was designed to be functional and built for protection, but it’s also supposed to have a bit of an elegant and ceremonial touch that comes through the curved lines and shapes. Because I imagined the model having lots of detail, I figured a more humanoid silhouette would be better to read. When putting on the armour, the longer tail was supposed to be a mechanical extension that could be used as a weapon. As a reference for his default facial expression and attitude, I referred to heads of birds of prey such as eagles, hawks and falcons. For the hard-surface parts of the armour I specifically collected images of sports motorcycles, CNC machine parts and landing gear. These were incredibly useful reference points when approaching design as functionality.

A friend of mine advised that when turning a person into a stylised cartoon character or caricature, he focuses on capturing the energy, rather than the actual shapes. By this he meant the mental side, such as the essence of the person, as well as the character’s personality and story. From the start I was sure about the energy I wanted this character to have. The rather wavy movement of lizards and the elegant motion of snakes can be used to describe the feeling of the form and lines Lukruk’s body is supposed to have.


Sci-fi characters

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Concept Inspired by the unpredictable-looking reptiles such as tegus and iguanas, the spiritual feel of Gregorian chant, the armour of the samurai, as well as the Knights Templar, I decided to create Lukruk, an armoured alien lizard knight.

3D Art & Design 31


Character

Work on the model Begin sculpting in Maya

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Work on the head Starting out in Maya, I always begin modelling the head because it’s the most important part of the figure and can determine the look and feel of the character. For example, a bulky head with a fat neck would make me expect an appropriate body to support it. I start with the eyes first, placing a polySphere at the position where the eyeball sits and scaling it to fit. For shaping the eye socket, I usually start with a single polygon and work my way around the eyeball. When beginning work on a model, start simple, as too many polygons can make any fixes later on rather difficult and time-consuming.

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Refine the head After blocking in the eyes, I move over to the mouth, ears, lips, the jaw and the bony structures around the head. The goal is to create the individual facial features first and stitch them together at the end. When they are separate, it’s easier to move them around and adjust the head proportions. With the eyes filling the spaces in between, you can already see what the proportions and volumes are going to be. Above Lukruk’s eyes I created a row of eyebrow-like scales, which help when conveying emotion.

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Model the body When modelling the body I followed the same approach as for the

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Efficient topology To avoid inefficient geometry, the topology was created to look

head. I started modelling, then tweaking very rough representations of the features to build the correct silhouette, shape and volume. In order to manage the amount of detail in the original concept art, I broke it down to primary, secondary and tertiary shapes using colour coding. During the modelling process, I needed to determine the large and small shapes, as well as where they join or overlap one another without constantly referring back the original concept work. The chest was one of the more complex pieces, so I wanted it to fit as neatly as possible. Since everything else was proportionally correct at the end, the chest was very easy to add in.

nice and smooth, with a maximum of two subdivisions, though most of the pieces needed only one. The overall rule was to have complex forms and shapes with a decent amount of polygons for each object. In effect this made life a lot easier for later unwrapping and texturing all the pieces. Always try to stay as clean and efficient as you can and it’ll pay off later on.

32 3D Art & Design

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Sci-fi characters 08

08

The model versus the rig Making sure that Lukruk wasn’t only functional in design

but also in terms of articulation was a challenge, so I gave extra focus to areas that were most visible and complex. One of the more complicated parts was the waist, as the tail, shield flaps and legs all come together in this region. To avoid individual armour parts touching or interpenetrating one another, I used a basic proxy rig while modelling to ensure any changes made improved deformation as well as design. Instancing geo here also served to improve iteration times. To make the tail believable and to maximise the range of movement, its inner core was based on a row of single vertebrae inspired by the chameleon – one of the few lizards that can completely roll their tails. This dynamic tail is key to Lukruk’s personality and body language.

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A clear end goal I believe it’s important to know the end purpose of your creation. In this case the character was a production model for a short movie. At the end we were going to need many high-res textures, as well as a complex mesh with lots of individual pieces that were going to be rigged and animated, but we also wanted to keep the render times as short as possible. I thought about what could be done in advance in order to stay efficient without compromising quality. For example, adding simple colour shaders while modelling can help to get a better overview of the shapes and details. It’s also good to sometimes step back and see if the model still fits the concept art and has the same energy.

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Sculpt skin details ZBrush was used for detailing the head. As for reference, I chose

images of crocodile skin to create a smooth transition between the separate scales and skin. Greek turtles have a noisy scale pattern on their neck that I used for inspiration when sculpting the softer skin parts on the character’s face. I used the Clay brush to block out scales, then while sculpting in the surface details I kept the design of his head in mind, making sure the details didn’t overwhelm the overall aesthetic. The Slash2 brush was used to sculpt in some overlapping scales, while the Slash3 and Dam Standard helped to emphasise the crevices in between. The Inflat and Standard brushes add more volume to the fleshier areas, while hPolish was used to break some of the hard edges of the scales. Once happy with the result, I rendered the Displacement map inside ZBrush. Here I chose an 8,000 pixel-sized map to have an opportunity for a higher-res detail pass in MARI.

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Develop the tones Before jumping into MARI I wanted to make a colour concept for the head to get a better idea of the possibilities therein. I rendered out basic passes – AO, Depth, Shadow and two Light passes – using the BPR Render in ZBrush, just as a base to paint on in Photoshop. Once they were composited I started to build up the skin, while each group and layer represented a paint step for the skin. As a result I had a clean layer structure that was going to be rebuilt in MARI to achieve the textured look. 3D Art & Design 33


Character

Clean up the scene Prepare and unwrap the geometry for the next stages

Complexity demands organisation Lukruk has an extremely complex hierarchy. Counting meshes alone, around 1,800 different objects needed to be named, grouped, organised, unwrapped and laid out efficiently in UV space. A clean scene is vital to making your life and those of your colleagues easier. Clean UVs within a good layout are half the texture job and even riggers can benefit. I decided to unwrap everything in MODO because I was going to bake Cavity, Flat, Diffuse and RGB maps in it. Switching applications also brought a bit of variation into this tedious process as I like using a Cintiq when working inside MODO. When it comes to polygon-modelling, especially, this is one of the most artistic methods I have found.

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Sort and name the pieces In order keep the amount of potential issues low later on, it’s

important to keep a clean scene. I went through the scene hierarchy and deleted nodes such as empty groups, duplicates, unused nodes and so on, to make sure there was no excess left that could cause problems at a later stage. All geo objects were sorted according to the design hierarchy of the character. For example, everything in the left arm was contained in a Group node. Individual objects were then grouped separately according to their visibility, size and shape hierarchy. Each group represented one quadrant in UV space, which was the foundation for the UV-layout and texturing process.

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Unwrap all the pieces I exported the pieces as

individual OBJ files for UV-generation, plus the MTL file to keep the assigned colour shaders inside MODO for later texture-baking. The tools I predominantly used were UV Unwrap, Relax UV and UV Peeler. Unwrap and Relax are helpful for generating and refining UVs of shapes that are more organic and curved. The UV Peeler is a fast tool to unwrap pipes and hoses. For simpler shapes that are more cubic, spherical or cylindrical, I used the UV Projection tool as a starting point, as it offers appropriate projection types. The screenshot shows the finished UVs for a part of the foot.

Collaboration is key This project was a shared effort between several people, with Amir Ronen performing rigging and secondary animation, Colin Giles completing primary animation and myself responsible for design, modelling and texturing. We shared and referenced the main rig as a master file that was frequently updated with rigging information by Amir. When Colin, the animator, started blocking out the animation, I could work on the textures and shaders. In order to stay on course, we had regular meetings to discuss our progress, the next steps in the work, and to discuss any current issues that might have arisen. Supplied with your free resources, you’ll find several video tutorials from Amir (www. amirronen.com). Who generously provides an in-depth look at his rigging workflow.

34 3D Art & Design


Sci-fi characters

Prepare textures

Showcase

Artist

Enhance and refine the character

Ben Erdt

I’m a professional character artist working at Guerrilla Games on next-gen game characters. I’ve been fascinated by sci-fi universes and movie creatures since I was a kid. I trained myself in CG art so that I could make my own.

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Batty ZBrush, Photoshop (2013)

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Cavity/Convexity maps in MODO Since I was going to texture the actual high-res

character mesh, I used Cavity maps as a guide for painting textures. These were baked inside MODO using the Occlusion shader. They also helped to bring back some detail into the Diffuse texture. In MODO I added the Occlusion shader to the Shader Tree and set it to Concavity with a Max Distance of 60cm and a Spread Angle of 45 degrees. I created another Render Output, set it to Diffuse Coefficient and made sure the Diffuse Amount inside the base material was at 100%. The desired texture resolution for the particular object was set inside the MODO Render Properties. Remember, baking these maps in MODO using the Occlusion shader takes some time. On your disc you’ll find a step-by-step video guide for baking Cavity maps.

This is the kind of sculpt I do after work or over the weekend. In this case I wanted to sculpt a bat-like creature based on a drawing I did some time ago.

Collector 3ds Max, ZBrush, MODO, Photoshop (2011) One of the game characters I created for practise. I blocked out the body in ZBrush, modelled armour in 3ds Max, rigged in Maya and textured in Photoshop.

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Begin authoring textures After unwrapping the entire character model, I ended up

with almost 50 sets of four to five textures, so it was important to maintain a consistent workflow. The hidden Plain Diffuse layer was used as a selection guide. The Dirt Effects group slightly broke up the flat colour among all the textures and added overall dirt and grime to the character. The MARI group consisted of object-specific layers that were painted in MARI 1.4, although this workflow was improved thanks to MARI 2’s full PSD support. Additionally, to make the final character design easier to read, I made his feet more muddy, while reducing this effect higher up his body. This resulted in a light colour gradient from bottom to top. I also focused more on areas that look worn-out and used in order to add a bit more history to his armour.

Deep Sea Creature XSI, ZBrush, MARI, MODO, Photoshop (2012/2013) I wanted to texture the deep-sea creature model that appears in my demo reel. It was modelled in XSI, sculpted in ZBrush, textured in MARI and then unwrapped and rendered in MODO.

3D Art & Design 35


Character

Render and post-production Finish with tiny details and complete render passes 15

15

Include dirt and paint chips

Alongside some handpainting, I also used photomanipulation for texturing Lukruk – something that increased his sense of believability. A great source for photo textures is www.cgtextures.com. In order to add paint chips to the character, I chose a texture with a high contrast between the paint and the areas where it had faded. I created a selection using Color Range and used it as a mask on a solid colour layer. This enabled more control if I needed to change the hue, saturation or brightness. Back in MODO I then baked an additional Cavity map with a lower range, as well as a Convexity map that was used to emphasise the edges in the roughness texture.

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Render out passes The screenshot shows the passes that an average shot required. My friend and colleague Andrew Paxson (www.andrewpaxson.com) was in charge of compositing and adding VFX inside NUKE and he did an amazing job. I wanted to give Andrew as much control as possible over the shots, so to give us the opportunity to tweak the blue parts of the body armour, I took the flat colour textures that I baked before texturing and created simple RGB maps. The result was a pass in which R represented the metal types, G represented pieces that could cause potential artefacts and noise, while B represented all the blue parts of the armour. Staying clean and organised like this from the very beginning saved us a lot of time during lighting, rendering and composition. There was one case during the first render test in which I had a bad polygon causing the Subdivision Approximation to crash mental ray. However, because the character model had an elegantly structured hierarchy, the bad piece could be tracked down and quickly fixed.

Final words Building a complex character such as Lukruk can seem intimidating, but when you break it down and organise it into many simple tasks it will feel much more achievable. Be careful to never lose sight of the original design intent, no matter how challenging the task is. For instance, I could only texture Lukruk by splitting him into 50 textures, but I still made sure that all of those textures were consistent and re-enforced the original design concept.

36 3D Art & Design


Gallery

Equilibrium was created with the idea that mechanical parts could form into a living, breathing life form. I tried to convey the innocence and vulnerability of a young girl in the piece

Artist info

Daniel Arnold-Mist Equilibrium, 2012

Daniel Arnold-Mist Daniel started creating 3D images when he was just 13 years old Personal portfolio site www.liquidminduk.cgsociety.org Country China Software used Maya, 3ds Max, V-Ray

Work in progress‌

3D Art & Design 37


Character

Artist info

Easy-to-follow guides take you from concept to the final render

Christopher Velez Username: Polydude Personal portfolio site www.nethub.cghub.com Country LA, United States Software used Maya, V-Ray, Photoshop Expertise Photoreal and stylised character creation

I

Mesh shatter your characters Polyman 2013

The goal was to create an abstract character constructed from various pieces of geometry. The image illustrates vulnerability Christopher Velez spends his time improving his skills as a graphic designer. He also performs theatrical acting on the side

have always enjoyed looking at sculptures, especially puzzle and junk sculptures that are assembled from many parts. This inspired me to find a quick solution to achieving something similar in 3D. So, I am excited to share with you a technique that I use in some of my abstract digital sculptures, which I like to refer to as mesh shattering.

In this tutorial I will take you through a step-by-step process for creating a mesh shattered surface using my Polyman character. You’ll learn different concepts from mesh shattering a surface to a few post-production tips and tricks. First we’ll discuss how topology will influence the surface of your model. Then we’ll cover the peeling away of certain areas of our

character, exposing different layers underneath. We continue by manipulating some of the geometry on our character to help convey randomness and imperfection. We will then focus on the vacuum effect that is happening on Polyman’s back, by manipulating floating pieces of geometry. Finally, we cover the rendering and post-production process.

Concept For the concept I have chosen a pose that I think gives a sense of balance and weight to the scene. I also wanted it to add a sense of vulnerability to the character.

38 O3D3DArtist Art & Design


Mesh shatter characters

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3D Art & Design 39


Character

Getting started Focus on topology flow

01

Observe the geometry We begin by taking a close look at how topology can affect the overall appearance of your character. In the top left-hand portion of the accompanying image, you’ll notice a general face mesh with edge loops defining the facial features: eyes, nose and mouth. On the top right-hand side, we have another example but with edge loops that have simple cross sections. Also notice the triangle shape I added on the forehead to demonstrate how topology will transfer over in the end. The bottom row is the result after using the topology technique, revealing how edge loops define the flow of geometry.

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Model setup and detach edges Let’s jump right into making a mesh shattered

model. For this tutorial we’ll be using the Polyman scene that’s provided on the disc. Import the scene file called Start into Maya, and hide the platform on a separate layer so the only thing visible is the base mesh. Now switch to component mode and select all the edges that make up the model. In your modelling menu click on Edit Mesh>Detach Component to detach all the selected edges, then Mesh>Separate, forcing each face to split apart. 02

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Adding extra surface detail While detaching and performing face extrusions, I suggest your model polycount be just under 7k. You’ll notice that performing an extrusion on thousands of separate pieces of geometry can be computationally expensive and may even crash Maya. However there are always workaround solutions. If you want to use a model with a higher density such as 7k or above, just split the model into smaller parts and tackle each section one at a time. For extra surface detail, layering a denser model on top of a lower density model will add a cool randomised look. We’ll cover randomising fully later in the tutorial.

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40 3D Art & Design

Add thickness Now that we have all of the faces separated, we are able to focus on adding thickness to each face for an improved appearance. Adding thickness creates a better visual sense of angle and direction. Start by selecting the individual faces that make up our model and then select Extrude from the Edit Mesh menu. Once the extrude manipulator appears, select the standard Scale manipulator and begin to scale inwards until the desired thickness is achieved. There are undoubtedly other ways of adding thickness, but this method often delivers the most interesting results in my opinion.


Mesh shatter characters

Mesh shatter and peeling Start adding the details to your model

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Scale for a shatter effect Select the entire model again by going to Modify menu>Center Pivot. This ensures each individual piece of geometry is scaled locally. Select and scale the entire model outwards and immediately notice the results; the topology begins to shatter. We need to find a balance between the shatter effect and the model’s facial features, so set the scale XYZ to a value of 1.35 in the channel box.

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Randomise the surface This is where the fun begins. We start by taking a creative approach towards how the surface of the model will look. In the screenshot provided I began working on the model’s left upper arm. Select several pieces of geometry with the Lasso tool, then scale the selection down so it starts to look like floating cubes. Set the scale XYZ to a value of .68 in the channel box. The goal here is to create a sense of wear and tear on certain parts of the body. Try scaling your selection in the opposite direction too.

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Add Layers Let’s continue with the model’s left arm

as we start adding layers to our damaged section. Duplicate some of the cubes made earlier and move them out so they cover up parts of the damaged section. Scale and rotate the new geometry so they have randomness; repeat these steps on other areas where you’ve added wear and tear. This helps create a sense of depth and complexity to the surface.

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Create a peeling effect Add peeling to make it seem as if the character is being pulled into a vacuum above. Start on the back, where we will have the most damage. Select one half of the back with the Lasso tool, then rotate the selection away from the centre of the back. Do the same for the other half of the back so you have a pried-open look.

More on randomising

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For Polyman’s face, I preserved the features by scaling down some of the geometry to add clarity to the eyes, nose, and lips. I also deleted geometry that was obtrusive to the model while rearranging other pieces around. By adding a sense of randomness, your model helps break the CG look of appearing too perfect. No matter how abstract your art can be, adding a bit of imperfection will make your scene look more aesthetically pleasing to the viewer. 3D Art & Design 41


Character

Finalising the model Add some finishing touches to the scene

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Create a vacuum effect Now we’re almost done with our model, it’s time to add

floating pieces of geometry above Polyman’s back. Start by selecting some of the geometry we peeled back in the previous step and make duplicates. Move the new geometry up so they float just above the back of our model. Do the same for the other side. Continue building up on the floating pieces so that you form a pyramid shape. Make sure you randomise the floating pieces by scaling, moving, and rotating each piece.

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Fill empty spaces To finish, we’ll cave in the centre of our model’s back by selecting the back’s centre and moving the various pieces down inside the model. Next, scale your selection down so that it’s smaller, creating the appearance of floating debris inside the hole. You can apply this to other hollow areas of your model.

10

11

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Generate floating debris Now we will focus on the final part of the modelling

process. Add some debris to the scene by selecting areas of the model that are damaged. In this case we’ll focus on the arm again. Select a few random pieces and duplicate them. Begin to move the pieces around the damaged area and make sure you randomise the rotation of each piece of debris. Remember that rotating debris in the direction of the vacuum will help give the image a better sense of direction and momentum.

11

Mesh shatter the platform As for the platform upon which Polyman sits, I added a bevel to the edges and performed the same steps covered in the first part of the tutorial. I scaled down the geometry so the pieces appear evenly spaced like tiles. I also added a cube inside the pieces of geometry to make the platform appear solid. The platform was made small so that it accommodates Polyman’s body, but it still adds to the scene’s sense of vulnerability.

42 3D Art & Design


Mesh shatter characters

Render and post Set up your render and head into post

12

Set up your lights Now that the model is complete, we can start setting up the lights for the scene. I used V-Ray for this scene but you can replicate it with a similar setup in other render engines. I added two area lights; one in the front and a rim light in the back. The first light has a light-grey colour with an intensity value of 20. The second light has a sky-blue colour with an intensity value of 16. I tend to keep the lights at a far distance, as I find that adding distance to my lights yield better results for the shading in my scene.

Showcase

Artist

Christopher Velez

I was born in Brooklyn, New York, but in 2009 I moved to California. Art has always been a passion of mine. I channel my creative energies into digital art where I have limitless freedom to manifest my ideas into reality. I’m a freelance digital artist with a focus on character modelling and I also do theatrical work as an actor on the side.

Married to Technology Maya (2013) This particular character is based in the future, where cybernetic modifications are mainstream. In this narrative, she has a cybernetic implant addiction.

12

13

Material settings

As for the materials, I wanted the surface to resemble something fragile yet sturdy, such as pottery. The same applies to the tiles on the platform. Assigning a new material may cause a bit of memory lag depending on how much geometry is in the scene. Set the material colour to a light grey and Roughness Amount to .675. Set the reflection to Blinn and the Reflect Color to dark grey. The Use Fresnel checkbox should be checked and the Lock Fresnel IOR… should be unchecked. Change the Fresnel IOR slider to something high like 1.9. The same settings can be used for the platform material too.

Persian Princess Maya (2013)

13

This simple face study shows that Christopher’s work isn’t just based on abstract works, but also on realistic and believable models.

Z Moments Maya (2013) Z Moments are a series of sculpts based on characters from the popular animated series, Dragon Ball.

3D Art & Design 43


Character

Head into postproduction Touch up your model for a clean final result

14

Render settings Let’s take a look at the primary settings I use for my renders. I have provided detailed screenshots of my settings with the disc. Start by selecting the V-Ray tab. Sampler type is set to Adaptive DMC; Antialiasing is set to Lanczos for sharper details; Adaptive DMC is set to 1 min and 8 max; Threshold is .005. Next we move onto the Indirect Illumination tab. Turn on Ambient Occlusion; set the Primary bounce to Irradiance Map and Secondary Bounce to Light Cache. I didn’t use any render passes, but V-Ray makes it very easy to set up render passes if you choose to use them.

15

Final touch ups Head into Photoshop for some final touch ups. First add some Motion

Blur to the floating debris. Use the Lasso tool to make selections around several floating pieces of debris, then apply Filter>Blur>Motion Blur. Set the angle to -81 for an almost vertical blur and a Distance to 17 pixels. I like to randomise the blur in the image; some floating parts were blurred and some were not, just to give the appearance of random velocities. For more on touch ups, see the boxout at the bottom of the page. 15

3hours

creation time 14

More on touch ups Here are some extra steps I take in Photoshop. I like to pump up the contrast a bit by going to Image> Adjustments>Shadows and Highlights, and set the Shadows Amount down to 17% and the Adjustments Midtone to +5. I add a bump map to the overall image by duplicating my main image, going to Filter>Other> Highpass and setting the Radius to 4 Pixels, then changing Layer Type of the Highpass layer to Soft Light. Reduce the Opacity of the Highpass Layer down to 30%.

44 3D Art & Design

Resolution: 2,000 x 1,254


Artist info

Gallery

Adam Martinakis

This was created during experiments fragmenting a 3D model of a body using several different kinds of topology. I chose a way that seemed to have an interesting effect and painted the pieces in three different colours to present a story

Adam has been working and experimenting with CG and visual media for 13 years Personal portfolio site www.adamakis.blogspot.co.uk Country UK Software used 3ds Max, ZBrush, DAZ3D, V-Ray

Work in progress‌

Adam Martinakis Fatal, 2013 3D Art & Design 45


Architectural visualisation Create stunning arch-vis artwork from exteriors to interiors 48

Build a wooden interior

63

Techniques and resources behind establishing a neo-classical interior

52

Build C4D arch-vis assets Model a simple antique chair in just a few simple steps

56

Make atmospheric renders Create a romantic atmosphere, with a cool blue sky and warm lights

63

Gallery Butterfly by Thiago Queiroz Lima

64 Add post-production touches Use After Effects to composite scenes and add post-production touches

67 Gallery Contemporary Living Room by Jonathan Beals

64 46 3D Art & Design

52


48

56

67 3D Art & Design 47


Architectural visualisation

ěũ43.1(+ũ2!1##-2'.32

Artist info

Easy-to-follow guides take you from concept to the final render

Christopher Velez Username: Polydude Personal portfolio site www.nethub.cghub.com Country LA, United States Software used Maya, V-Ray, Photoshop Expertise Photoreal and stylised character creation

48 3D Art & Design

Build a wooden interior Discover all of the techniques and resources behind establishing a simple neo-classical interior

I

t’s important to have an efficient production-ready workflow right from the start in order to build convincing timber in an interior scene. During the course of this tutorial we’ll discuss the processes and helpful tips for modelling, texturing, lighting, rendering and post-production. As always, the intention is to create an image in a manner that’s timely and productionproven, enabling changes along the way should the need

arise. Typically professionals can expect to go from a concept sketch to a completed image in less than one day. Initially, we will start with a reference image, which is a core part of the arch-vis process. Reference can be found, taken or drawn, but in an ideal world it should reflect the colour, style and composition of the intended outcome. This is possibly the most important tool for a 3D artists when trying to achieve photorealism; without a real-life reference


Wooden interior

Making a scene Use a real-life reference to create an arch-vis interior Simple geometry coupled with uncomplicated lighting can often yield great results

it’s hard to understand the nuances of materials and how colours might blend together. We’ll be aiming towards a wealthy neo-classical interior, drawing reference from an image created on behalf of property tycoon Candy & Candy (see below). This image is particularly warm and utilises a one-point-perspective composition – something that’s very common in architectural imagery owing to its strong and simple lines. So as to experiment with timber materials effectively, we’ll be using a custom-designed and hand-modelled armoire cabinet. This features a panelled and curved front, enabling all manner of configurations. The curved face is equally useful for achieving graduated lighting and to further accentuate reflections. Detailed high-resolution textures are key here, so we recommend shopping for purpose-made imagery (supplied with Bump or Specular maps) from the likes of Arroway, TRU Textures or Turbosquid (www.arroway.de, www. texturesrus.net and www.turbosquid.com respectively). These will make a big difference and exceed anything just found randomly. Another option is www.vray-materials.de, which offers free preconfigured shaders. However, while this method is convenient, it affords little understanding of the principles behind creating shaders. As such, in these steps we’ll be constructing all our shaders manually in V-Ray, utilising various raw texture maps along the way. The technical requirements behind this tutorial are relatively standardised: 3ds Max, V-Ray and Photoshop. There should be no vast hardware demand, providing the setup is correct, so an i5 processor with 4GB of RAM is more than sufficient. Also, the principles discussed are largely universal and can no doubt be applied to any 3D package and renderer.

01

The techniques used in the creation of this image are both simple and production-ready

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02

Model the individual elements of your scene

The scene has been designed to accentuate the qualities of timber and so will incorporate a custom-designed armoire cabinet, complete with a curved front element to create interesting responses to light cast across it. First sketch this and then simply draw it in AutoCAD for dimensional accuracy. Now export a DWG to 3ds Max and begin modelling. The front door elements are created by modelling in a flat plane, then merging the pieces into one editable poly object. Apply a Subdivision modifier and finally an FFD 4 x 4 x 4 modifier so as to bend the object to shape. This is perhaps unorthodox, but it gives a very quick and believable result. 01

Find reference images and make sketches

When creating a photorealistic architectural image, it is paramount that you first find a suitable reference. This should roughly reflect the intended style, colouring and composition of your desired outcome and will provide valuable insight into how certain materials and lights should look when combined in a real-life scenario. It is also important to have a rough composition in mind before beginning any image. A simple sketch is more than sufficient as a guide to work from. Lack of direction at this stage will stifle the entire image and cause no end of frustration. Put simply, don’t begin until you are nearly certain of this step’s completion.

© Candy and Candy 2013

01

Find a decent reference image and then combine it with simple sketches to set the groundwork

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Loosely draw the cabinet in AutoCAD, model it in 3ds Max, then apply Subdivision and FFD modifiers to bend it to shape 3D Art & Design 49


Architectural visualisation 05

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Geometry vs textures

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A vast amount can be achieved using textures, from reflectivity-mapping to full geometric-displacement, which negates the need for overly complicated models. Should absolute detail be the name of the game, there may come a time when modelling individual planks in a timber floor is the best route, but detail should be relative to time and distance; don’t spend hours modelling minute details that can’t be seen or appreciated by the viewer. 07

03

Model the scene With the cabinet done, begin

assembling the elements required for a complete scene. Start by establishing a VRayPhysicalCamera and positioning it in relation to the walls, floor and cabinet. Remember to always model loosely at first, blocking in larger elements and refining details as the scene develops. For ornate profile details, such as the skirting and wall panelling, we can’t recommend the free Sweep Profile script highly enough. This brings several useful architectural profiles to your fingertips at the click of a button (www.3d-kstudio.com). The flower model used can be purchased from CGAxis (www.cgaxis.com).

04

Engage V-Ray Now move to V-Ray by selecting it

as the Production Renderer from the Render Settings dialog box. Subsequently open the Materials palette (keyboard shortcut: M) and add a new VRayMtl. Apply this default material to all objects in the scene. This should act as a clean base on which to begin constructing shaders and ensures that no mental ray or Standard materials will confuse the rendering process. 3ds Max’s Compact Material Editor can be used as opposed to the newer Slate Material Editor, simply on the basis of its ease of use.

05

Make the cabinet shader Find an appropriate

wood texture, grouped ideally as Diffusion, Specular and Bump maps. Once textures have been sourced, create a new VRayMtl slot in the Material Editor and name this appropriately. Apply the Diffuse texture as a map within the Diffuse slot, enable Fresnel Reflections (true-to-life reflections)

50 3D Art & Design

and set the Reflective Glossiness to around 0.85 (higher will result in more reflectivity). Now add the Bump texture into the Bump channel and set the value to around 3-5. We won’t be using a Reflectivity map in this case, as the desired material outcome is very smooth (varnished). Now apply a UVW Map modifier to scale the texture.

06

Add a timber shader Repeat this process for the timber floor element, combining Diffuse, Specular and Bump maps in the appropriate channels so as to create a convincing shader. Here we’ve also used a ColourCorrect layer between the Diffuse map and the texture, enabling the hue, saturation, brightness and contrast to be tweaked flexibly. This isn’t essential, but provides an extra layer of control that’s particularly useful for those who prefer to minimise any time spent in post-production. Apply a UVW Map modifier again to scale the texture appropriately.

07

Complete the textures Repeat the process of creating shaders for any remaining scene elements, then focus on adding believability where possible by including features such as subtle reflections (every real-life object reflects light to some extent, so ensure your 3D objects follow suit). Not all textures (such as the wallpaper) require detailed Specular maps, although these can be made by hand with a degree of Photoshop knowledge. 3ds Max automatically blurs all the textures so as to avoid problems when rendering animations. To retain sharpness, open up each bitmap channel and set the Blur value to 0.01 (as opposed to 1).

03

Set a VRay PhysicalCamera, block in modelled elements and then gradually refine details as the direction of the scene becomes more clear

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Activate V-Ray and apply a standard grey material to all the scene objects

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Find suitable textures and apply them as maps in a new VRayMtl

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Create a new shader for the timber floor, using Diffuse, Specular and Bump maps

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Repeat the whole process for the rest of the elements and reduce the Blur values in order to bring sharpness to all the textures


Wooden interior Simple lighting There are no doubt thousands of ways to light a scene using 3ds Max and V-Ray, from High Dynamic Range Imagery (HDRI) to IES lights – but the key is simplicity. Understand how your scene should look. Should the lights be focused? Should they be coloured? Should they appear in reflections? All of the best images can typically be created with less than five lights.

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Light the scene Once again speed and simplicity are king, so begin to light the scene using strategically placed VRayLights (set to Plane mode). Here we’ve only used two lights, one of which is placed directly above the scene’s elements and another at 45 degrees from the camera, angled slightly down so as to cast a shadow as if from a nearby window. The window’s light has a modified Directional value so as to cast a harder and more-precise shadow. This creates a stronger overall feel when compared to soft shadows. Balance the light’s Power values and tweak the VRayPhysicalCamera’s Exposure settings where required.

09 09

10

Prepare for rendering Open the Render Settings

dialog box and set the Render parameters as per your preference. Here we’ve used a rather typical Light Cache/ Irradiance Map setup, combined with Catmull Rom antialiasing and Reinhard colour-mapping, set with a Burn value of 0.85. Now add key post-production components to the Render Elements tab, namely VRayWireColor, VRayShadows, VRaySpecular and VRayReflection passes. Set an appropriate resolution, hit Render and save each pass as a full-resolution TIFF or JPEG.

10

Begin post-production work in Photoshop

With all the rendering (and inevitable tweaks) complete, open each of your passes in Photoshop and create a sensible layering/grouping convention. Here we’ve produced a stack with crops and helpers at the top, filtering down to global effects, colour-corrections, patches, passes and renders at the bottom. Doing this at the start of every image will inevitably save masses of time and help you identify different stages of post-production. Now apply passes to the base render to enhance aspects as you please. Screening the VRayReflection pass will accentuate highlights, for example.

11

Patch things up

When in Photoshop, continue to refine the raw render by correcting errors in the Patches group. This is used for chopping out elements that simply don’t look right, such as the image and reflections in the photo frame. We’ve also applied a crop to the image at this stage, having decided upon a more effective composition. This is quite simply a black layer hiding elements that are no longer required. Rendering at higher resolutions can be very helpful once you arrive at this step.

12

Make final adjustments Now

begin to make large colour-correction adjustments, taking direction from your original reference image. Try to match the tonality and materials as best as possible, then subsequently utilise the VRayWireColor pass to select elements and begin to add adjustment layers to suit. Once you’re totally satisfied with the outcome, you can add more effects to the Global group, such as vignettes and overall colour/ contrast layer adjustments. 12

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Use simple lighting and change directional parameters for stronger shadows

09

Set up the render and add in key post-production elements as render passes

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Open the rendered passes in Photoshop and organise the layer/ group structure

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Patch up surplus elements and experiment with some cropping to enhance the result

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Apply some final colour adjustment layers and tweak the effects in your Global group 3D Art & Design 51


Architectural visualisation

ěŊ(-+ĹŠ ."#+Ä“!ÄŒ" ěŊ  ĹŠÄŒŊĹŊ("#.ĹŠ343.1(+ ěŊ43.1(+ĹŠ2!1##-2'.32 This is the ďŹ nal render of the antique chair created by Gustavo

Build C4D arch-vis assets with NURBS Artist info

Easy-to-follow guides take you from concept to the ďŹ nal render

Gustavo Ă…hlĂŠn Personal portfolio site www.gustavoahlen.com Software used Cinema 4D, ZBrush Expertise Founder & Creative Director at Enginetion. Professional 3D/VFX designer, Matte painter for ďŹ lms, games and advertising

52 3D Art & Design

Learn how to model a simple antique chair in a few simple steps, using splines, Sweep NURBS and Subdivision Surface objects

I

n the following tutorial you’ll discover a simple method for modelling an antique chair in CINEMA 4D. There are many overly complex ways of modelling a simple chair like this, but after running a few experiments I found a far simpler method, which I’ll share with you. The process that I detail here will impart many useful and time-saving approaches in only a few simple steps. Usually when we start using CINEMA 4D we can select from many different ways to achieve a similar result. Usually we would start with a simple cube and use the Extrude option to create the frame of the chair, then its other parts. However, this takes more time than is needed. The process I’ve found particularly helpful in the creation of the frame of the chair are using Sweep NURBS and splines to create the shape. The splines can be applied as rails so that a geometric shape such as a circle or rectangle can follow the shape of the backrest, armrests and legs. It’s important that we can get an approximate shape that we can then manually adapt to the ďŹ nal model.

Once we have the approximate shape set up, we can create cuts around the edges using the Knife tool, increasing the low subdivision model using a Subdivision Surface object. Don’t forget to create these cuts around the low-poly model, because if you import the model into a Subdivision Surface without making these necessary cuts, you’ll effectively lose the model that you want to produce. You can also add more edges using the Bevel tool. The process of capable arch-vis modelling is one that you should really focus on, because mastering and memorising these techniques will open up a huge range of possibilities for you when it comes to ďŹ nding customers in new areas of work. In my personal experience, hotels, shopping centres, museums and more might buy your 3D furniture designs and send them to be manufactured. Any good idea could be approved and used in a variety of places. So, follow the process carefully and consider how what you learn could be applied to other projects. Be sure to check out the video tutorial with the disc!


Build C4D arch-vis assets

Model an arch-vis chair Use NURBS to create an antique chair The frame of the chair forms the essential shape of the overall model

This reference image can be used to better understand the different perspectives of the model

01

01

Shape the frame First we need to create the frame

of the chair using splines and Sweep NURBS. Don’t forget to use a Frontal view for this. Go to Draw a Freehand Spline and select Bezier. Now you need to add the first point in the middle of the X axis and create the other points as you can see in the attached image. Use Adaptive Interpolation Points for this. Once you have established the points using the Frontal view, change the view to Left, then drag and drop the points as in the example vertex in the accompanying image.

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02 02

Add Sweep NURBS Next, go to the panel where you have selected the splines and select Rectangle (W=42; H=35). Add Sweep NURBS to the scene. Using this method we can convert the chair frame into polygons. Now hold left-click on the Subdivision Surface icon (the green icon) and you’ll see a dropdown menu where you need to select Sweep from a panel of objects. Once you have added Sweep you need to drag and drop the spline previously made in the first step and the rectangle (spline) into it. You should get something that looks like the accompanying image.

Work on proportions

Select the Top view, then draw a spline using Bezier as in the attached image. Use Adaptive as the intermediate points. Now add a rectangle spline (W=40cm H=40cm) using the Frontal view. Add Sweep NURBS, drag and drop the spline previously drawn and the rectangle spline into Sweep NURBS. Now apply the Sweep NURBS with the splines into a new Symmetry object. Alter the Tolerance until you get a good weld between the parts on each side of the X axis.

Recommended types of splines

03

In this particular project we should use Type=Bezier and Intermediate Points=None. If you try different types of Intermediate Points you’ll notice that other options will increase the number of polygons. We should keep the number of polygons as low as possible, so we can manipulate our piece without problems or make any changes easily. If you use other types of intermediate points, you’ll increase the number of polygons and the manipulation will be impossible. This is why I prefer to use the Subdivision Surface object to increase the number of polygons in the final step. 3D Art & Design 53


Architectural visualisation

05

04

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04

Model the chair legs Add a cylinder (Radius=10; Height=353; Height segments=4) and position it below the seat rim previously made, using the accompanying image as reference. Make this cylinder Editable and, using Extrude and Bevel, get a similar shape to that of the image. The process used here is better explained in the accompanying video tutorial. Once you’ve finished the legs, import this piece into a Subdivision Surface object. By applying Bevel you can add more edges near other edges to keep the original shape without getting a deformation. Add a Symmetry object to create two legs.

05

Add bevels to the frame Convert the seat frame created in Step 3 to Editable then,

using Edge mode, go to Select>Loop Selection, pick the edges of the seat frame and deselect the ends (holding Ctrl). Now you can just drag and drop to get a good bevel. Next, using Loop Selection and Polygon mode, you need to extrude the shape around the surface while trying to get a low relief.

06

Create the chair cushion Now we need to create a spline around the seat frame. I used the same process as in Step 3, but in this case I used Mirror to duplicate the selection to the other side of the X axis with the following parameters for the Mirror: Co-ordinate System=World, Mirror Plane=ZY. Once you get the separated splines with the same shape on each side of the X axis, you need to join the vertex using Join Segment, which will enable you to close the spline. Add Extrude NURBS, then drag and drop the spline into it. Set Extrude NURBS Movement (0; 40cm; 0), but don’t use caps.

07

Close up the holes Now convert the previous Extrude NURBS to Editable mode and use Close Polygon Hole. You also need to close the upper hole (see the accompanying image). If you close the bottom hole you’ll notice how the Subdivision Surface object added in the next step will deform the base. You can close the bottom hole with Subdivision Surface unchecked, then add a bevel in the bottom edges to create two edges. This means that the Subdivision Surface object can’t deform the cushion.

08

Complete the cushion Add another Subdivision Surface object, then add it to the Extrude NURBS that we created earlier. Doing this will round the surface. However, before heading to the next step, uncheck Subdivision Surface. Now, using Loop Selection and Edge mode, you need to add a bevel. This way the Subdivision Surface object can’t deform the model. Switch to Polygon mode and select the polygon that you have created using Close Polygon Hole and move it upwards. Activate a Subdivision Surface object, then use Top view to help follow the shape of the seat frame.

54 3D Art & Design

07

08


Build C4D arch-vis assets 09

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Model the backrest Using the same process as for the chair cushion, we need to create a spline (Type=Bezier, Intermediate Points=None), following the backrest shape as in the current image, and add an Extrude NURBS object. Add the spline previously made into it. Use Extrude NURBS Movement (0; 0; 60cm), don’t use caps and convert this object to be Editable.

10

Bevel and adjust Close the polygon holes (both the

back and front). Using Loop Selection and Edge mode, select the edges around the rest and add a bevel around it. It’s important to keep the original shape during this stage. Apply a Subdivision Surface object, then add the Extrude NURBS created previously into it. You’ll likely need to adapt the points over the backrest, so when you activate the Subdivision Surface object it will retain the desired shape.

11 11

Work on the armrest To complete the armrest element you need to use the same process previously used for the Sweep NURBS objects. Create a spline following the shape of the armrest, then add a Rectangle spline (W=36; H=28). Apply another Sweep NURBS and add in all the splines you previously made. Try to adapt the spline following the current image. Now add a Subdivision Surface object (Sub. level=2) to increase the subdivision level of Sweep NURBS.

12

Final details and render Once you’ve completed all

of the previous steps, you can start experimenting with the ornamental details, as you can see in the current image. These will bring out greater realism in the final result. By using Sweep NURBS and Cloner, we can attach new decorations over the mesh. Try searching for reference for new ideas, and perhaps try out some alternative ideas to those displayed here. Experiment! Finish by applying materials and rendering.

Final rendering and lighting of the scene

12

In the final rendered scene you can create studio lighting with a simple open rectangle and two lights in front of the chair, as well as a camera to focus on the main object. After this you need to add Ambient Occlusion and Global Illumination (Render Settings>Effects). Now you need to assign the materials to each part of the chair. I used a list of three materials that you can find in CINEMA 4D (Presets>Prime> Materials>Misc). Studio lighting can be achieved in a variety of ways, however, so experiment to find the best results.

3D Art & Design 55


Architectural visualisation

Artist info

Easy-to-follow guides take you from concept to the final render

Sérgio Merêces Username: smereces Personal portfolio site www.sergiomereces.com Country Portugal Software used 3ds Max, V-Ray, Forest Pack, Photoshop Expertise 3D visualisation production, specifically exterior and interior renders

56 3D Art & Design

Make atmospheric renders Gardenian House 2013

I wanted to create a romantic atmosphere, with the cool blue of the sky contrasting with the warmth of the lights and resulting in a mix of beautiful colours, making for a stunning hidden sanctuary Sérgio Merêces is a professional 3D artist who provides 3D visualisations to clients all around the world


Atmospheric renders

H

ere I’ll reveal my project workflow and the steps you need to take to achieve the best results in your arch-vis renders. I’ll explain the workflow and techniques that I use daily when creating visualisations. I will also cover important steps such as how to set up the lights and environment of the scene using HDRI maps and V-Ray lights. I will also explain the best way to create textures and materials for the assets, plus the tools required to create the vegetation. Finally I’ll explain the post-production process, particularly how to edit the RAW render image in Photoshop using tools such as curves, corrections, adjustments and filters to enhance the final render.

Concept For this project – and for all my projects in general – I always take the time to search for references for my main idea, as this will help with the process of modelling, creating materials and understanding lighting.

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3D Art & Design 57


Architectural visualisation

Modelling, texturing and materials Set up your assets for the scene composition

01

Exterior and interior modelling

We will start by creating the floor and ceiling of the house from boxes, then using Edit Poly to get the right form by moving the vertices and adding a chamfer to the edges using the Quad Chamfer script available from www.mariussilaghi.com. Next we’ll model the window frames and glass from a box and with the Edit Poly tool we’ll inset the two front faces of the box, then bridge them to get the main frame form. After this we need to copy the boxes and adjust them, subtly moving the vertices. Repeat this step on a larger scale for the interior walls.

02

01

02

Create the terrain To create

the terrain and design of the water paths, draw them with the 3ds Max Freeform tool. This way we can achieve the exact look that we want and it can be completed relatively quickly. After drawing all the terrain, convert it to Edit Poly, then Extrude all the faces to set the terrain height. Finally, to add more detail into the render, we need to apply a chamfer to the main edges and then apply the MeshSmooth tool. For the Foreign Terrain we need to use a plane and then convert it to Edit Poly and model it with the Freeform Push tool, painting all the terrain elevations. See the accompanying image for more detail.

03

58 3D Art & Design

03

Textures and materials For the house interior we’ll create base materials using the VrayMtl, then create the wood for the walls, floor and ceiling, concrete for the base and entrance stairs and metal and glass for the frames. For the terrain, create a simple VrayMtl with a grass texture. Also use a VrayMtl for the water. To create ripples and waves in the water it’s better to use a Bump material as it creates a more realistic effect than using VrayDisplacement, which takes much longer to render. However, there are cases where using VrayDisplacement creates a better effect – use whatever suits your scene and needs best.

Modelling with Ribbon Tools 3ds Max comes with many useful tools to facilitate the modelling process. To create water I use the Freeform and Strips tools to design the terrain by drawing it in Freehand mode and then create all the elevations with the Push/Pull tool. To fix the geometry wireframe I use the retopology tools, allowing me to create new faces quickly. Throughout the modelling process I use tools such as Swift Loop to create a quick edge loop; the Qslice tool to slice parts of the models; and the Cut tool to cut model edges.


Atmospheric renders

Vegetation and Objects Scattering Create vegetation and scatter objects using the Forest Pack plug-in

04

Grow the small grass For the terrain we must

create a small grass model and spread it. To create the small grass group model one blade and, using the Advance Painter script, copy it to create a small group of grass. Now it’s time to spread the grass model over the entire terrain. To do this create a new Forest Pack Object and choose the model of grass that we just created as the Scatter Object. Use the Distribute map and Transform settings to define how the grass will be spread. Check the accompanying image for settings.

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Add water lilies In this example I used several models of water plants from the Forest Pack preset, and one from Evermotion Archmodels 124. Create a new Forest Pack Object and this time, as we want to spread more than one Object, we need to create five new layers using Add New Item. After you’ve chosen all the items you wish to be spread, we need to let Forest Pack know which models to spread more than others by using the Probability option. By default this is set to the maximum value of 100%. We need to decrease this value for the models that we want to have less of a presence in the scattering. You can use the Paint tool too but it’s a more time-consuming process.

06

Place leaves on the water We will now model

one leaf from a normal plane with four length segments and seven width segments. Convert it to Edit Poly and then move the vertices to make a realistic leaf shape. Next, create a New Forest Pack Object, choosing the leaves as a Scatter Object and the water plane as a Distribution Object. In this scene I want the leaves more dense in some areas than in others, so I will use the Paint tool to do it manually, painting in the dense areas and erasing in areas where I want less leaves.

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Background bushes and grass For the bushes I added a model that I already owned and for the grass I used a lawn grass from a package. Create a new Forest Pack Object and two separate layers – one for the bushes and the other for the lawn grass. Next, we need to set the Probability with a higher value for the lawn grass and a lower value for the bushes, then set the Transformations to get random values for scale and rotation. This creates a nice mix between them and will work perfectly for the background. As the background will be relatively far from the camera there’s no need to worry about detail here. Ultimately it’s about the overall effect.

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3D Art & Design 59


Architectural visualisation

Add finer details Create and place the lanterns and interior objects

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Model the trees I like to use SpeedTree to model my trees. Begin by creating the

main trunk in SpeedTree, followed by the branches. To create an authentic shape we need to adjust the Skin and Shape parameters. For the branches we’ll need to create two or three levels of branches to get a more realistic look and to increase the detail for the leaves. The next step is to create the leaves that will be spread along the last branches level. Do this by creating a node for the leaves and then creating a new material with the leaves textures and alpha to be used by the leaves mesh. Finally we need to adjust the density and position of the leaves by tweaking the Frequency and Placement until you have achieved the desired look.

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Create the Chinese lanterns I used Forest Pack

once again to spread the Chinese lanterns across the water. I tend use Forest Pack quite often when I need to spread 3D models across a scene because it has the advantage of making the viewport lighter and can be used even with a huge number of models. Create a new Forest Pack Object and choose the Chinese lanterns as Scatter Object and the water as the Distribution Object, then, using the Paint tool, start to paint the lanterns randomly across the water.

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Work on interior objects For the house’s interior

objects we will create a new 3ds Max file, merging only the house so we can manage and compose the interior easily, and test some compositions until we’re satisfied with the result. Next we need to copy and merge them into the 3ds Max scene file using a script called Copitor, available from www.scriptspot. com/3ds-max/scripts/copitor. With this script you can transfer objects from one file to another in two clicks.

Leaves in the wind

10

For the leaves in the wind I created a Particle Flow event, where I chose for the leaves to be spread by the particles. I created a wind and gravity effect to influence the spread and to give it a more realistic effect. I adjusted the Particle Flow parameters so I could control and manipulate the scene to look the way I like. Afterwards, I converted the leaves into a mesh using Compound Objects>Mesher.

Sérgio Merêces Sérgio is CEO and lead 3D artist at Merêces Arch-Viz, an award-winning 3D visualisation studio based in Évora, Lisbon. The studio’s work can be seen globally in many industries and markets. The team applies the most advanced techniques in all its works, always striving to make unique works of art. You can learn more at www.new.sergiomereces.com

60 3D Art & Design

Silent House 3ds Max, V-Ray, Forest Pack, Photoshop (2013)

Hotel 3ds Max, V-Ray, Forest Pack, Photoshop (2013)

This is a personal project. I wanted to experiment with the V-Ray 3.0 Beta and the Forest Pack plug-in.

This is one part of a four-part project for a client. I wanted to set it in dramatic atmosphere.


Atmospheric renders

Lighting and environment Set up the scene’s lights and environment

11

Lighting setup For this scene I used only one main light for the entire scene illumination, VrayLight’s planes for the house interior and spherical VrayLights for the Chinese lanterns. These lights have a warm temperature to create a nice contrast between the cool exterior blue of the environment and the warm yellow colours of the interior. For the main light create a VrayDome light with a HDRI map – in this case we’ll use one from www.3docean.net/user/paguthrie. To adjust the light use V-Ray RT and a material override to test and adjust as necessary. In my case I needed to adjust the HDRI map settings, as you can see in the accompanying image.

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Light the environment For the environment we will be using the HDRI map that we used for the main illumination. In this case we’ll use the HDRI map for both the light and the environment. Place a copy of the HDRI map into the 3ds Max Environment Map Slot, then to ease the adjustment process, press Alt+B to open the viewport configuration and set it to Use Environment Background. Using this we can now adjust the background and compose our environment to find the settings that best suit your scene. 12

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Render settings For the render settings it’s important to balance the best results possible with a relatively fast render time. Personally I like to run a few tests so I can optimise my render settings, which I prefer to be no more than 12 hours maximum. My final render resolutions are usually between 4,000px and 6,000px to achieve a nice level of detail and definition. This particular image was rendered with 5,500x and 300 DPI. You can view the various render settings I used in the accompanying screenshot. Once you’re done, we’re all set up to crack on with the post-production in Photoshop.

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V-Ray RT Creative Hub 3ds Max, V-Ray, Forest Pack, Photoshop (2012) A 3D visualisation of a creative hub building, designed for an architectural project.

To refine your composition I really recommend using V-Ray RT to preview and adjust the scene illumination. V-Ray RT is a brilliant feature which enables you to adjust the lighting in real-time, giving you full control of it and letting you test many possibilities until you’ve found the desired illumination for your scene. I use V-Ray RT to create and preview my scene materials too, and to see how they will interact with the scene illumination. This is an important step in attaining the best and most realistic look from the materials. 3D Art & Design 61


Architectural visualisation

Post-production Bring your render to life in Photoshop

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Import and organise render passes Open the

RAW render file in Photoshop, then open all the render passes into the RAW render project as layers with the Place tool. To make things easier we’ll create several folders. Create a folder with the name Masks, where we can put all the masks that we’ll use to quick select parts of the image. Create a second folder called Corrections, where we’ll put corrections of the RAW render image, such as any little mistakes that crop up in the render and can be easily fixed in post-production. The third folder we need to make should be called Adjustments, where we will put our colour adjustments. Finally, create a folder called Effects where we can place image effects.

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Corrections In all renders there are small accidental

mistakes that crop up from rendering the scene. In most cases these are little things that we can’t actually see before we render the image in full resolution. Thanks to post-production, when they do crop up they can be easily fixed. In this image there are a few bad lighting calculations and texture errors. To fix these, create a new Layer in the Corrections folder and use the Healing Brush Tool, Patch Tool and Clone Stamp Tool to get rid of as many of the flaws as possible.

Sharpen the result One of the last things I do in post-production is to sharpen the final image by creating a detail pass. To do this, go to Filters>Others>High Pass. This will open a window where you can control the strength of the sharpen with the radius amount. After putting in the desired amount, press OK and set this layer to Soft Light.

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Adjustments For the adjustments we should create a new Exposure adjustment layer to fix some of the gamma, as in this instance the RAW render image came out a bit darker than expected. We also want more light in the shaded areas to create a nice balance in the final image. Next, create a new Curves adjustment layer and adjust the Blue Channel to maintain a nice balance between the blues and reds. We then need to add a new Levels adjustment layer to edit the overall levels of the image to create a slightly more dramatic tone.

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Effects and final adjustments We’ll do the final adjustments in the overall colours of

the image by painting some yellow tones in. Add a layer in the Effects folder and set it to Overlay, then paint with yellow and orange tones to make a really nice balance between the yellow lights and the blue colour of the environment. The final touch will be to add some environment effects such as fog to give some depth to the image. Use the VrayZDepth pass in Screen mode and add a Levels adjustment layer. On this layer we need to create a Clipping Mask to control the fog depth and intensity of the VrayZDepth pass. 17

62 3D Art & Design


Artist info

Gallery

Thiago Queiroz Lima Username: thilima3d Personal portfolio site www.thilima3d.wordpress.com Country Brazil Software used 3ds Max, V-Ray, Photoshop

Work in progress…

I was really tired of seeing the same kind of 3D architectural images: box houses in the middle of trees or lofts with the same furniture. I thought up a solution, using the butterfly as my main concept. It was just thinking outside the box! Thiago Queiroz Lima Butterfly, 2013 3D Art & Design 63


Architectural visualisation

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Add postproduction touches Use After Effects to composite scenes and add post-production touches to an arch-vis image

Artist info

Easy-to-follow guides take you from concept to the final render

Sérgio Merêces Personal portfolio site ũ666ē2#1%(.,#1#!#2ē!., Location (2 .-Ĕũ.134%+ Software used Ċ"2ũ 7Ĕũ142'Ĕũ /##"1##Ĕũı8Ĕũ 4+3(!33#1Ĕũ '.3.2'./Ĕũ$3#1ũĂũ#!32 Expertiseũ#-ũ8#12ũ.$ũ #7/#1(#-!#ũ(-ũ1!'(3#!341+ũ 5(24+(23(.-Ĕũ(-!+4"(-%ũ"#2(%-(-%ũ -"ũ,."#++(-%ũ.1%-(!ũĊũ !'1!3#12ũ$.1ũ5("#.%,#2

64 3D Art & Design

H

ere we are going to cover post-production methods for an arch-vis image using After Effects. I will start by explaining how to prepare the 3D scene in 3ds Max and then use V-Ray in order to render high-quality passes. These important render passes will be used later during the post-production stage. In After Effects I’ll show you how to approach your project, organise layers, streamline your work and develop the image. With the project set up and organised, I can start with the necessary steps to apply post work to the image, demonstrating how you can assist the visual impact and achieve realistic results in post-production. One of the first steps is to fix any image errors that we can see in the render, whether they’re there because we couldn’t see them at the time of rendering, or due to not having time to correct them in the 3D application. Remember, fixing errors in post-production is always easier. Once we’ve taken care of the composition and have an idea for the 2D elements that we want to add, we can move to the lighting adjustments, using blending modes and painting in

After Effects to spruce up the areas where we want more or less illumination. Together with the exposure of the effect, this technique can be used to correct the gamma on the image. I’ll then show you how to use the Z-Depth pass to define an environment, create a fog effect and give depth to images. Finally, I’ll run through the final touches for bringing the image its ultimate look, using the Magic Bullet Suite plug-ins, Mojo and Looks. 01


Post-production 02

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Render in 3ds Max For more control over your post-production process, it’s important that you render out the passes required to assist you. At this stage I always select the render passes shown in the screenshot. The render pass Render ID is the most important because we can make selections or masks quickly and accurately with it. It’s important to always save your images in 32-bit format. In my projects I always save my render passes in TGA 32-bits or 32-bit EXR, because then I can fully control the exposure and lighting adjustments in post.

02

Set up in After Effects When you have your render and all your render passes done, go to After Effects and create a new project with the resolution you want for your image – in this case we’re using 3,000 x 1,688 pixels. Because this project will be a static image, we’ll set the Animation Time in Duration to 0. Change the Project Depth in Project Color Depth from 8 to 32bpc, then import the render passes into the project and apply the Color pass. We’ll duplicate it and use the Alpha pass in the new layer to remove the background. This means we can add a new sky or make some changes to it. We now have the basis on which we can develop the rest of the post-production work.

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2D elements The integration of 2D elements is key to create a credible atmosphere. Having formed the idea of the composition in your head, make a quick composite in Photoshop to test if it works. I’d make three or more tests of different compositions to see what works best for the idea. Once you have the desired layout, save the 2D elements in PNG format to take them into After Effects and create a new composition to place them all. We will apply this composition as a layer in the project. Apply a small correction in the sky, creating a mask in the desired zone, as you can see in the screenshot.

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Use contrast & gamma This step

is rather important because here we will fix the lighting and contrast of the image. Create a new solid layer and paint on it with the Blend Mode set to Overlay. Apply white all over the areas you want to be brighter and use black in those areas you want darker. Then add the Exposure effect and set the parameters shown in the screenshot. These settings will reduce the saturation of the image and subtly lighten the overall feel. 3D Art & Design 65


Architectural visualisation 05

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Use environment effects In order to

create the whole atmosphere and give depth to the scene, we start by adding the Z-Depth pass that was rendered in 3ds Max on my composition as a layer, then add the Invert effect to reverse the channel. Setting the blending mode to Screen maintains the foggy aesthetic. This kind of effect can be used to make cool atmospheric results like fog, dust, smoke and so on. Now we can apply the Exposure effect on the Z-Depth layer, then control the intensity and depth of the fog effect by adjusting the parameters. The next step is to add the Color Balance effect on the Color layer to adjust the parameters and give a hint of a sunset to the overall image. Now create a new layer with the Color Dodge blending mode and paint areas where you want a stronger tone and intensity of yellowish light. This gives the image much more colour consistency with the sunset environment. Experiment and adjust parameters to fully optimise the effect.

66 3D Art & Design

Light with HDRI maps

I recommend all those who wish to create sunset-lit images to use HDRI maps. I use these in all my sunset, sunrise or night-based scenes. I always illuminate my scenes with HDRI maps because it’s simply the most realistic way to get good results at the lighting stage. In this project I’ve only used one 3ds Max V-Ray Dome light with an HDRI map applied to it. This enables me to manage all the lighting with the VRayPhysicalCamera parameters. There are many very good HDRI maps to be found online and you can also make your own, of course. Check out your disc for free HDRI maps from CGAxis and 3DOcean (not available for digital readers).

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Final touches To finish, use the Magic Bullet Suite’s

Mojo and Looks tools in order to add the finishing touches to the image. Create a new composition in the project named ‘Composition1’, cut and paste all the project layers into it and apply it as a layer. Now we will add the effects in this layer, as you can see in the screenshot. Apply Mojo to the layer and adjust the parameters in order to give it more contrast. Also apply Looks to the same layer, using the Looks interface to begin building up effects. You can use the Contrast adjustment to correct minor issues, while Spot Exposure will illuminate the bottom of the image in order to give it more light. A vignette and Chromatic Aberration will provide a realistic and photographic effect.


Artist info

Gallery

Jonathan Beals Username: thebeals Personal portfolio site www.jdbeals.com Country USA Software used 3ds Max, iRay, mental ray, Photoshop, After Effects

Work in progress…

Since entering the VFX industry, I’ve been fascinated with artists who can mimic reality and create photorealistic art. I came across the ‘Foo House’ series by Apollo Architecture and immediately fell in love with the contrast between the concrete and wood and how the light played upon each Jonathan Beals Contemporary Living Room, 2013 3D Art & Design 67


Photorealism If you want to make your digital art as realistic looking as possible, you’re in the right place 70

Make a realistic human portrait

77

From the initial concept, see how to make a portrait look like a photo

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Gallery Then Flying The Youth by Leng Shang-Peng

78

Design a stunning dress Use Marvelous Designer to create beautiful images of flowing fabric

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Create hair and fur Make a truly photoreal and captivating image with FiberMesh

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Gallery Photorealistic CGI by Set Visions Imaging Studios

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Bring still-life objects to life Construct a realistic still-life scene using photorealistic techniques

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3D Art & Design 69


Photorealism

Concept I didn’t use any concepts but rather relied on real-world reference that I gathered as inspiration and visual aid to create my final artwork.

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70 3D Art & Design


Realistic human portrait Artist info

Easy-to-follow guides take you from concept to the final render

Dan Roarty Username: droarty Personal portfolio site www.danroarty.com Location Redwood City, CA, USA Software used Maya, Mudbox, V-Ray, Shave and a Haircut, Photoshop, Knald Expertise An artist specialising in realistic 3D heads and portraits

Make a realistic human portrait Freckles in a Blanket 2013

This image is a realistic portrait of a girl wrapping herself in a blanket, looking into the camera at the viewer Dan Roarty is a lead-character artist at Crystal Dynamics/Square Enix

O

ver the next few pages I’ll outline the steps and techniques I used to create this image. First, we’ll gather some reference and define the project to ensure a quicker and more organised workflow. We’ll cover modelling in Maya, as well as sculpting and

texturing within Mudbox using stencils and projections. I’ll introduce a free piece of scanning software I used on my phone for capturing 3D data and using it in the final image. We’ll cover creating and styling hair using Shave and a Haircut and the workflow for converting to Maya Hair. I’ll

also show you how I created the eyes and the texture used. When we have everything modelled and textured we’ll create realistic V-Ray shaders for the skin, hair and eyes, and I’ll show you the lighting setup and render settings I used for the final piece.

Define your concept The level of planning you do can make or break your project 01

01

Decide on an idea When working on their own projects, some 3D artists have a tendency to create a concept on the fly, rather than spending quality time deciding or defining exactly what the final image will look like. Without a clear goal, it’s impossible to know what assets need to be created and when. At times this can lead to incomplete projects and/or an unrefined final image due to lack of planning. With this in mind, I decided to create a realistic red-headed female wrapped in a red blanket and looking into the camera. Thanks to this process I knew which assets I needed, such as a face, hair, eyelashes and blanket. So, with the idea defined, let’s gather some reference in order to better guide us through the process.

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Gather reference I gathered a lot of online references for hair colours, facial expressions and specific poses of the face that looked appealing. I didn’t intend for my model to fully match the references I found, but set out to use them as inspiration and a general guideline to follow. Another big reference and help for me was my wife. I took a few photos of her looking into the camera as a reference of the general look and angle that I wanted to achieve. It was also very helpful to see how the blanket would look in the picture and how I wanted to make it. 02

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Block out meshes and UVs With your reference gathered, start blocking out the base meshes in Maya prior to sculpting. I had a basic head mesh that I had previously created, which I am able to reuse when creating a new project. I spent time ensuring that the head reacted well to sculpting and also deformed properly when adding facial expressions. Now lay out the UVs to ensure no overlapping and proper distribution of UV space among the polygons. You can test how the UVs respond by applying a basic checker texture in Maya. We can worry about creating the blanket later on, as we’ll be creating it using a 3D scanning approach. With your head mesh ready with UVs, let’s export that and the blocked-out blanket geo as an OBJ to bring into Mudbox.

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Break it down to bite-size pieces It took me quite a bit of time to build a head I was happy with and with nice UVs. Don’t feel pressured to rush into creating a large, complete project right away. At times, I think 3D artists take on far too much as a first project, and end up sacrificing quality in order to complete a piece. Begin small and work on easier projects while concentrating on fundamentals. Practise anatomy and hone in on your skills in between bigger projects. 3D Art & Design 71


Photorealism

Sculpt the head in Mudbox Start forming and texturing the head

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Add expression and pose With our base head exported, open it up in Mudbox. I spent quite a bit of time ensuring all the proportions of the face were correct and looked at as much reference as possible. As we’re creating this character from the imagination, it will be important to ensure it looks natural and all proportions are accurate. Get the face in a proper neutral state where the expression is blank but natural when looking ahead. Place a bone in Mudbox on a sculpt layer, rotate the head to the angle that matches the reference and continue refining the shape. Add the expression you want to convey in the face, largely using the Grab and Sculpt brushes. At this stage we’re ready to add all the pores and wrinkles.

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Create pores and wrinkles When creating the pores and fine wrinkles, we will need to subdivide the model to a high enough division to accept the sculpting information. I subdivided mine up by five. Next, create a layer called Pores and select the Pores stencil that comes with the Stencil brush in Mudbox. From here you can use the Sculpt brush and start applying it to the entire head. With the pores complete, create a new layer called Wrinkles and, using the Knife brush, start defining the lips, the areas under the eyes and other areas that may have visible wrinkles. For the final touch, make a Bumps layer and use more of the provided stencils in Mudbox, applying each to the model to get the look we’re aiming for.

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Scan and retopologise the blanket For my blanket I wanted to try something new, so I used the free 123D Catch software by Autodesk on my smartphone. I asked my wife to wrap the blanket around her in the proper pose, and I used the software to capture 360 degree images of her before using the program to create a very basic 3D mesh. It worked extremely well. From here I retopologised the model, scaled it and further sculpted and manipulated the geometry to fit with my head mesh in Mudbox.

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Realistic human portrait Sculpt back and forth When sculpting the head in Mudbox it’s okay to go back and forth throughout the process. When you’re at the rendering stage, you might notice that the shape of the face or expression isn’t quite reacting the way you were intending with a skin shader applied. As such, I usually bring my sculpted head into Maya, apply a skin shader and try different lighting conditions to see how natural it feels. If I notice areas in the face that aren’t reacting correctly to lights and shadows, this usually means there is further refinement to be made to the expression or shape.

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Texture the face For texturing I relied on photo

reference for projections. I began using the Paint brush and blocking out very basic colours to show where I wanted blush, lip colour and eye shadow present. From there I created new layers and used photos of Oldriska from 3D.sk as texture reference for projecting her skin and freckles. I wasn’t too concerned with the top of the head, ears or back of the head, as I knew none of these would show in the final render. I wanted to ensure that the freckles would pop as well, so I used the Burn brush afterwards to really punch them out when it came to rendering. I also projected a faint colour for the eyebrows to use later as a template with Shave and a Haircut. When done, save the finished texture as Colour, bring it into Photoshop and create a slightly desaturated blue with less contrast. Save this out as Subsurface.

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Use Knald for reflection For my Reflection and Gloss maps I used a newer piece of software called Knald (www.knaldtech.com). Among other features, Knald enables you to take maps and generate them into others. To start, save out a hi-res version of your head from Mudbox and then a lower subdivision (2 or 3 should be fine) without the pores and wrinkles present. Next, use XNormal or Mudbox to extract a normal map at 4,096 x 4,096. With the map baked, let’s open Knald and play with the settings so there is enough detail present in the maps. We can then save out both an AO map and a Concavity map at 16-bit TIF format. 08

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Complete the Reflection maps Open Photoshop and start to build the Reflection and Gloss maps. First, take your colour texture, desaturate it and bring it in as a new layer. Now import the AO and Concavity maps you exported in the last step and set them both as multipliers on top. I tend not to add too much contrast in these maps as it will not enable the reflection to react to the skin as intended. Next paint on some additional layers for areas such as lips and eyelids to punch the amount of reflection with a higher value and save out the map as the Reflection map. Next, open up a duplicate of the map, blur it and paint dark areas where you’d like to have broader reflection and brighter areas for hotter reflection. Save this out as a Gloss map. Examples of both are provided. 3D Art & Design 73


Photorealism

Add realism to the hair and eyes Create the hair with Shave and a Haircut and the eyes with realistic textures

Styling the hair When styling the hair it’s important to take your time. I’ll occasionally do quick test renders to see how the hairs are clumping together to get an idea of how it may look later on. I created two separate passes of hair for this project – one for the majority of the hair and the other for individual strands that fall in front of her face. By creating additional hair selections you can control them later on with Maya Hair. I tend to turn off the Shave and a Haircut Hair Visibility tab and just focus on the strands, as that’s what I will ultimately be using. For the eyelashes I use the same approach as that of the eyebrows.

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Style the hair To create the hair, import the lowest

subdivision of your head mesh into Maya and extract a cap for the area you want to spawn hairs from. Duplicate the head mesh then select the faces that will act as our hair cap and use the Extract tool in Maya. Select the newly extracted mesh and using Shave and a Haircut select Create New Hair. With our new hair created, let’s update the collision mesh by selecting the hair and shift-selecting our original head using Shave>Edit Current>Update Collision Mesh. I used the Shave Brush tool by hand to style the hair to achieve my desired look. Once happy with the results, use Convert>Guides to Curves and then save them out for later to be used with Maya Hair.

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Shape the eyebrows For the eyebrows, import your low-res head mesh into a new scene and apply your Colour texture to it to act as a guide for styling the eyebrows. We’ll want to create curves to act as our eyebrows later that sit on top of the head mesh. To do this, let’s make our head live by selecting it and then the magnet icon in Maya. With our head live, use the EP Curve tool and draw the specific eyebrows you want. Take your time with this and ensure that parts are elevated above the mesh by moving the curves after you’ve created them. With the adjustments made we can save these out as an eyebrow group for later.

Model and texture the eyes When modelling the eyes I use a simple approach that has always worked for me. I break down the eyes into three separate parts: the lens, sclera and pupil. For the lens, I create a sphere and ensure there is a bulge outwards such as in a real eyeball. For the sclera it is a concave sphere with the centre hole cut out for the pupil. The pupil itself is just a standard plane that sits directly behind the sclera and is completely black. The sclera is the only piece that I texture with a colour map that you can find provided with this book. Next I will show you the specific materials I use.

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Realistic human portrait

Shaders and lighting Shader creation for the skin, hair, eyes and lighting 13

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Lighting setup Bring in the highest-res OBJs of the

head and blanket. Ensure Visible In Reflections and Visible in Refractions is selected for both meshes under your Render Stats Attribute. For lighting create a V-Ray Dome light and select an HDR image to be placed into the Dome Tex slot at maximum res. For my HDR image I used Newport Loft, available for free from hdrlabs.com. Set your Subdivs to around 24 for better sampling, and play with Intensity to find what works best for you. Create three basic poly planes and apply a basic lambert of a colour you want to illuminate your mesh. I created an off white colour for mine. Place them in areas where you would like to see some illumination on the character.

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Layered skin shader with reflection For the skin shader, start by creating the layered V-Ray shader VRay Blend Mtl. Create the skin material by selecting a V-Ray Fast SSS2 shader and plugging it in to Base Material. Plug your Colour texture in to the Overall Color slot and your Subsurface texture into the Sub-Surface Color slot. I ended up using a dark red for my scatter colour and changing the Scatter radius to .650 (depending on the size of your head mesh). Next let’s create the reflection shader by creating a VRayMtl and slotting it into Coat Material 0. Input your Reflection map into your Amount under reflection, and your Gloss map into your Highlight Glossiness slot. You can see the specific settings I had for my shader in the screenshots supplied with the disc.

Render setup

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Some of the major takeaways for my render settings are my Adaptive DMC settings, each of which I cranked to 6. This makes a huge difference in the quality of my hair rendering. For the Reflection Texture I used the HDR image from my dome light and set the GI Texture to a warm colour rather than texture. For the global illumination ensure it’s turned on to take advantage of the planes you created. For Primary Bounce I used Brute Force and for Secondary Bounce I used Light Cache. I used a multipliers setting of .7 but you can experiment.

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Create the eye shader For my eye

shader I created a VRayMtl for my lens mesh and a VRayFastSSS2 for my sclera. I want my lens to have only reflection and refraction and my sclera to have a bit of subsurface scattering. I turned my Reflection Color on the lens to just above black and set the amount at .740. Adjust both depending on the amount of reflection you want in your final image. I turned Refraction Color to white and set it to 1.0. Refraction IOR was best set to 1.60. I also had a slight fractal bump map on my lens but it was barely noticeable. For my sclera I put my eye texture into the Overall Color. 3D Art & Design 75


Photorealism

Render and composite Add the final elements and bring the image together

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The hair shader When rendering the hair I found it best to take the curves we created earlier and apply them to a Maya Hair system. First let’s create our hair system by creating a basic polygon cube and selecting Hair>Create Hair. Next, select your curves group and go to Hair>Assign Hair System>hairSystemShape1. This will apply your hair system to your hair curves. Play with the specific settings for how you want the hair to look. To select a V-Ray Hair shader, select your hair system, go to the top and select Attributes>V-Ray>Hair Shader. Now select VRayMtlHair3. You can see the settings used in the screenshots supplied with the book.

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Render Elements With everything ready to go, start rendering with V-Ray. I prefer to turn on Multiple Render Elements under Render Settings. Here you are able to choose what layers you prefer to render separately and therefore have the ability to adjust in composition later on. You can see the multiple layers I decided to render separately in the screenshot supplied with the book.

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Don’t forget the lashes and brows A couple of things I haven’t touched on are the eyelashes and the eyebrows. For the eyebrows I used the same method for creating the hair. I started with the curves, created a new hair system and then applied it. For the shader, I relied on a duplicate of the hair shader with darker values. For the eyebrows I created a new hair system but used the default material that comes with Maya Hair at almost a black value with slight transparency. Hair takes time to render correctly so don’t get discouraged if it’s not perfect right away.

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76 3D Art & Design

Quick Photoshop comp All the hard work you’ve

put in has finally paid off and now it’s time to play around with some colours and values. At this stage I did some minor touch-ups and colour adjustments. One thing I found useful to do is to play with some overlays using your render elements. There is no right and wrong way of touching up your photos. Ideally you will have done most of your hard work before rendering, so you won’t have to worry about adding too much at this stage. For this project, I darkened the lashes and played with the levels to find the exact look I was after.


Artist info

Easy-to-follow guides take you from concept to the final render

I integrated MARI and Photoshop to paint all my textures. All shader parameters were based on the real world (Model Size, Scattering Distance, Skin Refractive Index, Fresnel Reflection). I then fine-tuned each parameter to get the final effect on the image

Gallery

Leng Shang-Peng Then Flying The Youth

Leng Shang-Peng Website www.power3d.cc Country China Software used Maya, Silo, ZBrush, MARI, Photoshop, NUKE Bio Once a CG supervisor at 37 Digital in Shanghai, Leng now works in 3D tool development

I used a V-Ray light and Global Illumination for the final lighting. Rendering the whole image took up more than 50GB of memory. For any large-resolution rendering piece you must ensure there is enough memory on your computer, otherwise the render will be slow 3D Art & Design 77


Photorealism

Design a stunning dress Lady in Red 2013 Use Marvelous Designer to create beautiful images of flowing fabric Sander Boerefijn is a 3D artist with a background in mechanical engineering

Artist info

Easy-to-follow guides take you from concept to the final render

Sander Boerefijn Username: SanderB Personal portfolio site www.3dvance.nl Location The Netherlands Software used Marvelous Designer, 3ds Max, Adobe Photoshop Expertise 3D generalist, architectural visualisation

78 3D Art & Design

I

n this tutorial we are going to create a dynamic dress design with the software program Marvelous Designer (MD). Marvelous Designer is primarily focused on cloth simulation and is mostly used for the creation of clothing and furniture pieces. It has even been adopted by studios as prominent as Weta, for use on the production of The Hobbit. Throughout each step of the dress creation in this tutorial I will cover the basic functionality of MD right through to some of the more in-depth aspects. We will discuss everything from creating the patterns and the sewing and draping of the fabric to the physical properties and animations. At the end of the tutorial I will also reveal the scene setup in 3ds Max for the final render. The great thing about MD is that you don’t need a fashion design background to follow this tutorial or to create any kind of clothing. There’s a lot of creative fun to the process! Be sure to check the disc for some accompanying video files that will go into more detail on several of the steps discussed.

Concept I wanted to create a beautiful, dynamic and flowing dress – one that almost seems to have a life of its own. The image was inspired by a variety of fashion photography.


Design a stunning dress

Avatars and patterns ěũũ 15#+.42ũ#2(%-#1ũ ē9/!ũăũ+# ěũũ43.1(+ũ5("#.2 ěũũ43.1(+ũ2!1##-2'.32

The basics of using Marvelous Designer

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Explaining avatars In real life fashion design, designers use a mannequin or dress

form to drape and size their designs. In MD this mannequin is named an Avatar, which can be seen in the left 3D window. You can pose this avatar in MD using X-ray joints, but for this tutorial we are going to use a custom avatar. We need an avatar in both a T-pose and a final pose, both of which we will both import as an .obj. We want to start with a T-pose avatar so it is easier to drape the initial clothes before animating. However, before we import it we want to make a backup of the bounding volumes (A-BV) and arrangement points (A-POINT) of the default avatar. This way we can reuse them with our imported avatar later on.

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The pattern window Before we start making the 2D patterns for the undergarment we want to enable the grid and then set the grid distance by going to the pattern window properties (F12). This and the unfold option will help us when making symmetrical patterns such as this dress. Start with the freehand polygon tool and create only a half of one side of the pattern. Use the background shape of the avatar to get an approximate idea of the correct size. Now right-click on the edge over which you want to unfold and then copy and paste the result to create the backside. Using this workflow you can adjust the pattern relatively quickly until you are satisfied.

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Add hems Next we will add some hems to the top and sides of the dress. With the Add Point/Split Line tool, right-click on the edges on the sides of the hem. Now you can fill in a distance to create a point on both sides. Disable the grid for now so you can use the Internal Line tool to connect these two points. Edit the curvature of this line to match the outer line. Make a new polygon out of the four points and adjust the curvature to match it with the others so that we have a piece with the same shape.

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Using the Marvelous Designer avatar I used the avatar that ships with MD, adjusting it and posing in 3ds Max, before exporting back into MD. To get this avatar or the catwalk animation that comes with it into your 3D package you need to open the .avt file that is located in the Marvelous Designer install directory (C:\ Program Files\MD 3 Personal\Model\Avatar\AVT). You can open this file using an unpacking software like Winrar or Winzip and in it you can find the Collada (.dae) file and the textures. 3D Art & Design 79


Photorealism

Pattern sewing, draping and adjusting Time to start working in 3D 04

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Sew the undergarment Before we can drape the garment we must first use the sewing tools to connect all the pieces together, as you can see in the image. Ensure that the crossed line is always on the same side of the sewing line on both pieces. If the seam is reversed you can fix it by right-clicking on the sewing line with the Edit Seam Line tool and pick Reverse. Sometimes it’s hard to see if the seam is correct but the 3D window will help.

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Drape, simulate and adjust in real time When we press the sync button the patterns will appear in the 3D window but need to be set in place. For this we are going to load the bounding volumes and arrangement points we saved earlier. Now we can select a pattern piece and click on the arrangement point where it should be placed. Once the pieces are in place and all seams are correct it’s time to start simulating. Once the clothing has settled we can identify if there are some places that need to be fixed by either changing the 2D patterns or by dragging the clothing around in the 3D window in real time. Another helpful tool here is to use the Strain Map mode, which indicates which parts of the clothing are too tight or too loose according to colour.

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Start on the bottom half Start by creating a polygon circle by left-clicking in the 2D pattern window. Fill in a radius of 3500.00mm and delete the right half so a semicircle remains. Split the straight line into seven uniform lines and split the resulting middle line again in two uniform lines. Grab the point last created and hold Shift to drag it to the left. While holding down the Shift and left button, click on the right button to get a popup to enter a value. Fill in the amount of half the length of the seven lines’ length. Now create a new circle using the line length and place it right in the middle of the three middle points. Now we can use this circle to trace around and then delete it. On one of the outer sides we want to leave out a part of this pattern so the edge of this layer will try to curl a little. Copy, mirror and then paste this part to create a full circle again. Sew it together, and then onto the lower edge of the undershirt. Simulate it falling into place. 06

Particle Distance It’s a bit of an odd term for what it defines, but the Particle Distance value determines how dense your mesh will be. This value is the average distance between vertices in millimetres. So a lower Particle Distance will increase the amount of vertices and with it the detail. Be careful that you don’t go too low. Set the Particle Distance to your desired mesh complexity.

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80 3D Art & Design

Wrap the top section Before we wrap the top part of the dress, we want to create two internal lines in the undershirt to attach the draping layers and the drapes of fabric. Freeze what we have created so it won’t interfere. Create a rectangular pattern piece and sew it to the line we just created on one end. In the settings for the piece set the layer property to a value higher than the underskirt so it will fall on top of it. Now we can use pins, created by holding W down in the 3D window while clicking, to pin the long part into place. We need to move the pins around to make new pins while wrapping the piece around the body. At the end remove all pins, except maybe a few important ones, and simulate it into place. You might need to drag the pattern piece around to get it placed as you wish. Lower the Particle Distance to give it some more detail.


Design a stunning dress

Material and physical properties Animate the dress layers and physical properties of the materials

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Material physical properties When we’ve simulated the pieces up to this stage, they have all reacted in a manner dictated by a set of physical material properties. The undershirt will have stretched out when the draping part was pulling it down, for example. You can change these settings to simulate different kinds of cloth materials, using MD’s useful list of presets. These presets provide a helpful starting point for changing material physical properties. For the undershirt we will apply a simple cotton preset as we won’t see a great deal of this garment in the final render. However, for the more visible parts of the dress we will use the satin preset. Lower the values of both the Bending-Weft and Warp to 2 so they will bend a lot easier. Also lower the Density so the fabric will be lighter when simulating. Change Stretch-Weft to 26 and Stretch-Warp to 23.

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Animate layer one Now that we have set the physical properties we can start animating the draping layers using the Wind option. Activate this from the Environment dropdown. Select the Wind icon and in the properties set the Strength to a slightly lower amount and enable a Frequency that causes the wind to start and stop over set periods of time. Set the wind to Spherical and place it just underneath the avatar’s feet, causing it to blow the dress upwards. Click the Simulate button and see if you are happy with the result. If not, tweak the settings. You can also use the mouse to drag the dress in the direction you want it to go. Once you are satisfied with the way it looks, stop the simulation. At this point we want to disable the wind again and start increasing the Particle Distance of the dress to create more detail.

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Start on the other draping layers Once the first layer is done save the file and export what you have to .obj. Create a new avatar that includes the first draping layer. This way it doesn’t need to simulate the first layer again and our second layer won’t go beneath it when we simulate it. We can create the next layer quite simply by using the pattern of the first layer once we have imported the new avatar. This routine will be duplicated for the third layer once the second layer is completed.

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Animate the second layer For the next layer we will follow a similar routine as we did

when animating as the first. However, we need to raise the wind settings so the upper layers will float higher. We also need to add pins to the end of the fingers to prevent the next layers from going through the hands. This part of the creation process can require some tweaking of settings and pulling of cloth to achieve the desired result. If you’re using the advanced version of MD you can just let it simulate and then afterwards select the specific frame you like best. Lower the Particle Distance to make the simulation go slower and create more detail.

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3D Art & Design 81


Photorealism

Finalising and rendering Finish the dress in MD and render using a V-Ray 13

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Finalise the dress Once you are finished animating a third and final layer, you will need to complete the top part of the dress. In the avatar properties set the Skin Offset to 1 and make sure the wrap part is on a higher layer value than the third draping layer. Simulate the wrap part so it will fall over the third layer. Next, add the other layers and switch the avatar to the first posed one.

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Export to 3ds Max To export the dress we need to order the 2D patterns nicely in a

squared shape, because it’s from this that we will generate the UVs. In the export .obj options use unified UV coordinates to export the cleanly laid out UVs. Use the same scale as you will use in 3ds Max. In my case I am using cm. After importing the dress into 3ds Max, add ProOptimizer modifiers to the separate parts to lower the vertex count if needed.

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82 3D Art & Design

Set up the V-Ray material By adding an unwrap UVW modifier and extracting a UV template from the dress we can create an Opacity map and a Bump map. The Bump map is used to create some additional wrinkles and in my case was created from textures of crumpled paper. The Opacity map adds the illusion of thickness to the material edges. These maps were then used in a VRay2sidedMtl, which gives the dress a very thin, see-through feeling. The falloff map is a map I use a lot in my cloth materials. Most of the time I will turn off the trace reflection option. The skin material is a VRayFastSSS2 and the hair material is a VRayHairMtl.


Design a stunning dress 15

32hours

creation time Resolution: 6,000 x 3,500

Importing personal patterns For this image I created the clothing patterns myself, but you can also use some patterns from external sources should you wish to. Since MD doesn’t have an import function for pattern files a little workaround is needed. First convert your pattern source to a supported image file. Create a new material and apply the image to the texture slot. Next, create a rectangular pattern piece and apply the material. Now you can make the new pattern pieces by tracing over the image with the Create Polygon tool. Don’t forget to freeze or delete the pattern piece with your image on it afterwards.

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Scene and render setup For this scene I used a studio setup ,with a key light with a slight blue tone and a VRaySoftbox texture in it, shining in the direction of the avatar’s face. I added a main fill light from the opposite direction and three fill lights on the sides with colours varying between a light blue and light yellow tone. In the environment slot I used a 360-degree spherical image of a warehouse that creates realistic reflections to add to the depth of the piece. The avatar’s hair was achieved using the Ornatrix hair plug-in from Ephere with the VRayOrnatrixMod modifier on top of it. 3D Art & Design 83


Photorealism

Artist info

Easy-to-follow guides take you from concept to the final render

Yasin Hasanian Personal portfolio site www.superhero.cgsociety.org Country Iran Software used Maya, ZBrush, MARI, Shave and a Haircut, Arnold, Photoshop Expertise Yasin specialises in texturing, shading and lighting with a solid knowledge in modelling and sculpting

T

Create hair and fur Cold as Lava 2013

FiberMesh is just one of ZBrush’s many powerful options, so here we’ll use it to make a truly photoreal and captivating image Yasin Hasanian is a freelance CG artist working professionally in the film and game industries

hese steps will take you through how to create decent-looking fur with the help of ZBrush. We’ll do this by utilising FiberMesh in different stages of the pipeline, using it in conjunction with other software, including plug-ins such as Shave and a Haircut.

Obviously, ZBrush is a program that’s constantly evolving with each release. It’s become a game-changer for a lot of us by offering optimum methods of accomplishing tasks that are otherwise much more tedious. One of these game-changing features is FiberMesh, which

opens up a whole host of options for producing brilliant results beyond just hair and fur. Regarding other tools that will be used for this project, Maya will be used to set up the scene, Shave and a Haircut for the fur, MARI for textures, Arnold for rendering and Photoshop for post.

Build a concept Dissect the fur structure and analyse photo references

01

Gather reference images Either you are working

on something completely imaginary, or you’re working on something that exists in real life. For the former, it’s not necessary to find reference images, as they may not actually exist and so you are basically sculpting and evolving your ideas in a program such as ZBrush. For the latter, it’s recommended that you gather as many photo references as you can. Good photo references are those that help you throughout most of the pipeline stages. For instance, they will hint as to whether the fur in area X is generally soft, tough, short, long and so on.

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An overview of sculpting The final Ztool for this tiger has been made available with the tutorial, so we won’t go over the minute details of how it was sculpted here. In general, the head was made in ZBrush from scratch with DynaMesh. One thing that you have to make sure of, however, is that if you start your modelling completely inside ZBrush and plan to send the meshes later to another program, such as Maya, check your mesh sizes as soon as you have blocked out the general shapes in Maya. This means you won’t have to alter the sizes later when it comes to rendering, as this tends to become problematic in complex scenes.

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84 O3D3DArtist Art & Design

Some facts about tigers Tigers can be up to three metres in length and weigh as much as 330 kilograms. One of the most interesting characteristics about them is their striped pattern, which is unique from one to another, just like human fingerprints. Their pattern acts as camouflage, helping them to successfully hide in the wild from predators. Also, not all tigers are orange in colour. Due to a mutation in colouring, there are tigers that feature black stripes and blue eyes. One significant advantage that the tiger has is their eyesight. They can see just as well as humans during the day. However, at night, they are able to see six-times what a human can.

Analyse the references After finalising the sculpt, take some renders into ZBrush to

come up with a sense of how to lay the fur on the tiger and what is required for each part of it. As you can see in the accompanying image, there are five main hair types and seven hair systems. Each of these hair types require a different hair system, so the whole project can be easily managed. For example, the cyan area has a distinct sharp type of fur, while the green area has a soft-looking fur type.


Hair and fur

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Concept The main inspiration for this work was nature! Tigers are one of my favourite animals and two of their visually striking characteristics are their eyes and fur. 3D Art & Design 85


Photorealism

Lay the foundations Pre-visualise fur in order to get quick feedback

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Begin your pre-vis Often you are required to give quick feedback to your client or to make sure you’re on the right track, which means visualising how the work, in this case the fur, is roughly going to look. Before the introduction of FiberMesh, there was no easy way of going about this. For example, completing this phase directly with Shave and a Haircut could definitely take a lot more time and was prone to errors. Now you can quickly apply some fur with FiberMesh, groom it and render it through BPR to evaluate its different aspects.

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Optimise FiberMesh In situations where there are multiple fur types or sections on

a character, there are essentially two ways of organising FiberMesh elements to separate them. The first method is to make polygroups on your sculpt for certain regions that have different types of fur and then, when the FiberMesh is created, the fibres actually respect the polygroups, so you can further manipulate them separately. The second method is just making the FiberMesh sections one by one, which may not be as fast as the previous method but enables you to focus better on certain areas.

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Start generating fibres Based on the outlines we came up with in Step 5, we can go

over the model and mask each region in turn to grow fibres from. Usually, on the FiberMesh Modifiers tab, it’s best to zero out any sort of randomisation at the start to avoid an unwanted result and to build up the look manually. Since we’re still on the prototyping stage, the idea is to work as fast as possible without worrying too much about details. After accepting each of the FiberMesh sections, we can groom them with GroomHairLong. Although the fur isn’t actually long, this brush is perfect because it enables more control along each strand’s length.

86 3D Art & Design

Groom the fibres into a pattern While grooming the fur in this stage, the most important factors you need to be aware of are the direction of the fur, its coverage (thickness), the length and the density covering a given region. These key factors will really help you sell the piece to the client. The Groom brushes, such as GroomHairLong and GroomHairLengthen, handle the direction and length, while density and coverage should be taken into account in the FiberMesh Modifiers tab. GroomHairLengthen is pretty much a Move brush, so you can use this brush to manipulate the hairs or make them longer as desired.


Hair and fur 08

Prepare the mesh After you’re finished creating all FiberMesh elements, proceed to

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Move to the texturing stage At this point you can begin building up the textures.

make a series of adjustments on the sculpt to make the head read better, then retopologise it with the ever-useful ZRemesher by holding Opt/Alt to preserve asymmetry. This step could have been completed sooner in the process, but due to a high probability of model changes in the prototyping stage, it’s much better to complete it at this step. Please note that you can simply skip this step if you are following the tutorial using the tiger ZTL file provided.

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Most of the time it’s good to paint textures in a 3D texture-painting application, such as MARI or BodyPaint, in conjunction with Photoshop. Send 2 subdiv levels of the tiger head, both low and high, to MARI (or your program of choice). Work on the low level to block out the colouring and switch to a higher level of subdivision to work in the finer details. All the textures here were hand painted in layers, leaving enough freedom in case of a texture alteration. 09

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MARI performance tips If you are experiencing any lag or difficulties when working with MARI, try decreasing the Frame Buffer size. Moreover, in normal texture painting you don’t really need to paint in 16- or 32-bit buffers, so try switching to a lower Depth Buffer in order to free more resources on your graphic card. Caching layers have a red sign that indicates they are static and not in use any more. You can always un-cache them later in case you need them.

Volume illusion

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If you are working on a furry creature based on reference images, always be mindful of the volume and shape of what you are sculpting. For example, if you match your sculpt completely to a reference image on the silhouette and later decide to add fur to it, you will most probably get incorrect results. This is because you’re adding another layer of silhouette on top of the character, making it look fuller. Sometimes you might be able to cope with this later by an overall negative inflation. 3D Art & Design 87


Photorealism

Further refine the fur Make FiberMesh ready for Shave and a Haircut

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Continue building FiberMesh elements The second version of FiberMesh regions can be created with Shave and a Haircut in mind. Here the accurate appearance of the fibres is imperative. In contrast to the previous type of fur, here we want to exhibit less density and use more precise grooming. For the previous version of fur, most of the time was spent in the FiberMesh Modifiers tab, whereas here the time is spent on grooming. The guideline for this round is still the Step 5 figure, with perhaps some minor alterations after the prototyping stage.

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Layer the fibres Some areas on the tiger fur have a

layered FiberMesh set up for higher fidelity in the look development, as well as to have Shave work as expected. Without this, Shave doesn’t really know how distinct the two fur types should be, resulting in a uniform interpolation between the strands. An example of this layered style took place on the tiger chin – one layer with a dense, short FiberMesh and one with less-dense and longer elements.

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Adjust the grooming brushes As you are grooming the fibres while some other objects are visible in ZBrush, you might have noticed the fibres do not fully respect your brush movements and end up with a scraggly look. This is because grooming brushes have the Front Collision attribute active by default. To disable this, go to the Brush palette>FiberMesh and zero out Front Collision Tolerance. This slider keeps away the fibres to penetrate into the object’s surface. In fact, Preserve Length in this tab tells ZBrush to treat any mesh the way a FiberMesh is treated, provided that it is enabled on a brush.

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Shave and a Haircut tools S&H offers a bunch of brushes to comb the hair, but here the only brushes I used were Translate, Scale and, where the strand moved inside the geometry, Stand. Aside from the brushes, the Shave selections came in handy when I wanted to accurately comb the fur, by switching to Component mode, clicking on a selection mode and manipulating the guides one by one or as a chunk. Still, a major drawback of S&H is the limited Undo feature. As such, if you plan to do a major combing, save your scene!

88 3D Art & Design

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Hair and fur

Fit the pieces together Prepare the tiger fur ready for rendering

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Set up the scene in Maya Now send all the parts to

Maya to prepare them for rendering and export out all the FiberMesh elements to serve as guide curves for Shave. In order to convert the fibres to curves, you can use this script: tinyurl.com/TDAHairAndFurScript. This is why the second version of FiberMesh elements were quite sparse. For each section of the fur, extract a root geometry from the low-res head, grow Shave out of it, then comb the Shave with the curves created out of each corresponding FiberMesh. Additionally, you can make Control maps, such as Density, to further refine the Shave nodes.

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Add whiskers Regarding the whiskers, you can totally rely on FiberMesh from the start. Toggle the Brush Size to Dynamic mode, move to the highest subdiv level and begin masking strong little dots on the places you want the whiskers to grow out of. Next, preview them and, back in the Modifiers tab, tune it in a way that only one strand per dot grows. Afterwards, give them a Profile of 6 and Segment of 10 because we’re going to render them directly and not convert them to guide curves. To finish this step, groom and export these elements to Maya.

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Yasin Hasanian Yasin was born in Iran in 1990. He has had a great passion for both the art and science behind CG since he was 14 years old. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and has been working as a freelance CG artist in the industry for over five years. Yasin has created work for major clients, but he still wishes to one day land a job at a big studio.

Miss Mutation Maya, ZBrush, mental ray, Photoshop (2011)

Say Cheese to the World Maya, ZBrush, Shave and a Haircut, mental ray, Photoshop (2010)

Maya was used for the base mesh and scene setup, ZBrush for sculpting and Photoshop for texturing.

Sculpting and most of the textures were made and hand-painted using just the mouse.

3D Art & Design 89


Photorealism

Render and post work Modify your shaders and set up the final render in Arnold

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Set up the shaders Here the Arnold aiHair shader was used for the fur. The same colour texture that was painted in MARI was assigned to both the Root and Tip slots, however, each was controlled with Remap HSV nodes. Set the Ambient Diffuse to 1 so that the shader takes the lighting direction into account. Although the physical range for Indirect Diffuse is from 0 to 1, a value of 2 has been used here for artistic purposes. Only the primary specularity was used with low Strength and Glossiness to maintain the shader’s energy.

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Begin the render There’s only one Skydome light in the scene with an enhanced HDRI texture, meaning both the Diffuse and Reflection were altered. All the Shave nodes had a Min Pixel Width of 0.3, with the default Arnold Transparency Depth of 10, which is enough to provide a soft look in certain areas. A stand-in of the high-res tiger head with pre- and post-render scripts was used to get switched with the low-res version for rendering, which saved time by skipping the displacement tessellation process.

Arnold and fur rendering

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Arnold is an amazing renderer that’s optimised and powerful. Arnold works well with fur/hair and its IPR even supports node initialisation. For example, you can simply launch IPR and create your shaders, assign them to Shave, tweak them and it just renders it simultaneously. To control fur rendering artefacts, you can either decrease them by increasing the AA samples or Min Pixel Width. However, increasing MPW too much increases render time, as the renderer has to shoot more transparency rays.

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90 3D Art & Design


Artist info

Gallery

Set Visions Imaging Studios

This image was created in 3ds Max, then lit and rendered in V-Ray. It was then taken into Photoshop for basic post-production with combined vignette, are effects and creative depth of ďŹ eld to add some atmosphere Set Visions Imaging Studios Photorealistic CGI, 2013

Set Visions produces photorealistic CGI under the exclusive brand PIX Personal portfolio site www.setvisionspix.co.uk Country UK Software used 3ds Max, V-Ray, Photoshop

3D Art & Design 91


Photorealism

Bring still-life objects to life Afternoon Siesta 2013

Construct a realistic still-life scene using photorealistic techniques and the careful study of light and shade Sofian Moumene works as a lead CG artist at Carioca Studio in Bucharest, Romania

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92 3D Art & Design


Still life

Artist info

Easy-to-follow guides take you from concept to the final render

T

he purpose of this tutorial is to create a photorealistic still life scene from scratch. We’ll start with modelling the various organic and non-organic objects and then move on to building detailed shaders. We’ll be using 3ds Max for the base modelling and ZBrush for detailing and texturing. Marvelous Designer will also have a role in simulating the drape in the scene, and finally Photoshop will be used for some post-production touches. We’ll be using ZBrush’s Spotlight to texture the various fruit in the scene, which is a great tool for eliminating any troublesome UV seams.

Sofian Moumene

Concept

Personal portfolio site www.sofianmoumene.com Country Romania Software used 3ds Max, V-Ray, Marvelous Designer, Photoshop Expertise 3D and advertising illustration for a variety of commercial projects

For this project I wanted to illustrate a feeling of relaxation and warmth – something that you get on a vacation or a long, lazy afternoon.

3D Art & Design 93


Photorealism

Sketch out your composition Organise your essential starting materials

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Search for reference images

You can use Google to find free images, or Shutterstock for high-res and high-quality photographs. These will aid you when it comes to detailing the shaders as accurately as possible. This is an important step as you need to be clear about the direction for the materials you’re using, as well as the overall design of your assets.

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Complete rough sketches With all reference images gathered, a clearer image of the whole scene should start to take shape in your mind. You can then start to make some very rough sketches in Photoshop based on your early ideas. Also try making some basic shapes in 3ds Max and quickly arrange them to figure out the composition. This is also the step where you can create your camera and decide on the viewing angle. Of course, many things will likely end up different in your final render, but this stage will still help you to establish some broad, foundational ideas.

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The Marvelous Designer drape The drape you see here was simulated in Marvelous Designer, which is great for creating different types of cloth. I exported the objects that I knew would interact with the drape from 3ds Max in DAE format. This included the background wall, the table and the ceramic wine pot. Next I created a rectangular sheet of cloth in Marvelous Designer, at 200 x 80cm. I clicked on the red Sync button to synchronise the 2D viewport with the 3D one. This way, if I modified something in 2D it would be visible in the 3D version as well. I went to Environment>Gizmo>World Co-ordinates Gizmo in the top toolbar to change the object axis in a more controllable mode. Next I moved the cloth above the imported objects and pushed the Simulate button to see the cloth falling on the objects. I started pulling and arranging the cloth as I wanted in order to get a pleasant shape, then selected the cloth and lowered the value for Particle Distance from the right-side Properties menu to get a more detailed mesh for the cloth. I exported the resulting mesh as an OBJ and imported it in ZBrush to retopologise it with the QRemesher, because the mesh from Marvelous Designer had jagged edges. I quickly applied QRemesher with the Same option ticked so I got a similar number of polygons after the remeshing. I also made a UV with UV Master and exported the mesh in 3ds Max.

Start modelling Use a variety of tools to model objects

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Work on the room Use real-world scale for the

whole scene and build just two walls – one in the front to form the background of the still-life subject and the one on the left, where you can also put a small window to use as the main light source. The floor isn’t visible in the final image, but it’s important to include it to obtain more natural light bounces.

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Shape the wicker basket For this element, start by creating a cylinder (Radius: 18cm, 24 sides and 5 segments). Add an editable poly, select the vertical edge loops, as well as one horizontal edge loop, and convert them into splines. Make a shape as the cross-section of the wicker strand and use the splines you just added as a path with Loft active (Create>Compound>Objects>Loft) to define the volume of the wicker. Make another copy, vary both the wicker strands and then clone them to create the walls of the wicker basket and the bottom part. Select the walls and the bottom region and apply an FFD (2x2x2) modifier to give them a conical shape. You can create the basket’s handles by adding a Twist modifier to three splines, then a Bend modifier. Finally, edit these with and Edit Spline modifier to fit the rest of the wicker basket.


Still life 05 05

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Make the figs For the figs you should use the references you gathered in step one, paying close attention to them as you model. Start drawing the contour on the reference image with the Line tool and use the Lathe option to convert it into a 3D shape. Next, apply an Edit Poly to refine the shape and make two versions of the fig – one cut in half and one whole. After this step is done, just grab the unwrapped UVs and export them as OBJs to ZBrush to create the tiny details. These can be used later back in 3ds Max as Displacement maps. In ZBrush you can use the Spotlight tool to project a photo of half a fig on the 3D model and then apply the Mask by Intensity option from the Masking dropdown menu. To finish this step, grab the Inflate brush, paint the unmasked areas of the fig and replicate all the details from the reference. Clear the mask and sculpt in some extra details where needed.

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Add the pear To model the pear, you can use the same workflow as for the figs: first

drawing half of the pear in 3ds Max with the Line tool, then applying the Lathe option to convert it into a 3D shape. Again, you can refine the fruit’s shape with an Edit Poly modifier and at the end make it into a UV. In ZBrush, paint the textures (which can also be used for the shading process) and then use the masking tools in ZBrush to achieve the finer details and shape. 07

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Bring in the plates and cutlery To model these

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Create the grapes Modelling the grapes is more

objects you can apply basic techniques with the Knife tool, using an Edit Poly to model the rough shape, then importing it into ZBrush. Add the details such as little bumps and scratches, as well as the decorative patterns from a vector pattern (made in Illustrator, for instance). For the plate, you can apply the same process, sculpting in the details by hand. For the cup, grab the Line tool to draw the outline and then use Lathe and Edit Poly to refine the shape a little. Find some decorative vector patterns from Shutterstock that you like and then paint the UVs in Photoshop to get a Displacement map.

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complex due to the amount of objects. First block out the shape of the cluster of grapes by making a sphere and cloning it out as instances, so when you modify one, the change applies to all of them at once. Once you get a shape you like, add a Noise modifier with very subtle intensity and a Squeeze modifier to stretch the spheres a little. You can also start to make the leaves from a photograph. There are different approaches to this, with the simpler method being to use an Alpha map of the leaf and texturing a plane with the Noise modifier. However, as this is a relatively close-up shot you need to really convey the thickness of the leaf. So, draw the outline of the leaf with the Line tool in 3ds Max and then apply an Edit Poly modifier. You can also insert a Subdivide modifier to increase the poly count without encountering any of the problems that TurboSmooth causes when you use it with an uneven poly flow.

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Modelling with layers One of the reasons I love 3ds Max is because I can model almost anything using modifiers as layers. I always keep as many of the modifiers as I can use without collapsing them to editable polys. This way I have access to the layered history of the steps I used to reach a certain shape. Of course, it’s not great to have too many modifiers in the stack, because you can end up using too much RAM, but keeping the vital ones can be a great help.

Finish the grapes element Next, apply the Shell and TurboSmooth modifiers, as well as the Bend and Noise modifiers to add more details. Next, model the stems by drawing them with the Line tool in 3ds Max and giving them a slight amount of thickness. Export the mesh to ZBrush and use DynaMesh to make it into a single continuous mesh. Sculpt all the details you wish and create the UVs with UV Master. Export it back to 3ds Max.

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Model the glass and ceramic wine canister

For this, you’ll once again need to use the Line tool for the outlining, along with the Lathe modifier. Add another Edit Poly modifier to model the handle and the neck of the canister. Apply the TurboSmooth and Noise modifiers to add some small imperfections to the glass. For the ceramic canister, use the same method but at the end add a Displacement map to mimic the horizontal marks left on the clay. 3D Art & Design 95


Photorealism

Light the scene Experiment with HDRIs and settings

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Lighting test It’s a good idea to complete some different experiments with various HDRIs for the reflections and lighting. As we know that the main light source is coming from the little window in the upper-left corner that was made during the modelling process, we just have to find the right HDRI for the reflections.

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Define the light sources Try to avoid filling the scene with lights and use as few light sources in the scene as you can. In this example, only two V-Ray Dome lights coupled with an HDRI and a V-Ray rectangular light have been used. When you’ve decided on which HDRI to insert, just create a V-Ray light source and select the Dome type, load the slot with the chosen HDRI and then experiment with the Intensity multiplier. As we don’t need the light from the HDRI, just the reflections, we can deselect Affect Diffuse from the option’s rollout. Now move to the exterior of the room, just outside of the small window on the left of the scene, and try making a plane-type V-Ray light as the main light source. Experiment a little with the position and intensity to quickly find a satisfying result that looks natural.

Create drops with MultiScatter Later, near the end of the creation process, I decided to make the fruits a little wet to give them a more lifelike appearance. To do this I simply used the MultiScatter plug-in for 3ds Max to scatter some water droplets on the fruits in the basket. I first modelled a few simple drop shapes, using some photos I found on Google, then I used four MultiScatter objects to distribute them on the various fruits.

Texture and shade Use ZBrush’s powerful texturing tools

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Texture the figs and pears This is the first stage where we’ll take advantage of ZBrush’s Spotlight tool for texturing. First download some high-res photos of cut-in-half figs and whole figs, then start projecting with Spotlight onto the 3D model. Here the 3D fig model was subdivided into around three-million polys to obtain a crisp texture, because the resolution of the PolyPaint depended on the number of polygons. The best part of the Spotlight feature for texturing is that you don’t have to worry about the seams. Next, transfer PolyPaint to the texture by going to the Texture Map rollout and using New from the PolyPaint option. You can texture the pear using a similar process. The shader for the cut-in-half fig here was VraySSS2 along with the potato preset, because it’s close to the result we want to achieve once the scale has been altered. For the pear, a simple VrayMtl was added with the Translucency set to Hard Wax, with some Bump and Translucency maps made from the Diffuse map in ZBrush. 13

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Still life 14

Make the grape shader To create the shader for the grapes, you can simply apply a V-Ray Blend material and combine it with two VRayMtls. The first layer you can see here was matte, opaque and with a lighter colour. The second layer has a more glossy and translucent finish. Try mixing this with a dust-like texture map, which you can download from Shutterstock, or another resource site.

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Build the shader for the glass container To finish the glass container, first make a

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Finish with a metal shader Make one version of a metal shader and then modify it

simple glass material. Here a VRayMtl was used with a little greenish fog (Fog Multiplier = 0.15) and for the dusty effect another dust texture was loaded into the Refract slot with a value of 20. You can also add a Bump texture to obtain some finer details, enhancing the imperfections of the glass. The ceramic canister material can be achieved by creating another VrayMtl and setting the Diffuse and Fog colours to reddish hues, with the Fog Multiplier set to 0.1.

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according to each object (plate, cup, knife). Extract lots of ambient occlusion and Cavity maps from ZBrush using the Multimap Exporter, then use these to blend the different materials with the help of a V-Ray Blend material to create the dirt in the small details on the plate and knife. Try mixing several textures in a Composite map to finish the cup. 15

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Work in reverse In my opinion the best way to learn something is to reverse-engineer it. Supplied with this book you have the full scene at your disposal, so study the shaders, textures and the models. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me. 3D Art & Design 97


Environment The range of environments that can be created in 3D is vast, and waiting to be explored 100 Build a city in 60 minutes Create massive 3D urban environments for your 3D productions

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106 Use modular textures Create a fast and efficient real-time environment using modular textures

112 Create a videogame environment Visualise a concept and bring the white box into higher-res models for pre-vis

118 Build matte paintings Look at how Vue can be used to create matte paintings for film or TV

124 Create underwater renders A scary diving moment involving a huge school of fish and a great white shark

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Gallery Seedy City by Zhang Chen

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118 3D Art & Design 99


Environment

Artist info

Easy-to-follow guides take you from concept to the final render

Brooks Patrick Username: bwpatrick Personal portfolio site www.facebook.com/cityengine Country USA Software used Esri CityEngine Expertise Specialist in the modelling of urban environments for planning and urban design

Build a city in 60 minutes CityEngine Sci-Fi City 2013

Learn how to easily create massive 3D urban environments for your 3D productions Brooks Patrick is a 3D solutions engineer at Esri

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or those who haven’t been introduced, CityEngine is a standalone software product that provides professional users in architecture, urban planning, entertainment, GIS and general 3D content-creation with a unique conceptual design and modelling solution for creating 3D cities. Esri CityEngine is the tool of choice for the creation of massive 3D city models for movies, TV and games. CityEngine’s procedural tools have

been successfully used in movies such as Cars 2, Total Recall and Man of Steel. Matthias Buehler from the CityEngine development team explains that creating realistic 3D models has been a notoriously labourintensive process, typically involving teams of set designers and multiple specialised software programs. Think of the all the tedious work invested in movies to model cities such as London, Paris, Tokyo or New York, making several

hundred-thousand housing units by hand! CityEngine’s procedural nature gives you the power to literally make infinite building variations, with full control over all the parameters of each building, including the level of detail. Once your 3D city model is complete, you can export to your 3D package or game engine of choice, using one of many industry-standard file formats. We make sure that with our technology, you can work in a fast and cost-effective way.

Get to know CityEngine Create massive cities in minutes

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Dynamic city layouts This guide provides an introduction to those new to CityEngine. First you will need to download your free 30-day CityEngine trial: (www.esri. com/cityengine), which gives you the fully functional CityEngine Advanced Version, with full export capabilities, that runs on Windows, Mac OSX and Linux. CityEngine ships with the comprehensive City Wizard, which will walk you through the process of creating your first procedural city. Once you become familiar with the controls, it’s easy to lose yourself in the possibilities of city generation. CityEngine offers a library of example projects that will help you on your way, ranging from New York City 2259, to historical examples of a medieval city, or even an archaeological reconstruction of Pompeii.

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Master the city tools

Get to grips with procedural modelling

When it comes to procedural modelling, rules offer unlimited possibilities to drive the process and rapidly generate massive cityscapes. These rules are defined in CityEngine’s proprietary CGA Shape Grammar, enabling the creation of complex building forms. You can edit and refine the CGA code as needed. The generic nature of CGA provides enough room for a wide variety of designs. Continuous detailing of code fragments will give you the true advantage of procedural modelling – complete freedom of the full city layout, parallel to a guaranteed high-quality mesh.

100 3D O 3DArtist Art & Design

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CityEngine is a powerful product that can build amazing cityscapes. Digging into any new software can be tricky at first, however, the more you use it, the easier the functionality becomes. The CityEngine Resource Center is a great place to start as you take on the learning curve and get used to the application. There are example cities, tutorial videos and data templates available, which will help you to better understand and use the software.


Build a city

Tutorial screenshots of the various settings used

3D Art & Design 101


Environment

Generate a city Set up your first procedural scene with the City Wizard

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Get started When you open CityEngine for the first time, you will be prompted with the Welcome Wizard. This dialog will let you configure 3D navigation settings and gain an overview of the learning and support resources. You will also be asked to download example projects, so simply click to start the download. We’ll be using these again later on in the process.

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Procedural modelling and GIS CityEngine is not only capable of creating realistic urban designs entirely within the tool, but also based on imported real-world GIS datasets. Try generating a few cities using the City Wizard, and for those who want to dive in, download and open some of the example cities from the CityEngine Resource Center or import real-world GIS data from a city near you.

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City Wizard This part of the Welcome Wizard will support you in the creation of your first 3D city model. You will first want to name your city and specify its size (small, medium or huge) depending on what machine you are running. You will then be asked to name your first scene and specify the terrain settings, but let’s keep these terrain defaults for now. Next, you need to choose a street pattern to automatically grow your city. Since this tutorial’s theme is how to generate a sci-fi city, let’s choose the Spiral pattern.

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Choose your city style The final step of the City Wizard will prompt you with a choice between four different CGA rule sets that will drive the procedural creation of your city model. Choose the Textured City style and click Finish. The Wizard will now generate your city automatically.

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Essential skills It may take a couple of seconds for

CityEngine to generate your city, but you can monitor this process as well as your computer’s memory allocation in the bottom-right corner of the layout. For more information on getting started, you can view Tutorial 01: Essential Skills, which can be found on the CityEngine Resource Center.

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Explore the city Rule parameters

The initial buildings vary in height and structure type, but can be set specifically by selecting one or multiple buildings and altering an attribute in the Inspector. Select one building, frame it (F key) and change its Height parameter in the Inspector window. You can do this to any building across the terrain and find the specific look that you are aiming for.

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Build a city

Concept The procedural methodology enables your city models to remain exible throughout the whole production process, giving you the option to even separate tasks among different artists (layout, mass modelling, façade, roof library creation and so on). 3D Art & Design 103


Environment

Refine your sci-fi metropolis Assign rules and develop a futuristic theme 08

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Open the example NYC 2259 Remember those example projects you chose to

download in the Welcome Wizard? Now it’s time to assign rules from the sci-fi project named ‘Example_NYC2259_2012’ in the city we just created. If you missed downloading the example during the Wizard, you can access it (as well as many others) from the example gallery on the CityEngine Resource Center. Once you have downloaded the example, you can begin importing the project (File>Import>Project>Existing Projects into Workspace). The example will appear in the form of an archive file, so choose this option and select the file from your download location. You can now click Finish.

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Assign some sci-fi rules Once you have imported the Example_NYC2259_2012 project folder, it should be visible in the Navigator, which is located by default on the left side of the CityEngine interface. Expand this project folder and locate the Rules folder to see all of the rules associated with this example. Select some Lot shapes of one block in the viewport, then just drag and drop the buildings.cga rule onto the parcels. If needed, toggle the Model Visibility switch at the top of the viewport (or hit F12) to better see the parcel and street shapes. 09

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Adjust the sci-fi building height When the new rule is assigned, the model will automatically regenerate those typical buildings as sci-fi structures, but you may need to adjust their height. This can be achieved using the same process from Step 7 – by selecting a building and altering the parameters of choice in the Inspector. You will also notice that this specific rule has different attributes than the Textured City rule set, including the ability to adjust the level of detail for a higher polygon count.

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Build a city

Add extra elements Include futuristic flying cars and export your city

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Populate the city with flying cars Now that we have applied the new building rule, it’s time to populate the scene with flying cars. Select a few street shapes, then drag-and-drop the flyingCars.cga rule onto them. Flying cars will now start to appear in the scene, making it seem much more vibrant and appealing.

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1hour

creation time Resolution: 4,000 x 3,200

Export your 3D city model In the previous steps

you have learned how to assign rules to procedurally model a city, even in a variety of predefined city themes. Now you can save an image snapshot directly out of CityEngine by clicking the star (Bookmarks menu) in the top-right of the viewport. CityEngine is also able to export to traditional 3D formats – including KML, COLLADA, OBJ, 3DS, DXF and Autodesk – making it easy to bring the model into your preferred rendering software. Select your area of interest and go to File>Export Models.

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Bring more detail A very useful attribute in this sci-fi rule is the Level of Detail setting, which can be assigned per-generated model. This ensures that larger sci-fi cities can continue to generate on computers that don’t necessarily have a lot of RAM, or that almost invisible details are not even generated on buildings located far in the distance. This saves a lot of precious space and optimises your scene.

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3D Art & Design 105


Environment

Use modular textures

The Watchtower 2013

Artist info

Easy-to-follow guides take you from concept to the final render

Tor Frick Personal portfolio site www.torfrick.com Country Sweden Software used MODO, Photoshop, UDK Expertise 3D generalist, with a focus on hard-surface modelling and environments

Create a fast and efficient real-time environment using modular textures Tor Frick is a 3D generalist, working with everything from characters and environments to shaders and pipeline design

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ver the following pages I’ll showcase my workflow for developing a modular environment. First I’ll go through the basics, such as blocking out the environment, analysing what to build and how, and how to design and create modular textures. I’m using MODO and UDK here, but the workflows aren’t application-specific. I will also briefly show how my modelling pipeline looks, both for modular textures as well as high-poly objects. Later I will discuss how to assemble the various elements, finalise the scene, and how to use shaders and detail meshes to mask the modular nature of the scene. The end result is a scene that is easy to create and can be readily expanded upon.

What is a modular texture? A modular texture is a texture consisting of several different elements and shapes, which can be combined together and reused for a number of different assets. Modular textures are most commonly used for sets of environment assets that do not require custom detail, but still need more structure than a tiling texture, such as architectural elements. The more variety you can create with a modular texture the more powerful it is. They are most commonly used in real-time game development.

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Modular textures

Build the blockout ěũũũ3.6#1ũ22#3ũ ũăũ+# ěũũũ2#+#!3(.-ũ.$ũ,."4+1ũ 3#7341#2ũ$.1ũ8.41ũ/1.)#!3 ěũũ43.1(+ũ2!1##-2'.32

Block it out and break it down

01

Start with a basic shape I start by blocking out the rough, basic shapes of the model.

There is quite a lot of iteration required on these main shapes until I get something that I think will read well. Once I have the main shapes locked down I do a blockout of some of the mid-sized shapes to see what kinds of details I’ll need, such as the antenna and entranceway. At this stage it’s also a good idea to get a mental picture of what will be needed from the textures, as it really helps to plan ahead when producing a modular asset like this.

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Analyse what’s needed in modular textures

Some of the materials have a clear separation, such as the concrete foundation, which is an isolated part, so having the concrete all by itself will work fine. For the metal surfaces it’s a bit harder. The trick is to distribute the details and features correctly between the textures, so that you can get as much as possible out of them. The metal plates for the shell are also easy to separate into their own texture. Here I’ll divide the rest of the metal into two textures, one for metal plating and one for trims and details. The details will be baked down from high-poly to low-poly, but since I will be using them with a modular texture, I’ll put them on the same sheet.

Divide modular and unique areas

With the blockout of the model complete, I visualise what materials I’ll be using and which need to be unique. For the base of the tower I want to use concrete, while the rest is metal. The majority of the tower will be easy to create with metal trims and plates, but some of the more complex areas will benefit from unique textures, such as the antenna and the rounded shapes, as well as the door for the entrance. I colour-code the segments in the blockout for an easy overview.

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Quick hard-surface sculpting In order to make the textures pop a bit more, without introducing too many additional steps in my pipeline, I use MODO’s sculpting tools to add basic detail sculpting on the hardsurface textures. They don’t offer the same power as ZBrush or 3D-Coat, but since the tools are non-destructive and work on top of your Sub-D mesh, they’re great for a quick damage pass. I use it a lot for features such as complex machinery, where you don’t want to bring the whole thing over to a sculpting app but still want to achieve a slightly worn surface. 3D Art & Design 107


Environment

Create the main tower Construct the various elements and assemble in UDK

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Work on the modular textures For every modular texture, I make sure that I have all the areas I need covered by that texture and lay it out efficiently. For the concrete I just divide it up into different square pieces that will work with most shapes. The same goes for the metal plates. For the hull I make sure that I fit a small trim in for the side profile of the plates. It’s important to tile the trim/detail texture efficiently, since trims tend to be quite long. It’s also a good idea to reserve some extra space in case you feel you need to include additional detail later on. 04

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Texture the unique pieces The textures for the unique elements are basic, so I keep them relatively clean, since I’m adding extra paint and rust in the shader. I want a uniform and generic metal to be then mirrored and reused, so I use the same template for all the unique textures. I mostly add some small text and decals and add the texture as a base for an overlay normal on top of the baked one.

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Map the modular textures When creating a modular environment, a lot of the time will be spent making UVs. I try to save as much time as possible. For instance I might unwrap one of the plates first, then as I copy them out to create the hull I’ll shift the UVs around so that I get good usage out of the texture. The same goes for circular shapes. I unwrap one circle first and cut that into pieces, so all the UVs are almost finished from the start.

Assemble the tower Now I assemble the main

tower in pieces per material, instead of one object with multiple materials, so that it will be faster to update the individual parts without breaking the rest. Additional small parts that can be used several times are added as separate objects, so I can reuse them with greater ease and give them unique shaders.

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The main reason for including discrete, unique elements is they should be areas that can’t be made quite so well with modular textures. As such I make sure I use shapes and details that require custom textures. I use a lot of floaters when I build high-polys and even try to get away with as little subdivision modelling as I can. I mirror all the unique stuff as aggressively as possible, since I plan to cover that with vertex painting later, saving both time and texture space.

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Start building unique elements

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Modular textures

Showcase

Artist Tor Frick

I am 28-year-old 3D artist, currently residing in Uppsala, Sweden. I am a 3D generalist, as there is no single aspect of making 3D that I enjoy more than the other, which is why I have chosen to do a bit of everything.

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Make the shaders I opt for the relatively expensive shaders, going for looks and speed

more than pure performance. For all the metal, I go with a pretty complex vertex-blending material, where I can scrub off the paint and add rust with two separate channels. No specific blend masks are needed for this, I just use the Diffuse texture, since the ambient occlusion and rust in them work as a natural blend. The last thing to be added is a cracked Normal/Blend texture to make the paint-flaking more realistic. I also experiment with the parameters as much as I can so that the shader can be more controllable with instancing.

Baroque mansion, MODO, UDK, Photoshop (2013) Part of a real-time baroque mansion I made in UDK. The project started out as a really small baroque corner and then just exploded into an entire scene.

Modular Lab MODO, UDK, Photoshop (2011) This is a still shot from an experiment in modular textures, where I created an entire environment using only one or two 256 x 512 textures.

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Paint the tower Since all the materials are based on the same master shader, I can

easily tweak colours in real-time until I find something I’m happy with. After tweaking the colours I start using the vertex painting to scrape off paint in natural locations and add rust in areas where you might expect it. Make sure you paint all the mirrored surfaces to distinguish them as much as possible from one another. You can get away with a lot of very aggressive reuse of textures as long as you hide it with clever UVs and mask the different variants.

Modularity for speed Don’t be afraid to overuse modular textures. It’s better to use them too much and then replace the parts that don’t work with unique ones, rather than wasting effort building unique assets that later turn out to be a waste of time because they were not actually that important. Using modular textures is fast and the time you save enables you to give more attention the big picture and the parts that actually matter.

Datacore MODO, UDK, Photoshop (2011) This is a small environment I built using mainly modular textures in UDK. I wanted to go for a cleaner look. In total the scene uses 69,000 triangles.

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Environment

Add finer details Decals, vegetation and rock will add realism

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Add decals This scene is pretty sparse when it comes to decals, since the majority of the environment is organic. I’ll use two decals, one giant number for the tower and a simple rust decal, which can also be created using shaders if you’re willing to put in the work. Decals are a great way to bring in a sense of narrative to the environment, but in a practical sense they can also be used to cover up unnatural-looking surfaces or hide repetition.

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Build out the ground area For the next stage I can

use my blockout as a base and clean it up a bit, redoing the topology so I have an even distribution of polygons to help with the vertex-blending of the ground textures. Without a good topology it’s all too easy to end up with unnatural-looking blends if you’re not careful. For this reason I made a quick photo-based rock texture and one for the grass as well, which I can then blend between. The same texture can be used to create a cliff mesh and a couple of quick rocks. Since I’m applying the same texture this ensures that the transition between the rocks and the ground goes relatively unnoticed, which is essential for a believable outcome.

Can’t build it? Hide it! 11

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Very often there is one part of a model or a texture that I’m not really happy with and I don’t know how to fix it. Rather than dwelling on this and wasting a lot of time trying to find a way to make impossible shapes meet, I simply try to hide it from view. If you can take something that doesn’t look good and then save time by hiding it behind something you know already works, why not do it? In the world of game development it’s quite often the case that you will need to include things within a strict time limit, so everything that can free up more time for overall quality is great. Of course, if you have the time, feel free to do things the hard way.

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Include vegetation I want to enforce the feeling that the tower has been abandoned, so a bit of overgrowth always works. For this I’ll make two or three simple ivy meshes and add them to places where it would make sense for them to grow, such as crevices and surfaces where they could find some grip. I also built some very basic Alpha planes for grass and some dry weeds that can be used to further entrench the tower in the scene, as well as to fill in some of the transition areas between the rock and ground.

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Modular textures

Polish the scene Make the final tweaks and backdrop to the scene

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Use a simple lighting setup The lighting setup for this scene is very simple, as I only want to use a single dominant light for the Sun and then some basic spotlights to highlight some of the shapes and ivy clusters. In general, I feel that the larger the scene is, the less there is a requirement for attention to detail. This means I can focus more on the big picture, rather than spend a lot of time ensuring every single small asset really pops.

15

Add a backdrop When constructing the backdrop I make sure to have a separate window open at all times with a view of the shot of the tower. This way I can make certain that I work on the right elements and don’t get bogged down working on details that won’t even be seen in the final render. In this case I’ll reuse the same rocks that I used up-close and just rotate and scale them until I get the shapes I need. The only new asset I’ll make here is a simple sloped ground mesh, for covering larger pieces of ground. You can recycle the same tower a couple of times in the background, to give a greater sense of scale and distance.

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Move to post-production This scene is very light on effects and post-processing. I used colour correction to make the colours pop a bit more. The original plan was to have it more sombre and desaturated, but the saturated look works much better. All the clouds are created by making simple billboards with an Additive Cloud texture placed on them. 16

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With hindsight Taking a look at the scene afterwards, there are several things that I realise should have been done differently. For example, several of the elements of the unique assets could have either taken more advantage of the unique texture space, or have been converted to modular parts. Also, I could have either merged my two metal plate/trim textures, or extracted more unique parts out of them. Like I’ve previously mentioned, never be afraid to go too modular, you never know what it could do for your scene!

17

Final scene tweaks In this final stage I take a step

back from the scene and make final tweaks. I always do a few more passes than I think is needed. It’s easy to feel like you are done with something, but taking a few extra rounds of polish is almost always worth it. Here I added some more ivy meshes, tweaked the lighting a bit, and ironed out some of the rough edges on the rocks by adding more detailed meshes. 3D Art & Design 111


Environment

Artist info

Easy-to-follow guides take you from concept to the final render

Stefano Tsai Username: StefanoTsai Personal portfolio site www.stefanotsai.idv.tw Location UK Software used 3ds Max Expertise Speed modelling to quickly visualise ideas, particularly with regards to mechanical design

W

Create a videogame environment Engine room 2013

Use 3ds Max to quickly visualise a concept and bring the white box into higher-resolution models for pre-vis Stefano Tsai works for The Creative Assembly, SEGA as a senior artist

hen creating videogame environments, developers need to quickly take concept ideas and present them as 3D pre-visualisations to ensure they will work in the game. Here we’re going to show you how to quickly nail down such videogame environment ideas, from the concept through to the initial 3D pre-vis models. In the first steps we will show how to analyse the scene, then plan out what to model and how best to model it. Following this, we will

112 3D Art & Design

focus on modelling, forming the various assets and quickly presenting them effectively in the 3ds Max viewport. The final steps of the process will cover lighting in the viewport. 3ds Max’s viewport lighting and ambient occlusion support saves time and makes for a more efficient workflow. This is a straightforward stage for a 3D pre-vis artist, but also simple enough for a novice to understand. We’ll conclude with some ideas on how you can pitch your environment based on this design.


Videogame environment Concept ěũũ ũăũ+#2ũ$.1ũ#!'ũ23#/ũ .$ũ3#$-.Ħ2ũ/1.!#22

Here you can see a quick concept of an engine room. This room was built into the rock to give the inhabitants some natural protection. They used lasers to cut through the rock, then installed the reactor engine inside, which is why the walls are so flat.

3D Art & Design 113


Environment

Analyse the scene

Showcase

Artist

Apply colours and basic shapes

Stefano Tsai

Blocking out the key elements

I’m a concept designer and 3D artist. I have been working in the game and entertainment industries since 2001. Even though I have spent over ten years working within the CG arena, I still feel so excited about future projects. I am current working on a new alien IP at The Creative Assembly Ltd, SEGA.

01

01

Establish a design Don’t rush to building something straight away, just spend time talking to game designers to see what the original idea and story behind this level is. The most important thing is to find out which areas the player is going to interact with most. This could be with NPCs (non-playable characters), just the machines or even a computer’s monitor.

Corridor Study 3ds Max (2013) I used simple shapes and materials to form one section of corridor. This is the realistic version, as I tried to match the real world as much as possible.

02

At this stage we’re going to create the first blocking of the models and form all the key elements. With the first blocking models in, we can start to visualise the proper size and shape, then put them into the correct place. The most important thing for this stage is to keep things as simple as possible. We’ll only create the basic shapes so that people can instantly understand what their function is. For example, if at this stage I want a plumbing system, I won’t build gate valves, miniature valves, draincocks, jumpers, nuts, washers and so on. I’ll only model basic pipes using 3ds Max’s Spline tool and turn on Enable In Viewport from Rendering, then play around with the Radial setting.

02

Colour the white box Use different colours to aid with your thinking when separating the primary, secondary, path and background elements. The primary and secondary elements are key for the environment, so everything else should be built around and support them. Here we’ve used yellow as the primary elements, orange as the secondary and blue as the path for the players. This is the quickest way to understand the space of the environment and the relationships of its various components. 03

Corridor Study 3ds Max (2013) Here is another study of a mechanical corridor, but this time in a more steampunk style.

03 Car Study 3ds Max (2013) A study of a futuristic car’s front panel, here tested with two different tones.

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Clear up all the important spots for NPCs or story There’s nothing more important than understanding story and how players react with NPCs in the environment. It’s hugely beneficial to place these into the 3D scene so you can see all of their relationships with the space surrounding them. Here you can see we’ve put down all of the NPC locations, game save spots and medical kits, in order to figure out where the focal point for the scene will be. This information is going to really help when lighting later, as it can be used to lead players into the specific areas you want them to go.


Videogame environment

Add simple details Make the scene light and efficient. Don’t overcomplicate it

04

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Use primary elements There are many similar objects in the scene, so here we used an instance copy for those models to save time. For example, when you’ve finished one model, you can duplicate it multiple times in the scene. When you modify one model, you can see all of its children change at the same time. This is the easiest way to read their relationships with one another, as well as with the space around them. For this stage, it’s best to break the basic shapes and make them more compact. The key is to integrate all of the basic shapes you get into the scene, so people can’t tell that you’re using simple boxes and spheres.

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Build up the secondary elements Treat this stage as a chance to extend the

primary elements. Imagine that you’re the engineer and need to work out the way to connect these heavy-duty machines. You can pick a few features from the primary elements and then use the same language to put them together. This can be approached structure-wise or you can extend some support units. For example, if you have a big engine unit, you should have a generator and batteries to make the system work. After you’ve built all the elements you want, you can model the structure to support their weight and place them into the environment. Here we’ve used a steel hull to hold them all together.

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Build a pathway Focusing more on the actual gameplay for a moment, you need to ensure that the pathway is large enough for players to walk through. In contemporary games, this can mean two or three people walking through together. Normally this is wider if you compare it to a real-world scale. Here we can use the information taken from Step 3 to form the path through the engines. For creating these platforms, try using the Shell Modifier to minimise the work required. Don’t spend too much time on modelling every metal frame, simply model from a plane and let 3ds Max generate the thickness for you. You don’t need to do everything by hand, just find the easiest way to save time.

Choose a focal area This is a pre-vis scene, meaning you can’t include absolutely all of the details that you want. You only have limited time, so you have to pick certain elements that are most in need of further development, especially in the focal areas. Again, you need to keep it as simple as possible, while at the same time keeping all of the modifier stack, if you adjust the models. You can add another editable poly on the top of your stack list, as this way, if things go wrong, you can always go back to a previous step.

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Use the viewport lights to review Different colours and tones can tell a story all by themselves. For example, here bold yellows, reds and blues have been used for lighting. Place yellow Omni lights from the top and middle to light up the primary elements. Try to think about the real source of the lights. Here we can presume there are some lamp stands near the machines to help workers and strong lights from the ceiling to illuminate those ceiling machines. However, remember that if you show everything, you’re really showing nothing, so don’t be afraid of darkness. You need a contrast of lights. Here we’ve left some darkness between the main platform and the lower deck, then placed some red Omni lights. Red gives off a dangerous mood, as we want players to feel as though there’s something even more dangerous than mechanical machines down there. This is the best way to give players another layer that they can see and feel but can’t reach. Blue is often used because it has a more artificial feeling. This could make players feel as though there are computer monitors nearby. This hints to the player that there is a control room above this area, for instance, which could be their next destination. 3D Art & Design 115


Environment

Refine the environment Focus on the smaller points and evoke realism

08

Refine the background In this particular scene,

the engine room is sitting inside a bed of rock. To make this believable, we need to have real material on the surface, not just flat and box-like surfaces. Here we’ve used the Soft Selection options with an editable poly to quickly adjust the faces to look more like rock.

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Finish the blocking details With the viewport Omni lights and the background set up, we now need to finish blocking out our models. Here we’ve added some huge pillars along the rocky surface to establish some buffer between the rock and steel materials. This can be done after completing the first pass of lights, because it’s now clear where the darker areas are going to be and, even more importantly, where the player will be moving. We don’t need to put too much detail into the areas containing darkness, or spend time on something that the player can’t see or reach. Darkness can be a great tool in this regard. 10

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Develop the main reactor If you keep all of the basic shapes from the original cylinder, it will make the object very boring. As such, take the top area and open four doors for the cooling system’s pipes to release some hot air, but still keep the side of the cylinder simple, only adding some frames to make it a bit more heavy-duty. Keeping the middle surface clean is a big benefit later. You don’t want to overdo the models, as the clean space can be used for decals and textures.

11

Shape the turbine In the same vein as the previous step, you need to stick to the main shape of the object and develop around it. Here you should complete a bit of research on jet engines and select a few features to include in your design. Some turbine blades have been added along the surface, with some inset to provide depth for the objects.

116 3D Art & Design


Videogame environment

Use lighting effectively Add final details to the scene to make it come alive 12

12

Further detail and scale We have built a lot of large and impressive machinery here,

but this is potentially a bad thing, as the player may not feel as though they belong. The main reason for this is because they don’t have anything to interact with in the environment. You need to provide some small details to make players feel as if they’re part of the world; they need to feel they can interact with the environment and feel that the scene was built around a human being. You could include a computer monitor or lamps; anything that the player feels they can reach out and touch. This helps promote a sense of scale and sells the reality of the scene. 13

13

Make viewport lighting dramatic Drawing the scenery is just like using charcoal pencil, as you can wipe away some details for better balance. After bringing in more details for the models, we need to return to adjust the lights. Don’t be scared to add more contrast, because if you give the same value to everything, your final scene will be boring. Tweak the Omni lights to create a more exciting mood.

14

Insert decals Now follow the concept to add some neon lights to enrich the scene and bring more colour into it. Include more Omni lights around the big blue neon structures in the background to let its blue colours fade into the scene. The same goes for the yellow neon lights on the reactors, which help to bring in more of a sci-fi mood.

Play around and show opportunity to your lead Don’t forget to show multiple versions of your concept. You can easily drop another version of a reactor, a turbine generator or even play around with the composition of the elements. Most of the time your first version isn’t your best, so you’ll need to adjust it. It can make huge difference spending just another 30 minutes moving things around or changing their proportions. You don’t need to model your scene precisely. This process is more about putting down ideas and developing them with your lead than making the perfect models. It’s meant to be quick and rough; more like a pencil sketch than the final inking.

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Post-production in Photoshop 3ds Max currently

can’t handle visual effects in the viewport, so for these you’ll have to use a script to grab a high-resolution screenshot. You can then bring this into Photoshop to add some further details such as smoke, volume light and other small details. These are the final touches for the scene and can bring the image a bit closer to the final look, as well as help sell the mood. If possible, you can normally use another angle to give a team leader a little more perspective.

15

8 hours creation time Resolution: 6,000 x 3,840

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Environment

Artist info

Easy-to-follow guides take you from concept to the final render

Dark Hoffman Personal portfolio site www.darkgrafix.com Location USA Software used Vue Infinite, Photoshop Expertise Concept art, designing props, environments, matte paintings

118 3D Art & Design

Build matte paintings Neverland 2013 Here we will look at how Vue and its various options can be used to create matte paintings for film or TV Dark Hoffman has been a digital matte painter in the film and commercial industries for over a decade


Matte paintings Concept ěũũ43.1(+ũ2!1##-2'.32

The image of Neverland is an iconic one used in film, television and on the stage. The purpose of this exercise is to create a look for the island that can be used as a matte painting for a blockbuster or a TV series. First we will create the look of the island in Vue and then take it into Photoshop for postproduction work.

I

’ve used all different types of software for my digital matte paintings, but Vue is the go-to program that I use when I can’t find the right landscape, mountains, skies or foliage. In the following steps I will explain how I use Vue for matte painting projects in the film and commercial industries. I’ll reveal how to create terrains, a calm ocean and an extended landscape including Metablobs. The outcome could be used as an establishing shot of an island to show where the next scene takes place. Usually these are pretty shots. As such, after the scene is rendered fully in Vue, I will take it into Photoshop CS6 and tweak the colour, make a Levels adjustment and add any small finishing touches to make it ready for the final shot.

3D Art & Design 119


Environment

Design the layout Establish the broad shapes of the new island

01

Create a new world The first thing that is needed to create an environment is an idea. Usually the production designer gives the art team the proper artwork to show what the world looks like. Colour, layout and a theme are very important to start a matte painting. Also we are normally given a plate or a frame of the film to start with, but sometimes we have to start from scratch, which is what we will be doing here in Vue. We’ll lay in terrains from the Vue Library and edit them so they represent islands and mountains.

01

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Find reference To make an impressive island you need to know what it looks like in terms of shape, texture and colour. You also need to decide what the look of the environment is, which includes atmosphere, time of day and where the ice will be placed in the scene. In our case, the script calls for ‘an overall aerial view of Neverland as we fly towards it through the clouds. It’s a tropical-looking island with coves, waterfalls and a snow-covered mountain in the centre. Captain Hook’s ship sits silently in Cannibal Cove.’ We can start creating the terrains by bringing in set terrains from the Vue library. We will then start laying out the central mountain and background with the terrain tools.

03

Set up the building blocks To help with the render

time and to work with the scene in an easier fashion, we will open a default scene before we add an atmosphere. In our scene we’ll start by bringing in a simple procedural terrain.

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02


Matte paintings

Set the scene Unlock the beauty of Vue’s evolution

04

Work with Hyperblobs The next stage in the new version of Vue is building with Hyperblobs and Hyperterrains. You can stack these in any formation and any configuration of simple geometrical shapes and then simply select the Hyperblob tool. Pick the right Bump map and you have yourself a realistic-looking rock structure. Any material can be added for an even more photorealistic feel. You don’t have to follow this shape exactly to build the rocks, but make as close a match as you can.

05

Group the shapes With the structure of the rock

built, hit the Hyperblob button. This will group your shapes and create a blobby shape, one that looks closer to an actual rock shape. Double-click the Material Editor and hit the Bump tab. Select the ball and another box will open, which offers options relating to which Bump map you can use. Here we’ll use Complex Sedimentary Layers, although you can try all the options if you wish. With your Bump map applied, change the scale so the arch appears larger and closer to the scale we need.

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Shape the mountain Start adding terrain from the Terrain Library. When you’ve brought one into your scene, double-click the object and a new window will open where you can edit the terrain model. Click the left-hand buttons, jumping from dunes to mountains until you get a good shape. In the EcoSystem editor I also added three default plants – date palm (25% Presence) old eucalyptus tree (25% Presence) and a coconut tree (50% Presence).

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07

Apply materials The centre of Neverland has a mountain with snow that goes down to grass and rock using a mixed material. You can play with which material you want to be used most. Here I made one island that I then used for various areas of the main island, meaning I didn’t have to populate the main terrain with an EcoSystem and slow down the render. I named this island ‘Neverland Cove’ and saved it as a separate scene so when I need it, I can merge it into the main scene. Be sure to delete the Sun and ground that won’t be needed. 06

07

Painting with plants If there are certain areas that need to be populated with plants, you can just paint them in. Painting the flora will create a separate layer so it won’t be attached to the terrain. Hit the Eco Paint button and choose which plants you want to paint. You can change the size of the brush and the scale of the plants to suit. The brush paints directly on any areas of the terrain, no matter its shape. This is a great way to add exactly what you need, where you need it. 3D Art & Design 121


Environment

The ocean and beach Build up a tranquil ocean and a sandy shore 08

08

Include MetaWater and scenic beaches

Adding an ocean is just a click away in Vue and editing it is now even easier. Essentially we want shoreline foam, so start by selecting a MetaWater with Foam. To add a beach, select a simple terrain and flatten it, then add a sand material and make sure it comes through just enough to form a beach before sinking into the water. You can adjust how much of a beach you want, but in this example we just want the most sandy areas around the cove. Duplicate this and add it around the perimeter of the island where you want to see beaches and have them trail out into the ocean, so there’s some overlap. This may take a bit of adjusting, but the results are fantastic and will really help to sell the realism of the scene.

09

Add planets This is probably the easiest part of the process and a lot of fun. On the left of the interface, in the menu bar, you’ll find a thumbnail of Saturn. This is the Planets button. Click it and a planet will be added into the sky automatically. To edit this, go to the top-right of the screen and you’ll find a drop-down menu from which to choose the planet you want, as well as its phase, colour and brightness.

10

Render time Now we’re into the final stage of the

Vue process. To keep the render time down to a minimum, turn off anything you don’t really need, as well as anything that can be completed in post-production using Photoshop. Try to maintain a good balance between keeping render times down, while hanging on to everything you need.

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Matte paintings

Final touches Input the finishing elements and move to post-production

11 12

11

Add Hook’s ship For the pirate ship I added a model of

The Golden Hind from Poser. You can use any ship from Cornucopia 3D or Poser, or any 3D model you have access to. I brought it in with textures and baked it, so it was compressed, then placed it in the cove. This is the only element in the scene that wasn’t created in Vue. It can also be added later with Photoshop.

12

Take the image into Photoshop Now you can bring in the image rendered out from Vue and do some retouching in Photoshop. First let’s play with the levels to bring some of the blacks in and help with the contrast. Desaturate the image a little, about 25%, then add a bit of colour back, mainly the blues. Following this, add a dark vignette around the image to add some depth and make it feel like it’s out in another universe. All this will help sell the fantasy element of your image.

40hours

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creation time

Place more elements Since we can see planets

surrounding the island, we also need stars in the sky, which will be reflected in the ocean. I have a personal collection of starfields, but you can grab plenty for free online or paint them in yourself. I recommend you download a few and try them out. Pop them in the file and screen, then add a layer mask and paint out any stars over the island and the planets.

Resolution: 5,500 x 3,700

14

Final details For the final touches I added foam around the shores, as well as little waves. Vue can add these to the scene for you, but since our camera angle is so high it would be hard to see. I also added some small waterfalls around the island as a nice finishing touch. There you have it: a realistic image of Neverland.

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3D Art & Design 123


Environment

Iliya has supplied settings for his particle ow, materials, lighting and renders

124 3D Art & Design


Underwater renders

2013

I wanted to re-create a scary diving moment, when you are surrounded by a huge school of fish and a great white shark bursts through them Iliya Atanasov is studio director and lead artist at Pixelhunters

H

ere we’ll be working through the process of creating a dramatic underwater scene, complete with a ferocious shark at the centre. We will explore tips for modelling all elements in the scene using ZBrush and Maya. We will then focus on texturing these elements, as well as how to create an effective light rig using V-Ray in Maya. Next we’ll render a number of different passes, including Color, Specular, Reflection, MaterialID and Z-Depth. These elements will then be assembled with the final image to add life to it. To finish, we’ll play with different colour corrections to achieve the final look. The modelling of the shark was completed by Lei Zheng.

Easy-to-follow guides take you from concept to the final render

Artist info

Create underwater renders Diving with sharks

Iliya Atanasov Professional portfolio site www.pixelhunters.com Country UAE Software used ZBrush, Maya, V-Ray, Digital Fusion Expertise I am a CG generalist with a strong sense of the details that make a difference

Concept The idea behind the image is to re-create one of those moments when a diver can get too close to a huge monster: the great white shark. I wanted to achieve a scary, photoreal look, but at the same time to have this dreamy stylised feel, as it’s also heart-stopping moment to swim with a shark. 3D Art & Design 125


Environment

Establish your base mesh Move between Maya and ZBrush via GoZ to build an initial shape

01

Sculpt the body Divide the base mesh several times, using the Move tool and Clay brush to define the shape. Move from low-res subdivisions to higher-res subdivisions to change the larger forms to smaller details. Try to keep the sculpt on the lower subdivisions as much as possible.

01

Why model the whole shark? The main aim of the image is to re-create the feeling of being right next to a huge monster, which will be stronger if we’re closer to the mouth of the shark. Developing the full body with the tail will help if we decide to change the composition and can see more of the model’s interior.

02

Detail the face We should pay a lot of attention to the face, especially the mouth area and teeth, as they will be the largest parts in the final work. Make the brush slightly smaller than the previous steps to help add very fine details. Go a step down to the low-res level and reshape the tail a little to conform to the final render pose.

03

Model small fish and other elements The idea here is to model a low-poly object with a few variations on the tail and textures, which can later be used for emitting instancers. Take a sphere with eight spans, extrude/ move the vertexes back to form the body and make a couple of variations to be smoothed later. As we’re dealing with a huge amount of fish, multiplying them would take too long, so add an emitter to produce particles that will follow a path. Later you can add in your fish models to take the place of the particles. For the corals, use a low-poly sphere primitive from Maya with 30 spans and delete the half that won’t be visible to save memory. In the Polygons tab, go to the Sculpt Geometry tool to reshape the rock. You can also make loopable textures in Photoshop from real coral images. Include other types of corals and creatures, use the General Editors>Visor>Paint Effects and convert them to polygon objects.

02

ZBrush tips

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3D Art & Design

There are a whole range of ways you can customise your ZBrush interface. Gaining access to the most commonly used tools will greatly speed up your workflow. When working with Move tools or some large-radius brushes, the various Automask settings are very useful to keep brushes on the area you want affected, you can find these settings in the brush’s Auto Masking menu. Also, assigning the brushes you use frequently to numbers on your keyboard is a must. Simply hit Cmd/Ctrl+Opt/ Alt on any brush tool, then press the shortcut you want it be.

01 Use ZBrush’s Move and Clay

brushes to define the body of the shark 02 The face is the most vital

aspect of the model 03 Apply Maya primitives to

model the various elements


Underwater renders

Work with dynamic elements Explore Maya’s Dynamics section to bring your scene to life

04

Create curve flow Go to the Effects section in Maya’s Dynamics menu and click Create

Curve Flow. Basically this is directional emitter, where the particles are following a path from point A to point B. With five sections of control curves, you will be able to make certain points with wider diameters – where the fish can fill the space more – as well as some areas where the stream is thinner, so smaller amounts can pass. Set Control Resolution to -6, Manipulator Resolution to -2 and Emission Rate to - 250 to provide enough particles for the stream to look busy. You can play back and stop at around the 50th frame, so enough fish are populated all along the path of the curve.

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Replace the particles with an instancer Go to Particles>Instancer (Replacement), select the low-poly fish objects, as well as the particle shape, and press Create to replace the particles with the fish models. Set the Maya Playback Speed to play every frame and press the Play button to see how the fish will swim through the curve. Now you can change the diameters of the circles, as well as alter the positions of the vertex points of the curve to form the desired path for the composition of the image. With the Flow_ particleShape node selected, go to the General Options and set Position to World Position. Then under Rotation Options, set Aim Direction to Velocity. This will secure the school of fish are facing correctly along the path.

06

Model the plankton in the water A tiny but very

essential part of any underwater scene is the clouds of plankton that inhabit the oceans. Even on the most clear days, there are lots of small particles swimming around. You can use the Particles menu under Dynamics to create an Omni emitter with a particle cloud shape (Clouds (s/w)). Make the Radius pretty small, around 0.003. With a rate of 100 particles/sec, you can playback and stop at the 50th frame again to leave enough plankton particles for the scene. 06

04 Maya’s Dynamics menu is

very intuitive when it comes to populating a scene 05 Play with general options of

the Instancer to achieve quality results 06 By using Omni emitters, we

can distribute plankton particles in the scene 07 Maya Paint Effects is just one

way you can create realistic bubble elements

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Make an ocean surface and bubbles One of the best modules in Maya is Fluids. Go to the Visor tab and choose one of the Ocean Examples, such as Normal Sea. This will create an Infinity plane with an Ocean shader attached to it. You can tweak the settings for the Scale to fit the measurements of your scene. Later you will need to render the ocean as a separate pass using mental ray or Maya software, as V-Ray does not currently support the Maya Ocean shader. There are two simple ways to produce the bubbles. Firstly, you can create a Directional emitter with a Spread of 0.058 and a Rate of 100 particles/sec. For the shape, use Sprites with a Scale of 0.1. You can use a simple bubble image with an Alpha channel for the bubble. The second method is to use Maya Paint Effects, where there are presets for making bubbles in General Editors>Visor>Underwater>Bubbles. 3D Art & Design 127


Environment

Apply materials and shaders Prepare the basic and advanced materials for your scene 08

08

Texture the shark model Choose a VRayBlendMtl for the shark and the VRayFastSSS for the base material. It isn’t compulsory to use an SSS, however, so feel free to experiment with basic VRayMtls, along with Maya Blinn material. We’re simply using the VRayFastSSS because it produces the best results for this scene. We’ll intentionally make the scatter colour very red, as this colour will begin to disappear underwater within a depth of five meters. If we go to ten meters, there will be no red at all, but because this is an artwork we can still give it a slightly red tint. For the Diffuse Color we’ll use the texture as it is with a Diffuse Amount of 0.4, but for Sub-surface Color you can make the texture much more saturated with clearly saturated reddish parts around the tummy and the mouth. Also try setting the Scatter Radius to 2.5 to exaggerate the effect a little more.

09

Add Bump and Reflection maps Use a normal Bump map to establish some thinner details. For the second layer of the VRayBlendMtl, use a VRayMtl with a black diffuse colour, a small amount of Reflection and a Highlight Glossiness of around 0.846. This layer will help replicate the feel of wet tissue. For the teeth material, again use an SS shader with a marble preset, some reddish tint for Sub-surface Color and an orange Scatter tone. Make sure the Scatter Radius is pretty small. The eyes are easy to create, as they are just reflected black surfaces with a high reflectivity applied to them. 09

10

Detail the small fish and corals For these parts we’ll use just a VRayMtl, not an SSS, to save rendering time. Make the Bump setting big, such as 0.8 or 1, and add slight reflectivity. Use the same type of material for the corals, without the reflectivity, and apply a very high Bump setting, as the corals will be far away, making the bump nearly invisible. 08 You can try other methods,

but VRayBlendMtls on the shark model, as well as the VRayFastSSS for the base material, works best

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09 Use Bump and Reflection

maps to get the wet effect 10 Texture the other elements,

such as the school of fish

10


Underwater renders

Light and render Prepare lights and render passes

11

Move to V-Ray Applying a V-Ray dome light can achieve an overall bluish atmosphere. Setting a low Intensity of 0.4 can give the feeling of the dimmed underwater mood we’re looking for. Add two rectangular lights to brighten the shark with bluish tints and a white tint along both sides of the nose. The top one (Intensity 40) simulates the Sun light over the ocean surface, while the left one is more like a video light (Intensity 20). Light the corals behind with four more lights. This makes the tips of the corals much brighter than the lower parts.

12

Adjust the lights Now turn on Global Illumination, putting the Primary bounces on the

Irradiance map and Secondary bounces on the Light cash with relatively small subdivisions (500). This is because, in this scene, we don’t need such well-defined thin shadows. If you want to use real caustics, with rays emitting from the rectangular Sun light, this next part will be tricky. The huge numbers of small fish involved would be almost impossible to render, but there’s a trick. Make a Directional light and project a Procedural Noise texture on the Color attribute. Now apply a white Lambert material to all the objects to achieve the caustic pass, which we’ll later use for compositing. Make sure you render the ocean separately from the rest of the scene, as V-Ray currently doesn’t support the Maya Ocean shader.

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11

12

Begin render passes First add extra dirt texture to

simulate some Ambient Occlusion, building up some shaded areas around the teeth base and inside the mouth. Next is the Reflection pass, which you can use to make areas around the gums and inside the mouth more reflective later. The Specular pass serves much the same purpose as the Relection pass, but will exaggerate the specular levels further. 14

13

14

Make the final passes The RenderID pass is needed to gain access to the different parts of the image. If you want to make certain rocks or the teeth a slightly different tint, you can Chroma Key it, create an Alpha and use this for correcting these parts in the compositing stage. The Z-Depth pass is used for achieving volume or depth in your image. This will make some parts of the scene seem foggy, which is very normal for underwater scenes. Visibility in water normally only extends to between 5 to 20 meters.

15

Apply Sun rays To produce the rays coming from the Sun light, you can use a separate pass with Spot lights. For the Color and Intensity attributes, apply a Procedural Noise texture and turn on the Fog setting. Also activate Shadow for some added atmosphere. 15 11 Start setting up the lighting

with a V-Ray dome light and rectangular lights 12 Effective use of Global

Illumination is the best way to achieve the right atmosphere 13 A bit of dirt texture will

produce ambient occlusion in the teeth and mouth area 14 You can produce authentic

depth of field with the Z-Depth render pass 15 A Spot light can be used to

produce the Sun rays 3D Art & Design 129


Environment

Unify the scene

Showcase

Artist

Composite your layers and elements

Iliya Atanasov

Iliya is a 36-year-old Bulgarian CG artist. He has worked for TV channels, advertisement agencies, film companies and videogame studios. He currently works for Pixelhunters, which is based in Dubai, UAE. The studio mainly focuses on videogame cinematics.

16

16

Merge the layers We’ll be using Digital Fusion to composite the different passes.

Create a blue gradient that’s darker at the bottom and brighter at the top. Next add the water surface and apply a Polygon Mask to it, with large Feather setting. Add the shark, fish and corals, then multiply these with an AO pass on top and a small Transparency setting. Compose the caustic layer on Hard Light mode and use Luma keys to take the darks from the Alpha out of the image. Merge the Reflection pass on-screen with a 0.3 Blend and the Specular pass on 0.3.

Smilyan House Maya, Digital Fusion (2008) This scene required some hard-surface modelling, as well as Maya’s Paint Effects for the lush greenery. IBL lighting in mental ray was also applied to finish things off.

Alien Swamp Maya, Digital Fusion (2009) Another hard-surface modelling piece that again used Maya’s Paint Effects for the foliage. Lighting has been used in unique ways to achieve a simultaneously drab and homely scene.

17

17

Use the Z-Depth pass Apply the Channel Boolean tool to add the Z-Depth to the Z

channel, so that you can use the Fog and Depth Blur tools. Apply a couple of fog layers with different tones to match the lower dark layers of the water. Compose the rays on Screen mode, as well as all the particles and bubbles. Apply Directional Blur on some parts of the fish and the tail of the shark to simulate movement. Every diver wants to swim in clear blue water, but most of the time the ocean is very murky and greenish, so experiment with different levels of shadow and green contrast to achieve the final look.

More dimensions 16 Move to Digital Fusion to

composite the piece together 17 Tweaking the water to be

murky and forboding will finish off the result nicely

130 3D Art & Design

Always try to use a combination of 2D and 3D programs. Hugely beneficial changes can be made in the compositing stage, rather than trying to achieve everything in 3D. It can also save time when fine-tuning the results.

Maldives Maya, Digital Fusion (2012) This made great use of displacement materials and Maya’s Paint Effects. The wooden structures and the epic clouds combine to produce a pleasing composition.


Artist info

Gallery

Zhang Chen Zhang is a 27-year-old student from China. He has been a 3D lecturer in Beijing for six years Personal portfolio site www.cg-zhang.cghub.com Country China Software used Maya, ZBrush, mental ray, Photoshop

Work in progress‌

This work took me one month to complete. I attempted to portray the desolation and loneliness of a city without the usual dark shades and tones. I adopted the bright sunlight of noon, which enables the rich colours to shine through Zhang Chen Seedy City, 2011 3D Art & Design131


Vehicle From complete cars to ďŹ ghter jets, have some fun with 3D vehicles 134 Model a complete car A showroom render of a classic roadster: the AC Cobra

141

141 Gallery No More Gas by Colie Wertz

142 Build a vehicle game asset Create and prepare a vehicle object for use in a videogame production

149 Gallery AEG27Cern 05 by Luigi Memola

150 Create Bunkspeed renders Showcase a sci-fi vehicle concept in the shortest possible timeframe

154 Model a fighter jet Build a dramatic scene with a realistic fighter jet being pursued by the enemy

161 Gallery Waldo by Moran Tennenbaum

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132 3D Art & Design

134 149


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150

3D Art & Design 133


Vehicle

Artist info

Easy-to-follow guides take you from concept to the ďŹ nal render

Aldo Vicente Username: AldoVicenteCG Personal portfolio site AldoVicenteCG.Wordpress.com Country USA Software used Maya, mental ray, Photoshop Expertise Modelling, textures, materials and lighting

Concept I wanted to make an image that looked like a car advertisement, striving for a certain level of realism balanced against a focus on visual interest and appeal.

134 3D Art & Design

Model a complete car ’67 Shelby Cobra 2014 A showroom render of a classic roadster: the AC Cobra, popularly known in the United States as the Shelby Cobra Aldo Vicente works as a 3D artist in marketing and freelance


Model a complete car

ěũ731ĴććĈĴ4++ ."#+ ěũ43.1(+ũ2!1##-2'.32

I

f you want to learn the process of modelling a complete car in Maya, building realistic materials and lighting, then rendering out passes to composite and enhance a final image, you’re in the right place. Here we’ll look at how to deconstruct and then reconstruct a complex vehicle body quickly and accurately. This super-efficient modelling method, combined with mental ray’s powerful ––––tools, make this pipeline surprisingly fast and very fun. We’ll be using the ’67 Shelby Cobra as our subject, but most of this tutorial can be applied to any type of car, so feel free to follow along with your favourite model. We’ll be covering a lot of features and methods, but won’t always have room to cover every detail in each one, so I always encourage exploring and experimenting beyond the bounds of the steps. The tools and techniques used here are some of my favourite, but I’ve seen a lot of different methods used to achieve some great results. Remember that it’s all about exploring, learning and having fun to find the workflow that makes the most sense to you. 3D Art & Design

135


Vehicle

Make preparations

About line structure

Gather blueprints and set up the scene

01

Collect reference We’ll need two types of reference, starting with the turnarounds for the image planes, which will be our primary guides when creating our model. A great source for free vehicle turnarounds at excellent quality is The-Blueprints.com. Next we need an abundance of photo reference from many different angles and in a variety of environments. In the modelling phase, these will be helpful to fill in the perspective details that aren’t clear in the turnarounds. These images will also give us a great understanding of the material properties of our surfaces.

02

Start your scene in Maya To avoid distortion

when making image planes, the dimensions of each plane should be based on the resolution of the image it will be displaying. Once the textures have been applied and the image planes are lined up, just resize them to a real-world scale. You can find the real-world dimensions of this Cobra online, so set Maya’s working units to inches and create a box with the same dimensions as the car. Rescale the references to match the values of the box and create a display layer for the planes.

01

02

03

03

Establish structure and the car design Before

we start modelling, we’ll identify the important lines that make up the body’s design. These will give us a great starting framework for the body geometry. We’ll be working with all the lines noted in the adjoining image, but let’s define some of them here. The A-line runs over the car, tracing the silhouette from the front of the hood to the back of the trunk. The belt line runs from the headlight, through the bottom edge of the windows. The base line runs along the bottom of the car, from the very front to the very back.

Begin modelling

04

Establish the main forms of the car

04

Line up in the Side view Create a box with two vertical subdivisions, two horizontal

subdivisions and one depth subdivision. In the Side view, the bottom edge of the box should line up with the base line of the car; the middle edge loop should line up with the shoulder line and the top edge should line up with the belt line of the car. At this stage simplicity is key, so strive to establish these lines accurately, but with a conservative use of vertical edge loops. Once these edges have been created in the Side view, just line them up in the Top view.

05

Adjust for the Top view In the Top view, the centre edge loop is the A-line, so delete the right-side geometry and work on the left side. Create an edge loop to make the hood and the deck crease and then make another edge loop to establish the rim line. We can line these edges up in the Top view as we create them. Make an edge for the windshield line and one for the deck line. With the lines in the Top view done, finish lining up in the Side and Perspective views. 05

136 3D Art & Design

Structural lines can be seen on any modern car body design, though they can sometimes have different names. When modelling any car it’s important to begin by establishing these lines because they act as markers for the body’s key plane changes. By establishing this framework early on, we are left only with the simple task of polishing the spaces in between. For an apprentice modeller, I should note that the Shelby Cobra is a racer with a pretty unique line structure and particularly complex curvature. I’ve found more conventional car bodies are typically much easier to practise with.


Model a complete car 06

Tweak the front and back For the front, we can use the edge loop from the shoulder line to make the top lip of the grill, then we’ll create a second edge loop to create the lower lip of the grill. This new edge loop will also serve as the rocker panel line on the sides of the body, as well as the bottom rim of the trunk in the back of the body. Finally we can address the subtle taper that we see in the Front view, where the car is wider at the shoulder line and more narrow at the base.

07

06

07

Model the Shelby’s fenders

For the next step we need to create a cylinder with 20 axis subdivisions. Rotate it onto its side, delete the cap faces and rescale it to line up in the Side view. If we delete the eight faces along the bottom of the cylinder, we’re left with a 12-face arc. Line this up in the Top view, using the two ends to establish the inner and outer rims of the fender. Next we need to merge the fender by adding four strategically placed edge loops to the body geometry and deleting any unnecessary faces. Repeat this process for the rear fender.

08

Refine the body With the key lines established, we can continue adding edge loops to help refine the geometry. First make any edges needed to extract the doors, hood, trunk and grills. Next we can focus on rounding out the surfaces between key lines. Maya’s Sculpt Geometry tool is our friend in this step, but remember to keep it simple. Ultimately we’ll be smoothing our geometry to get the finished roundness, so we only need enough mesh density to get our model looking polished in Preview Smooth mode.

08

09

Work on the interior The interior is comprised of a few large components and lots of small ones, all of which can be simplified and re-created with standard box modelling. Modelling these components can be quick and easy if we first reduce them to their basic forms. Analyse some of the larger components such as the cabin box, which is essentially the tub in which the interior sits. The dashboard is a rounded cube tucked under the windshield line and the seats are broad L shapes with soft edges. Start simple and remember that Preview Smooth can help provide that last level of polish.

09

10

Add exterior accessories External elements can be a subtle but important factor in producing realism. Compared with the interior, these are more varied and numerous, but still very simple, so the same advice goes. Consider each piece, start with simple forms and use smoothing to get that final crispness. Because some of these pieces can be subtle, it’s useful to comb through the reference images to make a list of all the accessories. Incorporating these small details can be critical in achieving realism.

10

Notes on modelling Feel free to mix and match parts to create your favourite combination. Here I opted for bigger, more stylish fenders from a reference image. The Cobra has a one-piece body, but most modern car bodies are comprised of separate panels. If you’re following along with one such car type, I would highly recommend breaking these panels up into separate meshes: front bumper, bonnet, front wing, quarter panel and so on. Also, name everything and keep the display layers, hypershade and outliner organised. Remember to delete any unneeded history and click Freeze Transformations on Geometry whenever appropriate. This should keep the scene neat, crash-free and far easier to work with. 3D Art & Design

137


Vehicle

Work on materials and lighting Use image-based lighting and form realistic car paint

11

Set up image-based lighting (123Ŋ%et a suitable Ŋ(,%#ŊIJŊ3'#1#Ŋ1#Ŋ/+#-38Ŋ.$Ŋ%1#3Ŋ-"Ŋ$1##Ŋ2.41!#2Ŋ $.1Ŋ 2Ŋ.-+(-#ēŊ.1Ŋ3'#Ŋ5#'(!+#Ŋ+(%'3(-%ĔŊ-Ŋ.5#1++Ŋ"1*#1Ŋ  Ŋ6(3'ŊŊ$#6Ŋ!1(2/Ŋ'.32/.32Ŋ6.1*2Ŋ6#++ĔŊ2.Ŋ3.Ŋ2#3Ŋ3'(2Ŋ4/Ŋ6#Ŋ 2(,/+8Ŋ-##"Ŋ3.Ŋ%.Ŋ(-3.Ŋ.41Ŋ,#-3+Ŋ18Ŋ#-"#1Ŋ2#33(-%2ĔŊ4-"#1Ŋ 3'#Ŋ -"(1#!3Ŋ (%'3(-%Ŋ3 ĔŊ(-Ŋ3'#Ŋ-5(1.-,#-3Ŋ"1./".6-Ŋ,#-4ēŊ +(!*Ŋ3'#Ŋ1#3#Ŋ 433.-Ŋ-#73Ŋ3.Ŋ ,%#Ŋ2#"Ŋ (%'3(-%Ŋ3.Ŋ!1#3#Ŋ 3'#Ŋ  Ŋ2/'#1#Ŋ1.4-"Ŋ3'#Ŋ2!#-#ēŊ.6ĔŊ6(3'Ŋ3'#Ŋ  Ŋ2/'#1#Ŋ 2#+#!3#"ĔŊ6#Ŋ!-Ŋ%.Ŋ(-3.Ŋ3'#Ŋ331( 43#Ŋ"(3.1Ŋ3 ĔŊ,.5#Ŋ.5#1Ŋ3.Ŋ 3'#Ŋ +'/#Ŋ-."#Ŋ-"Ŋ/+4%Ŋ(-Ŋ.41ŊŊ(,%#ē

12 11

Make the car paint material Mental ray comes with a powerful and simple shader designed to simulate 1#+Ŋ!1Ŋ/(-3ĖŊ,(Ĵ!1Ĵ/(-3Ĵ/'#-Ĵ7Ĵ/22#2ēŊ'#Ŋ22#2Ŋ variant is best to use because it’s compatible with mental ray’s Passes system, which may be handy later. This shader can (-23-3+8Ŋ%(5#Ŋ42Ŋ2.,#Ŋ#7!#++#-3Ŋ1#24+32ĔŊ 43Ŋ Ŋ+2.Ŋ1#!.,,#-"Ŋ #7/#1(,#-3(-%Ŋ6(3'Ŋ(32Ŋ,-8Ŋ$4-!3(.-2Ŋ3.Ŋ2##Ŋ6'3Ŋ.3'#1Ŋ+..*2Ŋ !-Ŋ #Ŋ/1."4!#"ēŊ#3Ŋ3'#Ŋ2#Ĵ!.+.1ĔŊ3'#-Ŋ42#Ŋ"%#Ĵ.+.1Ŋ-"Ŋ

(3Ä´.+.1ĹŠ3.ĹŠ2(,4+3#ĹŠ'.6ĹŠ!1ĹŠ/(-3ĹŠ3.-#2ĹŠ!'-%#ĹŠ2ĹŠ3'#ĹŠ241$!#ĹŠ curves away from the eye, or into direct light. The Bias value "(!33#2ĹŠ'.6ĹŠ#!'ĹŠ!.+.41ĹŠ +#-"2ĹŠ(-3.ĹŠ3'#ĹŠ2#Ä´!.+.1Ä“

13

12

13

How to get the best materials and lighting Materials and lighting are disciplines in their own right, so we can’t cover all of their intricacies in great depth here. Below are just some of the most important concepts that should be mentioned: ěŊŊ#3ĹŠ4/ĹŠ.+.1ĹŠ -%#,#-3ĹŠ-"ĹŠĹŠ (-#1ĹŠ.1*Ä„.6ĹŠ3.ĹŠ ensure that Maya is reading textures correctly, as well as displaying renders accurately. ěŊŊ -!1#2#ĹŠ3'#ĹŠ(-+ĹŠ3'#1ĹŠ4+(38ĹŠ(-ĹŠ3'#ĹŠ -"(1#!3ĹŠ (%'3(-%ĹŠ tab by increasing the ďŹ lter. The Accuracy and Point #-2(38ĹŠ!.-31.+ĹŠĹŠ82ĹŠ-"ĹŠĹŠ.(-32ĔŊ/1."4!(-%ĹŠ'(%'#1ĹŠ lighting detail and ďŹ delity. ěŊŊ.ĹŠ/1./#1+8ĹŠ1#-"#1ĹŠ,(Ä´,3#1(+Ä´7Ä´/22#2ĹŠ,3#1(+2ĔŊ8.4ĹŠ should enable Output Maya 2009 Passes in the Advanced dropdown menu.

138 3D Art & Design

Use other materials .r this image, almost all the .3'#1Ŋ,3#1(+2Ŋ6#1#Ŋ!1#3#"Ŋ42(-%Ŋ3'#Ŋ5#123(+#Ŋ,(Ĵ ,3#1(+Ĵ7Ĵ/22#2ĔŊ6'(!'Ŋ(2Ŋ"#2(%-#"Ŋ3.Ŋ1#+(23(!++8Ŋ2(,4+3#Ŋ 5(134++8Ŋ-8Ŋ241$!#Ŋ38/#ēŊ 3Ŋ!.,#2Ŋ6(3'ŊŊ!.-2("#1 +#Ŋ+( 118Ŋ .$Ŋ331( 43#Ŋ/1#2#32Ŋ3.Ŋ04(!*+8Ŋ%#3Ŋ-Ŋ#7!#++#-3Ŋ2313(-%Ŋ/.(-3Ŋ$.1Ŋ any material. This shader is also worth studying in real depth, but for this tutorial we can only cover some of its basic $4-!3(.-2ēŊ313(-%Ŋ6(3'Ŋ3'#Ŋ5(+ +#Ŋ/1#2#32ĔŊ)423Ŋ")423Ŋ-"Ŋ 36#*Ŋ3'#Ŋ331( 43#2Ŋ3.Ŋ24(3Ŋ8.41Ŋ-##"2Ŋ-"Ŋ'.-#Ŋ(-Ŋ.-Ŋ3'#Ŋ /#1$#!3Ŋ+..*Ŋ$.1Ŋ#!'Ŋ241$!#ē


Model a complete car

Start the render Adjust your render settings and make initial passes

14

Tweak the quality settings 3Ħ2ũ!.,,.-ũ/1!3(2#ũ3.ũ

15

The Beauty passes .,,.-+8ũ8.4ũ6.4+"ũ+8#1ũ

")423ũă-+ũ2#33(-%2ũ-#1ũ3'#ũ#-"ũ.$ũũ6.1*Ą.6Ĕũ #!42#ũ3'#8ũ!-ũ2(%-(ă!-3+8ũ(-!1#2#ũ3'#ũ1#-"#1ũ3(,#ũ6'#-ũ 8.4ũ!.,#ũ3.ũă-(2'(-%ēũ.4ũ!-ũ!+#1ũ4/ũ+(2(-%ũ13#$!32ũ(-ũ #-"#1ũ#33(-%2š4+(38š831!#ĵ!-+(-#ũ4+(38ēũ#+#!3ũ -!1#2#ũ 7ũ,/+#ũ #5#+Ĕũ+.6#1ũ3'#ũ-3(ı+(2(-%ũ.-3123ũ -"ũ")423ũ3'#ũ 4+3(ı(7#+ũ(+3#1ēũ.4Ħ++ũ+2.ũ6-3ũ3.ũ1#-"#1ũ(-ũũ +(-#1ũ$.1,3ũ3.ũ/1.5("#ũ3'#ũ,.23ũ!.-31.+ũ$.1ũ/.23ı/1."4!3(.-ũ #-'-!#,#-32ũ-"ũ!.,/.2(3(-%ēũ#3ũ3'#ũ#$4+3ũ43/43ũ1.ă+#ũ 2ũ (-#1ũ2ũ-"ũ42#ũ-ũũ.1ũ/#-ũ ,%#ũ$.1,3ēũ -ũ 3'#ũ4+(38ũ3 Ĕũ%.ũ3.ũ1,# 4Ă#1š38/#ũ-"ũ42#ũ3'#ũ ũĸ+.3ĹũČũ7ũĊĉũ(3ēũ

1#Ą#!3(.-2Ĕũ2'".62ũ-"ũ1#$1!3(.-2ũ.-ũ3'#ũ(Ă42#ũ /22Ĕũ 43ũ$.1ũ3'(2ũ(,%#ũ3'#ũ#438ũ/22ũ'2ũ ##-ũ42#"ũ2ũ3'#ũ 2#ũ$.1ũ3'#ũă-+ũ!.,/.2(3#ēũ#-"#1ũ.43ũ3'#ũ$4++ũ(,%#ũ6(3'ũ++ũ 3'#ũ5(24+ũ(-$.1,3(.-ũ.-ũũ2(-%+#ũ+8#1ēũ 3Ħ2ũ+2.ũ%.."ũ3.ũ!1#3#ũ (2.+3#"ũ#438ũ/22#2ũ$.1ũ3'#ũ!1Ĕũ3'#ũĄ..1ũ-"ũ3'#ũ !*%1.4-"ēũ'(2ũ!-ũ/1.5("#ũ(-"(5("4+ũ!.-31.+ũ.5#1ũ#!'ũ . )#!3ũ(-ũ3'#ũ#438ũ/22ēũ.ũ3'(2ũ 8ũ2(,/+8ũ341-(-%ũ.Ăũ1(,18ũ (2( (+(38ũ(-ũ3'#ũ'/#ũ#-"#1ũ332ũ$.1ũ4--##"#"ũ. )#!32ē

16

The Reflection passes '#ũ ."8Ĕũ!'1.,#ũ !!#22.1(#2ũ-"ũ6'(3#ũ,1 +#ũĄ..1ũ1#ũ++ũ'#5(+8ũ 1#Ą#!3(5#ũ241$!#2Ĕũ2.ũ8.4ũ-##"ũ3.ũ!1#3#ũũ51(#38ũ.$ũ#Ą#!3(.-ũ /22#2ũ3.ũ6.1*ũ6(3'ũ(-ũ3'#ũ!.,/.2(3(-%ũ/'2#ēũ%(-Ĕũ(3Ħ2ũ42#$4+ũ 3.ũ'5#ũũ$4++ũ!#-#ũ/22Ĕũ(-ũ""(3(.-ũ3.ũ 2.+3(.-ũ/22#2ũ.$ũ3'#ũ !1ũ-"ũ3'#ũĄ..1ēũ$ũ!.412#Ĕũ(3Ħ2ũ #23ũ3.ũ42#ũ,#-3+ũ18Ħ2ũ22#2ũ 2823#,ũ$.1ũ3'(2Ĕũ 43ũ(-ũ2.,#ũ!2#2ũ(3ũ!-ũ #ũ"5-3%#.42ũ3.ũ !1#3#ũũ"(Ă#1#-3ũ*(-"ũ.$ũ#Ą#!3(.-ũ/22ēũ18ũ!.3(-%ũ3'#ũ31%#3ũ %#.,#318ũ6(3'ũũ$4++8ũ1#Ą#!3(5#ũ1!'(3#!341+ũ,3#1(+ũ3.ũ/1.5("#ũ -ũ+3#1-3#ũ38/#ũ.$ũ#Ą#!3(.-ũ/22ũ6(3'ũ5#18ũ231.-%Ĕũ$4++8ũ ./04#ũ1#Ą#!3(.-2ē 16

14

15

Make the right passes ěũũ'#ũ22#2ũ3 ũ#- +#2ũ 42ũ3.ũ1#-"#1ũ,-8ũ /22#2ũ3ũ.-!#ēũ 3Ħ2ũ 04(!*Ĕũ#28ũ3.ũ42#ũ-"ũ #731#,#+8ũ'#+/$4+ēũ 3Ħ2ũ !/ +#ũ.$ũ,4!'ũ,.1#ũ 3'-ũ6#ũ!-ũ!.5#1ũ'#1#Ĕũ 2.ũ(3Ħ2ũ"#ă-(3#+8ũ6.13'ũ +..*(-%ũ(-3.ũ-"ũ #7/#1(,#-3(-%ũ6(3'ē ěũũ ũ+2.ũ1#!.,,#-"ũ 234"8(-%ũ"(Ă#1#-3ũ /1!3(!+ũ,#3'."2ũ$.1ũ !1#3(-%ũ51(.42ũ/22#2ēũ *#ũ3#232ũ3.ũ!1#3#ũ 4-(04#ũ.1ũ!423.,ũ38/#2ũ .$ũ/22#2ũ3'3ũ!-ũ #ũũ +.3ũ.$ũ$4-Ĕũ/1.5("#ũ +3#1-3#ũ5(24+ũ!.-31.+2ũ -"ũ%(5#ũ8.41ũ(,%#ũũ 4-(04#ũ5(24+ũ#+#,#-3ē ěũũ#ũ!-ũ!./8ũ3'#ũ#/3'ũ /22ũ(-ũ'.3.2'./ũ(-3.ũ -ũ+/'ũ!'--#+ũ-"ũ 3'#-ũ42#ũ(3ũ6(3'ũ3'#ũ #-2ũ +41ũă+3#1ũ3.ũ04(!*+8ũ !1#3#ũũ1#+(23(!ũ"#/3'ũ .$ũă#+"ũ#Ă#!3ē Ċũ13ũĜũ#2(%-ũũ139


Vehicle

Composite the passes Bring all your render passes together in Photoshop

17

Experiment with passes For this project we’re

compositing on top of a Beauty pass, so we don’t absolutely need all the different types of passes, but a complete set can be a powerful tool for enhancing the visual quality of the final image. Having an abundance of different passes to work with is always advisable, even if some end up being discarded. This way you can experiment with a bunch of different passes, adjustments and blending modes to see what looks the most effective. In addition to the Beauty and Reflection passes, Specular, Shadow, Ambient Occlusion, Depth and Diffuse passes have also been used here.

17

19

18

18

Composite your passes Open Photoshop and copy

19

Make final touches At this point we’re still striving

your various passes into a single PSD. Take the full Beauty pass, place it at the bottom of the layer stack, then put the Diffuse pass directly over the Beauty with a low opacity setting. You can adjust its opacity or apply a layer mask to control how the elements in the Beauty pass show through. Finally, take all the other passes and set their blending mode to Linear Dodge (Add). Now that you have our PSD set up to provide full control over each element of the image, you can start enhancing everything.

for realism, but with a focus on visual interest and appeal, such as a photograph enhanced for advertising. You can use your artistic judgement to fine-tune the colours and other elements accordingly. Focus on increasing the value range to put duller darks with brighter whites and boost the saturation on the body. Also, try creating subtle photographic effects such as a vignette and a shallow depth of field. This is your final pass at enhancing the image, so take your time and experiment with different blends and passes.

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Gallery This image was created as a demo showcasing the use of a variety of different software packages and photographic techniques to develop a keyframe concept art piece. I shot a background at a concrete plant with the notion of adding myself and a bike within it

Artist info

Colie Wertz No More Gas, 2012

Colie Wertz Colie has worked with ďŹ lm VFX for 17 years and is developing content with 3D Systems, Inc. Personal portfolio site www.coliewertz.com Country USA Software used Maya, V-Ray, MARI, Photoshop, Procreate

Work in progress‌

3D Art & Design141


Vehicle

Artist info

Easy-to-follow guides take you from concept to the final render

Build a vehicle game asset Ready to roll out 2013

Rainer Duda Username: Rainerd Personal portfolio site www.rainer-d.de Country Germany Software used 3ds Max, Photoshop, xNormal Expertise Rainer specialises in creating assets for videogames, including building maps and texturing the final result

Learn how to create and prepare a vehicle object for use in a videogame production Rainer Duda is a freelance 3D generalist focused on creating assets for high-quality videogames

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n this tutorial we’ll cover the creation of a static game asset, which can then be easily used in the Unreal Development Kit without the need to constantly jump back and forth between programs. As a base we’ll be using a blueprint, which will be modified later on with some new components to create a more exciting asset. It’s important to establish a working low-poly mesh that includes a valid geometry representation but also at least two UV channels, a proper collision geometry and a LOD object. We will discuss each of these elements in turn throughout the tutorial.

Following these steps we’ll build a high-poly version of the asset from the existing low-poly geometry. We can then project these details onto the low-poly asset via a Normal map, as is the usual convention in contemporary videogame development. We’ll use xNormal for generating the Normal map (www.xnormal.net), rather than just the 3ds Max tools. This is simply to illustrate that there are alternatives to the built-in toolsets. In addition to all the above, the low-poly asset will also be equipped with a Normal map and custom-painted textures to give it a final look.

Start the mesh Use a grid and blueprint to begin

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Prepare the scene Before the actual modelling process starts, prepare the scene with three grids, which will hold textures that cover the different views of the car from the blueprint (2001 Dodge Charger blueprint from www.the-blueprints.com). We’ll need these guides to constrain all the proportions while constructing the vehicle chassis. This scene setup is actually quite simple. First we can just place a grid in the scene, scale it to a rectangle and unwrap it via a UVW Map modifier along with a planar projection. An Unwrap UVW modifier enables us to open the UV Editor and place the patches correctly. Duplicate this grid twice and match the UV sets to their corresponding places on the blueprint. For the front, scale the grid to a box and then place all of the sets next to one another in the correct order.

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Get the grid working Now, with the template build container set, it’s time to model the left side of the car. For this, use a grid with just a few subdivisions, convert it to an editable poly and place it parallel to the reference plane. Start moving the outer points along the silhouette and the middle points to fit the front and side shape. If the resolution of the grid is too low, then some more edges in between using the Connect Edges function in the Modifier panel will help. Take care that even in the silhouette you have a nice edge flow. For later use, it’s best to place some cuts on the position where the door is situated. After selecting the edges from the cut, it’s necessary to delete the polygons between the chamfer edges, as well as to extrude the open edges just a bit inside.

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Add depth After the silhouette is looking good, it’s time to start adding some depth. To do this, select the corner edges on the outside of the silhouette and extrude them towards the centre of the grid. As a result, a rough half body should now be visible. The new available points next to the centre of the grid need to be scaled up a little bit, as the car is bigger in the middle than on the outside. Now we can go one step further and add some more edge rows and chamfer to refine the depth of the car. This occurs by moving the points along the silhouette according to the top reference plane on the ground.


Build a vehicle game asset

Rainer has supplied low- and high-poly solid and wireframe assets, as well as screenshots to help with the steps

Concept If you don’t have any self-produced concept art or designs, blueprints are another great option. For a quick and easy start we will take a blueprint of a 2001 Dodge Charger from www. the-blueprints.com. 3D Art & Design 143


Vehicle

Bring in more features Finish the initial mesh and start adding more elements

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Complete the body To finish the body, return to the Mirror function in 3ds Max and

use it to duplicate the first half of the mesh to the opposite side as a copy. Both of these pieces will need to be attached afterwards. Only the open edges at the middle of the car should be left after this. A quick and easy fix is to continuously select two vertices and weld them together. With this flow path, we can adjust some points after welding to fit the silhouette even better than before. It’s important that we have a nice edge flow on the car, as this will help us later on at the high-poly-modelling stage.

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Add more elements Some vital elements are still missing, such as the wheels, exhaust pipes and engine parts. We’re also missing exciting additions, such as a ram and guns on top of the car. These missing bits are easy to model as we are still on the low-poly model. The details will come from the high-poly later on, so keep the geometries quite simple at this stage. Model just one wheel and one turbine out of a cylinder with a few insets and edge loops with different scaling. Note that all the props are being modelled in the centre of the 3D space, which makes things easier, especially when we switch to the high-poly stage. The ram is more or less just an extruded box, including a chamfer and a bit of vertex-scaling. The same procedure goes for the ends of the exhaust pipe, plus the mirrors, while the axle consists of a simple cylinder.

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Time for the big guns The last sub-asset what we need is a medium-sized Gatling gun. We don’t really need special reference for this piece, as we can imagine it however we like. The first thing to do is model a base structure out of a cylinder. After converting it to an editable poly, an inset and afterwards a poly-extrude will complete the base. The gun itself consists of one cylinder with a chamfer and ten simple cylinders arranged in a circle. Ammunition comes from a cylinder that stays vertical to the gun next to a funnel, which is quite simply a modified box. The holding structure is an extruded box braced by a half-cylinder that can be extruded along the normals. Again, note that we are using only simple geometries at this stage.

Creating your low-poly There are several ways to build low-poly objects, but this tutorial uses only simple geometry to build the low-poly object, basically so that everything runs a lot smoother than otherwise. Some of the more-detailed pieces of the vehicle consist of a collection of small pieces that are stitched together. Of course, it’s entirely possible to create a high-poly and then build the low-poly around it without any stitching of geometry at all. Imagine some of the Epic Games assets from titles such as Gears of War and Unreal Tournament, which were built out of a single mesh and still maintained quite a lot detail. Aside from this, stitched objects involve even more attention during the Normal map generation process.

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Build a vehicle game asset

Finalise the sculpt Begin unwrapping to project details and paint the object

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Build space to paint Before we start painting or even exporting elements of the car, we need to unwrap the low-poly with a UVW Map modifier. Be careful and overlap as many parts as you can, as it makes sense to save space and scale them up later. Both the front and back wheels can be overlapped and of course all the gun barrels, plus the remaining parts that are symmetrical to one another. Don’t try to flip UV sets, because this can produce Normal map errors that we’ll have to fix later in Photoshop by inverting the Green channels.

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Let there be light The UDK gives users the possibility to use their own UV channels for the Light map, which is useful as we can decide for ourselves what kind of polygons get more light information than the others. The only difference in comparison to the first UV channel is that there can’t be any overlap on the Light map. By increasing the map’s channel to 2 and clicking on Abandon, a new UV channel will be created. It’s necessary to reorganise all meaningful polygon units so that there is no overlap at all.

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Set up a collision model At this point the low-poly

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Choice of coverage The newest version of Epic Games’ UDK supports collision geometries that are stitched together as well a prefix like UCX instead of MCDCX. The latter was used when Unreal Engine 3 was released, but it still works fine. If there is no time to spend building a collision geometry, or it’s simply not that important, there is another solution you can opt for. UDK offers built-in tools to create collisions inside the static mesh viewer. Users can choose between simple collisions up to convex shapes. The same built-in feature actually exists for the creation of a UV channel for a Light map. This shows how there’s no need to struggle with 3ds Max if you’re unfamiliar with it.

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isn’t ready for the game world, as it needs information relating to where the player is unable to move through or over. To provide this information, build nine simple boxes that cover almost the whole car, including the guns. It’s important that the boxes aren’t touching or intersecting with one another. After all the boxes are in place, it’s time to attach them and give the new piece a name with the prefix ‘MCDCX’ followed by the name of your low-poly. After exporting the low-poly, complete with the collision geometry, the UDK will interpret the second geometry during the import as collision data.

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Export and map-generation xNormal takes lowand high-poly meshes as separate inputs, which is good for us because at the moment we only have the low-poly version. What’s important at this stage is that we don’t export the whole vehicle at once, but rather its various units. To do this, split the complete vehicle into parts to be on the safe side and to obtain proper maps. At the end you’ll have the body, one wheel from the front, one from the rear, both mirrors, the bumper, one turbine and an exhaust pipe. All of these parts need to be centred in the 3D world. In addition we’ll keep another version of the complete low-poly vehicle as well. Unfortunately we have to explode the turret to make it work properly. This means all the parts that aren’t overlapping need to be detachable and separated from the main mesh and as such can be exported separately. Furthermore, low-poly parts for the map-generation need to have just one smoothing group.

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Make the high-poly mesh It’s time to slice the low-poly and build high-poly parts

Maximise on polygons For this vehicle we built a high-poly directly in 3ds Max. However, you’ll find there are certain limitations when working with a large number of polygons, as if the number is too high or your machine too slow, it simply won’t be possible to work in a simple manner without any crashes and distractions. As a consequence, users can switch the whole high- and low-polybuilding process to ZBrush. Pixologic has implemented a highly useful function to render decent Normal maps, but alternatively it’s also possible just to create a high-poly mesh and use it in combination with xNormal and a low-poly object from 3ds Max to achieve the same result.

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Time for metal Our low-poly has a straightforward edge flow and that’s key to building high-poly metal plates. Now it’s time to slice the low-poly mesh vertically and horizontally. The outcome must be single-sided plates and stripes that need to be extruded and closed. A chamfer on the outer edges will produce some nice gaps. Next to this some more details should be added such as a back light, openings at the back, grilled windows, rivets, door handles, a front grill and so on. To save time, it’s possible to skip the modelling of the window grills, because this detail can be added on the Normal map through a texture transformation. There are many programs that convert pictures to a Normal map, such as CrazyBump or the NVIDIA Normal map tools for Photoshop. However, you need to be aware that an unwrap is never 100 per cent stretch-free and the spot to replace texture pieces must be very carefully selected.

Include ornaments for the final touch Add some details around the car to make it

feel a little more unique. To build these ornaments, add a few boxes in a row and subdivide them to build very rough formations such as leaves and square-shaped flowers. Adaptations can be made by moving vertices and splitting edges, plus extruding along paths. After that it’s easy to duplicate them in one direction as much as is needed to build longer chains. When the various ornament chains are complete, a Path Deform modifier combined with a path can be used to adjust the positions of each chain. The overall resolution must be increased by using a Turbo Smooth modifier.

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Prepare to export the vehicle mesh

Next merge the high-poly objects, such as the rivets, together with the objects underneath, and the ornaments with their base meshes. Basically we need to attach all the high-poly pieces together that belong to their corresponding low-poly meshes. Before you start the actual exporting, you must take care that the meaningful units of the high-poly meshes match their positions with the corresponding low-poly objects. Just try to avoid offsets and you’ll be ready to export all of them.

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Build a vehicle game asset

Create the maps Take your meshes into xNormal

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Import all the meshes Open xNormal and import all the high- and low-poly meshes into their respective slots by clicking the Import button. A proper naming convention pays off at this stage. Each object set – matching low- and high-poly – must be activated separately for rendering the maps. This can be done quite simply by activating and/or deactivating their checkboxes. 14

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Name of the game We can now begin setting up xNormal. Move to the Baking

options to create Normal and Occlusion maps by activating the relevant flags. To increase the quality of the projected details, it’s recommended to set the Antialiasing to 4x. If polygons within the UV channels are too close, a higher Edge Padding number will cause overlaps. A value of 3 pixels or even less is reasonable, but here we’ve opted for 4. Last, the Output Resolution needs to be set, as well as the format, which we can set to TGA. If the vehicle is for an in-game cinematic, we can use a larger resolution such as 2,048 or more. 15

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Use an optimal projection cage xNormal gives users the ability to take advantage of an implemented ray distance calculator that puts a projection cage around the high-poly to measure the ray distance between the high- and low-poly meshes. How accurate the calculation is depends entirely on the time that the calculator is originally given, but so long as the calculator measures as more detailed, the maps will look better. Any calculation that lasts longer than one minute is fine in principle, because the cage has had enough time for the calculations to expand correctly. After this stage all that’s left is to copy the results and generate the texture maps. The final steps in this process involve combining of all the parts to complete both maps in Photoshop. If the Normal map detail isn’t quite strong enough, you can try moving to CrazyBump, which is perfectly capable of increasing the intensity needed for the final result.

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Vehicle

Move to post-production Build texture maps in Photoshop and finalise your asset

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Build two maps Now Photoshop can be used to paint

two new maps; one to keep the diffuse and the other for specular information. For this vehicle, the diffuse will contain just a few variations and mostly dark colours with only a few details. For both maps we can use some rusty, dirty and bare-metal textures from portals like www.cgtextures.com and overlay them where it makes sense. Reduce the visibility of the respective layers and make intensive use of the Eraser Tool to add some variation to the specularity. With a combination of brushes and tones try to add a Mad Max-like look to the vehicle.

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Ready to roll out The complete low-poly object can be exported out of 3ds Max, including the collision geometry, as an FBX ďŹ le. The asset and textures are now ready for import into the UDK game engine. If you want to achieve more details on your mesh, just use detailed Normal maps like developer Epic did on their assets. The principle behind this idea is having a tileable Normal map added to the base Normal map of the vehicle in the Material Editor. For rendering inside 3ds Max, we need a material that contains a Normal/Bump as the Displacement map source.

Mapping alternatives If you’d rather not use xNormal for this process, then no worries. You can easily use the 3ds Max built-in map generation tool named Render to Texture. This needs a low- and high-poly too, but there are several options that need to be set, such as using the existing UV channel instead of an automatic unwrap once selecting a low-poly. When a high-poly is selected, the low-poly will be equipped with a projection cage. That cage needs to be reset to work properly and must be close to the high-poly.

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Artist info

Gallery

Luigi Memola Born in Mexico, Luigi was adopted by Italian parents, who gave him a passion for art Personal portfolio site www.luigi-memola.com Country Italy Software used Rhinoceros 4, KeyShot, Photoshop

Work in progress‌

The design of the bike piloted by a droid belongs to my wider personal project in which I created a series of vehicles. The chapter CERN05 describes an extreme competition between motorcycles and droids that are piloted remotely Luigi Memola AEG27Cern 05, 2012 3D Art & Design 149


Vehicle

Artist info

Easy-to-follow guides take you from concept to the final render

Peter Blight Personal portfolio site www. peterblightconceptdesign.com Country Australia Software used Bunkspeed Pro 2014 Expertise Peter Blight is a freelance Vehicle Concept Designer specialising in sci-fi

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Create Bunkspeed renders Adaptive Field Tank 2013

Here we’ll look at how Bunkspeed can be used to showcase a sci-fi vehicle concept in the shortest possible timeframe Peter Blight Sci-fi and fantasy concept designer

unkspeed’s suite of products is famous for achieving beautifully rendered images at breakneck speed. Here I have re-imagined an original concept I created several years ago, the Adaptive Field Tank. The AFT is half jet, half tank, built to take advantage of the unusual physics of cyberspace. In reality, you can’t just stick a jet engine on a tank without causing problems – treads don’t move that fast and the aerodynamic drag would prevent it from reaching a decent speed. In cyberspace, the treads only materialise where they contact the ground and are attached by code alone. This keeps the ship in ground effect for pursuing hyper-fast wheeled vehicles in areas inaccessible to air attacks, with the additional advantage of being tethered to very grippy tread segments to absorb the recoil of its powerful turret and weapon pods. Make no mistake, you don’t want this beast on your tail.

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Bunkspeed Pro 2014 60-day trial with the disk

Putting myself inside the mind of an evil computer-world overlord perfecting his secret weapon, my process is to achieve a final render as fast as I can while still making it interesting. You can see examples on this vehicle of some very quick and dirty modelling. For model completionists, there is a link on my site to the full-scene digital model kit with the original Prototype-A Adaptive Field Tanks (available for a modest donation to my digi-supplies fund). For this tutorial, I present the AFT Prototype-B. I’ll take you through the process of importing the model, using pre-made and generated custom materials, decal application, environment setup and rendering. The tutorial version of the tank has treads which materialise as a solid. To mimic the main illustration with pure energy elements, experiment with the emissive material settings and apply to wherever you feel the tank needs some glow action.


Create Bunkspeed renders

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Concept I conceived the Adaptive Field Tank as a vehicle that bends the rules of physics in cyberspace to generate field-linked treads only where it contacts the ground. This frees up the body to be as aerodynamic as possible – for something covered in weapons, at least! It’s a jet/tank hybrid, with a dash of Japanese magnetic levitation thrown in for good measure. 3D Art & Design 151


Vehicle

Prepare and render your model Quickly set up and complete a Fast mode render of your work

01

Getting started Open up Bunkspeed and select the

Hybrid renderer (if this is not already selected) then hit New Project. Under the Project Menu, select Import Model. Select the file AdaptiveFieldTankTutorial.obj from the cover CD provided with the magazine. In the Import Settings menu, select Materials tab, check Ignore Texture References and then press OK. Ensure that you have the Fast button pressed in order to take advantage of the realtime preview. Some quick navigation tips include Alt+ hold left mouse button to rotate, Alt+ hold right mouse button to zoom and Alt + spin your mouse wheel away from you to exaggerate the perspective for a more dynamic pose.

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Create custom materials In the right tool panel,

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Browse pre-made materials In order to give you

select the Material tab. Here we can make the whole thing prettier with just a couple of tweaks. Select the default material’s Material Type drop-down box and change it to Metal with roughness set to 9.82. For the headlight/eye sensors, right click in the black space next to the default material and select New Material. From the Material Type drop-down box, select Emissive. Set the intensity to ten and the colour to pure red. Click on the material and drag it over the headlights and eye sensors of the tank to assign.

more choice of materials you can join the Bunkspeed site and then use that login to access their asset/material library directly from within the software. Click the top-right hyperlink within the application Login to Bunkspeed and the File Library tab, and you’ll see two icons appear beneath the tab to toggle between the local and web library. Go into the Metallic Paint sub-folder and grab Plasma Red and Metallic Night. Using the screenshots in this tutorial as a guide, apply each material to the various body parts to achieve a nicely balanced paint job. Alternatively, I’ve provided these specific materials with the cover disc tutorial files.

152 3D Art & Design

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Create Bunkspeed renders Decal use Sometimes decals will appear to be floating over the surface of an object rather than stuck to it. This is caused by the scale of the objects in the scene being too small, and is easily rectified. In the quick menu panel in the top of the screen, ensure the Selection Tool is set to Model and that the sub-selection is also Model. Select the Object Manipulation Tool and click the Scale icon. Hit Ctrl+A in order to select all, and then scale the scene up several times using the manipulator inside the viewport before re-applying the decal.

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Assign a decal In order to efficiently assign a decal it’s helpful to do so in an orthographic view and set render mode to Preview while positioning the image. You can either rotate the existing camera to look directly down at the tank and check the Orthographic checkbox in the Camera Properties tab or use the top view from the multi-viewports option in the View menu. Right click in the black space next to your materials and select New Decal. Select DecalByJamienListon and drag it onto the model as shown. Click Project from Current Ortho Camera button with the decal selected then scale/move to fit. Uncheck Detatched and ensure Multiple Part Decal is checked.

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Environment setup In the File Library tab, go into the Environment sub-folder and grab the Studio 008 HDRI. Drag it into the viewport to assign it to the scene. Click on the little wireframe planet icon for the Environment settings and set Gamma to 4 and brightness to 0.77. The Bunkspeed site has a huge number of HDRIs to choose from, though I found this one to be the most appropriate for a cyber tank. If an HDRI has a weird ground but a decent sky, you can create simple geo in Bunkspeed to block it out and assign a ground texture. 06

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Rendering The most satisfying part is render time, especially when using Bunkspeed PRO 2014’s new Fast mode. Accurate is almost as quick, depending on whether you want to see more accurate glows/reflections etc. I recommend using Fast regardless just to bang out a bunch of stills to decide on an angle before setting up an Accurate render at full resolution. After you’ve picked the optimal angle, hover the mouse over the floating menu towards the top of the screen and click the camera-shutter icon Render. Set it to render to 3,000 pixels wide, the Render Mode to Quality, and the Number of passes to 1,500. Output as a .PNG in order to avoid compression artefacts, and you’re good to go! 3D Art & Design 153


Vehicle

Artist info

Easy-to-follow guides take you from concept to the final render

Ben Simonds Personal portfolio site www.bensimonds.com Location London Software used Blender, GIMP, Photoshop Expertise Modeller, 3D generalist and VFX artist using a range of software

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Model a fighter jet Aerial Pursuit 2013 Learn how to build a dramatic scene featuring a realistic fighter jet being hotly pursued by the enemy Ben Simonds is a 3D artist at Gecko Animation

ere you’ll learn how to model a fighter jet from scratch, then construct a dramatic scene featuring a dogfight high above the clouds. Throughout we’ll be using Blender for modelling and rendering the 3D elements, GIMP for painting textures and Photoshop for the final

composite. We’ll cover blocking out the model from references, before creating the details with a mix of retopology and modelling methods. Next we’ll move to making materials for the fighter jet, with a view to rendering a final image with Blender’s Cycles renderer. We’ll focus on

mixing procedural techniques with hand-painted maps while using Blender’s node materials. After finishing up the jet itself we’ll move on to creating the final image, adding two pursuing jets into the background along with other exciting features such as explosions, contrails and clouds.

Begin modelling Block out the fighter jet with simple placeholder geometry 01

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Throughout the modelling process I made use of Blender’s surfacesnapping tools to create new topology over the surface of existing objects. For example, when modelling the wing as shown in Step 3, you can turn on Snap with the magnet icon in the header of the 3D viewport, then set the Snap Target to Face and turn on Snap Projection. These options make it much easier to model surfaces with holes and other details in them. You can also keep the overall surface smoother by using a simpler shape for the guide.

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Start simple Begin with basic primitives, such as

cylinders, spheres and cubes, to input modifications (extruding and scaling to capture the overall shape of each major component of the model). This gives an early idea of where the challenges will lie when building the model and also acts as a starting point for creating more-complex meshes.

Snapping surfaces

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Build the fuselage With the model blocked out, you can start from the front and begin shaping the fuselage (the main body of the jet). Use the blocked-in model as a guide alongside your reference. Keep the poly count relatively low at this stage, as we’ll be applying a Subdivision Surface modifier later. It’s best to use a Mirror modifier to model symmetrically. After finishing the fuselage, move on to the air intakes. These are relatively box-like in shape, so start out with a cube, then gradually manipulate it into shape. Now insert edge loops and extrusions to produce geometry that will maintain its sharp edges when subdivided.

154 3D O 3DArtist Art & Design

03

Shape the wings You’ll need to find some reference

for the cross-section of a fighter jet’s wing to get the aerofoil shape right. Model these with curves, convert them to meshes, then space them out and loft them together with the Bridge Two Edge Loops operator in Edit mode. This provides us with a wing shape that we can then use as a guide to construct the wings. Apply the same process to produce the horizontal stabilisers (the rear wings) and the rudders.

01 The jet blocked out with

simple geometry 02 Using a Mirror modifier to

model the fuselage. Edge loops are added around hard edges to retain sharpness 03 To construct the wings, first

create curves for the cross-sections, then loft these to make a wing shape and then model the actual wing


Model a fighter jet

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Concept A modern fighter jet bursts out of the page, pursued by enemy jets, as a missile streaks by in the foreground and explosions punctuate the distant sky. 3D Art & Design155


Vehicle

Detail and texture Now the main forms are established, we can start to layer on details

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Model the missiles Adding details to the jet will

mostly consist of examining reference material and modelling elements, such as individual panels on the body of the jet, the interior of the cockpit and the exterior areas of the jet engine at the rear. Of course, no fighter jet is complete without an arsenal of explosive weaponry strapped to it’s belly, so try building three different kinds of missile based on real-world references, using the same techniques as those to build the fighter jet itself. These are mainly cylinders with some simple geometry added on for the fins, with a few extra details here and there.

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UV unwrapping

It’s now time to UV unwrap your jet’s elements. Thankfully, Blender has a great set of tools for UV unwrapping, so start by adding seams around the main sections of the fuselage. These include the nose, as well as the upper and lower surfaces of the wings. You also need to unwrap the different parts of the underside of the jet. You can use Blender’s default Unwrap operator to unwrap these pieces and pack them into a single UV grid. You’ll find this grid will be very helpful later on when you begin to bake your textures.

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Multiple UV maps Because we’ll want to add decals to the model later, at this stage it’s helpful to create a couple of extra UV sets. In addition to a standard unwrap, which gives each piece of the model it’s own unique bit of UV space, we can create two other UV co-ordinate sets. Project large chunks of the model from key angles for the first (mainly from the top or the side). This provides a very simple UV set that we can use to paint broad textures, such as the

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large camouflage pattern on the wings and the shark’s mouth design on the nose cone. Try projecting specific sections of the model from the most relevant Orthographic perspective – the top for the upper surface of the wings, the bottom for the belly of the jet and the left or right for the sides of the rudders. This provides a UV map that we can use for painting decals and other details, such as panelling on the model, without worrying too much about them becoming distorted.

04 The missiles for the fighter jet

are modelled with simple cylinders, extrusions and extra parts for the fins 05 Mark seams for UV

unwrapping the fighter jet 06 Creating various UV sets is a

bit of extra work at this stage, but it makes texturing tasks much easier later on

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Model a fighter jet 07

Bake textures Once we have the fighter jet

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Paint a camouflage pattern Here we’ve gathered

unwrapped, we can add an Ambient Occlusion map for the whole model using the baking tools in Blender’s Render tab (note: you have to set the renderer to Blender Internal for this, as Cycles doesn’t currently support texture-baking). Now bake your AO map to the first UV set you created.

various textures for the fighter jet as separate images, which can be combined in Blender when making materials. Begin by defining an overall base colour for each part of the jet with a camouflage pattern and, for extra character, also paint in the shark’s mouth design for the nose cone of the jet on this texture. To act as a guide, export the UV layout created as an image, use the UVs>Export UV Layout operator in Blender’s UV Image Editor and open this up as a layer in GIMP.

09 07

Drawing textures in Blender To create the impression of complex panels and rivets over the surface of the jet, I partly used a Displacement map. Rather than laboriously painting this in GIMP, I opted to model the outlines of the panels with curves in Blender. I used the exported UV co-ordinates I created earlier as a guide and laid out the scene from a top-down perspective. I used an Orthographic camera to render a texture that perfectly matched up with the jet’s UV co-ordinates. This could later be combined with my other textures.

Attach decals to the jet Now paint the decals for the jet on a separate texture with an Alpha channel, then build a couple of military-style designs as well as some random pieces of text and numbers. Place these appropriately on the wings, rudders and the fuselage of the jet.

08

09

07 Baking an AO map. Make sure

you have the renderer set to Blender Internal and turn up the Samples settings for your Ambient Occlusion 08 Paint the camouflage pattern

for the body in GIMP

09 Some of decals on the jet 10 Take a square selection of

your base texture, offset the image to position the seams in the middle, then apply the Resynthesise filter on the model’s boundaries

10

Make grunge and scratch textures Now build up

a few different seamless textures for dirt and scratches to be used in various materials covering the jet. To make a texture seamless, first offset it in GIMP and place the boundaries of the image in the middle of the canvas. Select the seams and use the Resynthesise filter to fill them with a continuous texture. This should produce a smooth result. 10

3D Art & Design 157


Vehicle

Realistic surfaces Apply Blender’s node materials ready for rendering

11

Construct a Diffuse shader Initially make a Diffuse

shader for the body of the fighter jet, then take the Diffuse BSDF shader and begin incorporating your textures. Combine these with Color Mix nodes before plugging them into the Diffuse Shader node. Join the camouflage texture with the decals texture, then add in some further details using the seamless grunge textures. Because the different textures use various UV co-ordinate sets, you can include some Attribute nodes (into which you can enter the name of the UV set you wish to use). Plug the Vector Output of these into the Vector Input of the image textures to let them know the correct UV co-ordinates to use. For the seamless textures, use the Image Texture node’s blended box-mapping feature to apply the textures without the need for UV co-ordinates.

12

11

Apply glossy reflections Now you can combine the Diffuse shader with a couple of Glossy BSDF shader nodes using Mix Shader nodes. You can also reuse some of your textures to affect the Color and Roughness inputs for the Glossy shaders, to provide a bit of variation in the glossy reflections. Apply two Glossy shaders: one for broad soft highlights over the shape of the jet and the other to give some sharp reflections on top. This isn’t physically correct, but it gives extra control over the look of your material. Use a couple of Layer Weight nodes to control the mixing of the shaders.

13

13 12

The Cycles render preview The new Cycles render engine has a fantastic live preview for getting instant feedback on your materials and lighting. You can enable this in the 3D viewport if you have the renderer set to Cycles and it will constantly update with a rendered preview. I used this when creating my materials to get an idea of how they looked under some simple lighting, then again later when making my final scene to tweak lights, World settings and render options. It’s best to split off a smaller 3D viewport in your window layout and use this as your preview render while you work in another 3D viewport. This will give you a rendered preview that updates quickly, all while keeping it simple to select and edit an object in your main 3D viewport.

158 3D Art & Design

Displace elements

The Cycles renderer supports a couple of methods for defining surface texture for your materials. Here we opted to plug the panels texture into the Displacement Input of the Material Output node. This provides some fake displacement for the material and highlights the panels that were drawn in. We also used a Multiply Math node to tone down the intensity of this displacement.

11 By creating a Diffuse shader

for the jet, you can use node groups to keep your material nodes organised 12 The two Glossy shaders

shown on their own, plus the overall node setup incorporating both diffuse and glossy reflections 13 Some displacement brings

detail to the surface of the wings and fuselage 14 Linking the jet into the final

BLEND file as a linked library. This keeps the scene live if you need to go back 15 Rendering the volumetric

smoke and trails in the scene as separate scenes


Model a fighter jet

Showcase

Develop the scene

Artist

Build a dramatic environment

Ben Simonds

Ben Simonds is a 3D artist and a director of Gecko Animation Ltd, a small VFX and animation studio based in London. He’s been using Blender for about seven years. He also produces tutorials and articles for his website, www.bensimonds.com, and is the author of Blender Master Class, a book all about creating 3D art using Blender.

Pirate Captain Blender, GIMP (2010) This scurvy sea dog was created a few years ago for a portrait competition. At the time, subsurface scattering in Blender was relatively new and I wanted to create an interesting but lifelike character in the software.

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14

Link the jet into a new BLEND File To create the final image, start a new BLEND file to work on lighting and to render the jet in. To link the jet into this new file, assign all of the objects making up the jet into a single group, then link this group into the new BLEND file. This enables us to go back and modify the jet in it’s original file and have the final scene update automatically when we reload it. It also enables us to create a couple of duplicates of the jet to act as the other fighters in the scene. Abandoned Warehouse Blender, GIMP (2011) An abandoned warehouse full of rubble. Modelling was completed in Blender, textures in GIMP and rendering in V-Ray.

Fourarmed II ZBrush, Blender (2010)

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15

Build up smoke trails To add some extra intensity to the image, you can include some

smoke trails created with Blender’s smoke-simulator tools. These have to be rendered with Blender’s older render engine – Blender Internal – which supports volumetric materials. Render these effects in separate scenes, then link in objects like the jet to act as masks (using the Mask Layers options when rendering).

Ben has created a vast amount of Blender work over the years that straddles everything from believable human likenesses to spaceships and captivating soft-body sculpts such as this detailed creature!

3D Art & Design 159


Vehicle

Post-production

Simulating explosions

Refine the lighting and render settings

For my final scene I wanted the jet to be pursued by other fighters, among explosions and missiles. To create some explosions and missile trails I used Blender’s smokesimulation tools. I made a couple of separate files with different smoke simulations in – one for a fast-moving missile with a trail of smoke behind it, another for some smoke erupting from the wing of the jet and another for fullon explosions. The smoke-simulation tools can be pretty fiddly, so creating these in separate files will enable you to concentrate on these elements in isolation. After you’re happy with the result you can combine them with the other pieces of the final scene.

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Position the lights The lighting in this scene is pretty simple. We used a HDR sky map to provide some global illumination lighting and a sun lamp for the main directional lighting. We also added a large flat cube below the jet (out of shot on final image) and assigned a light-blue Emission material to it. This provides some lighting from below to mimic reflected light from the clouds. You can also try adding a bright-orange point light on the damaged wing, just where the smoke is supposed to be pouring out, to create an orange glow on that side of the jet.

17

Rendering and final composition

This final composite was completed in Photoshop. GIMP is preferred for painting textures, but Photoshop has flexible layer-management for making multilayered images. We rendered out each of the elements for the image as separate passes, while completing a small amount of compositing in Blender. We then opened all the passes as layers in Photoshop. At this point you can add aerial perspective (fading distant objects), as well as some extra motion blur. You can also tweak the colours of the various cloud and smoke layers. 16 The lighting setup, showing

the Emitter mesh below the jet, the sun lamp above and the small orange point lamp on the wing 17 Compositing the final image

in Photoshop

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17


Artist info

Gallery

Moran Tennenbaum A 2D turned 3D artist, Moran specialises in environments, props and characters Personal portfolio site www.morantenn.com Country USA Software used Maya, ZBrush, Photoshop, Mudbox, xNormal, V-Ray, NUKE

Work in progress‌

This project was created as part of the Demo Reel class at Gnomon. The design and intricate details presented a welcome challenge in terms of modelling and textures Moran Tennenbaum Waldo, 2013 3D Art & Design 161


Vehicle

Artist info

Easy-to-follow guides take you from concept to the final render

Jonathan Williamson Personal portfolio site '33/Ėĵĵ!%!..*(#ē!.,ĵ +#-"#1 Countryũ-(3#"ũ33#2 Software used +#-"#1 Expertiseũũ,."#++#1Ĕũ2!4+/3.1ũ -"ũ3./.+.%8ũ2/#!(+(23ũ6'.ũ+(*#2ũ 3.ũ" +#ũ(-ũ#5#183'(-%ũ ı1#+3#"Ĕũ-"ũ3#!'#2ũ+#-"#1ũ .-+(-#ũ3ũ..*(#

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Create professional wireframe renders Make professional-looking wireframe renders in Blender using its Cycles feature

R

endering wireframes in Cycles can be done using a few different methods. One option is to use the Wireframe Input node within a Cycles shader node tree. Alternatively you can create actual wireframes via the Wireframe Mesh Operator in Edit mode. Additionally, you can combine your Cycles render with a Blender Internal render through the compositor. The first method, using the Wireframe Input node, is the simplest – it also renders everything in triangles at the highest subdivision level. However, this tends to result in a very messy-looking render and it’s not very flexible. With the second option, you can have a great level of control, but it relies on actual geometry, which can become expensive very quickly and also clutters up the scene. In light of these two, the third option, combining your render with one from

162 3D Art & Design

the Blender Internal, is my preferred way to create decent wireframe renders. By compositing two renders you can create excellent results and keep a fine level of control over the final effect. It’s also quite easy to set up. The Blender Internal method just takes a few steps, but to make the process manageable we will utilise Blender’s scenes, duplicates of our model(s) and a series of materials. We will need a material for the base material, the wireframe material and a white matte material. Last, we’ll need to set up a simple compositing node tree to combine the two renders together from each of the render engines. The true benefit to making wireframes in this way is that you are able to take full advantage of Cycles’ powerful node-based shader system.

01

01

Duplicate objects to a new scene The first thing to do is create a new scene and duplicate or link all of your model(s) into it. Duplicating objects is the most flexible method, but linking them can be more convenient as it’ll use the same mesh data for each instance of the model in each of the scenes. In this case, I’ve chosen to make a new scene with linked objects, as this way if I ever change something in the mesh, the changes will propagate across both scenes.


Wireframe renders 02

Set the render engines for each scene Once both scenes are created you need to specify which render engine to use for each one. The first scene, which will be used for actually rendering the model, should be set to Cycles. The second scene, which will create the wireframe render, should be set to Blender Render (also known as the Internal Engine). 02

03

Create wireframe material for second scene Next it’s time to create the wireframe material in the second scene, (which should be the one set to Blender Render). The first step (and most important part if you’ve chosen to link your objects) is to change what the active material is linked to. Materials can either link to the data of an object, or to the object itself. When the link is set to Object, you can use a separate material for each instance of that object. In this case, I’m setting the link to Object. Now you need to make a new material, since changing the link to Object has emptied the active Material slot. On this material set the type to Wire and the Diffuse colour to black. You should also enable Transparency and increase Z Offset to something around 0.01.

04

Produce white matte material for the frame

03

05

Now repeat the previous steps for the white matte material, but this time leave the type set to Surface, set the Diffuse colour to white and then enable Shadeless. Also, go into Edit mode, select the whole mesh, then press Assign in the material. This material will be used to tell the compositor what to ignore, as we’ll be multiplying the black wireframe over the Cycles render. While creating this material, it’s also a good idea to set the World Background Color to white as well, or you may find it slightly conflicting later on in the process.

05

Render both scenes Once the

materials are created and added to each object for rendering, it’s time to actually render both scenes. Since we’re using multiple scenes, this is most easily done from the compositor. Switch over to the compositor, then go to Input>Render Layer Node for each scene, then specify the scene from the dropdown menu on the node. To render a specific scene, just press the Camera icon on the Render Layer node.

04

06

06

Composite the two renders together Finally, to put it all

together we need to multiply the wireframe render over the Beauty render. This can be done by adding a Color> Mix Node and then setting the Blend Type to Multiply. This method is not as fast to set up as some alternatives, but it tends to yield the best results with the most flexibility. 3D Art & Design 163


Animation Allow your 3D art to truly come to life by learning how to animate 166 Animate a dialogue shot Create seamless and believable Maya dialogue shots in 12 easy steps

171 Gallery CTN Animation Expo Kirk & Lucy by Angel Navarro

172 Shatter moving characters Animate a fractured character, as if they are made of something brittle

178 Master blend cycles Achieve Assassin’s Creed’s style of animation in your artwork

185 Gallery General Shellshock by Koen Koopman

186 Animate vehicles Take your car out for a spin and create some cool stunts

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164 3D Art & Design

171


178 185

186

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3D Art & Design 165


Animation

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Animate a dialogue shot Artist info

Easy-to-follow guides take you from concept to the final render

Digital-Tutors Personal portfolio site 666ē"(%(3+343.12ē!., Expertiseũ(%(3+ı43.12ũ'#+/2ũ 13(232ũ,*#ũ,.5(#2Ĕũ%,#2Ĕũ 5(24+ũ#Ăũ#!32Ĕũ"#2(%-2ũ-"ũ #,#1%(-%ũ,#"(ũ 8ũ/1.5("(-%ũũ Ĕũũ-"ũ"(%(3+ũ 13ı31(-(-%ũ1#2.41!#

166 3D Art & Design

Digital-Tutors reveals how to create seamless and believable Maya dialogue shots in 12 easy steps

T

ackling a shot that involves facial animation can be a rather challenging process that takes up a great deal of time. In fact, so much work is involved that it’s best to approach the facial animation as if it is a completely separate shot in and of itself. There is as much planning and care involved in animating the face as there is in the rest of the animation. In this tutorial, we will condense the process into 12 important steps, ensuring the facial animation of your shot is rock-solid and can hold up on its own. When animating the face, head and mouth, the same techniques that you use to animate the entire body can be applied. Timing, lead and follow, drag and exaggeration are all extremely vital to accomplishing a great animation. Any time the audience notices something strange in the animation, that’s the moment they will stop buying into your character. That’s the last thing that you want to happen.

Since you are trying to convey real-world movements into a 3D virtual world, knowing just how human faces move is an extremely important step. With this in mind, before you even start attempting to create believable, well-crafted facial animation, you need to carefully study how your own face deforms and moves around. Have a go at looking in the mirror and reciting the dialogue yourself. What do you see? The amount of planning that is involved can seem like overkill, but having this type of preparation in place will certainly speed up the process and help push the animation to the next level. As ever when working in 3D, taking the time to get things right is absolutely key. The character that we are going to animate will be saying: “Ahhhhh… Have you seen the rest of my body?” The shot is 77 frames long. Our example character is an ogre, but any character rig with good facial controls should suffice. You can find the tutorial project files free with the disc.


Animate dialogue

Get to grips with facial animation Important tips for creating your dialogue shots

01

Create a dialogue chart As we mentioned earlier, planning is incredibly important when working on a shot with dialogue. Write down each word of dialogue and then break it up into syllables. Next, track the timing for each word and study where the emphasis hits, or the points where the character speaks most loudly in the audio. Most words should have one of these emphasised sounds. Take notes on what syllable they occur on, and then use the information as a guide as to where to push the lip sync in your animation. 01

02

02

Act out the scene Animators are actors. The best way to get ideas for the scene is

to get in front of a camera and act out the shot. Don’t be shy or feel awkward – all animators do it. Try to become the character during the acting process. Play the audio in the background and play out the scene over and over again. When you think that you have got the shot, play back the video that you’ve captured to double-check. Only stop when you are entirely happy with your performance. A good rule of thumb for this is to force yourself not to settle for anything less than 15 to 20 minutes in front of the camera. This technique will help you to really get into the acting of the shot, and give you plenty of different options to pick between.

03

03

Block in six key poses Use the

video that you shot in order to find the proper storytelling poses that truly describe the facial animation. For each storytelling pose you should make sure to pose each area of the face, rather than just the entire head. This technique will help you to work out the type of facial pose that you want to hit for each specific word in the dialogue. Try to keep the poses to an absolute minimum; you really only want to block in the most important ones in at this stage. For example, our blocking pass consisted of just six main poses. 3D Art & Design 167


Animation 04

Create breakdowns The

04

breakdowns are the poses in-between the storytelling poses that describe how the character is getting from one pose to the other. Study your reference and use that as a guide to help you create your breakdowns. Look at the spacing between each pose that’s in your reference and incorporate that into your animation. It’s very important for you to remember that breakdowns are not just in-betweens. You should be thinking about drag, exaggeration and poses, all of which can add a more appealing look to the action.

05

05

Exaggerate the movements Once you have all the proper breakdowns in place, the brunt work of the animation is almost done! Make sure the timing is exactly how you planned it and your holds are in the right spot. Once you’re happy with the timing, go in and start pushing some of the poses to really exaggerate the facial movement. For example, when the character brings his head down, drag the eyebrows and have them offset a few frames. You could even play with the scale attributes for the head to add some squash and stretch. Exaggerating movement is just as important with facial animation as it is in the rest of the body.

168 3D Art & Design

06

06

Animate the eyebrows It’s important to have strong eyebrow poses to sell the facial animation. Don’t overdo it by having the eyebrows moving during every single word. Instead, find a few important eyebrow shapes that you want to hit during the dialogue. In the ogre animation there are really only two main eyebrow poses: frowned and surprised. It’s how you transition between the two that helps sell the animation.


Animate dialogue 07

Fine-tune the eyelids After the overall movements of the head are looking how you want them, it’s time to go in and start fine-tuning some of the smaller details. The eyelids may seem like the least important area on your character, but they can really help sell the emotion of your character if used right. For example, in our animation the eyelids have been opened very wide in the spots where the eyebrows are raised. This makes our character’s face feel like it’s all one cohesive unit, working in sync. 07

08

08

Add in blinks When adding blinks to your facial animation, make sure that you aren’t adding them just because you think the character’s eyes must be getting dry. If you want to add in blinks with the correct timing you need to think about the emotional state of the character. Is he angry? Sad? In our animation, the dialogue has a concerned tone to it, so the character’s blinks can be minimal. In this shot there are a total of three blinks; the first is during the head turn at the beginning, the next is when the character looks up at camera, and the final one is when he bobs his head. Remember that you can also use the controls under the eyelids to be able to really make each blink feel fleshy and tactile.

09

Time for lip sync

09

Once the head movement and face are working properly, it’s then time to work on the lip sync. This should be relatively simple because you created the dialogue chart in step one. The first thing we need to do is block in the jaw opening and closing. Typically this is done at the start and end of a word, however, it can be very easy to fall into the trap of opening and closing the jaw far more than is actually needed. Keep referring back to your reference video to see how much the jaw moves while the dialogue is being delivered and don’t overdo it. Once this is completed you’re already halfway done with the lip sync. 3D Art & Design 169


Animation Animation tutorials Find hundreds of full-length tutorials to help you become a better animator and learn today’s leading creative applications at www.digitaltutors.com. You can join thousands of artists by becoming a member and learn using the same training used by top schools, studios and artists all around the world.

11

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10

Work on mouth shapes When you have blocked

in the jaw movement, you are then able to go in and start fine-tuning the shape of the mouth. Add some asymmetry to the mouth shapes in order to help add believability. Animate each lip control to get a sort of peeling effect when the mouth opens. Think about the arcs that the jaw is taking during this stage. You can really add a very fleshy look to the lip sync by animating the entire rotation axes as well as the translate axes. Have fun with this and don’t be afraid to exaggerate!

11

Animate the cheeks A great place to make the

character’s face feel fleshier is in the cheeks. When animating the face you do not want any area to feel dead, so utilise some of the facial controls in order to make the face feel like it’s all one unit working together to create the shapes. For example, when the ‘B’ sound is being expressed in our shot, try using the facial controls to puff out the cheeks. This adds a sense of realism to the shot, while also making the lip sync feel more natural.

12

Polish the animation Once you have animated the lip sync, it’s then time to go in and add that final 10%, which – as you will see – will really push your facial animation to the next level. Simply track the arcs of the corner of the mouth, nose and eyebrows. Tweak the eyelids in order to get a nice fleshy look during blinks. Once the polish pass is finally completed, then your facial animation is finished!

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12


Artist info

Gallery

Angel Navarro A Spanish character artist living in Sweden, he has a passion for animation and characters Personal portfolio site www.angelnavarroart.com Country Sweden Software used MODO 701, ZBrush, Maya, Photoshop

Work in progress‌

This is a promotional poster for CTN Expo, featuring two of the characters, with a ďŹ lm-noir style. As a team we put this together for the webinars at VirtualAnimators.com. I was responsible for modelling, texturing, posing and rendering Angel Navarro CTN Animation Expo Kirk & Lucy, 2013 3D Art & Design 171


Animation

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Concept In this tutorial we are going to shatter a pre-fragmented character by geometry using mParticles and a little ADM (Advanced Data Manipulation) in 3ds Max 2014.

172 3D Art & Design


Shatter moving characters

Artist info

Easy-to-follow guides take you from concept to the final render

Shatter moving characters Ice Man Shatter 2013

Anselm von Seherr-Thoss Username: 3delicious Personal portfolio site www.incendii.com Country USA Software used 3ds Max 2014, RayFire (optional) Expertise Anselm has worked on VFX for the likes of Avatar and Star Trek: Into Darkness

Here we’re going to animate a fractured character, as if they are made of something brittle, using hand-animated control objects Anselm von Seherr-Thoss is an award-winning VFX TD and VES (Visual Effects Society) member

H

ere you will be learning how to pre-fragment a character using 3ds Max and RayFire. We will then pipe the fragments into mParticles and lock them to the original moving character. Based on handplaced geometry objects we will then release these fragments over time creating the effect of a crumble while the character is walking. This effect was used in a

Gazprom commercial where a fast running group of horses shatters: tinyurl.com/3DAGazprom. You will also learn basic ADM (Advanced Data Manipulation), which is the former PFlow Toolbox#3. Furthermore you will learn how to optimise your mParticles flows and prevent a major PhysXplosion, which is caused by intersecting geometry.

Prep work We need to fragment and prepare our character before we pipe it into PFlow

01

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Ensure the scene is set This initial step is small but important. Make sure your scene is in Film/24fps and 100-130 frames long. Also make sure Realtime is unchecked, as mParticles playback will be affected by that. Finally, make sure your units are Generic and Centimeters. Units will have an effect on the overall speed and look of things.

02

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Check the provided character The initial scene provided has a character with a PointCache modifier in it. Re-link the point cache to the file provided, then make a snapshot since we want to keep the original walking character as the driver for our fragment. Overall it’s always a good idea to make a copy of your original object and put it on another layer.

Conform meshes for particles Once you have the fragments there is one last important step before we can make those particles! The fragment pivots need to be central and the Xform should be reset. Once that’s done you can convert them all to meshes. The pivot centre of each fragment will be the particle pivot. EditMeshes carry less data then EditPolys and are therefore faster, so they should be your preferred mesh choice when working with particles.

03

03

Fragment the snapshot with RayFire Select the snapshot and start RayFire. If you don’t have RayFire open the second step as a MAX file, you will find the character already broken up in there. In RayFire load the character into the Impact Object group and open the Fragmentation tab. Choose Voronoi Uniform as the Fragmentation Type and around 1,500 fragments, then hit the Fragment button. Your result should look like the thumbnail in the screenshot. 3D Art & Design 173


Animation

Head into PFlow Pipe the fragments into PFlow and set up mParticles

04

Create the PFlow

It’s now time to set up the PFlow for the character and fragmentation effects. Hit 6 on your keyboard to open the Particle View. From the depot drag an Empty Flow into the view. Make sure you see 100 per cent of your particles in the viewport and that the Sub-Sampling is set to Frames. Our character is moving fairly slow in the provided example, so in this case we don’t need require a huge amount of precision.

05

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Bring in the fragments Add a Birth Group from the depot and connect it to the root

event. Add all your fragments into the Birth group and hit Update Particles from Objects. This will make every fragment a particle and will also inherit shaders and mapping. When you set your Display Node to Geometry you should see the fragments as particles.

05

06 07

06

Lock the particles to the moving character When you scrub the timeline you will notice that the particles are just standing there. In order to make it move like the original character we need to unhide it again and in the PFlow create a Lock/Bond test. Pick the character as Lock On Object. Set it to Lock To Surface and Animated Surface. Now scrub and the shapes should somewhat follow the character’s walking motion.

07

Get physical In order for mParticles to work we need an mpWorld and an mpShape. Drag an mpWorld operator into the flow and hit Create New Driver. This will add a helper in the world centre called mParticle World. Make sure this has Ground Collision and Gravity active. Next make an mpShape, which will make every particle a PhysX shape that can collide with other shapes. Adjust this to Convex Hull and set the Display to Wireframe. You can see that some shapes will overlap due to the Convex nature of the shape. We can counteract this by adjusting the Weld Threshold value and Interpenetration tolerance (see Avoid PhysXplosion).

174 3D Art & Design

Avoid PhysXplosion When you scrub the timeline you will see that the particles just fall down and some might bounce out of the shape. This is because there is potential shape interpenetration. The engine tries to separate those shapes causing an explosive motion, so to counteract this it’s important to play with the Weld Threshold and Interpenetration Tolerance in the mpShape and the Sub Samples in the mpWorld. Lower Restitution and Friction values can cure the spasms. It’s up to you to find the best working path depending on what look you are after.


Shatter moving characters

Create trigger geometry Make mpShapes obey the Lock/Bond and trigger fragmentation

08

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Turn off PhysX features Drag an mpSwitch under mpShape and check Speed and

Rotation to match and follow legacy operators. This will keep them in place despite the Lock/Bond operator telling them otherwise. Or, you can check Turn Off Simulation and PhysX will be turned off and will kick in when told to. This can result in explosive behaviours, but it is faster.

09

Create the trigger geometry We want the fragments to fall eventually, so an easy way is to include geometry that surrounds the particles at some point and triggers an event change when they are inside the trigger object. For this I just hand-animated two spheres that trigger the arms and a plane that triggers the remainder top down. You can alter the timing as you like using your own geometry; just make sure it surrounds the particles you want to trigger.

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ADM inside object trigger Data Test This the only time we are going to utilise ADM. Add a Data Test under the mpWorld, then open the Data view and drag a Select Object sub-operator into the view. You need this OP every time you want to select something from your scene. Add all your trigger geometry, then drag a geometry sub-operator into the view and connect it. Your trigger objects are geometry, so this is the OP of choice. Set it to Inside Object and this will test if a particle is inside the objects or not. Create an Output Test into the view and connect it.

11

The second event of free-fall Now that you have a

Test operator to send particles into a new event with new rules you can design the free-fall part of the effect. Select the mpWorld, hold down the Shift key, then drag it down under the PFlow event. This will prompt you if you want to copy or instance the operator – pick either one. The mpWorld helper is the box object in the viewport and only references this operator. Now you should have a second Display operator as well, so pick a distinguishable colour from the ďŹ rst event. 3D Art & Design 175


Animation

Optimise the flow Apply new rules to the particle simulation

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PhysX with a spin As the particles from the first event are loose, the Lock/Bond should not just fall down and collide with the ground, they should have some spin to them. Drag a Spin operator above the mpWorld in the second event and play with the Spin amount you like to achieve the desired effect. In order to make mParticles obey legacy operators we need an mpSwitch, so drag a second mpSwitch right under the Spin and set it to obey the legacy spin.

13

Tame the overall effect Some particles might spin a lot and some might bounce

based on your Restitution and Friction settings in the mpShape and mpWorld helper. To tame this behaviour it’s always good to have a little Drag introduced. mParticles has its own Drag operator for this, so drag an mpDrag under the mpSwitch. Check that you want to apply Drag to Angle and Rotation and play with the Amount value until it eventually suits the effect that you’re looking for.

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Reduce unwanted jumping or PhysXplosion There are a few factors that can cause undesired behaviour in your mParticles – usually Restitution/Friction and Subframe Factor/sampling. A lower sub-stepping might cause less chaotic bounce but less accuracy along the way. The Sleep Threshold is also worth playing with, as it takes particles out of the simulation until they are hit by another particle, so raising the thresholds for Energy and Bounce will tame particles once landed. There is no magic number here to fix everything, just find a good balance of all these different values.

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Shatter moving characters 15

Cache or bake the final result If you plan to render

on a render farm it is a good idea to cache the system either with Cache Disk, which is new to PFlow with ADM, or with the mParticles World. Set it to Viewport/Render and check Cache Test Result, then hit Update. If you bake it with the mpWorld helper click Cache/Bake Particles and let it run through the timeline, then check Use Baked Cache. This will ensure that every machine sees the same thing at render time.

1hour

creation time

Showcase

Artist

Anselm von Seherr-Thoss

I‘ve created visual effects for movies, commercials and music videos for about nine years. My special fields are particle and smoke/fire/fluid simulations. I live and work out of New Orleans, where I run Incendii LLC Visual Effects. I have worked at studios like BLUR, Pixomondo, Atomic Fiction, Frantic Films and Psyop.

Resolution: 1,280 x 720

Snow horses 3ds Max 2010, PFlow Toolbox#2/3, V-Ray (2010) This is a collection of RnD I did for a Gazprom commercial. I want to show the still I really like – it’s a snow horse. The image is, in its essence, this tutorial.

15

Bonus round You could also use the PFlow Baker script (www.scriptspot.com/3ds-max/scripts/ PFlow-baker) and bake the particles into meshes. Then you can pipe those into a new particle system where you spawn smaller debris from the falling pieces. Adding more detail by emitting from the baked particle surfaces like this can really enhance the overall effect. You will find a bonus max file with baked out particles and additional debris with the disc. Constructor - A Particle System 3ds Max 2010, PFlow Toolbox#2/3, V-Ray (2010) You can watch this video in motion at: www.vimeo. com/14597952. The high-res model was pre-fractured with deconstructor by Marc Lorenz then passed on to Particle Flow’s BirthGroup and triggered with a deflector.

Venus 2.0 3ds Max 8, V-Ray (2006) This was an art piece I did while learning Particle Flow. I used the PFlow Toolbox#1 and a Max script that leaves particle trajectories as splines. The statue is the Venus de Milo that stands in the Louvre in Paris. It was rendered with V-Ray.

3D Art & Design 177


Animation

Artist info

Easy-to-follow guides take you from concept to the final render

Jonathan Cooper Personal portfolio site www.gameanim.com Location Canada Software used MotionBuilder Expertise Making interactive characters and worlds ever more believable

ěũũ2222(-Ĵ4-ēũ – compatible with MotionBuilder 2010 onwards

178 3D Art & Design

Supporting image is from marketing material and does not necessarily reflect the final look of the tutorial


Blend cycles

Master blend cycles Assassin Sprint 2012

Here we will learn how to create the Sprint Impulsion acceleration cycle, an animation that captures the Assassins’ free spirit Jonathan Cooper is an animation art director at Ubisoft Montreal

T

o achieve Assassin’s Creed’s style of animation, we require a vast amount of animation cycles and transitions, bringing the assassin to life for even the simplest ground movement before we layer on cutting-edge technology such as reactive physics and IK. Here you’ll learn the process for making a flawless run cycle using motion capture, as well as a relatively quick and simple looping technique that can be applied to any kind of motion where seamless cycling is required. For this example we’re using Autodesk MotionBuilder but the same techniques can be applied in any software that has the ability to blend sections of animation with one another.

Concept Starting with a longer shot of a mocap actor running, we’re going to be extracting a section in order to create a perfectly looping cycle. This can then be used for animating a game character, such as Connor Kenway. 3D Art & Design 179


Animation

Direct your mocap Great mocap starts with good acting, so get the most out of your actors

01

Inspire your actor’s imagination Because the run

01

cycle is perhaps the single most important animation in your game, ideally you should have several to choose from, covering a variety of attitudes, speeds and intensities. An essential tip here is not to ask an actor to simply run fast, but instead to give him or her visual direction in the form of: ‘you are chasing after a stolen purse’, or ‘you are escaping a burning building’ and so on. Employing visual references is more likely to provide a range of performances rather than simply adjusting the speed of the capture. You can even try tying weights to legs, if your actor is willing, or modifying the terrain for wildly varied motion styles. 02

02

Be kind to the talent Don’t leave high-energy actions like running to the end of the day’s mocap recording, especially if your actor is more thespian than stuntman, or is not in the peak of physical condition. This will avoid fatigue creeping into your recordings. Additionally, starting with a quick burst of action is often a fun and energising way to start off a session. Remember, never criticise a performance, because actors are emotional beasts that require encouragement and inspiration to bring something amazing to their performances. The same can be said for animators in general.

Acting is for actors

03

Use all of the volume Unlike stationary actions, running requires you to maximise the use of the mocap volume – the space the cameras can record – as even large studios typically have only enough room for a dozen or so footsteps. Ensure your actors run diagonally across the volume for maximum recording distance, having them run out of the space before decelerating if possible. This minimises wastage of mocap data when on a budget and gives you as wide a range of footsteps to choose from as possible. However, It’s easy to reposition and realign performances, as we shall see later. 03

180 3D Art & Design

Often an animator’s first approach when directing actors is to show the action themselves, but this is severely limiting. We pay actors a lot of money to bring their talents to our session, so why not use them? Performances are much better when an actor feels as though they are more involved in the process. The direction you provide should be broad enough to enable them to come up with their own interpretation of what you originally wanted. Nine times out of ten you will find that this will be much better than what you originally envisioned.


Blend cycles

Set up your scene Before editing, it’s important to ensure you have a cleanly set-up scene

04

Convert to the control rig Once your mocap is delivered, the real fun begins! Before we can edit anything in MotionBuilder, we must move the motion from the skeleton to the control rig. Do this by selecting Bake(plot)>Bake(plot) to Rig from the large blue character button. You may also want to deselect Constant Key Reducer in the Options box to retain maximum fidelity. Hit Ctrl+A to display the control rig in the viewport if it isn’t visible already. Get into the habit of plotting between the rig and skeleton often, for an easy before/after comparison between changes.

05

05 04

Enable the Story mode In order to broadly manipulate the motion, we’ll use

MotionBuilder’s Story mode. While mostly used for editing cinematic cutscenes, Story mode is also a powerful blending tool. Open the Story tab in the Navigator and turn Story mode on if it isn’t already. Right-click the space to the left of the timeline and choose Insert>Character Animation Track. Choose your character from the Character dropdown menu, then right-click in the empty timeline next to your newly created character track and select Insert Current Take. 06

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Select a segment From the variety of examples, you’re looking for one that best suits the personality of your character, keeping the rest as backups for other characters. You’ll want to select a range of at least three steps that have a constant momentum. Ignore the acceleration and deceleration likely captured at the extents and avoid noticeable actions that would stand out in a repetitive loop. Using the Assassin_Run.FBX file we’ll drag the edges of the clip to frames 305-329. You’ll want to start and end cycles on a passing pose, with one leg up, to make similar poses most recognisable.

07

Scrub your animation Moving the clip back to

zero, you can make scrubbing through keys more readable by zooming to the extents in the timeline. Do this by manually typing in the start/end times in the S: and E: boxes at either side of the timeline, as well as in the story by clicking on your clip and hitting F. Note that the Story timeline differs from the viewer’s – the one that you’re editing and one that you’ll see when you press Play. You can jump back and forth one frame at a time by hitting Ctrl, then the left/right arrow keys. 07

3D Art & Design 181


Animation

Refine and repair Clean up your clips and locate the ideal join

08

Clean up your scene With the clip at zero, notice that the numbers above and below it are out of sync. The top numbers are scene-based and the bottom are internal to the clip, which can cause issues on earlier versions of MotionBuilder when copying and pasting clips. Plot to the rig by right-clicking it and selecting Plot Whole Scene To Current Take. Right-click and delete your original Story clip and plot back from the rig to the Story tab once more. This resets the clip’s local timeline and is a good habit to get into to better understand the real length of clips when you move them around. The Global In/Out indicator is the clip’s position in the scene, whereas the Local In/Out setting is local to the clip.

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Align to an axis Now that you have isolated what you want and because we captured the motion at an angle, we must align to an axis to make the looping workable. You can edit the position and rotation by clicking on the Show/ Hide Ghost (eye) button in your character track. With the clip highlighted, you should now see a green line that represents your character’s travelling motion. On the first frame of your range, select the Translation tool and enter ‘0.00’ into the X,Y and Z fields. Now select Rotation tool and manually rotate the orientation to have the green line best match the Z axis. The Top view, via Ctrl+T, is the best angle to rotate to the axis. Hit Ctrl+E to return to the Perspective view.

Rapid iteration is key Working in this manner to quickly create cycles enables us to see them where it counts – in the game engine. An animation is never done until it’s fully playing and blending in real-time with all the other cycles and transitions. Only then can we tell whether the action is good enough and fits the character’s personality. Videogame animators often have many animations being worked on at once and make adjustments before exporting, review while playing, then rinse and repeat in this manner until the game not only looks good but feels good with the controller in our hands.

10

10

Find the best join

This is the key element of what we are trying to achieve, making the join seamless and unnoticeable. It’s important to identify two complete footstep actions – not just single key poses – that are most similar. In our example we chose only three steps, so notice the first and third steps are the two similar actions. We will be using the latter two as the basis for our cycle. This means that frame 8 will then be our starting pose. Here we’ve identified the second passing pose as our best join frame.

182 3D Art & Design


Blend cycles

Blend the motion The crux of this process is choosing to match motions rather than poses

11

12

11

Loop the footstep Now we are going to blend back

13

across one full step to ensure the looping motion is seamless, with the momentum of every body part retaining constant velocity throughout. We need to avoid the noticeable hitch that would occur if we simply pose-matched the first and last frames. What we’re essentially doing here is, over the duration of the final footstep, blending back into the keys before the starting footstep, so we end our cycle at exactly the same pose as the start, with all the same momentum as the first frame. In our three steps, there are two similar left-to-right actions we can blend across.

12

Blend the motion back onto itself With passingpose 2 (frame 8) as our desired start frame, shrink the clip start to reflect this. Now right-click the clip, select Copy, move the timeline slider to exactly after the clip, right-click the track and select Paste. We now have two identical clips immediately following one another. Ignoring forward movement for a second, jump into the Front view via Ctrl+F. Select the second clip and drag its start half-way across the original. The X shape in the Story tab shows the original clip blending back across the keys prior to its first frame.

13

Adjust the blend duration Now set the timeline to be the length of the first clip only, (8-24). Ensure looping is enabled via the Loop button to the right of Play and hit Play. You now have a seamless loop. Play around with how long you blend back across the cycle to itself. Longer durations provide the most seamless results but will increase foot-sliding, whereas shorter durations are most stable but will increase the visibility of the join. Only use the Front view at this stage in order to see the seamless looping.

Cycling on the spot Never remove the forward (Z axis) movement keys from your character’s root/pelvis bone to see your character cycling on the spot, unless you want them to plane forward in an unnatural manner when you key them forward again. We don’t move linearly in real life and instead push a little with each step in a rhythmic fashion. To see a stationary cycle, add a second layer and key the character backwards linearly, removing the layer again later if required for exporting into your game engine. 3D Art & Design 183


Animation

Close the loop All that remains is to clean up the action to make it game-ready 14

14

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0?

Match the forward position Moving back to the

Perspective view, we still have the issue of the clip returning to its starting forward position. Rectify this by selecting the Translation tool once more, entering the Side view via Ctrl+R and repositioning the second clip forwards or backwards until you reduce foot-sliding, which is bound to occur during the blend anyway. MotionBuilder has an Auto Match button in Story mode, but because we only want to match the forward position and not the up/down and left/right we can avoid it here. You can use the handy Ghost skeletons to line up your clips with minimal guesswork. 16

15

Clean up the foot Plot from the Story to the rig and back while deleting old clips to

produce one clean clip, which you should reposition back at the origin. Plot the Story edit onto the rig one last time and turn off Story mode. You’ll likely have some lateral foot-sliding remaining that occurs across the blend, so eliminate this by modifying the offending keys, ensuring you don’t change the initial or final pose. Cleaning up the minor foot-sliding is easy with MotionBuilder’s FCurves. In the Front view, select the left foot controller and open the FCurves window in Navigator. Select the Translation X curve and modify the foot inwards before it lands.

Not just for running This technique can be used for any cycling action you wish as long as you blend across two similarly large motions rather than two subtle ones. This masks the blend more effectively and reduces the foot-sliding and other cleanup work that follows. Assassin’s Creed required many cycles to blend between in real-time – sometimes only for a few frames at a time. With this handy technique, your own projects can also have many quickly created cycles, but how creatively you use them is up to you!

16

Improve the silhouette From this point onwards it’s important to retain the cycling motion while editing. In Assassin’s Creed everything we avoided in this tutorial, such as asymmetry, acceleration and deceleration, was re-created in the game engine to give personality and a sense of effort. How much work you have remaining depends on how close your original mocap was to the desired result, but now that we have a flawless cycle an animator is free to begin the real creative work of adding appeal and personality. Remember that while videogame animations need to look good from 360 degrees, runs are seen mostly from the rear.

184 3D Art & Design

17

Final adjustments Let’s quickly raise the shoulders

for a more heroic posture. Turn on AnimLayer1 and the AutoKey (key) buttons, as well as selecting Full Body in the Body Parts dropdown menu, all under the Key Controls tab. Next set Reach R to 100% for the head and shoulder controllers under the Character Controls in the upper right. This enables us to blanket keys across the entire animation unhindered. Finish off by pulling the shoulders up and back and tilting the head down slightly on your cycle’s first frame for that classic Assassin’s Creed look. Now we’re ready for a first pass in the game engine – many more remain!

17


Artist info

Gallery

Koen Koopman Username: TBKoen Personal portfolio site www.tubuh.nl Country The Netherlands Software used 3ds Max, Mudbox, After Effects, Photoshop, V-Ray

Work in progress‌

This was an image I created for fun and practise, revised from an older version with my current knowledge of sculpting, lighting, colour palettes and composition Koen Koopman General Shellshock, 2013 3D Art & Design 185


Animation

186 3D Art & Design


Animate vehicles

Animate vehicles One giant leap for car-kind 2013

Jahirul Amin is a freelance rigger, animator and an associate lecturer at the NCCA, Bournemouth

Artist info

Easy-to-follow guides take you through the creation process

The control rig

Jahirul Amin Personal portfolio site www.warpeaceandpixels.com Country UK Software used Maya Expertise Jahirul is an expert animator and rigging genius

ěũ 8ũ2!#-#ũăũ+#2 ěũ("#.ũ-(,3(.-2 ěũ#+/$4+ũ2!1(/32ũ$.1ũ 8 ěũ43.1(+ũ2!1##-2'.32 3D Art & Design 187


Animation

Animate vehicles in Maya H

aving modelled and rigged our car, we can now finally take it out for a spin. We’ll be hurtling down a stretch of rough road, then taking a jump over a broken wooden bridge. This little stunt will definitely test out our rig and we’ll need to play with the suspension and tip the car using the pivot controls. We’ll also have to make sure the car doesn’t penetrate the environment as it travels over the bumpy surface, most likely by adding extra keyframes, then finally adding weight as the car hits the ground after the jump. So grab the supplied tutorial files and let’s take a look. Thanks to the millions of petrol heads out there, you’ll find more reference than you could ever need online. This is especially handy to help you work out the timing, as well as to observe small details that

add texture to the piece. However, there’s no substitute for first-hand resources, so if/when you drive, really feel the way the car moves in response to changes in surface, shifting gear and so on. In terms of approach and technique, we’ll come at this task as if we were completing a character animation. We’ll lay out the broad strokes to begin with and try to get the timing right before adding any finer points. When the timing is just right, we can add detail layer by layer, tweaking that timing as we go. The problem with attempting any detailed work before the timing is sorted, is that if you need to significantly rework it, you’ve got to undo the detail added on top in order to fix it, which I find pretty soul-destroying. Technique-wise, we’ll be using the very useful Editable Motion Trails, which

Start the engine

Hey, who took the bridge?

enable you to see the path your object (here, the car) is following. They also enable you to edit the motion live in the viewport. Before we hit the steps, I’ll run through the process briefly. First we’ll set our animation preferences, create a custom shelf, frame our work and make a camera to work to. Then we’ll block out the motion of the car, first moving it from A to B, then working and reworking the timing to get it looking believable. Next the layering begins, so ensure the wheels don’t penetrate the surface of the road and add weight by playing with the suspension. Finally we’ll add details such as the damage to the car on landing, the movement of the wooden bridge struts as the car hits them, and animate the character in the driving seat.

Modifications to the rig

Check the settings & create a camera

I’ve made a few tweaks to an original rig I created to make it fit for purpose. First I added an attribute to allow for pivoting independently from the driver or the passenger side. I also created a control for the steering wheel and hooked it up to the Front Wheels Turn attribute, so the steering wheel will turn with the tyres. Finally I popped a character (Box Boy) into the car, parented his IK hand controls to the steering wheel and constrained his root_ctrl to the car’s body_ctrl. Check out the scene file ‘rapier_rig. ma’ to see these changes and have a play around before beginning the tutorial. 01

01 02

Tweak the animation preferences

Before we drive, we need to check the animation settings. Go to Window>Settings/Preferences>Preferences and scroll down to the Settings category. Under the Working Units, set the Time to PAL (25fps) and then go down to the Time Slider tab. Under Playback, set the Playback Speed to Real-time [25fps]. If you’re used to working at 24 or 30 frames per second, feel free to set it to this. As the car will travel between keyframes, set the Default In and Out Tangents to either Auto or Spline under the Tangents in the Animation tab.

02 03

01 Setting Time preferences

before we start 02 Framing the shot 03 Creating camera bookmarks

and selection tools

188 3D Art & Design

Place the camera Go to Create>Cameras>Camera and rename this ‘render_cam’. Open the Render Settings under Window>Rendering Editors and set the Image Size to either HD 720 or HD 1,080. Select the newly created camera in the Outliner, then in the viewport panel go to Panels>Look Through Selected. Position your camera where you think is best and turn on the Resolution Gate to help you frame your shot. I ended up tweaking the camera slightly throughout the shot, so as to frame the animation better as I progressed. However, working to one main camera means you can cheat a few things should you need to.

03

Custom shelves & shortcuts Create a new custom shelf and call it ‘car_anim’. In this shelf we’ll make a shortcut to return to our camera view, as well as a shortcut to select the main controls that we’ll be keying in this shot. Looking through the render_cam viewport, go to View>Bookmarks>Edit Bookmarks. Select New Bookmark and then Add to Shelf. If you aren’t quite decided on a final camera angle, create a few bookmarks to switch between. Next select the following controls: main_ctrl, body_ctrl, fpTyre_ctrl, fdTyre_ctrl, rpTyre_ctrl and rdTyre_ctrl. Open up the Script Editor and highlight the commands from the History and middle-mouse-drag them onto the custom toolbar. When it prompts you to Save Script to Shelf as Type, select MEL.


Animate vehicles

Move from A to B

04

It’s all in the timing; details can wait

04

Apply guide curves Before I begin animating, I like to create a curve to help me figure out the path the object will follow. Go to Create>CV Curve Tool or Pencil Curve Tool and make sure the Curve degree for either is set to 3 Cubic. Navigate to the top view and create a nice path from the top-right corner of the environment and over the bridge. If you’re using the CV Curve Tool, make sure you make several clicks from start to finish, enabling better editing of the curve. Now tweak the vertices, as they’ll currently be flat on the surface. Once you’re happy with this, use the car’s globalSRT_ctrl to position and rotate it in the direction of the curve .

05

Block out the controls To translate the main mass of the car we’ll block out the main_ctrl. Only focus on translating the car in the X and Z axes initially and don’t worry about the up-and-down translation too much, other than on the bridge. When the timing is refined later on, we’ll come back and clean the up-and-down translation, so the car will sit on the surface better. As we have to deal with both Translate X and Z in the Graph Editor, things can get pretty tricky when trying to get them to work together. Luckily we can use the Create Editable Motion Trail tool, which you’ll find in the Animate menu. With the main_ctrl selected, run the tool to create the curve of the path the car is following. You can now – live in the viewport – use the handles to edit the trajectory. This is a very useful tool when animating a shot like this.

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Re-time the animation & make an impact

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Replicate the drag At this point we’ve got the car

Once the main blocking is complete, we can really start concentrating on the timing and try to get it to a state where only minimal changes may be needed later. Try to think hard about the weight of the car and how the front (where the majority of the mass is) will behave. Use the Front Wheel Pivot and the Rear Wheel Pivot attributes to lift the car up from the broken bridge, and then also to add weight as it comes crashing down. As the car comes down, we can consider the principles found in a bouncing ball animation: the spacing increasing gradually and then the sharp contact, to help convey a sense of weight and impact.

running at some speed and the first turn is pretty sharp. To help strengthen the idea of a speeding car, use the Front Drag attribute on the main_ctrl to delay the rear of the car. This will also help enforce the idea that the main weight of the car is at the front, causing the rear to fall behind. As the car begins to straighten up before the jump, you could also add some drag in the opposite direction. Doing this will bring a little texture to the animation to prevent it becoming too cleanlooking and boring.

Where is the weight? During this process I was constantly considering where the weight was in the car. For this model the engine would be at the front, so as the car swings the rear will drag. As the car comes down from the jump, it’s the front that will lead and hit first. Stunts like those performed in The Dukes of Hazzard had the boot stuffed with weights to soften the landing and stop the car from nose-diving. Think about what would be physically plausible first and if you need to exaggerate slightly, do so. 04 Using curves as guides helps

to project the flight path 05 Use the Dope Sheet to help

edit the timing

07

06 Bring impact to the landing

using the Graph Editor 07 Add texture by dragging the

rear of the car 3D Art & Design 189


Animation

Adjust the tyres & suspension Apply weight & keep the tyres on track to maintain the illusion

Motion trails Whether you’re animating a character or a hard-surface object, you’ll want to make sure the arcs created are appealing to the audience’s eye. I’ve supplied a script created by a colleague, Constantinos Glynos, called ‘CG_ VertexMotionTrail_v2.py’. This enables you to take a selected vertex and create a motion trail from it. Here I’ve checked that the trails created by the tips of the car’s wings flowed.

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Stay on the surface By now we should have the main beats of the animation, so we can begin cleaning up and layering in the details. Go through the tyres one control at a time, using Translate Y to keep them on the surface rather than penetrating it. Keep the geometry of the wheels and the environment in smoothed mode, as viewing unsmoothed may give slightly odd results. As the surface is so bumpy, especially as it travels up and down the bridge, you’ll probably find that you have no choice but to set a key on almost every other frame – if not, a frame here and there.

09

Animate the suspension Once the wheels are sitting well on the surface, use the body_ctrl to bring the feeling of suspension as well as further appeal to the animation. As the car makes the first big turn, rotate the body_ ctrl away from the turn and then hit it in reverse. Delay the body_ctrl so it’s always trying to catch itself. As the car comes crashing down, you can really help sell the impact by rocking it back and forth a few times before settling. With the combination of the movement in the wheels and the suspension, this will help add some life to the animation.

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190 3D Art & Design

10

Tweak the tyres

For the wheels, disable the autoSpin attribute on the main_ctrl and use the Spin attribute on each tyre control. This enables us to edit the speed of the tyres spinning at different stages. For example, when the car is travelling through the air, the front wheels need to slow down but the back wheels should spin at a faster rate. You can apply something similar for when the car makes its first major turn. You may find that due to the style of the hubcaps it’s pretty hard to see the wheels spinning, but adding motion blur can help sell this effect. To turn the front wheels, use the Front Wheels Turn attribute on the main_ctrl.

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Place the driver To have this car with either blackedout windows or no driver would look odd, so pop BoxBoy in to let him take it for a spin. We can use this to our advantage, as it enables us to replicate the bumpy ride. By adding some delay and overlap to the upper body and the head, we can sell the idea of this car careening around and slamming down. You don’t have to spend too much time here as the motion of the car is fast, but even these small details help add some reality to the animation. You’ll also have to use the Elbow attributes in the IK hand controls to stop the elbows from popping about. 11

08 Make sure the wheels aren’t

penetrating the surface 09 Add more weight by rocking

and tilting the main body of the car

10 Turn the wheels and add

some spin to them 11 Create further drag and

overlap by animating the BoxBoy driver


Animate vehicles

Add more details & texture Small points will make all the difference, so let’s add some

12

Include bumps & breaks In order for the front of the

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Apply further jitter For greater interest, we can

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car to crunch the floor on landing, the licence plate will have to penetrate the floor for a couple of frames. Although there’s no control for the plate, we can animate it to move slightly backwards as it contacts the floor. You may have to edit the pivot point to be able to rotate it from a better position. To do this, simply hit the Insert key on the keyboard before you set your keyframes.

include more detail for the car’s vibrations and jitters. Use the autoJitter_ctrl with the following settings: Master Ctrl Speed: 1, Master Ctrl Size: 1, Body Rock Speed: 6, Body Rock Size: 0.2, Body Up Down Speed: 5, Body Up Down Size: 0.2, Bonnet/Boot Speed: 7, Bonnet/Boot Size: 0.1, D Door/P, Door Speed: 7, and D Door/P Door Size: 0.05. Try experimenting in a clean scene with just the car, as it’s hard to see the effects in a fast-moving vehicle – but they do add to the overall animation.

12 Apply some minor damage

14 Use a bend deformer to add

some vibrations to the struts 13 By adding subtle jitter on top

of our main animation we can increase the believability

15 Clean up the animation’s

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curves before signing off

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Interaction with the environment The last additional details can affect the struts as the car lands. To avoid animating each piece of wood individually, select the majority of the horizontal struts and navigate to Create Deformers>Nonlinear>Bend. Rotate the bend deformer 90 degrees in the Z axis and animate the Curvature attribute, found under Inputs, with very small numbers. I’ve handanimated some of the vertical struts using the Rotate Z channel to reinforce the illusion of weight slamming down.

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Clean up the animation curves Finally, check the

curves and clean them up or delete any keys from attributes that have no animation on them. You’ll know which attributes have no animation as you’ll see a straight line in the Graph Editor. And now, you can take that brisk Sunday drive!

Light up your animation Lights are awesome and I have a tendency to use them often when checking my animation. I like to create a directional light with Use Depth Map Shadows turned on and an ambient light with a very low Intensity of around 0.25. Adding Viewport 2.0 and turning on the Screen-space Ambient Occlusion really helps to show you if your models are penetrating the environment. Minor penetration isn’t a bad thing, as it helps to sell the idea that one object is sitting on top of another – but go too far and it will look wrong!

15

3D Art & Design 191


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The 3d art & design book vol 3 characters, vehicles, arch vis, photorealism, animation  
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