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Creative guides for amazing 3D art

Maya 3ds Max Photoshop Vue Cinema 4D ZBrush

Practical inspiration for the 3D community


Ultimate guides to next-gen designs Interviews and advice from professionals Inspirational galleries from top artists Free disc packed with great resources

3D art design &



3D art design &



3D art &design
Imagine Publishing Ltd Richmond House 33 Richmond Hill Bournemouth Dorset BH2 6EZ % +44 (0) 1202 586200 Website:

Editor in Chief Jo Cole Production Editor Jon White Design Charles Goddard Printed by William Gibbons, 26 Planetary Road, Willenhall, West Midlands, WV13 3XT Distributed in the UK & Eire by Imagine Publishing Ltd, 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 magazine 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 magazine 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. 3D Art & Design Volume 2 2011 Imagine Publishing Ltd ISBN 978-1-906078-9-73


Your guide to whats included in the book


Create a magical 3D lake



Gallery ........................................................................... 8 Feature: The world in your hands ....................... 14 Create a futuristic city ............................................22 Create a beautiful landscape................................28 I made this: Meny Hilsenrad ................................32 Creating a magical forest lake..............................34 Texture and paint environments........................40 I made this: Nikita Veprikov .................................44 Model environments ............................................. 46 Creating nature plant modelling ......................52 I made this: Rafal Waniek......................................57

Gallery .......................................................................58 Interview: Oliver Ponsonnet ...............................64 Painting up a demon image .................................72 Texture and light a beautiful girl..........................76 Creating a savage warrior ...................................80 I made this: Hodong La ........................................96 Making of The Sky Fisherman ...........................98 Create a sexy fairy woman ...............................104 Portrait masterclass ............................................108 I made this: Iker Cortzar ................................... 114 Model a cute fantasy figure................................116 Build your own monster ..................................... 120 Interview: Andrew Hickinbottom ....................124 Create a futuristic bar scene............................. 130 Create a friendly dragon .....................................134 Add textures and light to objects .....................138 I made this: Martin Ruizl .....................................142 Create a Lovecraft legend .................................144 Create Pixar-style artwork ................................ 148



25 textures Tutorial files Podcasts

Turn to page 258 for full listings




Gallery ........................................................................ 152 Grand designs ..........................................................158 Texturing and lighting architecture ...................164 Creating a stylish museum building..................168 I made this: Viktor Fretyn................................... 172 Interview: Kuan Studio .......................................... 174 I made this: Anton Cherenko...............................179 Creating a mansion ................................................180 I made this: Luis Tejeda .........................................186 Interview: F10 Studios............................................188 I made this: Arkin Esref ......................................... 193

The hottest 3D artists show us how they create inspirational works of art


Gallery ........................................................................194 Interview: Daniel Simon ...................................... 200 Creating a futuristic flying vehicle......................210 Get that post-apocalypse look............................214 Creating a magnificent Spitfire ...........................218 I made this: Simeon Patarozliev.........................234 Modelling a sports car.......................................... 236 Lighting the Silver Arrow .....................................240 I made this: Andr McGrail ................................ 245 Building a concept car ..........................................246 I made this: Neil Maccormack ........................... 252


Feature: The world in your hands ................ 14 Create a beautiful landscape .........................28 I made this: Meny Hilsenrad .........................32 Creating a magical forest lake ...................... 34 Texture and paint environments ................ 40 I made this: Nikita Veprikov ......................... 44 Model environments ...................................... 46 Creating nature plant modelling................52 I made this: Rafal Waniek...............................57 Create a futuristic city .....................................22

When I started work on Interurban, my intention was to convey both the massive scale and the hustle and bustle of the sprawling cities of the future. Dont look down
Jacob Charles Dietz, Interurban, 2010

Personal portfolio sit JacobCharlesDietz.c e om Country America Software used Poser Pro 2010, Vu e 9 Innite and Photoshop CS 5 Artist bio Jacob is an award-wi nni illustrator and matte ng artist, pai specialising in scienc nter e ction and fantasy. Born and Seattle, Jacob studie raised in d Communications at Visual Th University of Washi e ngt moving on to receiv on before e traditional ne arts training at Seattles School of Visual Co nce has always been fas pts. He cin the fantastic worlds ated by of books and classical comic paintings of the old masters, so he both of these inuen leverages ces in his work making a one -of style that can be see -a-kind n in everything he does.

Jacob Charles Dietz

Artist info

Light played a key part in the composition of this image everything was assigned to guide your eyes from the bright centre to the darker sides. For the main illumination, I used a V-Ray Plane light, while a Target Direct light was used in order to simulate sunshine
Istvn Vastag, The Way I Feel, 2009


Artist info
Istvn Vastag
Personal portfolio site gallery Country Hungary Software used 3ds Max, ZBrush, V-Ray, Photoshop

Work in progress

Artist info
Lebedev Denis Victorovich
Personal portfolio site N/A Country Russia Software used 3ds Max, V-Ray, Photoshop

Work in progress

It all started when I watched the lm Mary Reilly (1996). I very much liked a eeting shot with an old watch, but gradually the idea and composition developed and I also wished to introduce some history into the interior
Lebedev Denis Victorovich, Antique clock, 2010

This was created for the NVArt 5 competition. Its inspired by pictures by Syd Mead, who is a living legend of futuristic images. I used similar colours to try and convey the same mood as master Syd
Christopher Czerwinski, Periodical Service, 2010


Artist info
Christopher Czerwinski
Personal portfolio site gallery Country Poland Software used CINEMA 4D R10.101, Advanced Renderer 2.5, Photoshop Elements 6

Work in progress



Cirrus Minor

Using stratified materials on the rocks nearest the camera, and then a moon and planet in the sky using MojoWorld



world in yourhands
If you want to create your own CGI world, you need the right software. Duncan Evans investigates the best options


ver since there have been computers capable of creating semi-realistic-looking images, there have been software programs around to help create CGI landscapes. It really started in the days of the Commodore Amiga, when terms such as multimedia and information superhighway were fresh on everyones lips. Since then, the software has become ever more sophisticated and the images more natural with massed vegetation, stunningly realistic water, architecture and atmospheric conditions being added to the mix. In this feature, well take a look at the main options for those looking to create their own piece of CGI heaven, from bargain-basement o erings, to those designed for pro studios. It wasnt always the case, but it certainly is now. Vue from e-on software is the number one landscape creation program and not just for Hollywood studios. Theres a Vue for everyone as the range is split into Enthusiast, Artist and Professional categories. For enthusiasts theres entry-level Vue 8 Pioneer (its actually free), three pack versions: Fantasy, Fairy Tale and Sci-Fi ($49.95 each), and Frontier ($99). Artists get Esprit ($199), Studio ($399) and Complete ($599), while the professional users can look at shelling out $895 on Innite and $1,495 on

Edson Moraes


Masses of trees
If you want to cover your environment in a swathe of realisticlooking trees without having to go to the e ort of planting every single one, then the best solution by far is to use Vue. However, youll need the version that actually uses the EcoSystem painter which starts with Vue Studio. Large forested areas should generally have a limited number of di erent tree species otherwise it wont look realistic. The best way of doing this is therefore to load two or three varieties of the same tree into the EcoSystem and use the airbrush to spray the instances onto the terrain. For really thick jungle canopy, change the density setting so that they can stack up together or it will look more like a city park than a lush forest. xStream. In terms of functionality, the initial packages are fairly basic, concentrating on terrains and manual placement of vegetation. Frontier adds Poser support, while Esprit enables high-resolution renders, more import support and o ers a content pack. Possibly the biggest Vue upgrade of recent years was the introduction of the EcoSystem tool that enables vegetation and indeed, any compatible objects, to be spraypainted onto the terrain surface. You only get that from Studio upwards but it really does enable complex environments to be created in a short

Vue master Dominic Davison creates the perfect English country garden with this classic scene Dominic Davison

English Country Garden

Featuring a bridge from Cornucopia3D, this Vue image uses a couple of terrains, lots of tree models and thick cloud cover

Woodland Waterway

timeframe when the alternative wouldnt bear thinking about. The top-end package Innite incorporates all the modules from the series and in xStream you have a version that integrates with mainline 3D apps like Max and Maya as well. The heart of Vue is terrain creation with a 2D/3D sculpting interface that has seen plenty of improvement with recent releases. Like any kind of sculpting it takes a good concept and some practice to get a decent result. While the tools are quite good, theres denitely room for expansion and improvement here so look forward to this being enhanced, especially with dedicated brush types, in the twice-yearly updates. For those seeking to re-create existing landscapes, then the ability to import 16-bit heighteld data from
Dominic Davison

Forever Autumn
Dominic Davison

Using items from the Cornucopia3D store to create an autumnal feeling with an arching canopy of branches


20th Century Fox Film Limited

Landscaping the movies

Scott Brisbane of DreamWorks Animation increasingly uses Vue in his role as a matte painter
Scott Brisbane graduated from USCs School of CinemaTelevision with a BA in Cinematography. He then studied matte painting at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and was hired shortly after as a digital matte artist at Matte World Digital. After creating matte paintings for The Last Samurai, The Alamo and Catwoman, Scott moved to DreamWorks Animation in 2005. His credits as a matte painter there include Over The Hedge, Flushed Away and Shrek The Third. He was then promoted to lead matte painter on Kung Fu Panda, the rst lm where the studio used Vue extensively, creating over 700 shots. In 2008, Scott has served as the matte painting supervisor at DreamWorks Animation for the studios rst stereoscopic movie Monsters vs Aliens. This lm allowed the matte department the opportunity to push the boundaries of digital environments in 3D. Under Scotts supervision, the team of ten artists delivered hundreds of shots with environments ranging from foreground buildings and distant city views to dimensional aerial cloudscapes. After completing Monsters vs Aliens, Scott left DreamWorks to work at Rhythm and Hues Studios on Land Of The Lost, The Wolfman and The Cabin In The Woods.

Scott joined Weta in the matte painting department as the senior painter where they worked on shots for Avatar, now available on Blu-ray/DVD. The oating mountains are only 3D to the mid-ground; the ones in the background are all matte paintings


Scott moved over to Weta in 2009 as senior matte painter where Vue was used on James Camerons Avatar. Hes now back at DreamWorks, where he completed work on Shrek Forever After. Scott had this to say about using the program: Vue is one of the most artist-friendly tools Ive ever used. It has become an essential package in my workow for environment creation. In fact, as more and more stereo lms enter production, I see Vue becoming an extremely helpful tool in creating those imagined worlds dimensionally.

For us, Digital Nature has a dual meaning. Firstly, its Vues ability to create Digital Nature scenery with all that Vue is renowned for and seen in major cinematic productions: windswept forests, cloud-lled skies and vast mountainous terrains. Secondly, even novice users can quickly create awesome renders. The path between ones own creative Digital Nature and a visually satisfying render with Vue is very straightforward and unobtrusive Nicholas Phelps, president, e-on software
external apps or USGS DEM data will be useful. Its the kind of thing that made VistaPro popular in the rst place. Also on this front, theres a very handy ability to load a terrain picture as a bitmap, display it inside the Terrain Editor and then sculpt a landscape based on it. The interface has a more old-fashioned feel to it than, say, Bryce, but it works well and consistently with a four-pane display on higher-spec versions, or a single display on the Enthusiast options. The real quality of the program is in assigning materials to your terrains and whether they are regular or procedural. The innite procedural terrains have the benet of automatic subdivision closer to the camera for more detail, and render time-saving general detail further away. Getting into the heart of the program is creating the materials and mixing them, applying rules for greenery, snow lines, scale, etc. Its the EcoSystem painter that really makes Vue invaluable for densely populated terrains. Any objects can be loaded into the EcoSystem whether they are clumps of grass, trees or even buildings, and they can be painted singularly for
Peaceful Island
Created with Terragen 2 and reecting the artists romantic mood at the time

Susanne Krings

precision, or airbrush painted to cover your landscape en masse. This is the feature that the Hollywood studios love and youve seen it at work in everything from Pirates Of The Caribbean and Indiana Jones to Terminator: Salvation. When you throw in mist, atmospheric haze, low-lying fog, the di erent types of lighting with

editable clouds and then the water simulation where surfaces can be smooth and lake-like or heaving like the Atlantic and you have unparalleled control for realistic landscapes. The caveat to this is that while it is easy to pick up and use, the results tend to be poor on close-up shots until you have mastered the technical aspects.


Bryce 7 is a toolset inspired by artists. Based on the input and direction of professional Bryce users and DAZ 3D community members, the Bryce 7 toolset is truly customised to t the needs of its artists. With updated lighting, rendering and export capabilities, as well as a brand new Instancing Lab that allows users to create even larger scenes that require less memory, Bryce 7 offers more options than ever before Dan Farr, CEO, DAZ 3D
Then the results can be jaw-dropping. Vue also supports animation, and this is where studios tend to go for the xStream version. The animation wizard is a bit ropy but theres Poser gure and animation support, atmospheric and individual object and camera animation. Objects can even be congured to react to the terrain. While there are certain areas that would obviously benet from improvement, Vue has the kind of breadth that means it can do pretty much everything and you certainly get out what you put into learning it. Thats why its the number one choice for landscapes. For those looking to get powerful facilities and a good user interface, without having to spend very much, theres a great alternative in Bryce. Originally launched in 1994 for the Mac, Bryce named after the famous canyon in the US rapidly overtook VistaPro in the landscape popularity stakes. A PC version came out in 1996 and by 1999 the program had rapidly evolved with version 4 o ering a sophisticated SkyLab for atmospherics, better textures and object import. MetaCreations sold it to Corel in 2000 where trees and a few improvements were added for version 5 in 2001. And after that helter-skelter development, it stagnated under Corel until DAZ 3D bought the program and released version 5.5 which allowed import of DAZ and Poser characters thus expanding the range of the program. Finally in 2006, the basis of the latest version came out with Bryce 6.1 which improved the terrain editing, added HDRI lighting and made it take advantage of multi-threading and multicore CPUs. At the moment, a signicant upgrade is in the nal stages of development with Bryce 7 which will incorporate the Instancing Lab, new light
No post-work on this Vue image; Rudiger was aiming to simulate a painting style

Venedig Kopie

Rudiger Wacknitz

Essential links

types, more data exchange, improved SkyLab and Material Lab, particle animation and more rendering options. The Instancing Lab allows users to copy objects or create Instances, making it possible to create larger, more realistic scenes than ever before, using less memory. The new lighting includes Distant light, Parallel, Cluster, Dome and a series of 3D ll lights. The data exchange function means models and scenes from DAZ Studio can be imported more easily, while the Sky Lab gets a big upgrade with more tools and controls over cloud settings. Tools include Image Based Lighting (illuminating your scene or objects in the scene with images of light

An entire world
Out of all the software applications, from dedicated landscapes, to general 3D, there is only one package that lets you create an entire world in one go and thats MojoWorld. Creating a complex and interesting world is in fact so tough and time consuming that the author of the program recommends starting with an existing planet and modifying it to your specications. After that, set the camera down anywhere on the surface or let it loose and create an animation as you soar above the surface of an entire planet. Next up are entire solar systems apparently! Watch this space
Edson Moraes


Importing characters

While most software packages can import characters in a variety of formats, if you want to actually create characters and objects and put them into scenery, the fastest and easiest way is to use Bryce and DAZ Studio. Your DAZ characters and objects can be exported at the moment for easy inclusion into a Bryce scene, but this relationship will get even closer with the release of Bryce 7. Vue has a few tricks up its sleeve as well with the Enthusiast versions, so that Vue Frontier supports physically posing the Poser characters making animation a real possibility.
Bernie Sta ord

Dawn Patrol

Using an Anders Leczar model, rendered in Bryce for the clouds

from the real world), added capabilities for HDRI images (saturation control, transparency and HDRI from inside), soft shadows for IBL, specular map settings and Powerful Sun options. So its all cooking in the Bryce world, but how easy is it to pick up and how good is it in practice? Well to answer the rst question you need to go back to the beginning. It was developed on the Mac and ported to the PC and its had the same bizarre and idiosyncratic interface since. Lets say that its full of good stu , though vegetation isnt a strong point, but youll need to learn the interface to use it. The best parts of Bryce are the terrain creator but note this is 2D with a 3D preview, the various sky types and the Material Editor. Back in the good old days, before the rise of the PC, the Amiga world gasped with amazement when the original Vista program brought CGI landscapes to the desktop. Using fractal technology, where previously blank polygons had ruled supreme, we marvelled at the swathes of

Created with a ship that Bernie Sta ord modelled himself

Old Ironsides

Bernie Sta ord

greenery. Surprisingly, the veteran software package is still around, and at $50 from VendorNation it would appear a worthy alternative. However, like giving a Lada a new paint job, it might look shinier, but its still pretty abject compared to a Jag. And so it is with whats left of the VistaPro franchise. You can buy DEM map packs for it that look kind of realistic if you squint, but the basic interface is the same as 15
Susanne Krings

Countryroad Slope

Lars Braad Andersen

The aim here was to re-create the look and feel of a small countryside lane in a very hilly area of Western Jutland, Denmark, in midsummer

Blue System

Radial lights were used in this Bryce scene (of which one has a violet tone) to add that additional ethereal tint to the mountains on the left

years ago and the results simply dont stand up to any modern alternative. Back to the modern world and theres a brace of options for those that like to get their rendering ngers dirty. Were alluding to Planetsides Terragen 2 and Terragen Classic, which is a simpler version. Both versions can be downloaded and used free for non-commercial use but they do have limitations. These include rendering limited to 800 x 600 on Terragen 2, lower detail and antialiasing quality, a limit to three-object populations and no animation. On the plus side, you can get to try the products out for free before deciding whether to lay out $299 for Terragen 2, $399 with the animation module and $699 with XfrogPlants. The commercial versions also o er ve additional render node licences, tutorial videos and no restrictions. Terragen Classic can be upgraded for commercial use for $99 pitching it directly against Bryce and Vue Frontier. If anything, Terragen 2 is the spiritual successor to VistaPro, using complex fractal technology to render stunningly realistic landscape terrains right from



Martin Roes specialises in alien deserts with lots of detail and, of course, it just wouldnt be a MojoWorld without some extra planets in the sky

Realistic landscapes without hassle

If theres one strong point about Terragen its that anyone, once they gure out what does what, can create the most photorealistic terrains with the minimum e ort. There is a steep learning curve just to get to grips with the program, and as a rendering engine it isnt fast either, but the textured surfaces have a craggy and dirty look to them that makes a Terragen landscape distinct. Shots from a high elevation look like photos taken from an aeroplane window. Mastering the node-based shader network is key to creating variety and compelling realism in close-up shots.

Martin Roes

the start. The interface, though, is something of a horror show for the newcomer, being a nodebased system where each element can be adjusted and tweaked as it feeds the next. The shader tree setup does allow for plenty of control and has a similar pipeline and technology to traditional 3D software. This is no accident as the founder of Planetside worked for awardwinning VFX studio Digital Domain, where the company developed its own proprietary terraingenerating software. Much of that technology went into Terragen 2 which was subsequently used to create landscapes for lms such as The Golden Compass and The Wicker Man. Its denitely worth looking at both versions of the software before deciding on purchasing either. The strong point about the program is the quality of the results, the weakest being the heighteld editing possibilities.

As Xfrog Inc was just mentioned as the main supplier for a massive set of bundles with Terragen 2, its worth elaborating at this point exactly what the company has to o er. Xfrog Inc provides DVDs containing highly realistic plants, trees, owers and grasses as well as a plethora of objects suitable for use in landscape CGI. There are 29 DVDs of XfrogPlants alone, massive bundles and also a separate program itself called Xfrog. This comes as a standalone app or as a plug-in for CINEMA 4D or Maya and is used for organic modelling and animation so you can create your own vegetation. Third-party object creation is in fact key to expanding your chosen landscape CGI program with all manner of ora, transport and architecture. As well as the Xfrog material, e-ons Cornucopia3D store sells a massive amount of objects for all versions of Vue at a fairly low cost,

Terragen 2 features industry-leading displacement rendering performance and exibility, allowing realistic detail from orbit to centimetre scale. A sophisticated planetary atmosphere model allows creation of unlimited cloud types, while a global illumination lighting model optimised for large scales contributes to overall cloud and atmospheric realism. TG2 is uniquely capable of realistically rendering large-scale natural environments, freeing you from the limitations of set-oriented scenes Oshyan Greene, business manager, Planetside Software

The skys the limit

Most of the landscape-creating software can manage great-looking skies, but if you want complete control, you need Vue Frontier or upwards with the new Spectral 3 cloud system for layers of clouds. In fact, clouds now can even be independent objects that can be resized, rotated and rearranged just like any other object. The clouds themselves have their own internal density, which a ects how light travels through them, detail can be rened for close-up views and cast realistic shadows over the ground detail. It means that you have total control over both the look and feel and the actual shape of cloud cover in all your outdoor scenes.
Rudiger Wacknitz

Making it look real


Gill Brooks is an established Vue artist. Here she gives her insights into what makes for a superior CGI landscape

Waiting for Grandpa Kopie

A fairly complex scene requiring accurate object placement and use of Vues EcoSystem function to populate the foreground

while DAZ 3D is increasingly supplying more material for Bryce. Expect this to ramp up with the release of Bryce 7. To round things o , how would you like to create an entire world and then y around it? Thats the promise made by MojoWorld 3 which comes in a variety of avours from Focus to Standard and Pro versions and is compatible with both Windows and Mac. Focus comes in at just $49 but does little more than allow the user to plonk digital photos of themselves into strange new worlds. Its the Standard edition ($199) with which you can begin to create your own worlds though the planet
Lars Braad Andersen

wizard is recommended when using the software the rst-time round. There are still limitations here though, the most telling of which is that there are no trees supplied with this edition. To create trees, youll need to purchase the MojoTree ($69) add-in which can input individual trees or vast procedural forests. The Pro version ($479) includes the tree support and comes with more animation, 3D object le support and the MojoGraph which throws in a node-based shader editor similar to that which can be found in Terragen 2. Dont expect to master MojoWorld quickly, though. Not only is the interface unlike anything youve ever used, even the author of the program concedes that three years after the initial release of the program, no one had yet fully exploited the possibilities it o ered. Whichever app you decide to use, theres little doubt that it takes considerable practice and a good sense of colour, lighting and composition to create something special. When you do, make sure you then share it with the world!
Ste Goetz

If youre trying to get a realistic render, then use photographs for reference. If using your own, try to create as near to the exact picture as possible. Notice how the light reacts with the objects in the photo plants, buildings, people, etc. Try not to use any additional lights, but if you really must then use as few as possible and make sure you only have one shadow. All lights will cast shadows so if they are in varying directions youll get multiple shadows which is unrealistic in daylight scenes.

Plan ahead

In any type of scene, its always best to plan beforehand rather than just plopping things along the way. If youre not using photo reference, then make a sketch even the roughest sketch will help you plan.


If you plan on using trees close to the camera, try to use good-quality models rather than the native Vue trees. Even the HD are not really close-up quality due to the leaf planes. If you dont own a program such as OnyxTree or Xfrog, there are plenty of models for sale at Cornucopia3D and other stores.


When you load a Vue terrain, remember its only 5.375yds high and 28yds wide. Mountains are somewhat larger! In any type of scene, make sure your objects are scaled to each other. Nothings worse than a small house with a giant standing in front of it unless its a fairy tale.

With temperatures above freezing point, fog and mist will appear when the relatively warm and damp air meets the frozen ground. This kind of weather, alternating frost and thawing, is quite common in Denmark

Winter Forest

The Vue EcoSystem tool was used to populate the foreground with hay and a few poppies

Der Maierhof

Dont think that rendering is the end. Post-work not only enhances your image but also adds a personal touch. Even just a little lighting correction can go a long way to making an ordinary render pop.


Create a futuristic city

Cityscape 2008
Use Maya to help create buildings in a city layout and then use Photoshop to paint in the details
Marco Bauriedel specialises in shading, lighting, texturing and laying out render passes
Software used in this piece
Maya Photoshop

3D artists explain the techniques behind their amazing artwork

Artist info

Marco Bauriedel
Personal portfolio site Country Germany Software used Maya and Photoshop Expertise Marco specialises in shading, lighting and texturing, laying out and seeing what can be created with render passes in Photoshop or Nuke

his tutorial will lead you through the creation of a futuristic cityscape in a fantastical setting, as it doesnt exist in reality these days. It depicts what can be achieved when technological advancements and the imagination are combined. Maya was used to create the basic geometry as well as some lighting references of a few of the buildings, the highway and the bridge. Photoshop was the tool of choice for more than 90 per cent of this image. The hardest task was to get all the details together and make them look integrated in the nal piece. Maya helped a lot in order to nd a starting point and paint on that in combination with photographs. I will be leading you through the whole creation process of Cityscape, but rst I will start o by describing how I do my concepts.


Modelling, composition, painting
Concepts get your imagination going and make the process more enjoyable than starting with little thumbnails and photographs on a blank canvas from scratch.


01 Concepts on paper

Save yourself some modelling time by using the model and maps created here Cityscape.mb wip_03.jpg IMG_6300.jpg IMG_6784.jpg IMG_7611.jpg IMG_7245.jpg IMG_5911.jpg IMG_6143.jpg IMG_6145.jpg

Drawing quick boxes with a ballpoint pen and lling it with rough lines that mark a composition helps tremendously to pick the basic scheme you want to go after. By using a ballpoint pen instead of a pencil, you force yourself to just do a new sketch when you mess up, which raises the chance of even more ideas coming up. Starting with a horizon line (if inside the view) and putting focal points or vanishing points using the rule of thirds is the best way to go A. b

02 Concepts in Photoshop

Its time to bring the chosen composition into Photoshop by scanning or just re-creating the sketch by eye with big greyscale strokes that start to form shapes. In this phase, its important to go beyond rough line sketching and dene a logical lighting situation and basic depth values in the image b.

03 Finish the concept

A These are some raw concepts on paper that help to nd ideas quickly and e ciently b Here, grey values start to
mark depth in an early Photoshop sketch

c This is the nal concept with

a basic atmosphere, which frames the idea pretty well

A colour scheme is then added to the sketch to support the lighting situation and basic mood. Always remember that the colour of the sky tints shadowed areas much more than lit areas. The further objects are in z-space, the more they seem saturated, coloured and valued like the sky at the horizon line. With these thoughts in mind, its easier to create your colour palette. As this project is a personal painting, I kept the freedom of developing the colour scheme away from the initial concept during the process towards the nal piece c.
3DArtist 23

Problems and solutions

I wanted to quickly create some streets and a bridge for this concept, which would be lit and rendered to be even usable in a later, more detailed and more real version of the painting, and just t in as a base. Modelling geometry in perspective onto your concept is a pretty quick way to add basic shapes with basic lighting. The hardest task may be to get the perspective and distance dimensions correct. A stretched-out highly subdivided ground plane is a great help for the perspective when adjusted to end on the concepts horizon line. For the modelling, lock, key or bookmark your camera when the perspective is set so you dont lose the settings when accidentally changing the cameras view. Start modelling with very basic shapes that are aligned as well as possible, and use the power of Physical Sun and Sky for really quick render results that t your concepts time of day. Some coloured reections may give great details that later help a lot to sell rather simple geometry or help add realism and lighting on top of objects placed in Photoshop.

Modelling the scene

04 Camera alignment and scene setup
After creating a simple camera in Maya, a background image is added by looking through the newly created camera, accessing the Space menu bar and importing the image plane as shown in the screenshot. In this case, the standard value of 35 in Focal Length works out pretty well, because my renders work with pretty rough alignments and no additional adjustments of the image plane were needed, as the major objects we want to create are in the centre of the image. To be sure the whole concept is in the camera view, choose Horizontal at Fit Resolution Gate d. D f

How the basic scene was arranged in Maya

06 Lighting and shading

05 Set the perspective and modelling

A stretched-out ground plane marking a clear horizon line is a perfect base to get everything in place. The foregrounds stairs and two distant buildings are then modelled and aligned to t in the cameras view, and have a pretty logical distance in a perspective view. If this lines up, the other simple cube buildings, bridge, the bridges piers and spheres are created to roughly t in a perspective view and more precisely t in the cameras view. For the highways, a cube is created and its faces are extruded over and over again and later smoothed to form the streets shape e. e

At this stage two mia_materials are dened: one having a Glossiness of 1.0 for all spheres that will have sharp reections, and the other shader having a Glossiness of just below 0.3 to receive rough reections, which is also assigned to all other objects. To have more reections going on, parts of the city are duplicated towards the camera (marked red in the modelling screenshot). Then Point lights are positioned and coloured di erently to have some variation. Additionally, the Physical Sun and Sky settings are used to roughly imitate the time of day and direction of the sun f.

d Import the image into the

scene connected to a new render camera

07 Render for Photoshop workow

e This shows the modelled

city in two perspectives and the top view of the streets with an extrusion example shaders for a basic composition were used to get the imagination going

f Position the lights and create g The nal renderings as they

For the rendering, the Production render preset is chosen and Final Gather is activated with a Filtering of 1. In addition to the Beauty render, the Occlusion pass always gives more depth. Sometimes its needed to tint it to a warm colour in postproduction before multiplying onto the Beauty pass for better integration into the image. One of the best things about 3D renders are masks for any geometry, which can be quickly rendered with surface shaders in any colour to extract any shape with the Magic Wand tool in Photoshop g.



Painting in the main details

How the concept was developed towards a painting
08 Add rst photographs
The rst step is to add photo material to the image that roughly ts the buildings shapes in the concept. The photos are stretched and cloned to ll up as much space as possible for a good painting base. Obvious perspective issues should be erased through image distortion as early as possible, and later painted out for a more realistic feel h. h

09 How to light the stairs out of a texture

To create the stairs in Photoshop, a perspective-transformed marble texture is used to match the stairs shape. Then Occlusion-like shadows and core shadows are painted, followed by a screened mask for the lit areas that are later erased out on the shadow areas of the railings. Finally, the reection of the railings is added to make the marble shiny i.

10 Roughly integrate the renderings

The renderings are layered on each other and then imported to the Photoshop painting. After that, the layer stack is positioned into the painting and the Occlusion is slightly set to Multiply on top of the geometry. With the help of the masks, separate adjustments are done and the whole geometry is cut out. Finally, details and more dened lighting are painted on top for rough integration j. j

h The rst photo

material added to ll the concept with a rough base to start from more detail

Lighting the sky

11 Perspective orientation

For help on the perspective, its great to have perspective lines. These are created with paths that stick to the vanishing points, and are then lled by choosing a small brush and pressing the little button marked in the screenshot below. You can see in the background that the balcony is gone for a wider view, which gives the whole image a more epic feel k.

i The process of taking a

marble texture and creating a lit, shiny balcony out of it of CG elements into the painting

j The rough integration

k Grey values start to

mark depth in an early Photoshop sketch

It was especially hard to nd a nice composition for the sky, as my intention was to support the city with huge beautiful clouds that had to t into the lighting scheme at the same time. Luckily, halfway through the process of the image I was on a trip through Nepal, where some fantasticlooking clouds found their way onto my DSLRs memory card (some are included on the CD). These had a lot of depth and made it easier for me to paint and adjust the light on. The lighting mood changed several times throughout the concept, because I tried many things. In the end I was most happy with a saturated low sun lighting, which in my opinion supports the sky details and gives more contrast. For the lighting in the city, a lot of painting light on top was used to get the overall lighting to work. I wanted to have both a great sky atmosphere and a little light from windows and lampposts.


Marco Bauriedel

Artis t

Born in 1982 in Germany, after starting out digitally in Deluxe Paint on an Amiga at the age of 12, I waited to discover my passion for art until turning 21. From then on, various elds of digital art were parts of my studies, covering CGI, animation, digital painting, compositing and programming.


Creating the sky

How the sky was developed in the process of this painting
l These were clouds added
early on, which lacked depth, integration and detail

m This shows slightly

modulated clouds with a more detailed mid-ground city composition with another concept idea added on top of the painting

n The start of the nal sky

Jeep Planets Vue 6, Maya, Photoshop (2007)

These planets were created for the KNSK agency at Albert Bauer Studios to show the versatility of a Jeep on any terrain. I was responsible for the CGI creation of the planets.

Montblanc Minerva Maya, Nuke, Photoshop (2008)

The clouds seen here were the rst ones that were added to the image. Most of them look like they were cut and pasted into the painting and lack depth and integration; however, a lot of recolouring and repainting was applied at this stage. Some more di use clouds at the horizon help to make the scenery look more believable, too l.

12 Basic clouds

Montblanc commissioned Albert Bauer Studios to create a virtual clockwork of the Minerva Watch to y through in several animations. I was responsible for shading, lighting, rendering and compositing.

13 Modulate the clouds

Painting highlights gives more depth to these clouds but they still seem to be too evenly distanced, with a clear sky behind the front line of clouds, which seems quite unrealistic. At this stage, the sky and the whole image is tinted in a warmer mood. The streets are much more detailed now with a newly painted lighting onto the mid-ground buildings m.

Render time
Resolution: 4,200 x 2,000



Quickly adding detail

Audi Car Maya, Photoshop (2008)

This is an Audi Q7 rendered for photo agency MAGROUND at Albert Bauer Studios. My job was to do all the CGI and a part of the retouching in Photoshop.

A great technique to add more detail to your painting may be to search for images with high contrast, like lit windows at night. Add them to your painting, using the Overlay or Screen blending mode. This way, I saved a lot of time when making the lights of the city. You can stamp things around to be even faster.

14 The nal sky composition

New photographs were now added, which I shot in Nepal (you can nd some of these on the CD). As they are taking up more space in the sky, they seem much more epic. Additionally, gentle colour changes help to create interest. The nal stages of the sky follow in the nal section. In this version of the piece, another concept is added on top of the half-nished painting. I decided not to use the hangar concept either, and kept the undisturbed panoramic view later on n.



Fine detail and finishing off

How the finishing process developed the piece towards a better painting
15 Continue the sky composition
As the skys composition is almost nished in this step, the whole image looks a lot less cartoonish and has a more realistic feel. The lighting and colouring is still too dreamy in this version, but the direction starts to work. Details like the harbour piers and additional kicked highlights support this 0.

16 Finalise the sky composition

In this step, the sky is completely lled up with a new composition of clouds that work a lot better. The contrast in this version creates a more balanced image, but also a darker mood that kills some ambient sky lighting details on the city and the e ect of depth. The sun seems distractingly bright right now, but the overall composition is working p.

Layers were used extensively to be as exible as possible in the process. I mostly used adjustment layers that I later grouped with the changed pixels and duplicate. Then the duplicated group is merged and the old group is turned off visually to have a Photoshop le thats easier to handle.

Compositing the layers

0 Here, we are starting to get

somewhere with this painting

p A high-contrast version of

the cityscape with a bright sun monochromatic in this rather at version of the painting with the nal touch of colour variation and details

q Its getting too saturated and

r The nal cityscape painting p

17 Later that day

When working for too long on a painting without a pause, you get that tunnel vision that pushes you further into a saturated colour scheme. This red sunset version with too few highlights almost looks monochromatic compared to the previous version and the nal image. The ambient skylight painted onto the big clouds gives more depth nonetheless. Some little perspective corrections and the mid-ground city extension make the panoramic view complete q.

18 Final cityscape painting

And here is the nished painting. Opening some parts of the sky again gives more colour variation and a more friendly mood. One of the most important nal tweaks is the desaturation of the reds in combination with a bigger variety of colours and more ambient skylight details on the buildings roofs and clouds r.


Step by step: Create a beautiful landscape

he image Flying over Crater Lake was one I did for fun during time off from work. I was interested in experimenting with some digital sculpting software and a friend of mine who owns ZBrush let me play with it for a bit. I didnt set out to make this image in particular; the idea just came to me while playing around. When I had a mesh I found interesting, I imported it into Vue and started playing with di erent surface and lighting options. Initially I wanted to have a mysterious green

Modelling, painting

Flying over Crater Lake 2010

Crater Lake is one of my typical digital illustrations purely done for fun, using a combination of ZBrush, Vue and Photoshop
Peter Baustaedter is a digital matte artist/environment designer
light shine up from the vortex that I had modelled. In the end, though, I went for something more realistic and less magical. Sometimes, 3D art is all about going with your instincts and experimenting. Once I had a render I was happy with, I jumped into Photoshop to tweak levels and colour, ne tune the atmosphere, plus add some clouds and some nishing touches. Since I need to follow precise instructions and direction in my day job as a matte painter, I always enjoy creating more organic images when doing personal work.

Rough out ideas
This was basically the starting point coming out of ZBrush. I had modelled this vortex and I wanted to use it to render through Vue. Initially I thought I would have a biomechanical feel to it or make it something quite sinister. But, as I progressed, things would turn out di erently as you will see.


I didnt set out to make this image in particular; the idea just came to me while playing around. Sometimes its all about experimenting


Software used in this piece

ZBrush Vue Photoshop

3D artists explain the techniques behind their amazing artwork

Once I had the geo formed in Vue, the fun really started playing around with different lighting and moods. Vue is a great tool and provides the artist with many options for environments

Artist info

Peter Baustaedter
Username: baustaedter
Personal portfolio site http://llingthedrywell. Country New Zealand 8.5, Software used Vue Innite ZBrush 3.5, Photoshop CS3 in Expertise Peter specialises ting environments/matte pain

started playing around with di erent lighting and moods. Vue is a great tool and provides the artist with many options for environments. This low-res image was the only image I saved during this phase out of many attempts.


Once I had the geo formed in Vue, the fun really

After exploring di erent lighting situations I ended up with one of my old favourites straight daylight. This basic shader is based on Vues Square Rock with simple grass mixed in. I quickly modelled some background hills with the Terrain editor and placed some water into the bottom of the pit.



How the elements were put together

Here I deployed another one of my favourite elements cloud shadows. They strengthen the spacial impact and if placed correctly help to create a focal point for the eye. Volumetric lighting was turned on so that the Spectral 2 clouds cast some nice shadows throughout the atmosphere.

render t rs ime
Resolut 2,500 x 1,ion: 406

5 hou


EcoSystems, I decided to paint them by hand. Consisting of Vues Plum Tree and two other kinds of small shrubs, I painted an ecosystem to emphasise the weird topography of the crater/vortex. Here you can see my very simple setup and the nal painted ecosystem.

After various tries with procedurally placed

I usually like to underexpose a bit so no part of my render gets overexposed. I rendered this with Ambient Occlusion with the simple nal settings. Not very spectacular, but I personally like to do a lot of tweaking in Photoshop as I nd that method much quicker.



A great thing about Vue is that it can render a layered Photoshop le, containing useful passes and Alpha channels. This image shows the di erent layers I used to mix down a version of the render for me to paint on. Left to right show: Di use, Shadow, Reection, Indirect Lighting and Atmosphere Gain channels activated step by step. A lot of things happened once I took the image into Photoshop. First, I ipped the whole render to make the composition more readable. I replaced the water with a photo I took and cranked up the spec of the water surface to boost realism. The background was cleaned up and trees cloned to break it up. Quite severe colour corrections and some painted-in atmosphere tweaks nished this step.




Peter Baustaedter

Artis t

I have 15 years experience as a digital matte painter and concept artist. Over the course of my career Ive used countless applications to create digital imagery. I started out with Deluxe Paint and Sculpt 3D on a Commodore Amiga in the late Eighties. Nowadays I mostly use Photoshop, Vue, Maya and Nuke to create my professional work. My most noteworthy recent project is James Camerons Avatar, for which I did countless matte environments of Pandora at Weta Digital.


Lighting & rendering

Applying the final touches

The matte painter is coming through here I guess. I added a lot of clouds that I lifted from my own photographs. Vues clouds are pretty good, but for an illustration like this, photographic elements were the right choice in my opinion. I have a photo archive of about 15,000+ photos many of which are of clouds. Some more atmosphere touch-ups nished this stage of the painting.
Launch! Maya, mental ray, Photoshop (2007)
Launch! was an image I made for my personal portfolio. It started with a freehand sketch. Most of the elements in the nal image started out in Maya and were rendered through mental ray. None of those renders were textured though, so any kind of surface detail you see was added afterwards in Photoshop.

Untitled Vue 7, Photoshop (2009)

Usually after nishing a movie, I need to get it out of my system. That means quite often I do artwork in the style of the project to try a few things I didnt get to do during my work on it. So this is an Avatarinuenced image but has nothing to do with the movie except that I used techniques and styles I picked up during production.


the ipped image makes sense it can be nicely read from left to right and the birds lead you right into the heart of the image. I added a slight lens distortion with a chromatic aberration and some grain and just slightly blurred the background to slightly reduce the pixelated edge.

This is the nal image. I added the birds as a foreground element, so now

An overall Vue
I thought I would throw in an old-school illustration of mine. I was working on a matte painting that featured a lot of architecture and got tired of all the hard edges and surfaces. So I sat down and quickly painted this submarine alien only featuring round and curvy shapes and no windows, roofs and doors.

Untitled Photoshop 4.0 (1999)

Flying over Crater Lake was a fun image to work on and it has encouraged me to get a ZBrush licence and get into sculpting some extreme environments to take them into Vue. I found I had to severely reduce the polygons of the mesh that came out of ZBrush. With the high-res model, Vue was just laughing at me it was quite a few million polygons though. Vues 8.5 Terrain editor is very capable, but still cant do things that a 3D mesh-sculpting application can do. One thing I noticed is that when taking sculpted geo into Vue is that a lot of detail seems to get softened. I guess I might have saved time to just sculpt the big features and then invested that time to tweak the rock shader some more, as Im not too happy with the look of the rock faces. Hopefully this can be remedied in a future project.


Artist info

Meny Hilsenrad

Incredible 3D artists take k us behind their artwor

Website Country Israel , V-Ray, Software used 3ds Max Photoshop, After E ects

Software used in this piece

3ds Max V-Ray Photoshop After Effects

sing in a VFX studio speciali under of Studio Aiko, -fo co , e and rad tur ec sen hit Hil arc ny s, Me games, music video s, ial erc mm co for CG production d. Classroom was create d to make more, explains how clip, which we wante eo vid a of rt pa is ne sce m oo d, as I an ssr it Cla on e Th rted working in-house project. I sta al plan gin ori e Th . ns for a long time as an in di erent directio go to d rte sta s ng progressed, thi that shows the entire general camera angle was to make only the rted doing more and I , d with the scene sta rke wo I as t them. bu m, oo classr d saw the potential in nt camera angles an ment uip eq l ica ctr more tests for di ere ele desks and the the on ng rki wo d rte d took Thats how I sta ern in the project an came my main conc be y all ntu eve ich area wh the most time to do!

Classroom 2010

The lighting setup was a challenge, as I wanted it to work in all of the layers. The goal was to build the lighting in a way that would work for each camera angle simultaneously. It required lots of camera and lighting adjustments, as well as render tests and checking the results constantly in each camera


Close to the end of the lighting setup of the daylight version, I started doing different lighting tests camera ash, nighttime, etc; after investing so much time in building the scene, I wanted to squeeze the most out of it! This extended the work much more than I expected, since it required lots of post-work, eg colour correction and extra render passes

The work on the shaders and textures was a big challenge as most of them were made from scratch and some were handpainted, like the blackboard. Each appliance has a unique texture and shader that I made using close attention to reference pictures

The most prominent thing in the scene is the amount of detail. To handle this, I divided the scene into three different layers of work: the general classroom angle, the desk area and the close-ups of the desks

This picture represents a dreamlike, yet believable environment, with the purpose of leading the viewer to the world of fairy tales
Drea Horvath Freelance digital environment designer

3D artists explain the techniques behind their amazing artwork

Creating a magical forest lake Elven Lake

y inspiration for making this scene came from viewing some wonderful oil paintings, and one in particular caught my eye. It depicted a lovely forest lake in the colours of fall (autumn), and although it was an illustration of a real place, it had an ethereal mood. Since I love tweaking Vues atmosphere engine, I decided to make a colourful, scenic, dreamlike, yet believable environment, which leads the viewer to the world of fairy tales. This is how Elven Lake was born. In this tutorial I will show you the step-by-step process of how to go about making this scene. You will get an insight into the way that I set the basic composition, use Vues procedural materials, create the ecosystem, and set the most important parts of the scene: the atmosphere and the lighting, using Global Radiosity. I will cover my render settings, Ill reveal some tips and tricks for decreasing your render time, and nally I will show you a few steps for how to make your ethereal render look even more magical in Photoshop.

Artist info

Drea Horvath
Username: Drea Personal portfolio site http:// Country Hungary Hardware used Intel Core 2 Quad 9650, 8GB RAM Expertise Drea specialises in creating mostly large-scale, detailed, natural landscapes in e-on Softwares Vue, with particular strength in atmosphere and lighting

The idea was to create a lake surrounded by luscious woods. With the placement of a suitable building it became a fantasy environment.


Vues default MetaWater, and I deleted the Foam layer. Following that, I placed terrains to the middle-ground and background; they gave the basic shape of the lake. Finally, I placed a smaller terrain to the foreground, right below the camera a.

EcoSystem, materials, lighting

02 Adding rocks to the lakeside

If I want to make a lake or a river in Vue, I often use EcoSystem Painter to paint rocks or plants to the ground to create the nal shape of the lake or river. I apply this technique more often than painting a terrain map in Photoshop then importing it into Vue, because I nd it easier, I save time and since I can paint and erase instances as I want, I have more control over the shape. So I turned the ground to an EcoSystem, added rock, deselected Dynamic Population and started painting rocks along the side of the terrains b.

B A top view showing the lake formed by the terrains and the
painted rocks

Software used in this piece

Vue 8 Infinite Photoshop CS4

03 Materials ground and water

After making the basic composition, I continued my work with setting the materials. First, I modied the water material; in the Highlights tab I set Highlight global intensity to 69%, and Highlight global size to 76%. Then in the Transparency tab, I set Turn reective with angle to 75%. These steps made the water surface more shiny and reective; more realistic. For the ground I picked a soil material. I also changed the EcoSystem rocks material for a more realistic one Ive purchased from Cornucopia3D c.

Unlike many 3D artists, I never make a sketch before starting to compose a scene. Instead, I just place the terrains to the position I imagined, and the rest of the ideas come while working on the concept. Since I wanted to have a lake in this scene, I started my work by adding

01 The basic concept

a The very beginning a main camera view of terrains placed to form the basic shape of the lake

C A main camera view showing progress after the changes

described in Step 3


Problems and solutions

The EcoSystem Painter had a bigger role in shaping the lake, because, as Ive mentioned in Step 2, I nd it easier and more controllable to paint the lakeside than to use a large terrain and spend more time in Photoshop and in the terrain editor. I knew exactly where I wanted to have the edge of the lake, so I painted rocks right there, then adjusted the smaller terrains next to the rocks. This is a great and easily applicable solution to create lakes, if you use similar EcoSystem on the surrounding terrains. If you use the same, dense-grass EcoSystem on each terrain, the multiple smaller terrains will look like one large terrain. Since I used a multilayered EcoSystem here with a dense grass layer, the terrains underlying material was not too important either. I used the same rock material I added to the painted rocks, but I could have picked some soil or mossy rock too. Multilayered EcoSystems are useful if you want to have more control over the overall density of the different species, and their direction from surface. While the grasses and the bushes direction is 100% perpendicular, the trees grow rather vertically.

Assembling the scene

Planting the foliage for the EcoSystem
Since I wanted to paint the scene in the colours of fall (autumn), this season determined my selection of plant species for the EcoSystem. The foreground terrain has one grass layer, the middle-ground terrains have two layers (grass and bush), while the larger, background terrains feature a third layer of non-HD fall rural maple trees too d.

04 Creating the ecosystem overview

05 EcoSystem - grass

My rst step of creating the EcoSystem was adding grass, as the rst ecosystem layer. A fresh-looking, bright green grass wouldnt t this autumnal environment, so I chose Bu elgrass from the AsileFX Sample Grass Pack. In order to increase the brownish look, I added Dead Grass from the same pack too. Since I didnt want the ground to be visible, I set the Density to 96%, I deselected Decay near foreign objects, I set the Direction from surface to 100% perpendicular, and then, to add some realism, I marked Shrink at low densities e.

E A screenshot of the grass layers Scaling & Orientation settings, and a render that shows these settings in practice

06 EcoSystem bushes & non-HD trees

D A screen capture of the material editor that shows the three layers of the EcoSystem

For the bush layer I picked Nadina Domestica from the Incredibly Lush Autumn Shrubs collection, and Bush 1 Crawling. To make this bush t the environment, I went to the Materials tab under the preview screen and changed the colour of its leaves to something reddish. I set the Density to 90%, and the Direction from surface to 96% perpendicular. I left everything else at default. I added another EcoSystem layer to the background terrains, and loaded Scott McEwans non-HD fall maple trees from his Rural Maple Tree pack. To achieve a dense forest feeling, I set the Density to 80, and I left everything else at default F.

F This render shows how the scene looked after adding the bush layer and the non-HD maple trees



g This shot shows how the scene looked like after the EcoSystem painting. You can see how these plants and colours brought the scene to life

07 Manually placed HD trees

While non-HD trees are perfect for lling the background, as we are getting closer to the camera, we need to pay more attention to details and quality. HD trees are much more detailed and elaborate than non-HD trees, so they are a great choice for closer views. I placed HD maple trees from the same pack to the middle and foreground, creating a somewhat dense forest around the lake g.

render time
Resolution: 3,000 x 1,688


10 No sky visible

08 The centre of attention

I wanted to achieve the feeling of being in the middle of the forest. For this, I needed to cover the whole sky with large, densely populated terrains placed to the far background. I used three horizontally stretched terrains with a single, dense (87%) layer of non-HD fall maple trees. The rst terrain added more depth and density to the ground level, and the other two, larger terrains were rotated to cover the sky j.

The environment was starting to look pretty nice, although when I viewed it I didnt know where to look, and the middle of the scene seemed so empty. When composing a scene, it is important to place an object, building, larger plant something prominent to the spot where you want to attract the viewers attention. In this composition I followed the Rule of Thirds, and placed this tiny elven house with a boat onto a small island with a layer of rocks and a layer of grass ecosystem. This denitely made the scene more pleasing to the eye h.

Lighting and rendering

Atmosphere and lighting are the key elements in this scene. The soft, subtle lighting and misty atmosphere give the fairy-tale mood of the scene, and make it di erent from an ordinary shot of an autumn forest. You can use legendary creatures, buildings or other objects, but without the right atmosphere, the scene loses its purpose. Although photorealism was not my goal, I wanted to make the scene as believable as possible. When it comes to lighting, Vues Global Radiosity (GR) engine is the key, because using photon calculations it can mimic real-life lighting with reected light. It is also essential to enable Indirect Skylighting to get colour-reected light, and Optimized for outdoor rendering should be enabled if making a natural environment. There is only one disadvantage to GR: since it uses a lot of calculations, it consumes more system resources, thus it can increase render time. Thats why I reduced its quality to -2 while composing the scene and to -0.5 for the nal render, decreasing render time without visible quality loss.

09 Fallen leaves on the water surface

To add more detail and to increase the autumn feeling, I decided to paint some maple leaves to the water surface, near the lakeside. I took my water, turned its material into an EcoSystem, and added two Autumn maple leaves Ive purchased from Cornucopia3D. To avoid oating leaves, I set the O set from surface to -2cm, I set their maximum rotation to 180%, then I started painting the leaves on the water. As I was getting farther from the edge of the lake, I decreased the brush ow and density i.

h In this shot I highlighted the focal objects to emphasise their position i On this screen capture you can see how I painted a path of fallen leaves to the water surface j Side view and main camera view with the highlighted far background terrains


Lighting the scene

Drea Horvath
I am a 23-year-old self-trained freelance digital landscaper living in Budapest, Hungary. I started playing with Vue as a hobby about two years ago. It took a while to develop my skills to my current level, and to nd the style that suits me best. Mostly I create large, complex environments, with powerful, dramatic atmospheres. Recently I joined iMU Studios THUNDER Throne Wars game project as an environment and level designer. To make the scene look as believable as possible, it was clearly best to use Global Radiosity. I used a Gain of 2.0 to add some reected light, and I increased the Sky dome lighting gain to 0.30 to add some light being reected from the sky itself, just like in real life. Since most of the sky is covered by trees, this value of 0.30 was enough. Pulling the light balance to Sunlight (70%) decreased articial ambient light, and the ambient light was set to come from the sky, instead of being distributed throughout the scene. Since the shadows dont have such sharp edges in real life, I set Sunlight softness to 3.00, then I found the best sunlight direction k.

To give depth and make it believable

11 Global Radiosity and shadow softness

Bitmaps and procedural materials

Besides using bitmaps to create materials, in Vue it is possible to apply a procedural method to create your own materials or use and modify presets as well, using fractals that are literally innite. Procedural materials can be dependent on any aspect of the world that you create, such as altitude, slope, or height. In my scenes I use procedural materials for terrains and water, and plants have bitmaps.

12 Sky, Fog and Haze

In Perfect Harmony Vue 8 Innite, Photoshop CS4 (2009)

This render turned out somewhere between real and surreal, but I actually liked the result. The soul of the scene is the atmosphere; its powerful and dramatic, yet it reects peace and harmony.

Sky settings didnt have a big role in this scene, so I left everything at default. Thick forest mist is a key element of such scenes. Sometimes it can be achieved by increasing Haze density, though in this scene I wanted to keep the colours as vivid as possible. So I ended up decreasing Haze density to 12%, and increasing Fog to 30%. To keep the warm reddish tones, I added a slight red tone to the fog colour (RGB 94 90 85). Since I wanted a somewhat powerful morning sunlight, I pulled up Glow intensity to 100%. For subtle rays, I used volumetric sunlight l.

13 Adding more depth

A very nice, mysterious forest mood can be achieved by increasing Aerial Perspective. It actually multiplies atmospheric values, making the scene look bigger. Here, my purpose was to add more depth and misty look, so I increased AP to 30, and added a fuzzy metacloud to enhance the e ect. After global settings, the scene was ready to be rendered m.

k Screen grab of the Sunlight softness and Lighting settings l Screenshot of Sky, Fog and Haze settings m The di erence is signicant

Sanctuary Vue 8 Innite, Photoshop CS4 (2009)

My goal was to create a large jungle scene with realistic lighting and ascending morning fog. I populated the rest of the terrains with Alder, and for the foreground I used crawling bush and AsileFX jungle plants.

Chasing Heights Vue 8 Innite, Photoshop CS4 (2010)

This render is a the result of some experimenting with rock materials and functions. The unusual POV, the fog and the subtle God rays add some drama to the image.



Rendering and post-production

Creating and tweaking the final scene
Render settings are based on a sensitive balance between quality and speed. Anti-aliasing: 4/256 rays were used for both object and texture AA. With a quality setting of 45% this provided good results and reasonably fast render. Settings like motion blur, n DOF and blurred reection were disabled, as they didnt apply to this scene and would have only increased render time. Advanced e ects were left at the default 46%, as the GR and Atmosphere settings were tweaked independently. The scene took exactly 33h4238 to render at 30001688 n.

14 Final rendering

wonders to the image. My rst step was adjusting the contrast in the most simple way, by hitting Auto Contrast. Then I duplicated the background layer, and applied Auto Color and Auto Tone on the copy, then changed its Opacity to 65%, where I liked the image the most. After merging the layers, I needed to reduce noise a bit o.

n A screenshot of the custom

render settings that I used for the nal render after contrast and colour corrections. The changes are minor, but the picture looks quite di erent

o This is how the image looked

16 Adding more magic

15 Post-production corrections

After nishing a render, my next step is always launching Photoshop and making some minor corrections (contrast, colour, levels etc) on the nal render. It gives me more control over the nal result, and some clever steps can do

The following technique is based on one of GeekAtPlays tutorials, and I apply it in 95% of my work. In a mysterious forest scene this method works very well, since it adds more magic to the render. Basically I duplicated the background layer twice, applied Gaussian blur with a 4.2px radius on the two copied layers, set the second layers blending mode to Multiply, and the third layers to Overlay. I adjusted their opacities to 20-20%, and got the result I wanted. I added a very little soft light with brush to the darker areas, and nally I added a new layer, rendered clouds (with foreground and background colour black and white), hit Di erence clouds, set the blending mode to Soft light, and the opacity to 18%. With this step I added some very subtle, soft shadows to the picture p.

p Almost ready. You can see

how the technique I described works on a fairy-tale-like render

q ...and here is the nal image after post-work

17 Final steps

I was just a few steps away from getting the desired result. Since the previous technique makes the colours more saturated, I needed to desaturate reds a bit. I adjusted Levels, and nally I used the Clone tool for minor corrections q.


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

Step by step: Texture and paint environments

Arctic Base 2010
A symbiosis of 2D and 3D to produce a CG wintry landscape which is both technically complex and atmospherically evocative
Dmitriy Glazyrin specialises in CG modelling and matte painting

Artist info
Dmitriy Glazyrin
Username: Glazyrin Personal portfolio site Country Russia Software used 3ds Max 2009, Photoshop CS4 Expertise Dmitriy specialises in environments, 3D modelling, concepts and matte painting

his tutorial will be focusing on creating an old arctic base from the very beginning: from concept through to modelling, texturing, composition and matte painting. Ill show you how to use 2D elements to make the nal scene more atmospheric and realistic. Additionally, throughout this walkthrough there will be an overview of 3ds Max and Photoshop in the production of this project, as well as several of the style techniques that I employed to develop Arctic Base. There is a sample making-of movie le on the CD that shows a selection of short video step-by-step clips based on my workow in Photoshop. A major part of the video concentrates on how to mould hard landscaping like rocks into the desired shape.

Texturing, painting

Software used in this piece

Making of video
3ds Max Photoshop


Inspiration behind the image

a fast motorcycle, which rushes through the icy wilderness. A powerful jet of snow from under the wheels shows the speed of this motorcycle. During the process, the emphasis changed to focus more on the base. While trying to establish a concept, I made a simple model of a motorcycle and pasted it into the photograph of a frozen landscape. I then started to paint objects, though it was all very sketchy at this stage.

01 I wanted to create


simple rider for the bike as he was now a secondary character. The model was in need of a composition. I experimented with a variety of options as to what the base could look like. The best of these I rendered and nished with Photoshop.

With an idea for the nal image, I made a

03 Next I thought

of a story for the arctic base. I had the idea it could be an abandoned ship and ran with this. For many years great ships sailed ice drifts, cast anchor and worked in the frozen land, so its reasonable such a base might appear. Taking this inspiration as a basis for the ship, I made one compartment, which provided a guide for the rest.


Dmitriy Glazyrin

Artis t

I started as a matte painter two years ago. Looking to bring something new to my style, I became acquainted with 3D and realised that, combined with 2D, it could make my work more interesting. I would no longer be limited to photographic references; I was now able to create whole worlds. Currently I work in the advertising eld, where it is necessary to create mainly contemporary corporate work, but environments remain a passion in my free time.


Modelling the textures

Giving the scene the right look

04 For this work,

I pretty much painted wholly in Photoshop and textured mainly in 3ds Max. I used simple textures such as VRayDirt. V-Ray Render Elements utilised to enhance this piece were Specular, Reections and Lighting, among others. I always try to include a lot of passes in my work for tight, realistic detail.

is an 05 Here example

This is a personal image in which I was trying to visualise one of my favourite themes the atmosphere of ancient Rome. For the base forms and buildings I used 3ds Max. Textures partly were made in 3ds Max, partly in Photoshop, using some stock photos and custom brushes. The Praetorian guard was made using Poser and ZBrush, while post-production of the nal scene colour correction etc was completed with Photoshop.

Praetorian 3ds Max, Photoshop, Poser, ZBrush (2009)

of V-Ray Render Elements with processing in Photoshop for the nal render. Remember that you can make your life easier by adjusting the highlights, shadows, reections, etc, without wasting time on additional renders by taking advantage of built-in pass e ects and layer adjustments.

Tortuga 3ds Max 2009, Photoshop, Poser, V-Ray (2009)

This image took a lot more time than I intended, but now its nally done I can say it was great fun to do something piratey and to learn a lot of interesting details about that period. I wanted this piece to be complex in its composition and details, showing not just a single ship, but a busy port. Modelling was done in 3ds Max, rendering in V-Ray and post-production in Photoshop.

when creating environments with an aerial perspective is to set the right depth, in order to add realism and to divide the scene along the lines of front, middle and long-range. To create perspective, I use V-Rays ZDepth. In Photoshop, I invert the image, apply Screen blending and adjust Levels to obtain the desired result. I also play with the transparency of the layer to help with depth.

very important 06 A thing

Persia Photoshop (2010)

This image was made for a matte painting challenge for a Russian art society. The theme was Prince of Persia. I used pictures of a settlement in Morocco as the main inspiration.

a lot of time carefully choosing the texture of the sky. A fellow modeller and friend of mine says, The sky is the most important thing in a landscape, and I wholeheartedly agree with him. A sky will determine the overall atmosphere, where shadows will manifest and how light will be distributed. In other words, it sets the pace for almost everything. Never rush when it comes to the sky.

07 I always spend

the objects separately from one another and other times I do a scene in one pass; it all depends on the composition. For me, its a lot easier to work with separate objects in Photoshop. It may take a little more time in the production stage, but if you want to make adjustments at the end, it is innitely easier as you have complete control over each and every element. Also, you do not have to put the whole scene in jeopardy.

08 Sometimes I render



Lighting and painting

Combining 3D and 2D elements

09 First I cut elements

from photographs in Photoshop, from the ground up to the sky. These textures were used to render and provided the basis for the entire scene, so they were approached very carefully. I merged them to form my base matte painting; sometimes it can be very di cult to nd all the perfect textures you require in one stock image.

10 Next I added

the building, which was already rendered, applying elements such as Z-Depth, Lighting and Reections, as mentioned earlier. I cloned the front rank bases, transformed them and added to the rear of the scene to bulk out the structure. I drew in some snow and highlights for the buildings too and placed these at the top of the layer stack.

on the creation of rocks in the scene can be viewed in a short video on the disc. I drew natural rocky formations and imposed the texture of the ice over them. I painted in light, shadows and glare from the ice oe to get the realistic feel I needed.

11 A clear demonstration

render t urs ime

Resolutio n: 3,700 x 1,6 44

15 ho

all of the 12 After objects

had been incorporated, I created a light source for the picture namely the setting sun. I made this on a black background in Photoshop and used Screen blending mode. The sun is not just a white circle; its rays need to immerse and bounce o objects in the scene. I reduced the contrast and saturation of these objects. For most of my environment works, I tend to use VRaySun and few other light sources.

, I drew snow in the air and behind the wheels of the bike, which boosted drama and movement. I then added some lights to the arctic base, but you could also include a ock of birds, more vehicles or other details to ll out your scene. Finally I performed some all-important colour correction and retouching, where I removed defects unintentionally created during production.

13 In the nal stages


Nikita Veprikov
eviantart. Website www.veprikov.d com Country Ukraine , ZBrush, Software used 3ds Max Photoshop

Incredible 3D artists take k us behind their artwor

Artist info

nd from a iting for my good frie One evening I was wa fresh. s wa a little cold; the air trip. It was dark and on mo the saw arest house, I Looking up at the ne ndows wi the of e On e. d the hous showing from behin ke loo d light and I thought it glowed with a warm for this a that moment the ide really attractive. At picture came to me

Insomnia 2010

When Displacement cant give me the results I want, I use ZBrush even for non-organic objects. It takes much longer, but gives you full freedom. I used it in this work for the balconies

The volume light and depth I rendered in separate passes. This gives much more control over the haze and air; it allows you to make changes on the y

To render depth, you need to add it on the Render Elements sheet. To create volume light you need to adjust light sources and volume light settings and then apply a black material for all objects in the scene before you render. The received image is worked on in Photoshop in Screen mode

To reduce render time and have more control, I rendered the interior and exterior as separate scenes. Later, I composed them in Photoshop. This step also facilitated the lighting adjustment. Every scene has its own light sources and GI settings

Software used in this piece

3ds Max Photoshop ZBrush



This image was made as a personal project using models I had been making for work
Stefan Morrell is a content creator and illustrator

Software used in this piece

3ds Max ZBrush 3.5 RayFire

finalRender SE


Photoshop CS4

Model environments
City Ruins 2010
3D artists explain the techniques behind their amazing artwork

Stefan Morrell
Username: stefan-morrell Personal portfolio site http:// Country New Zealand Software used 3ds Max 2009, ZBrush 3.5, RayFire, nalRender SE, xNormal, Photoshop CS4 Expertise Stefan specialises in environment design, creation and rendering

his image was a chance to use a few models that Id been creating for my DAZ 3D storefront where I sell commercial 3D content. I used 3ds Max for all modelling and UV mapping, and also used a 3ds Max plug-in written by Mir Vadim called RayFire; nalRender was used for rendering and Photoshop for postproduction. The image only uses three buildings and a UFO model; these were instanced throughout the scene to build up the environment, proving that dozens of buildings are not required to create a cityscape. The image came together very quickly due to the models already being made for other projects; it was a nice deviation from working on a commercial models as I often dont get the chance to use my own models in my artwork sometimes its been years between creating the models and using them in my own imagery. Its handy having so many models that I can call upon at any time; always recycle your work!

Artist info

I wanted a scene that was easy to read so the concept was kept basic: its a very formal composition using a slight camera tilt to work with the crashed UFO. I made no concept sketches, but played in 3ds Max to nd interesting shapes and angles that were visually pleasing.


Modelling, texturing, lighting

01 Composition

a Here we can see the

composition of the 3D scene without textures

Ive always preferred compositions that are easy on the eye and where the viewer can quickly read what is going on, often using the golden ratio or divine proportion to help esh out an image. My initial plan was a street of ruined buildings with a thick, oppressive atmosphere; the UFO being more of an afterthought when I realised the scene needed a focal point. I originally played with the idea of a boy looking down the street in the foreground, but I thought the UFO added a kind of lonely atmosphere that worked well a.


Problems and solutions

Having made many buildings over the years, Ive come up with a workow thats both efcient and quick. Initially I use a simple plane and apply a texture to it, and then cut around the texture and extrude, inset, etc, to add extra detailing. This is a unique workow in that my textures and modelling occur at the same time most other people model rst, then UV map and then texture. For my own work, I nd doing everything at once is both faster and I can achieve more; it may require some additional UV mapping to tweak extrusions as you model, but overall its a very fast method for creating a building based on a photo. The major issue I faced in creating these ruins was keeping the poly count down while still allowing for plenty of visual detail. Once everything was done I spent a long night deleting polygon faces that the camera would never see. If the model was only for my own use, I wouldnt have bothered with that step, but given these were intended to be commercially available I had to think of people using them on lower spec systems.

Start the modelling

Build from photo references
b The rst stages of modelling
involved creating the faade

02 Cutting based on texture

Starting from a good photo texture reference, I created a plane in 3ds Max and cut out the major shapes of the applied texture map. At this early stage a simple Planar UV map is the best way to start. Use the Preserve UVs option in Max to avoid destroying the UVs as you move edges and vertices around the model. Once the major cuts were in place around windows, doors and other major shapes, I then extruded windows etc to get a 3D shape. All these extrusions required new UV mapping, as the Preserve UVs feature doesnt work on extrusions b. d

03 High-poly ZBrush modelling 1

c This is one of the hi-res

sculpts, as seen in ZBrush

d A close-up of a destroyed
concrete wall

To go alongside the regular low-poly assets, I also created several high-poly ZBrush sculpts of concrete debris. From these I generated a series of Displacement maps to be used on the nal low-poly model. After laying out a good set of UVs, I sent the UV template to Photoshop and used photo references to get cracks and fractures in the right places. This image was then used as a Displacement or Alpha mask in ZBrush, and then another layer of sculpted detail was added on a new ZBrush layer using the original image as a guide. The nal Displacement map also served as a great starting point for applying the coloured textures c.

04 High-poly ZBrush modelling 2

For other high-poly assets such as this destroyed wall, I used brushes like HPolish (for chipped edging) and Mallet Fast (with very low strength settings). I enhanced the cracks using the Standard brush and, as with the previous step, I used Alpha maps of concrete cracks to ensure everything looked reasonably realistic. The model was subdivided to around six million polygons, with displacement generated in xNormal ( d.


Lighting and rendering
Global Illumination by way of Physical Sky controls is my most used method for outdoor lighting. Its a very forgiving lighting type and perfect for outdoor scenarios. I also added a Direct light that throws a good deal of nalRender volumetric lighting into the scene. The Direct light was also used as it helped me see where shadows would fall. I paid special attention to sun placement so that the light cast shadows in an interesting way. nalRender also has a great feature called Detail Detection; with this option you can pick out all the small details via an Ambient Occlusion pass. I usually overdo this part because I like the e ect so much. In postproduction, I toned it back and masked out some areas of occlusion; I also used the ZDepth renders to ensure the AO was only present in foreground elements in this image that meant a subtle gradient mask from the foreground to the background. The same Direct light was used as a Sun light in the Physical Sky palette options. Ill often use a compass helper to aid in positioning the lighting, but for this one it was enough to rely only on the single Direct light. This simple light setup made for a fairly quick rendering too.

render time
Resolution: 6,000 x 2,396


e The three nal buildings (the

rst two are now available at broken into its three main modular components nalRender Dirt shader

f Here we see the model

g The UFO rendered with a

05 Buildings

Only three buildings were used in the entire image; I used instancing to duplicate them around the scene. Instancing is a great technique that I use all the time in rendering as it has such a low memory footprint. The road sections each building sits on were kept modular so I could t them together in various congurations, and the nal building was given the least amount of detail as it was only going to be seen in the distance e.

06 Think modular

Keeping things modular is a good idea as you can then create variations on the same theme by using one hero model. With the hotel building for example, I have four main sections; for many renderings I may only want to render the bottom section so any extra geometry in the scene is a waste of resources. With a modular approach to modelling, I can just delete parts of the model that arent seen f.

07 UFO

Adding a crashed spacecraft gave the image some focus; this is a model that I quickly made in a few hours. The UV map was projected from the camera view to save time, and I applied only one texture map. It was only ever to be seen in the distance so I didnt want to waste too much time on it. During postproduction I added small blue lights to give it a bit more punch, and during rendering, I focused on getting very strong highlights so the viewer would see it as a focal point g.


Lets break some stuff

Now we come to the destruction
Stefan Morrell
I design and build environment and prop models for DAZ 3D, where Ive been the top-selling artist for several years. I also work as a freelance illustrator; recent clients include National Geographic magazine, where I was tasked with producing several pages of space-themed images. To make these buildings ruined I used a lot of manual modelling and a plug-in called RayFire (, widely used in the entertainment industry, from game cinematics to movies such as 2012 its the go-to tool for destroying and generally wreaking havoc on your models! I usually fracture the models rst and then use RayFires PhysX connection to do the simulating; I also make use of additional demolition options that allow the models to break on impact. For this model I tried to keep things very low-poly, but with RayFire you can achieve some very detailed destruction H.

08 RayFire

H A before and after of a group

of bricks randomly placed, and then as they appear after RayFire simulation

Shuttle 43 3ds Max, nalRender, Photoshop (2010)

Just another chance to create a magical environment. The character is a great way of framing an image and leading the viewers eye back into frame.

i Detail of a manually destroyed

wall created using basic poly modelling techniques

09 Manual destruction
Flight to the Blue Tower 3ds Max, nalRender, Photoshop (2010)

A still from an animation that Ive been working on featuring a ight through a sci- cityscape.

Along with RayFire, I manually added some destruction; this takes a lot of time, but the payo is some very specic destruction and optimised geometry. I used basic poly modelling techniques in 3ds Max; because these were to be commercial models, keeping everything optimised was paramount. I rst cut out a basic shape from the textured building faade and then duplicated a single brick around the broken opening (stopping occasionally only to move UVs around to avoid repeating textures). When placing these bricks I followed the applied texture map so the manually placed bricks lined up correctly. I also added many broken bricks that had been fractured in RayFire I.

For the most part I use my own photo-sourced textures that are tweaked in Photoshop; working from real-world photos is essential when doing realistic urban environments. In addition to this, I used a faade texture from www. which is a fantastic online resource for CG artists.

10 Rubble piles

The Neighbourhood 3ds Max, nalRender, Photoshop (2007)

Urban environments are always fun to work on and allow plenty of room for unique detailing. With this image I received a Master award in Ballistic Publishings ELEMENTAL book.

The biggest thing that will help sell a destroyed environment is bucketloads of detail. Adding lots of rubble piles and other debris is essential. The focus with these is creating a good silhouette. My images usually have a good amount of atmosphere so I know the piles will read better as they recede into the distance as long as the shape is interesting. Add pipes, steel reinforcing, chunks of concrete and brick whatever you can to sell the destruction, as these will also be seen close up. I use displacement for added detail j.

j This image shows one of the

nal rubble piles



Texturing the ruins

Add a desaturated look to the buildings

Rendering the image

Rendering was fairly straightforward. I tend to render out several elements (passes) so I have a lot of room to move in postproduction. Z-Depth is an essential ingredient in cityscapes and I use this to create atmospheric perspective, depth of eld and also to paint in smoke behind buildings. I rendered the image at 6,000 polys on a Windows 7, 64-bit, i7 Quad core with 12GB RAM.

K This is one of the faade textures; a variation of this

map with burn damage was used for the upper oors

11 Building faades

I tried to keep this texture as simple as possible and so the windows are just box shaped with a simple trim at the base of the map. This tted in well with the theme and overall design of the building. Adding the concrete trim around the windows was an e ective way to avoid matching up the brick pattern as it appeared in the inset part of the windows k. L This image shows the Color map, Bump map, Opacity
mask and Reection mask

12 Matching textures

M Image shows a close-up of the textured UFO; note the simple

one-colour theme, letting the geometry carry the detail

To go with the previous texture, I also used a tiling texture. This appeared at ground level and, as such, needed a bit more texel density to hold up in close-up shots. I used Photoshop Curves adjustments to match the tiling brick pattern to the original faade. Its a good idea to have a collection of brick patterns saved in Photoshop that can easily be called upon. For every brick texture Ive saved as a Photoshop pattern, I also create a Bump map. This again saves time when creating the nal texture as the nished Bump map is just a Flood Fill away L. N Screenshot from 3ds Max showing
decals applied to the building

13 Texturing the UFO

In keeping with the keep it simple mindset, the UFO was the simplest of all. The UVs were projected from the camera view and textured using a generic concrete image. All the glowing blue lights were added in postproduction to avoid extra render time and also to allow for more exibility when deciding if I even wanted the lights M.

14 Decals

I often use decals to help break up repetition in textures. In the ruins, these are single polys representing bullet holes. I randomly distributed these across the model, initially using the Scatter option, but then using manual placement with some rotation etc. Even though they all used the same texture, they added a nice sense of randomness to the building and also helped to sell the idea of a war-torn, battle-damaged city n.


the 3D artists explain nd hi be es techniqu twork their amazing ar

Pawe has supplied three chair models with this tutorial. Add them to your model library to improve your arc-vis renders chair1.max chair2.max chair3.max

Artist info

ski Pawe Podwojew

site Personal portfolio g .or www.podwojewski Country Poland Hardware used 3 and 2 x Xeon quad 2.8 16GB RAM Software used SP5, 3ds Max, V-Ray 1.5 Photoshop CS4 cialises in Expertise Pawe spe and on environment creati ups, exterior lighting set night sk/ particularly for du

Modelling, texturing

Software used in this piece

3ds Max V-Ray Photoshop



Creating nature plant modelling

Wisteria Floribunda 2010
Pawe Podwojewski is an architect and CG artist
n this tutorial we are going to learn how to create highly detailed plant models using 3ds Max, V-Ray and Photoshop as the base tools. I would like to show how easy it is to transfer the techniques to other plants, so you can use the skills to build up your very own library of models. The presented scene is the result of a collaboration with the Nadau Lavergne studio that designed the building. My task was to create an image that would be able to express the ambience created by various elements of the environment. From the very beginning the plants were the focal point of the scene. Because their type and position was clearly specied I had to work out some new techniques that allowed me to complete the task with accurate results. I wanted to make the scene unique to brand the idea in the viewers memories. This tutorial will explain how using reference pictures and basic 3ds Max techniques can create plant models just like those shown in the illustrations. We will also go through the V-Ray rendering engine and material options to polish up the image for the best results in Photoshop.

Focused on environment creation, this scene inspired new solutions in Pawes workow to help him create a selection of plants for compelling arc-vis renders

The groundwork

Source reference and create basic models

01 Plan the modelling
The rst thing we need to do is to nd reference pictures that will allow us to understand the anatomy of a particular plant, which in this case is Japanese Wisteria (or Wisteria oribunda). Be sure to nd pictures showing your focal object from di erent angles and scales; try to nd shots that will be orthogonal to each specic part of the plant, like the leaves or shoots. This process will aid you with the textures in the following steps and can also be a great help with the modelling process A.

02 Basic shape denitions


We are planning to create a pretty large scene including lots of plants. We need to think about the polycount in the rst place to make sure that our workstation can actually manage with the size of the scene. Its important to answer the question: which elements need more and less detail to make them work in regular shots, as well as close-ups? In this case we have four main objects: owers, shoots, leaves and branches B.

03 Choice of modelling techniques


Once we have dened the necessary elements, its time to choose the modelling process. Most single components can be created using very basic techniques; in this instance, I chose Editable Poly. To make the plants more natural we will need a few variations of the same elements to make sure nothing is repeated. Well also need to use some extra tools to scatter single elements in a random way C.

A Gather your reference wisely B Each component of the model in this scene might require a di erent placement technique C These are the main elements that make up the planned object to create a scene heavily populated with Wisteria oribunda

Inspiration & reference

For this piece, I was quite simply inspired by gardens canopies of Wisteria owers are amazing! Once Id seen the rst reference pictures, I was sure this was going to be a very exciting project.


Modelling the Wisteria

04 Model the owers
f In the presented scene we did not use blueprints; we simply focused on the reference images and tried to retain the general forms. The ower consisted of three elements. Create a simple plane object and add new divisions to obtain the low-poly shape of the main body. Follow the same procedure to prepare the petals and core. In the end, well need a shoot that will connect the ower to the stalk. Copy the ower twice and change the geometry a little to give it more variety D.

This process is based on simple, efficient solutions

Problems & solutions

The main problem when creating plants is the random impression required for all elements. We need to make sure the owers, leaves, etc, will not appear countable in the end. Creating the Wisteria scene, I also needed very dense branches to cover the whole courtyard and climbers on columns. Each new model will require specic textures and mapping, which in some cases might be di cult to complete because of the lack of stock textures and the unusual geometry. The many repetition issues might discourage at rst sight, but remember that once you go through the process you will gain a unique model that can be used in future projects, and will make your artwork distinct. Overall the solutions are very simple. To spread the predened components we will use the Advanced Painter script developed by Herman Saksono; branch creation will be solved with the Ivy Generator plug-in from GuruWare; and the rest will be covered by basic poly modelling and a little patience!

F Note that having plants of di erent ages in the scene will produce a much more realistic nish

G Play with the general size and density in each group to achieve a more natural, random impression

05 Prepare the geometry to multiply

Once the main elements of the ower are done, apply a UVW map to each object. We used a simple box-mapping procedure. Create the necessary maps, shaders and apply to your models. Next, convert the geometry into Editable Poly and attach all the components into one object. Adjust the pivot; make sure the Z axis is placed exactly as shown in the example this stage is very important, so take your time E. d

g g

D Create the owers using simple elements with Editable Poly techniques

E Be sure to pay close attention as to keep the correct order of actions

In this step we will create the stalk object and some leaves. The actions in this step are pretty much the same as in the basic ower creation process. First, use a spline to draw the stalk and leaf. Copy them twice and tweak the size and shape slightly. You can create three di erent lengths of stalk to produce plants in various stages of development. Also, take care when adjusting the pivot points here f.

06 Stalk and leaf creation

Advanced Painter
The Advanced Painter script is a very powerful tool. Among its many options you will nd the Randomizer, Grass and Stone modes. Depending on your needs, it can be used to arbitrarily spread custom objects on a mesh surface or to apply predened settings. It is a very accurate tool that allows you to, in fact, paint with objects in real-time very handy when adding ner details to your scenes. Advanced Painter gives you control over the position and rotation of distributed objects so there are many ways to apply them, as demonstrated in this scene.

07 Create groups of plants

Using the Advanced Painter script spreads the leaves and owers on the stalk. Set Advanced Painter to Randomizer mode, and select the correct object to Multiply. Be sure to check the Align Up-Direction is set to N, and remember to use stalks with di erent lengths. Once you have created similar groups to those shown, convert the objects into Editable Poly and attach them into one object. Once again, carefully adjust the pivots until it looks right g.



J i

H Prepare a fake distribution object and set its properties to Not renderable I Painting the proxies, check the Bounding Box display mode to obtain more FPS in the viewport J Create some additional plants to make the scene more complex

2 hours re

Using the great GuruWare plug-in Ivy Generator, we will now create the branches. In the scene we have some cables in the courtyard that the branches can follow. This might not be enough though to cover the whole sky, so we will create a fake distribution object. To do so, use the circle from the Splines rollout and convert it to Editable Poly. Place the ivy seed and use the provided settings. Repeat this action a few times until the density is thick enough. Place some branches on the ground and columns too. Remember to uncheck the leaf option in the ivy settings H.

08 Branches and their distribution

Resolution 4,050 x 2,88 : 0

nder time

09 Establish the scene

Ivy Generator

Ivy Generator is a simple tool that can be used in many ways. We chose this plug-in as it is very efcient: it allows you to very quickly and easily generate ivy, and also gives control over physics, like gravity or adhesion. One of the top features is the realtime preview when growing the ivy. Its also possible to adjust the level of detail to t with your composition. Use this plug-in to create groundcover or all manner of natural environments.

At this point all plants are ready to spread in the scene. Use the V-Ray mesh export option and create proxies from the predened groups from Step 7. Once again, we will use Advanced Painter. Run the script and choose the ower proxies. Select the Instance cloning method and the distribution object from Step 8. Paint the owers; tweak the rotation, position and scale in the Advanced Painter settings. Once your camera is set up in the scene, add some more groups to areas where they will be well exposed I.

Applying the techniques to other models

Using the Editable Poly modelling technique combined with the Advanced Painter script, it is possible to create very di erent types of plants. In this tutorial, we reveal the creation process of the Wisteria oribunda. The presented scene also contains a very specic moss terrain with production steps that were very similar. Once you understand how the script works, you are able to use it in many ways to build up your own personal collection of vegetation. For the moss creation, we started with a single blade of moss. Once again, using many reference pictures, we were able to create the specic species of moss. The single blade with a properly adjusted pivot was multiplied over a hemisphere object. After the textures were applied, all components were attached into one object with a new adjusted pivot and exported using the V-Ray mesh option. The Advanced Painter script was used again to populate the new plant across the terrain.

10 Additional details

We will now add some extra owers to make the scene more complex. We can use the geometry from Step 5. Change the shoots into stalks and add small leaves before, once again, tweaking the pivots to previous settings. In this scene, weve created a noisy terrain with the Push/Pull tool from Editable Poly rollout. Using Advanced Painter with the terrain as the distribution object, multiply the owers in the lower areas. This way you can achieve some ower carpets, which should attract the attention of the viewer. J

Using the Editable Poly modelling technique combined with the Advanced Painter script, it is possible to create very different types of plants to build up your own collection of vegetation


Textures, shaders and postproduction

Proper textures and shaders will really bring your plants to life

Texporter is a plug-in that helps you to create basic templates for textures. Please remember to keep the resolution ratio (width and height) the same as in the UVW you have applied to an object. Once the template is done, save it and paint the texture in your favourite software. In the end, the texture will perfectly t your object.

Rendering additional channels & postproduction

A standard Direct light with area shadows was used as the main light source, clipped with VRaySky in the environment and reection override. In the VRayPhysicalCamera, enable the depth-of-eld checkbox and set the correct focus distance. Add some extra channels in the VRay: Frame bu er, as follows: Alpha channel, Z-Depth, V-Ray raw reection and the Reection lter. In postproduction, control the reection amount using the ref. lter channel. Apply a Lens Blur lter in Photoshop with a Z-Depth map. Finally, tweak the setting to achieve an extra stylish bokeh e ect.

11 Paint the textures

In the early steps we applied UVW box mapping to the main components, such as the ower and stalk. Its a massive help to have reference pictures taken from orthogonal views for the elements you are about to texture. There is a great plug-in called Texporter (, which may help when creating texture templates. Once the template is ready, you can simply copy a part of the reference picture and t it to the comp. In some cases its even better to paint the textures from scratch as this will give you more control over the size and placement k.

12 Create materials

Utilise the Texporter script to produce masks for your textures k Use the orthogonal reference photos for texture creation L Control the shaders behaviour using the ColorCorrect parameters

After your di use textures are done, copy the layers and desaturate them. Tweak the contrast and brightness to prepare the Bump, Reection and Translucent maps in Photoshop. Once all the textures are set, choose the VRayMtl and organise the channels as shown. To get more control over the shaders behaviour, use the ColorCorrect parameters with all created textures L.

Using additional passes, such as Alpha and Z-Depth channels, hone the lighting and other e ects in postproduction

Pawe Podwojewski

After several years of collaborating with architectural studios, in 2008 I decided to open MOTYW (MOTIVE). Working with clients all over the world, I have become very experienced in different types of projects. Im always looking for a challenge in my work, to improve myself and to evolve.

Housing in Bordeaux 3ds Max, V-Ray, Photoshop (2010) An autumn dusk scene. I love to play with the
atmosphere of my scenes; nearly every time I am surprised by the results.

Winter in the city 3ds Max, V-Ray, Photoshop (2010) An urban environment in the winter. I spent

some time working on the street textures, painting a lot of Displacement maps to achieve this e ect.


Rafa Waniek
Username: Edi Website Country Poland , V-Ray, Software used 3ds Max Photoshop I made Dawn on the Moon based on a rough 2D concept artwork by Iwo Widulinski. The idea was to create a massive village drowned in green clouds and dust, with hundreds of small lights as the main light source and only sign of life.

Incredible 3D artists take k us behind their artwor

Theres no special lighting with this one; moonlight being the only source. The atmosphere was made using environment fog, not only to create a volumetric lighting effect, but also because it can hide modelling imperfections

Artist info

For rendering, I usually use V-Ray because it is really fast and easy to use. However, it did take me about 14 hours to render this on a 16 core machine, because of the resolution displacement (4,000), and lots of details

2010 n o o M e h t n o n w a D
Software used in this piece
3ds Max V-Ray Photoshop

All the base models were originally made for different scenes. Using the huts from the Air Village image, I added holes and rubble. I also tested out the Ivy Generator, which is a specic 3ds Max script for creating the creeping plant

al Air Village fantasy ernative to the origin alt an ate cre to anging s wa The idea the scene just by ch ch you can change in mu w ho se of the ow ba sh the to , on scene de the scene g some details. I ma luding inc t no , nk thi I the lighting and addin , ht to twelve hours eig me k too It on l. de Air Village mo decided at Evermoti After it was done we e. urs co of e, tim r the rende ng DVD. nal image for a traini to use it as a promotio


This character was created during beta testing for ZBrush 4. The look and style came by itself as I was exploring the new rendering features. I was interested in a hand-made, non-slick look similar to stop-motion. This was also an attempt to test the potential of rendering in ZBrush. Modelled and rendered in ZBrush, with compositing done in Shake
Yiannis Tyropolis, And how does that make you feel, hmm?, 2010

58 3DArtist

Artist info
Yiannis Tyropolis
o site Personal portfoli Country Greece Software used ZBrush, Shake



Work in progress

Interview: Oliver Ponsonnet ........................ 64 Painting up a demon image ..........................72 Texture and light a beautiful girl ..................76 Creating a savage warrior ............................. 80 I made this: Hodong La .................................. 96 Making of The Sky Fisherman ..................... 98 Create a sexy fairy woman .......................... 104 Portrait masterclass ......................................108 I made this: Iker Cortzar ..............................114 Model a cute fantasy gure ...........................116 Build your own monster ...............................120 Interview: Andrew Hickinbottom ..............124 Create a futuristic bar scene .........................130 Create a friendly dragon ................................134 Add textures and light to objects................. 138 I made this: Martin Ruizl ..............................142 Create a Lovecraft legend ..............................144 Create Pixar-style artwork ............................148


This is a personal project from a concept I created at university. I like horror lms and tried to create a character for an animation short that I am working on in my spare time
A. Martn Puentes Rivera, Crazy Zombie, 2010


Artist info
A. Martn Puentes Rivera
Personal portfolio site http://www.maxanimator. com and http://www. Country Spain Software used Zbrush, 3D Studio Max, Mental Ray, Photoshop

I created this illustration for the Boiler Room contest. My goal was to achieve a stiing-hot, anxiety lling atmosphere and also to refer to the vision of Hell where devils torment sinful souls. I was also inspired by human sacrices made to Tixiptlas in ancient Aztec civilization. The idea of Pandemonium and the Diabolical Boiler God, hungry for innocent, cuddly teddy bears was born
Andrzej Kuziola, Teddy Bear Snacks

Artist info
Andrzej Kuziola
Personal portfolio site Country Poland Software used Cinema 4D, ZBrush, Photoshop


A French friend of mine, Serge Birault, does great pinup art that Ive admired for a while. I thought Id do a clichd French girl as an homage/ present to him
Andrew Hickinbottom, Ooh la la, 2010


Artist info
Andrew Hickinbottom
Personal portfolio site .org http://andyh.cgsociety Country UK Software used 3ds Max, V-Ray

Work in progress


Artist info
Angel Gabriel Diaz Romero
Personal portfolio site Country Spain Software used 3ds Max, ZBrush, Mudbox, Photoshop

Work in progress

Pirate Robot was born from a collaboration of ideas between Alicia Pereira and myself for a personal illustration. Using a simple robot Id already made, I created an interesting pirate from it for a scene based around the idea of a universe without humans, just robots looking for treasure and batteries to survive!
Angel Gabriel Diaz Romero, Pirate Robot, 2010


We talk to Olivier Ponsonnet, a community favourite, who creates videogames by day and moonlights as a CGI character portrait artist by night

Name Olivier Ponsonnet Job title 3D artist Personal website Country France Software used 3ds Max, ZBrush, Photoshop Expertise Real-time environments and characters Current employer Asobo Studio


I try to create timeless illustrations. It sounds pretentious but thats really what I try to achieve. I mix many inspirations from different eras so that my characters do not look too contemporary
Olivier Ponsonnet specialises in real-time environments and characters

livier Ponsonnet is a renowned master of the CG portrait in the 3D community. In stark contrast to the stunning portraits that don his portfolio, when he is not creating intriguingly beautiful characters that capture our hearts and inspire our own creative pursuits, he is working as a 3D artist in the videogames industry. By day, he creates real-time characters and CG environments, from level design to the nal visuals and yet, in his spare time, he still nds the motivation to produce wonderful portraits like these featured here. Having worked in videogames for around four years now, after what may seem an unexpected educational background for such an aspired 3D creator, Olivier has never regretted his decision to become a CG artist. He has told 3D Artist that he will never tire of creating, and we certainly hope that he doesnt. With an ever-impressive portfolio and a work-in-progress underway, Olivier will continue to inspire with his unique representations. Something of an enigma

in the CG community, we wanted to nd out more about the man behind the hauntingly beautiful faces

Can you tell us a little bit about your education and how it helped set the foundations for your career?

Olivier Ponsonnet: Im actually self-taught.

Before working in videogames, I studied Computer Science at university. While I was studying, CG was my passion and I was doing it in my spare time. At the end of my course, I chose to work as a CG artist and continued practising as a hobby in my free time. I might not have directly done art or CG as part of my degree, but I think my studies helped me a lot in understanding the basic functions from a technical point of view; from how lighting works, to how its actually simulated and rendered, etc. When I was younger, I also had drawing lessons for some years, practising with many types of media, such as pencil, charcoal, acrylic, silk painting and so on this all helped me to develop my artistic skills.

A Flame The ornamental elements provide extra narrative and encourage the viewer to look beyond the beauty that is portrayed




b A Fairy World Created for a French contest, A Fairy World was inspired by butteries, reies, royal clothing and coleopters

How exactly did you teach yourself 3D? How did it start, where did you get your learning resources and how steep was the learning curve?

OP: Well, it was pretty simple. I was 13 years

old, I liked to draw and I had a computer so I just tried to merge these two hobbies together. Thats why I bought my rst 3D software: Voxel3D. It didnt offer many possibilities, but I was really happy with it. A couple of years later, I started using Amapi. I could create more complex objects, but the rendering part of this software was extremely limited. Thats why I turned to 3ds Max 1.0. In the beginning, I was just using it as a renderer with imported objects from Amapi, but I ended up using 3ds Max for nearly all stages of my work. To start with, my only resources were books. I bought two or three of these huge books describing every single 3ds Max function. I learned the software from the literature and obviously by practising. Later, the internet really helped me to improve my skills with its CG artist communities. My learning curve was pretty long: I began 3D quite young but I seriously practised for about ten years, accumulating both the technical and artistic know-how to allow me to create what I do now.

even when I create environments, I cant do this without adding a character in the scene; Im not interested in creating a picture without any characters
Your portfolio contains a wealth of stunning portraits realistically rendered, but also illustrative in style. Can you talk us through the work involved in the creation of one of your characters?
classical ones. Maybe this is because I just hope my artwork wont look too old too fast.

OP: I do these portraits during my spare

time. My goal is always the same and pretty simple: to create a beautiful character. To achieve this, I focus on both the technical and aesthetic aspects. I work hard at the technical part (rendering, lighting, shading, etc) to make a believable character. I do like to test the latest revisions of 3D software with their brand new tools and features to get even more possibilities and this technical aspect remains a means to achieving the aesthetic part. Overall, Id say I pay way more attention to the aesthetic aspect than the technical one. I always try to create characters with some kind of timeless beauty. I avoid an overcontemporary look; I usually prefer more

What are the tools of your trade in terms of hardware and software, and how are they important to your workow and content creation?

OP: I mostly use 3ds Max from the rst poly

to the nal render. I sometimes use ZBrush when I want to create complicated organic objects, but most of the portraits I create are modelled with 3ds Max solely, using polygon modelling and subdivision surfaces.

c Vlad Created as a sharp face with clean features; contrast was given by adding a red blood splat to the mouth

d Obsidian Eyes This characters beauty is deceiving; you are pulled in by her stare, but the dark elements warn you away



Opal Child
When I create a picture, a source of my motivation and inspiration also comes from other CG Artists. I saw a picture representing a girl with a simple bird by a Korean artist. It was just great. Thats what inspired me to create this child and his pet. I really like this picture because its the only portrait Ive done with two characters. It was quite challenging for many reasons: the rst because the pet is a monkey and creating animals with fur is not my speciality. I also wanted the monkey to have something in the eyes as deep as the main character. Creating a child was also challenging. I tried to make a pure face with clean facial features, but not something completely smooth; I wanted to give her personality.


For texture painting, I use Photoshop with a Wacom tablet. I also use this software for compositing and postproduction. My hardware is quite common: Intel Core i7 Processor, 6GB RAM, ATI 5850 video card, and dual monitor display.

OP: Ive been evolving my character

how would you say they have changed over time with the various advancements in 3D software?
creation techniques for about eight years. Actually, 3D software advancements always make character creation easier in terms of technique: we now have realistic lighting, soft shadows, nice skin aspects with Subsurface Scattering all of these tools make the technical part easier. But in my humble opinion, the most important part remains the artistic one. I think thats what really makes my latest creations different from my rst ones and partly why, I guess, I create better characters now than I did eight years ago. The best way to improve is quite simple though and not really magic: observation and practice. I mean a lot of practice!

How long does it generally take to complete one of your character portraits, from concept to nal 3D illustration?

I render hair and its shadows using the 3ds Max Scanline renderer because its way faster than using mental ray primitives and gives smoother results. I use mental ray for everything else. I then create three passes: one for the main render, rendered with mental ray, and two for the hair the hair itself and its shadows rendered using the Scanline renderer.

OP: It varies a lot. Id say from

two weeks to a couple of months. It depends on many things. It rstly depends on my inspiration or motivation. As you know, I work as a CG artist in a videogame studio. All the portraits I do are non-commercial images created during my spare time, so its not always easy to nd motivation after a day of work. The duration of the creation process also depends a lot on the quantity of things to create. Making ten characters is always going to take longer than making one. Thats also why I like doing portraits. I know I dont have much time to create my illustrations, which is why I prefer to focus on something specic like a single face, and try to improve it as much as I can.

In terms of postproduction, how much work is done on your 3D renders to take them from raw render to nal illustration?

OP: I only do pure postproduction in

When it comes to rendering, what passes do you render out and why are these so important to the nal look of your 3D illustrations?

Photoshop. I mean, I dont add any new elements, objects or details to my pictures at this stage, nor do I paint anything on them. I usually apply Color Balance and saturation lters to my illustrations to adjust the colour scheme and the mood of the picture. I also add Noise, Chromatic Aberration and Depth of Field (using the Z-Depth from 3ds Max) to remove the raw look of the 3D render.

OP: I usually dont use many passes. I try

How long have you been evolving your character creation techniques and 68

to keep my rendering pipeline as simple as I can. I use passes when I dont have a choice. For example, when I create a character with hair, I have to use passes.

For you, what is the most important part of the creative process when producing one of your beautiful, elegant characters?

OP: I think the most important stage is

modelling the face. I can spend hours


moving vertices until I get some kind of harmony. I try to get a nice looking shape even without advanced lighting, with default lights in the viewport. I dont try to push my render further until I have an aesthetically interesting face. Obviously, nice lighting and shading will also help to achieve a nice looking character, but the modelling really remains essential in my opinion.

Obviously, nice lighting and shading will also help to achieve a nice looking character, but the modelling really remains essential in my opinion
Your portfolio also demonstrates great skill with environment creation, particularly in the context of sci- and fantasy. With such a strong and varied skill set, why do characters capture more of your attention?
much time to create my pictures, I prefer to focus on characters.

Your characters are all highly unique, seeming to pull elements from a variety of cultures and stories. Where do you seek your inspiration and how important is storytelling in your work?
timeless illustrations. It sounds slightly pretentious but thats really what I try to achieve. I mix many inspirations from different eras so that my characters do not look too contemporary. As I want to create something that is believable, I often use classical or traditional clothes from many cultures as bases. I usually get this inspiration from classical painting books or from history of dress books. I also get inspiration from contemporary artists, from comic books, or simply from people I see in the street everything can be a source of inspiration.

OP: There are many reasons for that. The

OP: As I said earlier, I try to create somehow

rst and the most important is personal taste: a portrait talks to me a lot more than an environment. Second, even when I create environments, I cant do this without adding a character in the scene; Im not interested in creating a picture without any characters. As I dont have

Your conventionally beautiful characters are often portrayed with a gothic and macabre twist, with recent works having turned darker. What does this stem from, and where do you see future works going?

OP: Well, I dont know. I use classical

paintings as an inspiration. I like the aesthetic look of classical works, like Tiziano Vecellios portraits work with their bright skins, dark clothes and black

e The Fall Qualphantus are creatures that travel from one galaxy to another, feeding on every life form they nd

f Moon Key Aiming for a charming and elegant portrait not realistic all of Moon Keys textures were hand painted in Photoshop

g Mr Bone In contrast to my other works, Mr Bone started as a simple ZBrush test. The result was rendered in 3ds Max

h Pink Sugar Pink Sugar was something quite di erent, purposely made using a di erent colour scheme and blonde hair


backgrounds. Maybe as Im getting older, I also like more sober colours I dont know. I just try to make things that I like. And as I dont know how Ill evolve as time goes on, I cant really say where my future artwork is going. But I think thats what makes the journey more interesting.

With constant advancements in technology helping more people than ever create realistic looking characters, how do you keep an edge over them?

where the inspiration for the project originally came from?

OP: Im working on an underwater scene

OP: Well, Im not sure. Maybe its just

Giving life to lifeless digital content is a skill all in itself. How do you give your characters the souls that we can clearly see in any of your illustrations?

OP: To give them life, I rst try to make

experience and practice. I mean, yes, its easier to create realistic looking characters technically, but its always difcult to create original and unique characters. My aim is not exactly to create realistic characters; I try to give them something more. I dont try to reproduce what you could actually shoot with a camera.

a kind of mermaid portrait. However, I dont want to create a happy mermaid with shiny scales and a shell bikini. Id like to make something closer to the original mermaids, something more elegant but also darker.

How about your future plans; what can we look forward to seeing next, and what projects would you most like to work on?

OP: I really dont know. I barely have time

them believable. Thats why I pay a lot of attention to clothing design, anatomical details, rendering and so on. When I have this base, two areas need more attention: the eyes and the mouth. Those parts are not that difcult to produce I mean from a technical point of view. You just have to be careful about topology in these areas, but its not that hard. The hardest part is to get something beautiful and natural. Its a very subtle process and one of the most interesting parts of the creation especially in the eye area, where you have to nd the perfect balance between eyebrow shape, the eyes curvature, the position of the eyelids and so on, in order to create that lively and expressive look.

How different is your professional work to your personal portfolio and how does this balance out?

OP: My personal portfolio is completely

different from my professional work. My personal portfolio is mainly composed of portraits simply because thats what I like to make best. My professional work includes level building, environment creation and, more recently, real-time character creation. This is very different from my personal creations and how I nd motivation to create CG after a days work.

to create personal work, so Id just like to nish my work on the mermaid, then think about whats next. It will most likely be another portrait. I could do portraits for the rest of my life and not get tired of them. I may also try to create some 2D illustrations. I might not always know what the next project will be, but one thing that is for certain is that I wont ever stop creating.
i Ina Made initially as a SSS test in 3ds Max, Ina was continued and rendered in mental ray j Red Opium A vision of a female vampire, created in 3ds Max 8, with all maps hand painted

Can you tell us what you are currently working on at the moment, and if possible



Cold Blue
The dress is based on a real dress I found in paintings representing Anne of Cleves. The original dress had more colour variety and a di erent colour scheme. I modied it to get something more sober and also a little more contemporary. The make-up matching the material colours is also there to break from the original classical look. The eyes are also interesting. The reections are huge completely exaggerated but it really gives her something special, more depth. The composition and the pose are quite simple and dont distract; you just focus on the characters face.


Step by step: Painting up a demon image

Trick or Treat 2010
Discover how to create a painterly image with vivid colours on the theme of Halloween
Andrzej Kuziola specialises in modelling and character creation
n this tutorial, I will be explaining how I created this Halloween-themed illustration. I am going to focus more on texturing, materials, lighting and postproduction than on modelling. The illustration was created mixing both 2D and 3D techniques. I feel more comfortable working this way as I have greater control over the process. My goal was to achieve a mixture of cartoon-like, exaggerated characters with a colourful, painterly look. I usually work mainly in dark, unsaturated colours so working with a new palette was a bit of an experiment and I was curious to see how it would look in the end. I was working with CINEMA 4D and ZBrush for modelling and rendering, while using Painter and Photoshop for texturing and postproduction. I also used UVLayout to unfold the model and to create UV maps.

Design inspirations
The style for the scene

a concept created in ZBrush and Painter inspired by disguised children walking from house to house and asking for sweets at Halloween. The idea here was to show a little girl asking for a treat and a big demon behind her whos ready to play a trick on those who dont provide any goodies.

01 I started from


should look sweet and innocent at rst glance, particularly in comparison to the sinister looking demon. Look closer, however, and you realise that she is a she-devil and that out of the pair, she is probably the one calling the shots.

It was important to me that the girl

stylised look for the demon. I was going to try di erent approaches to achieve an interesting painterly e ect despite it being done in 3D. I wanted to achieve this with lighting and hand-painted textures using RealBristle brushes. Everything was maintained in warm orange-red hues associated with hellre.

03 I wanted a very


Texturing, lighting, painting

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

Username: ak666 Personal portfolio site Country United Kingdom Hardware used Mac Pro 2.66 GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon, 7GB RAM Expertise Andrzej specialis es in modelling and quirky character creation

Software used in this piece

CINEMA 4D ZBrush Photoshop Painter UVLayout

Artist info
Andrzej Kuziola


Andrzej Kuziola

Artis t

I am a self-taught digital artist. I qualied in Dentistry, but no longer work in that profession. I am a freelance illustrator and 3D modeller now and I really enjoy it. Software such as CINEMA 4D, ZBrush and Photoshop help me to create realms that would otherwise exist only in my mind. Parthenogenesis CINEMA 4D, ZBrush, Painter, Photoshop (2009)

Parthenogenesis is an asexual form of reproduction where growth and development of embryos occurs without fertilisation by a male. This is my dark and twisted interpretation of the word Newborn, which was the theme for a contest. Polish artist Zdzislaw Beksinski was a great inspiration behind this image.

Materials and lighting

Adding textures and setting the scene

04 I started the

texturing process in ZBrush with PolyPaint. After establishing overall colours and painting cavities, I moved to Painter where I created proper textures mainly with Artists Oils before exporting them to Photoshop, where I made Bump maps by playing with Desaturate and Levels. I used this workow with some modications to texture all of the objects.

05 For the girl,

I painted a eshcoloured map, which was placed in the Color and Di usion channels of the standard CINEMA 4D material along with modied maps in the Bump and Specular channels. The most time-consuming process was tweaking the Luminance channel, which consisted of a Subsurface Scattering layer in Dodge mode with another colour bitmap beneath.

Teddy Bear Snacks CINEMA 4D, Photoshop, ZBrush (2008)

Pandemonium, the diabolical Boiler God, hungry for innocent, cuddly teddy bears. I was inspired here by human sacrices made to teixiptlas [cult e gies or impersonators] in ancient Aztec civilisation. This is another illustration created for a contest this time with the theme of Boiler room. It won third place in the competition and was published in Expose 7.

di erent colour maps in Painter, which I used in the materials Color channel, modifying desaturated versions in the Di usion, Bump and Specular Color channels. I wanted the demon to look very stylised so I experimented here to achieve a look similar to a portrait thats been painted with thick oil paints.


For the demon, I created a few

07 To set up lights,

I used low-poly meshes to speed up test renderings. I like to accentuate di erent shapes and surfaces so I used quite a lot of lights mainly warmcoloured ones with Area shadows and Inverse Square Fallo applied. To illuminate the girl, I also used blue lights and placed everything inside a sphere as a Floor object so that the light bounced o the sides.

This is my rst illustration where, instead of the dark arts, I started to create nice, cute female characters with bright colours. This illustration was selected by MAXON for promotion of CINEMA 4D. It was published in MAXONs 2010 calendar and you can nd it in the gallery on the website

H2O CINEMA 4D, Photoshop, ZBrush (2009)

with the result, I swapped the models with high-poly meshes and rendered them in Advanced Renderer with Global Illumination, Ambient Occlusion and a separate Alpha channel for each object. I made di erent renders for the girl, for the demon and one for the background, which I lled with Fog material.

I was 08 When happy



Postproduction painting
Creating the colours and smoke
renders in Photoshop and loaded Alpha channels into layer masks to separate the characters from the background. I also reduced the size of the girl to make the demon look more menacing and composed all his renders with layer masks to create the textured e ect I was looking for.


I combined all the

strengthen 10 To the

e ect and make it even more interesting, I exported it to Painter where I overpainted the texture. To do this, I used the Soft Flat Oils brush from the Art Pen Brushes menu, Cloners and Artists Oils. I loaded colours sampled from the demon into the Mixer palette and used them extensively. This palette is very handy when you are working with Artists Oils.

Modelling the scene

For both characters, I started from my standard human base mesh created in CINEMA 4D. Final form and details were done in ZBrush. I rapidly reshaped the base meshes with Move and Standard brushes and then detailed it. My goal was to create stylised, cartoon-like characters correct anatomy and topology were not important for me here, so the process was very fast particularly for the demon. I posed the characters with ZBrushs Transpose tools and then added details with SubTools. Clothes and hair were made with the Retopology tool, while the horns, lollipop and jack-o-lantern were created with meshes imported from CINEMA 4D.

11 To clean and

brighten the girls skin tone, I overpainted some parts on a separate layer set to Lighten blending mode with Fill at 70%. I painted in eyes as well (it was much faster for me to do it in 2D). When I was happy with the result, I started to detail the background. I painted in smoke to frame the demons head and make it a focal point.

I looked to improve the composition and make it more dynamic by rotating and deforming the demon a little and starting to add details to the ground. I used custom brushes made from photographed sca oldings. I wanted the demon to look like he was emerging from an abyss, so I merged him with the ground with the help of the same custom brush and a series of layer masks.

in 12 Back Photoshop,

13 To add more

render t rs ime
Resolut 2,788 x 3 ion: ,920

8 hou

contrast and rhythm to the illustration, I changed some colours from selective to complementary using a Hue/ Saturation adjustment layer with a new layer mask. I then painted some strands of hair and made nal tweaks to the image. Finally I added more smoke with the custom brush. This integrated all of the elements, created a more mysterious atmosphere and helped to lead the viewers eye through the picture.


Step by step: Texture and light a beautiful girl

Girl in Church 2010
Aiming to create a sense of tranquillity, this image features a pretty girl inside a church
Satoshi Ueda specialises in game graphics and concept art
he main tool used to model and build this scene was 3ds Max and it was rendered in the standard mental ray. Photoshop was used for a nal composite of the various render layers. The most di cult aspect of the image was the rendering time. Even though the image used the standard Hair and Fur options, it took a frighteningly long time to render the hi-res version two whole days. In this tutorial we will discuss the volumetric lighting for the background, and the materials and textures used for the girl. The aim of the image was to produce a moviequality scene with a sense of serenity.


Inspiration behind the scene

the gure, the idea was to create a sense of innocence. I carefully balanced the position of the eyes, nose and mouth to make her as attractive as possible. There was a tendency to go over the top and give her more animestyle features, but I didnt want the image to become unreal. So, Ive enlarged the eyes as much as possible, because thats the main focal point, but not overdone them. As the overall theme is one of purity, the girls make-up has been kept to a minimum.

01 In terms of modelling

02 I did practice

render passes with mental ray and the standard Hair and Fur options in 3ds Max just to see how well they performed. The challenge was to create really long hair that fell naturally. The hair itself was made from splines so that adjusting the hairstyle was relatively easy.

03 To make streams

of light work, a dim church setting was chosen for a background. This choice also a ects the lighting because the only source of light comes from the window. The result is a stream of volumetric light positioned behind the girl, which just illuminates her face.



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

Username: Satoshi Ueda Personal portfolio site Country Japan Hardware used Xeon CPU E5430 2.66GHz, 4GB RAM Expertise Satoshi specialises in game graphics and concept art, as well as writing guides

Software used in this piece

3ds Max ZBrush Photoshop After Effects

Artist info
Satoshi Ueda

Texturing, lighting


Satoshi Ueda

Artis t

Satoshi is a 3D artist from Japan. He has worked on making models for the movie Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles and Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles, for which he created the CG-illustrated packaging too. Satoshi also worked on the art direction and packaging for the XBOX 360 game, Bullet Witch.

Maxbook Girl 3ds Max, V-Ray (2004)
I made this for the cover of my book, 3ds Max Super Technique. It is a practice model for those needing an image to use in V-Ray for the rst time.

Textures and materials

Creating the skin and clothing textures

04 A biped frame

was set to the model and posed this made it easier to change the composition. The camera was then arranged, focusing on the girls face. Seams were put in the parts that you cant see to make it easier when it came to the UV unwrapping. Because part of the shoulder was hidden with clothing, a seam was put there as well. The UV was then opened.

guided. The photograph of the material collection was tiled using Photoshop and the texture was then created. A white, bright point was used on the tone curve to help make everything high key. Then in Photoshop, the Bump, Overall Di use colour, Unscattered Di use colour, Epidermal Layer Scatter colour, Subdermal Layer Scatter colour and Specular textures were all established.

05 Unwrap UV was

06 The material of

Rain Street Photoshop, RETAS STUDIO (2009)

This is one still frame from an independent production animation. The girl in the centre is the heroine, wandering about a shopping area in the rain. Japanese company RETAS STUDIO made the animation software that was used for the expression of movement. The background was painted using Photoshop.

the skin uses SSS Fast Skin Material. Six kinds of handmade textures were used. Because a lighting sphere was used to light the environment, the Only Reect Environment tab was activated. Also, because Exposure Control is being used in the scene, the Soft Screen compositing check was removed.

Adult woman who is sending up a prayer. The painting was done using Photoshop. Power was put into the expression and a solemn atmosphere applied generally to the scene.

Prayer Photoshop (2006)

07 In the Hair rendering

options, I chose mr prim. Hairs were copied and duplicated and the settings nalised. On a test render, the rendering time took far too long, so as a compromise, the total number of individual hairs was reduced. Even then, it still took two days! When the rendering was nally done, a black material was applied to the body so it would be easy to process.

the drapes in the clothing were modelled inside Max. After trial and error, the Arch & Design material of mental ray material was selected, though I was tempted to use the standard material, Oren-Nayar-Blinn. It would have been easier to create a red dress because its so easy to overexpose white fabric, but that wouldnt have t in with the mood of the image.

08 The wrinkles and



Lighting the girl

Creating the ambience of the scene

10 The camera was

set up inside the church model, focusing on the girl, with the church window in the background. The HDRI map was made using Panorama Exporter. This map was then put on the sphere model. This map was also used for reections when rendering with mental ray.

added with ray-traced shadows using Photometric Light. The lighting was created to give a backlit e ect. The light in the back left was made the strongest; it is an image of the backlight. The two other lights were used to brighten up the foreground of the image, as it was too dark otherwise. They provide ll-in lighting.

09 Three lights were

control was used (in Environment and E ects). The light and shade of the image were adjusted with the image control. With backlit images, its very easy for the foreground to become too dark. Even though a couple of front lights were used, the backlit light was permitted to blow out the highlights to produce a volumetric e ect.

Photographic 11 mr exposure

is set to the backlight. Volumetric light is an e ective means to producing an airy feeling. To edit it back in Photoshop, the rendering was done as a Monochrome map le and details tweaked to improve the depth of eld.

12 The volume light

Modelling the figure

From the start, I wanted to base the central focus of the image around the serene girl as much as possible. Considerable attention was needed to create the models face, as I concentrated on getting the balance of eyes, nose, mouth and even the length of the eyelashes, just right. To give your character the most realistic hair at the rendering stage, set the Sampling Quality lter in mental ray to the maximum. If you want to shorten the rendering time, consider using a third-party plug-in, though, if youre happy to wait, even the standard Hair/Fur functions can produce impressive results.

render t urs ime

Resolutio n: 4,336 x 3,0 00

48 ho

layers: volume light for the background, highlights on the ne facial hair, the girl and background of the image were output and composited in Photoshop. The nal adjustments made to the depth of eld were output with the lens lter using a ZMAP le. The background was already out of focus because it is distant from the viewer.

individual 13 Four render


Creating a savage warrior

Warrior 2010
John Hayes is a videogame character artist

Part one: Modelling, UV layout, sculpting

How to create a warrior from a distant land with realistically exaggerated forms and brutal weapons, inspired by the style of Frank Frazetta

ften the best looking characters comprise not only good modelling, but also sound textures and rendering. Indeed, the nal step can be the most critical, though it depends upon a strong base model. We will start with the concept and reference image collage to help create the personality, anatomy and costume detail. Concept art is often only used for the inspirational direction of the character, but its helpful to have lots of photo references. A good place to nd additional

free stock reference images is www.deviantart. com. Be sure to get a few anatomy photos as theyll help make the character more convincing. The process I will be using is called box modelling, which allows for the overall form of the character to be rapidly created and then rened by several additional passes. Each subsequent pass will develop the overall volume and add detail where it is needed. At the same time, I will add polygons and edge loops for an even quad polygon distribution (except for the

face and hands, which will consist of a greater amount of polygons). I will be using modo for much of the tutorial since I nd its integrated modelling, sculpting and UV layout tools essential in speeding up the process. Finally I will use ZBrush to create the high-resolution detail model that will be used as a source for rendered textures. Part two of this guide will focus on creating textures and posing the model in Maya and modo and will nish with lighting and rendering in modo.

The base shape

Creating the basic torso

01 The base shape

A The side prole should

The character should face along the positive Z with the head in the positive Y direction. Start with a basic cube wider at the top than the bottom. It should be three polygon rows wide and three rows high. The middle row should be central to the X axis. This will form the basic torso A.

suggest the waist and the side vertical cube rows are thinner in the middle

B Angle the top and bottom of

the cube to form the shoulder/trapezius and the crotch/buttock

02 Tackle the torso

Adjust the side poly of the top row; where the arm comes out should be roughly square. The leg polygons at the bottom should also be roughly square with a smaller gap for the crotch. The arm and leg base polygons should be angled outward between 20-45 degrees B.



The nal non-posed modo character model and the nal ZBrush ZTool. Stock images used for reference and textures: For the body skin texture: http://senshistock.deviantart. com/journal/12576734/ For Anatomy Reference Photos: http://mjranum-stock. and http://vishstudio.

n the 3D artists explai nd techniques behi ork tw ar g in az their am

Software used in this piece

modo Maya ZBrush Photoshop

Artist info

John Hayes
-Hayes Username: John olio site Personal portf ye http://john-ha Country USA Software used sh 3 modo 401, ZBru ogame Expertise Vide t character artis


Artis t
John Hayes

I am a videogame character artist working in PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 development. My background includes working at Capcom, Sanzaru Games, SEGA and Factor 5, where I have created characters for Iron Man, Golden Axe, Final Fight, Maximo, among others. Working on console games is exciting as I always learn new techniques and skills. Crimson Dynamo modo, Photoshop (2010)


With Symmetry X active, bevel out the arms and legs and scale the end polygons so that they taper. The arms should be made at about 45 degrees and the legs made to run straight down from the hips. Bevel out the top two middle polygons for forming the head. Using the Loop Slice tool, split each limb approximately in half and adjust to form knees, elbows and a rounder head shape c. c

03 Create the limbs

04 Add in the feet and hands

The Crimson Dynamo boss that appears in the Iron Man 2 videogame, developed at SEGA for the PS3 and Xbox 360. The model has fully articulated weapons and tesla coil system, a complete cockpit interior and swappable armour plates. All modelling, UV layout, textures and rendering done in modo.

Make the wrist and ankle polygons slightly longer along the Z axis. Bevel the hand out to the ngertips, add two loop splits and bevel out a thumb at the side polygon twice. For the foot, bevel to the bottom of the heel and bevel out to the tips of the toes d.

c Use Loop Slice and Bevel

tools to add more poly edges to the silhouettes

d Once the bevels are

adjusted, add edges at the foot bridge and heel, as well as the nger joints a cape from the bottom of the pectorals and then over the shoulders

e The shoulder edges ow like

The Twins boss characters I created for SEGAs Golden Axe. The characters were modelled in Maya, hi-res sculpt created in ZBrush, Normal maps created in Mudbox, Ambient Occlusion in XSI, textures edited in Photoshop and modo used for UV unwrapping, texture clean-up and rendering. The character is roughly 15,000 polygons with three 2,048 x 2,048 map sets.

The Twins Maya, modo, ZBrush, Mudbox, XSI (2008)

I made this character using modos modelling, sculpting, UV layout, 3D texture painting and rendering tools. Photoshop was used to clean up the renders, adjust the colour values and add highlights. I normally use several di erent 3D software packages in order complete a character, however since modo o ered all the tools I needed, I used this as an opportunity to learn more about the program.

Halloween Witch modo, Photoshop (2009)

Bevel the front polygons to form the face. Create a loop slice along the front arm that should ow along the pectorals and nger edges. Add another loop slice along the front leg, with the ow going around the back of the leg, over the shoulder and across the face. Add more edges around the shoulders so they form polygon loops. Repeat for the hips e.

05 Round out the form



Body details
06 Define the face structure
f Add another loop to the head on either side of the centre line; this should give you four vertical poly rows on which to add facial details with four horizontal rows. Select two where the eyes should be and bevel inward. Next split the eye horizontally so each eye socket is four quad polygons and the edges help to form the bridge of the nose. For the mouth, bevel the centre two poly edges and the resulting polygons inward to form a poly loop f.

Honing the body features

07 Add more facial edge loops
Add edge loops around the mouth so they ow under the lip and over the bridge of the nose. Bevel the eyes in a few more times and build the edge loops so they form a mask that connects both eyes. Once the loops are complete, you can add further edges for the smaller details such as nostrils and tear ducts g. g

Action Center
Using the Action Center is an important part of modelling in modo. I prefer to use the Action Center set to Selection as the axis will often automatically align to an angle for the most accurate edits. Sometimes Selection does not meet my needs, so instead I align the work plane to Selection and then use the Action Center set to Automatic. Although the work plane will align to most selections, I get the best results by selecting the vertexes. The setting I use most often is Local to help me edit several separate elements simultaneously. f Bevelled base edge loop
structure for eyes and mouth. The side of the head also has a bevel for the ears bevelled out. To add nostrils, bevel the edge on each side of the nose

h Select a top and bottom and

g The ears and nose tip are

top edge on each ngertip side and use the Bridge tool to ll in. Fill the base between each nger by double-clicking the edge and using the P key bumps by bevelling out. Edge loops in these areas are important for good deformation of joints

I Make the knee and elbow

08 Model the fingers

To quickly create the ngers, add two edges to create four polygon rows, one for each nger up to where the base of each would be. Then make sure there are two edge loops for each knuckle row and for the bottom of each nger. When complete, select only the three edges between each nger polygon row and bevel the edge and delete the thin middle polygon; do not delete the end triangles h.

09 Smooth the shape

Add several more edge loops to create an even distribution of polygons over the whole body. Continue to add edges to minimise any angles as seen in the silhouette. At the same time, keep areas that are bony or close to a fold that is sharp and dened i.


Half the work

Make sure to use the Symmetry function as much as possible to cut your workload in half. Always have a centre polygon edge. If you nd that it is not working properly, you can either delete half and use Duplicate/Mirror or use the Geometry/Symmetry tool to get it working again.

Adding costume details

The Frazetta style
10 Exaggerate the muscles
The Frazetta-like design inuence I am attempting has exaggerated shoulders, rounded muscles and narrow joints. The deltoid muscle is larger than others, including the pectorals, giving the body a nice taper. The back latissimus and trapezius are large too. Adding crude costume detail and brutal weapons helps to complete the look j. j Using the sculpting tools
beyond Vertex, Edge and Face Selection really helps to create organic forms geometry to make sure the eye spheres look natural with their poles near the centre of each opening

k Once in place, edit the face

11 Eyes and hair

l The feathers are made at

the origin from a at oval shape, with 35 instances as positions out the back the boot where straps would be on the wrapped leather. The edges are bevelled for thickness and nally the leather in between is bevelled out to folds sphere end pole and a few poly rows, which have been attened slightly. Detail is added afterwards

The eyes are spheres, with their poles along the Z axis. A ponytail is a short bevel from the back of the head, the bevelled faces shaped into a circle, then bevelled straight back a few feet. The length is then loop split so that the polygons do not become long rectangles k.

m The Slice tool is used to cut

12 Create the headdress

n The shield is made from a

The bird skull originates from a cube, with two segments on the X axis, thats subdivided once. Next two lower front faces are bevelled out for the beak, then the side face bevelled inward for the eye sockets. Finally the edges at the bottom, beak base and eyeholes are slightly bevelled before being subdivided again and ner details applied l.

13 Fitted details

The quickest way to add details such as belts, straps, boots, etc, is to either duplicate the base geometry and scale it out and modify, or just build an edge that denes the details. The nal step is to remove any geometry not seen (eg feet) and to merge all the elements m.

14 Weapons and small details

Additional belts and a necklace are added, rst by duplicating a polygon loop from the area, editing and nally using Thicken Polygon to create some volume. Necklace claws, armband spikes and a round belt buckle are added to the model. I also included several smaller buckles and detail shapes to the belt. This is a chance for you to get creative n.



Preparing for UV mapping

Mesh subdivision and UV layout
15 Break down the details
p Edges are bevelled on the cu and belt. An extra row is added to the spike and claw tips to keep them sharp, as well as the various costume details. After dening the edges, each part is subdivided. The subdivision method Smooth with default settings is used on the body to keep the muscle planes relatively dened. For the other parts, SDS Subdivide is used o. o

Frazetta nish
To create a Frazetta-style warrior, there needs to be an exaggeration in the muscles that includes large shoulders, hands and feet. Additionally a costume should have several layers of detail, such as weapons, a fearsome mask, belts, trophies and, nally, some equipment pouches. During the process to create this warrior, it was important to make sure the early stages of the model were well constructed and clean since all the other steps are built upon them. Good polygon placement and edge loops help when adding ner details, sculpting and posing and will speed up the process.


16 Sculpting and
Using modos mesh sculpting tools, I add muscle and detail denition, as well as wrinkles and folds on the loincloth, leather belts and boots. The purpose of the pass is to sharpen detail as well as cleaning up the edge geometry that might have clashing polygons or weird polygonal shapes. All the metal items such as weapons and buckles are left smooth p.

o The body geometry under

the belts, cu s and boots is removed and the open edges merged use the Tangent Pinch tool to dene the muscle set to Group Normal, followed by the UV Relax tool set to Adaptive the Action Center set to Local, Axis Auto

p After using the Inate tool, I

q I use the Unwrap tool mostly

r Scale the UVs evenly with

s The focal areas of the head

and hand UV shells are scaled up slightly to give them a better pixel ratio

17 Use UV Unwrap

To get clean UVs, any existing UV map textures are deleted. The body geometry is then broken up into separate sections for unwrapping at the joins of di erent materials or sections, such as the cu and loincloth leg seam. The edge for UV borders is placed in the least visible area (usually at the back or other hidden spots). Since the feathers are all instances, only the main source feather needs to be unwrapped q.

18 UV Peeler

For long, tube-like objects I prefer to use the UV Peeler. The arm cu s, belts and ropes are all peeled and then their UVs made at along the U and/or V axis. The UVs are then re-packed onto a map to use the pixel space more e ciently r.

19 Pack the UVs

After all the UVs are unwrapped, objects that reuse the same UV space are hidden. Next, a simple chequer texture is applied and I run Pack UVs. UVs are placed from largest to smallest and evenly at UVs are placed next to each other. I keep some space between each shell to account for any pixel bleed s.


Sculpting in ZBrush
Creating a ripped body
20 ZBrush setup
For export into ZBrush, all parts are centred on the Z axis, combined into one mesh layer and its UVs are in 0-1 space. The model is saved as an OBJ and imported into ZBrush. Before any sculpting, I organise the parts into separate SubTools, give them Morph targets and ensure any open edges are creased. I also organise the SubTool list with names and objects sorted according to their position in space, top to bottom t.

21 Overall body patterns


22 Sculpt muscles

Using the Standard brush with Z Intensity set to 10 and Focal Shift to -100, do an overall rst pass over the body. I only use the Smooth brush to even out the surface, keeping the stroke edges and bump that lend to an overall eshy feel. Keeping the brush stroke dened helps to provide the muscle bre look v.

I like to map out the muscle patterns, bumps and bres to build upon. Using the Slash3 brush set to an intensity of about -30, I start by tracing out the edges and creases for muscles and tendons, etc. When the rst pass is done, I like to use the Slash2 and Slash1 brushes to add ner details and bumps u.

Top tips
To get much better results, faster, I use the Alpha palette and masks as I work. Alpha is great for hiding parts Im not working on and helps to speed up my workow, as well as improve general application responsiveness as I add subdivision layers to the SubTool. I nd that using masks helps me to quickly add folds and overlapping detail just as in real sculpting. Pushing and moving the shape together helps to get a good ow in the models form.

23 Head detail

For face detailing I like to have some photo references handy to help with the smaller, more subtle features. I try to get the eye area correct, then move on to the mouth. Lastly I work in the ear detail to complete the head w. v t I prefer to sculpt using the
MatCap Gray material for its wide specular range and the fact its not translucent, so details and aws are visible

24 Hands
w After overall sculpting I nd
using Alpha masks a very quick method for adding in wrinkles and folds right. Work from the main joints out to the ngertips

u Using the Slash3 brush in

x Hands can be tricky to get

reverse helps to add raised details to the esh the muscle shape and ow

v Using the Move tool, I adjust

Hands tend to be somewhat bony, so I start with dening the major joints on the ngers and the tendons on the back of the hand. Generally its good practice to get the knuckles looking correct and then the area around the thumb base. The last step is usually dening the ngertips x.



Detailing the costume

Adding surface properties and clutter

26 Headdress

25 Hair and feathers

For the ponytail, I rst mask o the hair tie-downs and then use the Standard brush with Alpha 54 and brush along the length. After, I invert the mask and inate the tie-downs. The feathers are treated in much the same way. Since all the feathers will use the same UVs and textures, we only need to sculpt one and duplicate y. aa

27 Leather and
For most wrinkles, I like to use Alpha 54 with the Standard brush. The rst pass is to create the major wrinkles and the other passes are very light to smooth and blend. Finally, using Alpha 59 with the Brush Tip set to DragRect, I add a slightly cracked leathery surface aa.

As with the body, I do an overall pass on the headdress to rough out the shapes. When complete, I start to add bonelike details. The skull should look old and worn, so using the Spray stroke with a Standard brush, I add a Bump texture to recessed areas and keep raised areas more smooth. Next, to add a more brous look to the bone, I use Alpha 54 to quickly brush in ridges and recesses z.

boot detailing

Halfway there
With the rst part done, the next step is to show how to use the hi-res model to render out Normal and AO maps to use as a base for Di use and Specular textures. Ill import the model into Maya for some quick rigging and posing and back into modo for tweaks and nal scene setup. Lastly, Ill use the textures combined with advanced shaders to render out the image in a dramatic environment to complete this magnicent warrior.

28 Shield and weapons

For the weapons, I need to make the surface look like metal or wood. For wood I use Alpha 58 to help create the wooden grain and planks. The metal needs to feel like crude, beaten iron, so I use the tortoiseshell-like Alpha 25 with the Brush Tip set to DragRect. To create a beaten look, I mask o any non-metal areas and work from large to small bb.

y Sculpt the feathers using

Alpha 54 for a subtle bump and then use the Slash brush to break up the edges quickly incorporate cracks and knit marks to break up the leather to simulate patches Alpha 58, inverted it and brushed over to create a wooden plank e ect onto the surface, invert and then inate

z I use the Slash brush to


aa The Slash2 brush is used

29 Final details: war wounds, weathering

Using the Slash1 brush, I add several scars and cuts to the body and the equipment. To add smaller details such as extra bits of wrapping, I mask o the desired location, invert and use the Brush tool with Alpha 45 to quickly add depth. When complete, I invert the selection and use the Move brush to tuck in and tidy the edges cc.

bb I made a mask using

and battle damage

cc Draw simple scrollwork bb


Part two: Texturing, posing, rendering

ften the best looking images are more than just rigid, ambient rendered models or grey ZBrush sculpts they are fully surfaced, posed and rendered in their own environment that helps to suggest a mood or story. To help complete the savage warrior, we will need to create surfaces that look like worn metal, hard muscle and weathered bone. Then to bring him to life, we will give him an aggressive pose, in an unforgiving environment similar to warriors found in Frank Frazetta paintings. Continuing with the models created in part one, I will use the hi-res model in both ZBrush and modo as a

source to render and transfer highly detailed texture bases and masks to the lower-res modo model. The rendered maps will then be assembled and cleaned up in Photoshop and modos 3D Paint, before being used to help create several Di use, Specular, and Surface Shader e ect maps. Next the model will be roughly posed in Maya before lastly importing into modo for composition of the scene, shader setup and rendering the nal image. All the necessary les for this part of the tutorial provided on the CD are listed here so you know what you need to be working with as you progress.

The nal modo render scene. For further images, see below Stock images used for reference and textures: For the body skin texture: http://senshistock.deviantart. com For anatomy reference photos: http://mjranum-stock. http://vishstudio.deviantart. com Environmental details: www. Background images: www.

Rendering maps

Creating maps from the hi-res model

01 Cavity maps
I begin by rendering out as many detail and e ect maps as possible. Since the hi-res sculpt has the same UV set as the modo le, I save Cavity masks and PolyPaint maps for each part to help add more rened texture detail when recreating them later in Photoshop. The UV Map Size is set to 8,192 and each SubTool is subdivided enough to smoothly capture detail, before creating images A.

in ZBrush

02 Render AO
I re-export the Level 1 geometry and use Decimation Master to export the hi-res geometry into modo. The hi-res and lo-res geometry parts are matched up into nonoverlapping sets. The render resolution is set to 4,096 x 4,096 and Render Output set to Ambient Occlusion, with Occlusion Rays raised to 300. All lo-res geo is enclosed in a quad ball cage with a small ground plane with no UVs B.

maps in modo

Software used in this piece

modo Maya



A I used PolyPaint with Cavity

masks and RGB set to 10 to evenly create a series of maps of the surface detail

B A shade sphere created by

bevelling all the edges and deleting in-between faces




Artis t


All lo-res geo has a TextureRender material applied with Smoothing Angle set to 180 as well as a 4,096 x 4,096 blank texture with E ect set to Normal. The hi-res geo also has its own shader set to 180 to get an even surface. Duplicate Normal maps are rendered out at di erent distances to help patch out errors caused by surfaces crashing into themselves C.

03 Render Normal maps in modo

Tarik the Axe Battler created for the SEGA videogame, Golden Axe: Beast Rider released on the Sony PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Xbox 360. The character was modelled in Maya, hi-res sculpt created in ZBrush, Normal maps created in Mudbox, Ambient Occlusion in XSI, textures edited in Photoshop and modo used for UV unwrapping, texture cleanup and rendering. The character is roughly 15,000 polygons with three 2,048 x 2,048 map sets.

Axe Battler ZBrush, Maya, modo, XSI, Photoshop, Mudbox (2008)

c d

04 Projecting photos in modo

A close-up of a major boss in the Iron Man 2 videogame. In game, the character is about 600 feet tall and is comparable to a full and animated level; basically Iron Man is about the same size as two of the eyes. This surface of the model is supposed to look massive, with many small structures, weapons and details.

Ultimo Bust modo, Photoshop (2010)

A Boar 101st Airborne Soldier, created using ZBrush GoZ and modo 401. Since GoZ really speeds up my workow, I decided to create only a test bust before I proceeded with a full character model. The base model and details with UVs were created in modo, and then exported to ZBrush for detailing. I then used GoZ to transfer mesh edits and updates between modo and ZBrush for the hi-res model.

War Boar ZBrush GoZ, modo (2010)

To help the skin look more convincing I use modos Paint set to Image Ink to apply parts of highresolution stock photos of models to create a colour skin texture. This will be used to add minor skin details and help add subtle skin colour variation to the nal Di use, Subsurface and Specular maps D. C I make sure that
there are no overlapping UVs as they may cause Normal map rendering errors

05 Map assembly and clean-up

All the rendered set maps for AO, Normal, ZBrush Cavity and Photo Color are assembled in Photoshop, and then the combined images for Color and Ambient Occlusion are reimported back into modo for UV seam and rendering error clean-up. Any rendering errors in Normal maps are patched with new rendered maps, as clean-up on a 3D surface is not possible with Normal maps E.

D Check that Symmetry is set to X when projecting

images onto the geometry

E Use modos Paint with Clone Stamp or a brush

set to Procedural to clean up



Texture creation
06 Detailing Ambient Occlusion

Making textures in Photoshop and modo

Using Photoshop, I combine the ZBrush PolyPaint and rendered Cavity maps as well as the desaturated Photo Color map to add more details to the rendered AO map. I also create Alpha channels with copies of the AO, adjusted lighter or darker to provide masks for additional detail. I will use the Photoshop Unsharp mask and High Pass lter to add more variations of Alpha channels to help emphasise detail areas F. f

07 Adding colour

The Ambient Occlusion is used with the Alpha map variations to add to at base colours for the Di use map. Each at colour is a new layer: tan for skin, dark grey for metal, brown for wood, and so on. Working dark to light, I load alpha selections to add shaded detail using separate layers for each pass, then import the attened map into modo for further detail work G. F I use Alpha maps as a mask to quickly add in
highlights and shading to the Ambient Occlusion map

H Skin and leather are low in contrast, while

metal is lighter and has a very high contrast areas reveal them

08 Creating specular

G Using modos 3D Paint I add colour details

I Black areas mask material e ects, while white

such as war paint, ne detail decoration and scars/battle damage etc

I use a copy of the un-attened Di use map as the basis for the Specular map, with some shaded parts around the eyes, mouth, hands and underarms inverted to increase spec in those areas. The overall shading is adjusted for each material type; esh is closer to 50% in Hue with low contrast, metal is lighter with high contrast, while wood and cloth are darker with high contrast H.

09 Making material masks

To apply di erent materials such as skin, metal, leather, wood and bone in modo, I quickly build black-and-white masks in Photoshop. Each mask will block out one type of material. I then import each into modo for edge clean-up and detailing I.


Scene composition
Laying out the scene
10 Camera angle and pose
Frank Frazettas painting Death Dealer V provided inspiration for mood and composition, with its lower view angle and stark backdrop. I start with simple polygon shapes as proxies to help position and pose a copy of the body mesh from Part one. I then use a low camera angle and the Deform/Flex tool to block out a pose that feels aggressive and dynamic j. j

11 Create ow

I use background props to help frame the character and add to the mood and atmosphere. Each of the elements is placed to help lead the eye to the main point of focus, as well as support the models pose. All the elements are at angles to keep everything dynamic k.

j A strong, dynamic pose

helps to lend life and purpose to the character are adjusted to best t the pose and composition

k The props and camera angle l

l Creating ivy vines in An Ivy

Generator on the imported pillar base

12 Add the props

m Shapes in modo with several

preset materials that help to quickly establish surfaces to illuminate the model

n Area lights are just enough

With the basic composition established, I start to replace the background proxy objects. The rocky base and columns have detail added with piles of rocks and clumps of grass. Lastly, I import and modify vines grown in a freeware application called An Ivy Generator (see http://graphics. l.

13 Set atmosphere

Using preset materials included with modo, I apply a Skin material to the body, Sandstone to the pillars and rocks, plus Wrought Steel to the weapons, then I turn to lighting. I switch o all lights, turn on Global Illumination, then import an HDRI image into the environment to serve as the primary light; it works particularly well with metallic reections m.

Shader e ects
The shader networks in modo work from bottom to top, much like layers in Photoshop. By using layer masks it is easy to combine di erent software shader e ects on top of one another. When setting up shaders, I like to have a reasonably nalised version of the lighting as well as a simple light setup with only Ambient Occlusion and the default light set to Sunlight, to make sure the shaders look accurate. n

14 Let there be light!

With the HDRI image set up, I add a few lights to add colour and pick out form. To add dark blue to the shadows, I insert a low-angle Directional light that casts no shadow, a blue Rim light at the back and an Area light to emphasise and ll in the top half of the body n.



An aggressive pose
Posing the warrior
15 Joint setup
o Bringing the warrior into Maya, I place the geo into its own layer and set it to Template. Next I quickly add the spine joint in the Orthographic side view up to the neck and head. I make joints for the legs and join them to the hip. In the Orthographic top view I create arms and join them at the shoulder scapula. The position of the joints should be close to the centre of the mass theyre located in o. q

16 Skinning

I use Bind skin with Max inuences set to 1 so I can easily nd any vertexes that dont belong and x appropriately. Next I use the Paint Skin Weights tools to quickly blend between joints, and adjust the weights slightly, testing the deformation by bending the joints p. p

Top tip
Frank Frazettas paintings have lots of action and colour. Action shots require a dynamic pose, and I nd that when deforming or posing geometry in modo, its helpful to use Morph maps to retain the original shape for additional editing or to try other poses. For a painterly look, all the textures use saturated colour rather then blacks and whites for tone and hue. For the skin, I used a saturated copy of the main Di use texture applied to Subsurface Color in the shader to bring out the skins tans, blues, greens and reds.

18 Morph setup

17 Posing

With the base object imported in for reference, I start to pose the model, carefully checking from all angles, but mostly from the compositions low camera angle. With the pose complete, I detach the skin, and make sure Bake History is active, then export both the posed and unposed mesh of the warrior as OBJ les q. o I make sure the arm and leg
joints have a bend going into positive Z, then add IK Weights tool to x blending model to make it a bit more dramatic

The unposed warrior mesh and the posed one are reimported into modo. I place the posed version in a background layer and create a Morph map for the unposed mesh and use Vertex Map/Transfer to apply the deformation of the background mesh onto the morph of the active mesh. When posing, ensure the Morph map is active R.

p Using the Paint Skin

19 Tweaking

q Shifting the weight of the

r The vertex deform data is

transferred to the active Morph map

s Using the Flex and Sculpt

tools, I adjust the nal pose and deformations

The posing in Maya was rough and joint bends could look better. With the Morph map active, I adjust the deformation at joints and hips. I will also slightly bulge out muscle, position the weapons and add a bit of variation to the costume feathers for a ru ed look s.


Creating the surfaces

Setting up advanced surface shaders
20 Add textures
I begin by adding modos preset materials to the character and separate each of them with a material group mask. I layer the shaders in order of inside to outside, major to minor. In order: Skin is rst, followed by Leather, Metal, Gold, Wood and Bone. I turn o the visibility of any shader e ects for each material and make sure they are all set to 180 degrees Smoothing t.

21 The Skin shader

The skin surface is made up of the modo Skin shader preset with Di use, Specular, Normal, Subsurface Color and Subsurface Amount textures. When applied, I adjust the high and low values and opacity of each layer if needed to get the rugged and colourful Frazetta look I am aiming for. Finally to add a bit more shading, an Ambient Occlusion map is put in the top layer at 50% Opacity with blending mode set to Multiply u. w

22 Leather

Leather is similar to the skin with a more matt nish to the surface and without Subsurface Scattering. To help emphasise a worn-out look I add the maps for Ambient Occlusion set to Roughness, and Di use set to Specular Color and adjust their values to get twice as much contrast. Finally I use a ramp set to Incident angle to get the slight peach-fuzz look to the edges v. v

Use HDRI for lighting

A good way to get convincing lighting is to illuminate the model with an HDRI image, with Global Illumination active. After a few adjustments, the result will provide an even, well-lit model. For this scene I wanted to add more colour and drama, so the HDRI image needed to have a black base where I introduced lights to add coloured shadows.

I wanted the metal to look very worn, similar to an old copper coin. Using the modo preset for Cast Steel as a base, I add the Di use, Specular and Normal maps and use them to drive other e ects as well. The Specular map is also used for Roughness and Reection amount with the high and low values to create a high, almost black-and-white contrast. The Di use map is used to control Specular Color w.

23 Worn metal

24 Wood and bone textures

t The group mask image is
placed at the top of each group

w Gold/Bronze metal is added

over the top of the base metal for more variation control Subsurface Scattering colour

u A layer mask is applied to

the base shader to mask out Subsurface Scattering for the hair and body paint ramp to add a slight fuzzy look to the leather edges

x Using the Di use settings to

v Creating an Incident angle x

The bone and wood needed to look aged. The bone has some Subsurface Scattering with the e ect being much more desaturated than the skin, making it somewhat grey. The wood is not very glossy and has a more solid di use colour, as it needs to look hard and jagged x.



Finishing touches
Adjusting the light and rendering
26 Tweaking light and shade
A couple of additional Directional lights are added to illuminate the silhouette of the character and some parts of the background. I also add a couple of small Point lights to ll in areas of shadow. With the nal lighting in place I do another quick pass on the shaders for any elements that are not working well with the light. I also change the contrast of the surface shading by adjusting the opacity of the top layer AO maps and setting to Multiply z. z

Highly detailed AO and masks

When creating the warrior, it was important to start simple and make sure each stage was well thought out and carefully built. The model started as a box, and a good silhouette shape was formed and posed. The scene composition was roughed out with primitive proxy shapes before adding rocks, leaves and other details. The lighting started from one source and was tweaked before any surfaces were made. A good silhouette, clean textures and the use of various surface materials helped to bring this magnicent warrior inspired by Frank Frazettas work to life.

25 Quick adjustments

Its now time to make nal adjustments to the lights. At this stage, to speed up the renders, I hide everything except the main areas of focus such as the head, weapons and arms. I also use the proxy geometry for background elements to help speed up the renders in the Preview window y. y Toggling the shaders on and
o really helps to speed up lighting adjustments


27 Render settings

z A Directional light is used to

add more depth to the rocks and pillars matched up with the Depth output settings before adjustments and colour balance glow and rim light e ects are added

aa The camera depth is

bb The nal render

I change the default render setting to 0.1 for Renement Shading Rate and 1% for Renement Threshold. I check lights have a Spread angle of 10%, leaving Depth Blur and Bloom to post. To help in Photoshop, I include outputs for Final Color, Alpha, Di use Coe cient, AO and Depth aa. cc

cc Finally some minor light


29 Post-processing and balance

28 Clean-up and colour balance

I import all the rendered output into one PSD le. The rst thing to do is clean up any rough rendering artefacts or edges. Next all images are separated from the black background and images of a stormy backdrop and a moon from deviantART are added. I then adjust the colour balance and hues to bring the foreground and background elements together bb.

I use the various other render outputs as either overlays or Alpha masks to adjust the lighting and surface detail. I also tweak light and colour saturation to help emphasise the focal points. I overlay the Di use Coe cient pass to balance and x blown-out colour, while AO and Depth are used for shading tweaks and to bring out outline details cc.


I believe composition is very important, but my work doesnt employ a difcult technique: I focus on story, message, mood and colour. When establishing the composition, I spend most of the time looking for the right feeling

Using mental ray, I rendered all elements to start and then made separate passes for Specular, Colour, Diffuse, Ambient Occlusion and ZDepth. For the Z-Depth layer, I used the Lens Blur lter in Photoshop, where I also made use of the Color Balance tool and corrected the overall contrast. Working with an image of 6,000 pixels, it was a very heavy le!

Artist info

Hodong La
om Website www.hodings.c Country South Korea , Photoshop, Software used 3ds Max mental ray

Incredible 3D artists take k us behind their artwor


Software used in this piece
mental ray 3ds Max Photoshop

mission is s name is Roy and his This giant humanoid ring an plo Ex . rth Ea t ne a sick pla to nd a way to heal co dis vers g his expedition, he unknown world, durin graph of oto rs, capturing a ph a blue life form on Ma . it to keep as a record

Discovery 2010


Making of The Sky Fishermen

The Sky Fishermen 2008
Akin Bilgic is a CG/VFX artist
n this tutorial, well take an in-depth look at the character modelling workow which I used to create The Sky Fishermen. Topics covered will include translating from 2D concept art, poly modelling in 3ds Max, digital sculpting in ZBrush, as well as nal integration and tweaks using Photoshop. The creation of The Sky Fishermen was a big challenge in my development as a CG artist, and Ill attempt to distil the successes and errors of the process so you can learn from my mistakes and apply the successful techniques to your work. If you have any further questions after reading this making-of, I invite you to contact me through my website www.cggallery. com, and Ill do my best to answer any questions. I hope you can use these steps to create your own concept characters. Enjoy!

The Sky Fishermen is a stylistic character model inspired by an evocative piece of concept art by Christopher Stoph Green
Software used in this piece

Ideas and reference

The idea for The Sky Fishermen came from the work of the amazing concept artist, Christopher Stoph Green. I stumbled upon his art one day while browsing www. looking for good concepts to work from since Im not much of a 2D artist myself. I immediately fell in love with this concept and knew I wanted to try re-creating it in 3D. I contacted Stoph shortly after, asked for his permission, and he was more than happy to have me take a crack at it. The underlying concept for The Sky Fishermen is a story about two boys, Eli and Ardent, who ride the skies on their ying turtle, Artoise, hunting a menacing species of ying squid that terrorises their skies. b


3ds Max



01 The concept art

A Stophs original
concept art

B A reference image
from iStockphoto

C A quick paintover to
gather my thoughts

One of the most important parts of starting any model is to take a step back and gather enough reference to help inform your decisions as an artist. For this project, I gathered as many sea turtle references as I could get my hands on. I gathered both real pictures, as well as reference of other artistic interpretations of sea turtles like the ones done by Pixar for Finding Nemo. For the boys I gathered reference of exaggerated childrens facial expressions, and for the hand poses, pictures of my own hands. Having the right reference is key to achieving good results.

02 Gather reference

03 Plan your approach

So now that youve got your reference, you might think its time to get modelling! But not just yet. I cant express how much time you can save from the whole process if you just spend a bit of time planning your approach, identifying potential problems, and thinking of ways to be e cient. For this project, I saw that I had two children that (aside from a few pieces of clothing) could be made from the same base model and the front and back ippers of the turtle are very similar so I could probably use an alpha to get them detailed quickly. Spending an hour to plan your approach can save you days of unnecessary work later on.



3D artists explai n th techniques behi e nd their amazing ar twork

Personal portfolio site Country USA Software used 3ds Max, ZBrush, Pho toshop Expertise Akin specia lises in character modelling and e ects, including ligh visual ting / compositing for lm

Name Christopher Stoph Green Website Country Australia Project title The Sky Fishermen Software Photoshop CS2 About the concept image This was an entry for a character design challenge back in 2005. After being given the title Sky Fishermen, I somehow ended up with this quirky result. To be honest, creating the concept was quite simple in comparison to replicating its success, popularity and longevity even to this day in the rest of my work. I was honoured with Akins request to realise my concept in 3D and his faithful treatment of the characters is a true credit to his skill.

Artist info
Akin Bilgic


Once we have our reference and approach its time to model!

04 Model the turtle base mesh
I began the modelling process in 3ds Max, as I find its native poly modelling tools are a very powerful and quick way to create a clean base mesh for use in ZBrush. I like to keep my base meshes fairly low-poly and loose just enough to give me an idea of the overall form and proportions. I constantly referred to the concept art as a guide and made sure the base mesh would have just enough to work with once I took it into ZBrush for higher level detailing. The turtle base mesh was constructed from basic geometry using a spherical cube for the shell and extruded cubes for the fins and neck. D

Start the modelling

05 Sculpt the turtle

Once I had the base mesh ready, it was time to take it into ZBrush to really start bringing the turtle to life. I began with the turtles shell heavily relying on reference images of sea turtles. Even though the concept is strictly fantasy-based, having realistic details helps to ground a concept and sell the characters believability. Most of the sculpting was done by hand at this point, using the Standard brush with Lazy Mouse to define the large scute edges, and Clay Tubes to create the lined ridge texture on the top of the scutes.

D Starting to add some surface

detail to the turtle. Take your time and experiment

E Simplicity is the key here

add just enough form to block in loose proportions other prop models created in 3ds Max

f Using the alpha on the

right to lay down detail in a controlled and even way

G The goggles, saddle and

06 Turtle Alpha map creation

For the flippers and neck, I approached the sculpting a little differently. I took a screenshot of the low-poly flipper base mesh in ZBrush, took that into Photoshop, and used it as a guide to hand-paint a black-and-white Alpha map. The reason for this was so I could use photo references to quickly find a way to create the intricate pattern I wanted. Once I was reasonably happy with the painted pattern, I took the image into ZBrush and used it as an Alpha map with the drag-rectangle stroke to lay the pattern down onto the higher-res mesh. Once the pattern was down on the flippers, I went back and added smaller details and irregularities so it didnt look too flat or uniform, boosting realism. I also used the lines as a guide to build up bigger folds and creases as the appendages merged into the shell. The same technique was used for the head and neck areas.

07 Model the props

For the props, I stayed in 3ds Max to model the high-res props that would be attached to the turtles body. I felt having the props on the turtles body early would give me some additional features to help judge proportions and would especially help when it came to integrating the children. 3ds Maxs poly tools are ideal for creating the precise, hard-surface shapes needed for the props. I made extensive use of renderable splines for creating ropes and trim to give additional detail to objects like the saddle and golf bag that holds the harpoons.


08 Prop integration
H To integrate the modelled props with the turtle, I brought in the lowest subdivision level of the sculpted turtle into 3ds Max. Then, using the standard Transform tools, I moved the props into place not worrying too much about an exact t. Next I exported the props into ZBrush and made the nal alignment with Transpose tools and heavily-blurred masking to bend solid parts like the pipes that hold the golf bag onto the shell. Once the props were positioned, the turtle was mostly nished and it was time to move on to modelling the kids Eli and Ardent.

It helps save time and energy to keep a library of generic objects that youve made over time no need to redo work youve already done! Also I used the same base model for both Eli and Ardent

10 Sculpt the kids

09 Model the kids base mesh

I began modelling the children in 3ds Max. I didnt start from scratch, since I already had a generic human base mesh that I had modelled from a previous project. It helps save time and energy to keep a library of generic objects that youve made over time no need to redo work youve already done! Also in the interest of saving time, I decided that since Eli and Ardent had very similar anatomy and proportions, that I could use the same base model for both of them. Using Maxs basic tools like Soft Selection, I took my generic human base mesh and altered the proportions to better t the look of the boys in the concept art. I then modelled the clothing and prop base meshes, taking note that the only di erences between the two kids were their shirts, shoes and headgear. The same base mesh with a new set of clothing and props made them look like two di erent characters.

H The props lined up

against the turtle proxy mesh

I The base mesh is the

same, but clothes and expressions di er

J The kids sculpted; one of

the base meshes was made and the other duplicated

Once the single base mesh with the two unique sets of clothing and props were ready, I took them into ZBrush and began sculpting the higher-res body. The idea was to get the high-res body sculpt as close to nished as possible, before duplicating the mesh into two unique copies with their respective clothing and props. This way I would only have to sculpt the high-res anatomy once saving me countless hours. I relied heavily on anatomy reference when sculpting the body. I collected images from various sources across the internet and took pictures of myself to use as a guide. I knew the kids needed to look and feel real in order for the audience to connect with them. I sculpted as much detail as I could with the character in its symmetrical T-pose, taking advantage of ZBrushs Symmetry stroke to again save time and e ort. Im not going too in-depth about the sculpting process here, but to be honest, there really is no secret trick to this phase 90 per cent of the workload is being done with the Move, Standard, Pinch and Inate brushes. It just takes a lot of time, hard work and tons of reference.


Artis t
Akin Bilgic

Im a modeller/VFX artist currently freelancing and living in San Francisco, CA. Ive been drawn to CG and VFX ever since I was a kid, mostly inspired by lms like Jurassic Park and games like Myst. Since then, the goal has been to create the visuals for tomorrows great lms.


Leftovers Lounge 3ds Max, ZBrush, Photoshop (2010)

A collaboration with my friend Guillermo Martinez (http:// for a graphic novel anthology. Guillermo came up with the concept and I modelled the characters.

Once the high-res body sculpt was ready, I used ZBrushs Transpose Master toolset to put the boys in their respective poses. The pose is a very important aspect of a sculpt it says a lot about the character so I wanted to make sure they were just right before moving on to other parts. Things to look for when posing your character are silhouettes, readability from a distance, conveying weight and motion, and how you can convey that persons personality through their posture. A good way to clearly analyse your characters silhouettes in ZBrush is to switch the shader to Flat Color. The facial expressions were also nalised during this phase mostly by using masking and the Move brush to change their mouth shapes, as their eyes are covered by a helmet and goggles. K Ardent posed over the proxy turtle shell L Consider clothing material dynamics to get
realistic results

11 Pose the kids

After the poses were complete, it was time to sculpt the high-res clothing and accessories. Its important that you sculpt clothing after the posing phase, because the pose will greatly a ect how clothes fold and wrinkle. Hard-surface objects like the shoes were modelled in 3ds Max, while softer objects like the shirts, trousers and gloves were sculpted in ZBrush. This project was only the second time Id attempted to sculpt realistic clothing, so it took a bit of trial and error to get a result I felt was believable. It helps to give a lot of thought to the specic material of the clothing, as that tends to dictate how the folds and wrinkles occur. For example, for Elis trousers, I decided they were probably jeans, which are fairly heavy and have larger, less frequent wrinkles. For Ardents shirt, the opposite: a thin cotton T-shirt material with lots of creases being a ected by everything from the belt around his waist to the wind. Again, lots of time, hard work and references led to the nal result.

12 Sculpt the clothing

Time Trap 3ds Max, ZBrush, Photoshop (2009)

A collaboration with Lior Arditi ( I came across his work one day and, like The Sky Fishermen, I fell in love with his concepts and asked if I could try modelling some of them.

I decided to create myself as a 3D caricature back when I was 19. The image was made using 3ds Max and the Brazil rendering system.

Rockstar Self Caricature 3ds Max, Brazil r/s, Photoshop (2006)

Up to this point, the kids and the turtle have been kept in separate les for the sake of viewport interaction and cutting down on saved le size. Now its time to bring them all together and start looking at the model as a whole, instead of the sum of many smaller parts. This phase is mostly about tweaking proportions and making sure the scale of details match between all the elements. Again I heavily rely on ZBrushs Flat Color shader to check my silhouette and make sure everything reads clearly and isnt visually confusing. M Integrating the kids with
the turtle and the props making sure everything works together

13 Final integration



Finalise the model

14 Final polish
With the kids and turtle nished and in place, I gave the entire model one nal polish pass. During this step, I tweaked proportions, slightly altered poses and cleaned up any areas I might have overlooked. At this stage its no longer about the model looking like the concept art its about the model feeling and conveying the mood of the concept art even if that means making alterations that deviate from the original concept. I pushed Ardents pose a little further to really sell the mid-throw moment, and arched Elis head and posture back so it would read better in 3D space. Once it had passed this phase, the modelling was nished. O N

Almost there, time to wrap it all up!

N Make sure the artwork
conveys the essence of the original concept ZBrush composited together in Photoshop

O A few render passes from

P The 3D print done by

O oad Studios it looks stunning in real life

Q The nal sculpt

1 0 mi rend nutes
16 3D printing the model

ime Resolutio 4,000 x 3 n: ,600

er t

15 Lighting/rendering/compositing

To showcase the nished model, I decided to explore ZBrushs material capture system to create the nal renders and composite them in Photoshop. This phase was really just a lot of experimentation and trial and error. I would render the model with di erent MatCaps, bring them into Photoshop and layer them atop one another with di erent blending modes to see if any interesting results occurred. I got an interesting look that showed o the details by mixing a Clay and Copper render. I enhanced it by giving it a soft gradient background to simulate a lighting stage and added a bit of specular bloom to really make it pop. Q

After the 3D model was complete, I had the great pleasure of having the fantastic O oad Studios o er to create an 18-inch tall physical 3D print of the model. O oads team took care of everything for me making sure my source les worked with its printing technology and even baking an Ambient Occlusion map to help highlight smaller details (its printers can print textures as well). The studios work is truly amazing and its been awesome to be able to see and touch something I created solely on the computer. Be sure to check out the rest of the companys work at www.o

Final thoughts
And there you have it! Id like to thank you for reading, and thank 3D Artist magazine for allowing me to share my work with you. Once again, if you have any further questions about this tutorial or any of my work, please feel free to contact me through my website (www. and Ill try my best to help out. Happy creating!


Step by step: Create a sexy fairy woman

Sexy fairy 2009

Software used in this piece

3ds Max Photoshop BodyPaint ZBrush Mental Ray

The biggest challenge was to give a sensual tone to the scene and make the hair of the character. The idea was it would be beautiful, owing and sensual, with a natural tone
Kleber Darcio Loreno Silva specialises in modelling, texturing, concept art and composition
104 3DArtist


Concepts, modelling, lighting


The inspiration behind the scene

01The concept for

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

Artist info

the fairy was inspired by the models of the Victorias Secret lingerie fashion show. The idea was to give the character an air of sensuality and beauty. Transmitting this concept to a virtual character was a big challenge. The problem is that actual models are gorgeous and know how to work the camera with their eyes and sensuality. The virtual character would have to convince the viewer without any of these advantages.

Kleber Darcio Loreno Silva

Personal portfolio site Country Brazil Hardware used Intel Core i7-860 (2.80 GHz), 4GB DDR3 Expertise Modelling, texturing, concept art, lighting and composition

02 The image was

his tutorial will explain the process I used to create this character. The model was made from a base mesh of an old character that Id made previously. The technique used was poly by poly with added detailing using ZBrush. The model was exported to ZBrush, rened, then brought back to 3ds Max to continue the process of creation. ZBrush wasnt used to model the character as such, more to add the details. The biggest challenge was to give a sensual tone to the scene and make the hair of the character. The idea was it would be beautiful, owing and sensual, with a natural tone. The renderer used for the scene was Mental Ray FG, especially in the swimsuit. I used a SSS shader to create the skin and various maps were used to create layers compositing such as di use, specular and reection. Photoshop and BodyPaint were used to paint the texture of the fairy, Photoshop did all the background work and BodyPaint was used to paint the details directly on the character.

designed to mix beauty with a nice 3D fantasy environment. One of the challenges was to make the scene with beautiful shades of colours, making it visually surreal and highlighting every detail of the character. The lighting was to simulate a studio light made by a photographer. The image had to present cold tones mixed with vibrant colours of the wing and butteries.

03 The choice of

the background of the scene was set to look like the fairy was sitting posing for a photograph, but with a surreal touch. So, this was simulated by an articial forest, with a ray of sunshine shining through the trees to give an air of fantasy. It also created volumes of light where the butteries were ying.
3DArtist 105

Kleber Darcio Loreno Silva

Artis t

I have been working with 3D for some time, and have always focused on quality and detail. I have focused primarily on modelling, then renders so I could nish a scene completely. I have worked on large projects and am very happy to work for the love of 3D.


Modelling the fairy

Creating the picture

04 The model was made

from the base mesh of an old character I had already made. The technique used was poly by poly, rening the model. The character was placed in the pose bones so it could be manipulated. ZBrush was used to dene and add details to the mesh of the character. This created more denition and subtlety in the expression of the character.

05 The hair used the

technique of planes combined with textured hair and fur using 3ds Max. The planes had the colour and texture of hair and a map in the alpha channel opacity of the tips. In the more voluminous areas, hair planes were used more. The individual hair and fur was mostly used in the loosest of threads.

Wonder Woman 3ds Max, Photoshop, BodyPaint, ZBrush, Mental Ray (2009)

A character created for studies thats my personal vision about Wonder Woman. I hope you like it. Modelled in Max, ZBrush, also BodyPaint, Photoshop. Rendered in Mental Ray. The hair was made in hairfx combined with textured planes.

were created to be sensual but not vulgar as the fairy would have to be sensual. I created the cloth with a golden glow that involved the lighting of the scene. The clothing model was made upon the body of the character data and the details such as deformation and folds were added in ZBrush. were made with the same technique that was used in the hair. They were planes onto which the texture was painted. Then the opacity and translucence was set in the shader. The blue colour contrasts with the colour tone of the scene, highlighting the character and breaking the cooler tone of the scene.

clothing 06 The items

Robot 3ds Max, Photoshop, BodyPaint, ZBrush, V-Ray (2009)

A character created for the client Potugal. Modelled in 3ds Max with help from BodyPaint and Photoshop. Rendered in V-Ray.

07 The fairy wings

Lady-bird 3ds Max, Photoshop, BodyPaint, ZBrush, V-Ray (2009)

08 The expression of

A character created for animation. Modelled in 3ds Max, ZBrush, also BodyPaint, Photoshop. Rendered in V-Ray.

the character had to be sexy, but would have to be pure and delicate, with a more serene, beautiful and engaging tone. The structure made in 3ds Max had assistance from morphs where various expressions were made by adding some expression combinations. So I experimented with nervous eyes contracting, her mouth open, eyes closed, but the nal image was the serene expression you see.



Volumetric lighting
Refining the scenery and lighting
done to highlight the curves of the character and to make the scene more fanciful. For this a key light interacts with the ambient light that falls on the trees along with the butteries. The key light is set to let the strongest points of light mark the silhouette of the character. The sidelights give more depth to the skin tones and the clothing. Colour and light are two powerful tools that help enhance the mood of a scene that has been established by the composition, camera angles and characters. Firstly you see the result of light being reected from a surface up to the eyes. The colour is a quality of light taken from a surface, based on the frequency range.

09 The lighting was

10 To generate the

lighting three Photometria lights were used: the key light, front light and side light. These provided the ambience for the scene. Each light colour was set to match the colour palette of the scene. The lights had an important function because in nature, light ows, revealing and concealing areas. The light shines, reects, refracts, reacts and di uses into the air. The light is warm or cold, high or low, near or far, bright or dark, strong or mild. In the digital world lighting is a matter of calculation. Normal alignment, G-bu ers and Z-bu ers determine the display of light. Where the calculation misses the mark, the artist has to compensate and correct. The temperature of light is a technical aspect that can a ect the emotion of your scene. Essentially the temperature of light is a physical aspect of the light source which a ects the colour of the light. However, it is not the same as using colour lters on lights to create colour.

render t r ime
Resolutio 1,800 x 1,0n: 13

1 hou

11 The characters shader

was made with the SSS Fast Skin in Mental Ray. The skin needed to have the exact brightness to make it both realistic and fanciful, then working with lighting shader to achieve that result. Maps were used to work together to result in uniformity between the dermis, epidermis and subcutis skin layers and the specular and reection aspects.

all done in 3D. The vegetation was created in 3ds Max and rendered with Mental Ray. Once completed the background image was placed in the composition. The layer was designed to merge with a colour palette to create a more pleasant scene in accordance with the skin tones of the fairy. Making the character was the highlight of the scene.

12 The backdrop was

The lighting plan

The greatest di culty in creating the image was deciding which technique would be better for the hair. The textures were made and painted in Photoshop with an extra touch in BodyPaint. The lighting was done with a keylight and side lights, with the toning following the colour palette. The best option for this was to use Photometria lights before rendering the scene with Mental Ray.

13 To create the

nal image I separated z-depth maps for depth and occlusion maps to dene shadows and contacts were rendered. These were then composited in Photoshop. The fairy character was actually rendered separately and then the two images were combined with a colour map being used to match the ambience between the two.


Software used in this piece

Poser DAZ 3D Vue Pro Studio Photoshop Apophysis

Modelling, painting

Portrait masterclass
Pardon 2010
In this portrait, expression and gestures are of great importance when it comes to depicting a realistic face with a touch of fantasy art
Majorgaine is a freelance illustrator

his tutorial describes the working process behind my portrait, Pardon. I used several objects and textures from the library in DAZ Studio 3. In addition to Photoshop, I utilised Photoshops virtualPhotographer lter and the Rons Pinstriping brushes. For editing in Photoshop, I also used a Wacom tablet. At the beginning of my art projects, I often only have a rough idea of the nal result, without any exact vision. My policy is more intuitive than conceptual. I experiment with a range of varied equipment before I decide upon a denite procedure. However, in the interests of establishing a chronological order to my workow, I will waive some of the experimental steps in this guide. As with all of my portraits, the gestures and, above all, the facial expression and look in the eyes are the most important elements for me. From the start, I had quite a clear impression of what I was trying to achieve with the image, even if the picture itself was not already formed in my head this aspect evolved as the project progressed.

3D artists explain the techniques behind their amazing artwork

Artist info
Personal portfolio site gallery/browse.php?user_ id=443303 Country Germany Software used Poser, DAZ Studio, Vue Pro Studio, Bryce, Apophysis, Photoshop Expertise Majorgaine specialises in portraits and landscapes, as well as fantasy and sci- styles


Building up the portrait

Arranging the scene in DAZ Studio

02 Choose your character and

Now you have to pick a character and a texture from your library. Proceed as the following: Poses>(choose the character you want) Tosca>Farissa>Poser MATS>2BrowsBrown. For changing the eye texture, go to Poses>Tosca>Farissa>Poser MATS>3Eyes b.

the textures

01 Figure loading and morphing

The rst step is to open DAZ Studio and load Victoria 4. Next you have to load the morphs of the gure. For this, we used the Poser library, which you can nd in DAZ Studio. When you install DAZ Studio, search for all the compatible folders and it should appear in the content column. To use the Poser library, go to Figures>DAZ-People>Victoria 4.2. Then go to Poses>DAZ-Victoria 4>Morph Injections>INJ Morphs++ V4 A.

03 Modify the character

04 Add clothing, hair and jewellery

A Load the gure and the

morphs into DAZ Studio

b Choose the character and

the textures of the gure the gure

c Modify the character of d Dress the model and add hair and jewellery C

The next step is to remodel the face. For this, go to the scene and choose the gures head by opening the folder until the head appears (or select by clicking on the face). Zoom in on the model. In the Parameters palette, its possible to modify particular features for expressions and visemes (facial cues which represent speech sounds) c.

Next you can choose hair, clothing and accessories from the library and adjust to the gure. For the dress, follow: Figures>V4 Morphing Clothes>Fantasy Dress>Fit to blMilWom_v4b, 2. For the hair: Figures>AprilAoife>Aoife> Victoria4>Fit to blMilWom_v4b, 3. For the jewellery: Figures>DAZs Victoria Clothing>V4_FantasyCollarBig>Fit to blMilWom_v4b, 4. And nally, for the crown and earrings (rst choose the gures head), then go to: Props>Chex>Psyche Jewels>Crown and Earring L d.

Problems and solutions

To be able to work with DAZ Studio, you have to start by equipping the library with objects and textures. The gures get loaded morphs and, from that point, you can alter the face and body. If you have Poser, you can use its library within DAZ Studio, which is what we did for this piece of work. The library contains gures (people, clothes, hair, etc) as well as poses and textures and lighting scenarios, which can be adapted to the particular scene. The main job is nevertheless the editing of the rendered picture in Photoshop. Because were not only trying to make the image as detailed as possible but also give it a touch of fantasy, we use a graphics tablet which enables us to work in great detail. In addition, we use Photoshops extensive tools such as colour adjustment, the amendment of contrast and posterisation, layer options, and the different brushes and lters. Of special importance is to work with transparent layers. It is worth noting that this tutorial refers to the particular objects, textures or Photoshop plug-ins within our library, so youll have to use similar items from your own libraries and a little intuition to complete this exercise.

3DArtist 109

Objects and textures used

We used the following objects and textures within the scene. From DAZ 3D: Victoria 4.2 Base, Victoria 4.2 Morphs++, V4 Morphing Fantasy Dress, V4 Fantasy Collar, Aoife Hair, V3 Fantasy Collar Set, Once Upon A Time: Camelot, Farissa for V4 From Renderosity: Psyche Jewels

Finalise the scene

Pose and light your model
05 Texture clothing, hair and collar
Now take the textures for the dress, the hair and the jewellery from the library. Beforehand, make sure you have clicked on the particular object you want to texture. For the dress: Poses>V3MorphingFantasyDress>Camelot Guenivere. For the hair: Poses>AprilAoife>2M Blonde and for the collar: Poses>V3FantasyCollarSet e. F

06 Pose the model

Before posing the model, choose a camera perspective for the nal scene with the default camera. Select a pose from the library which is as close as possible to what you have in mind, then adjust the pose until it ts your scene. If you cant nd one thats appropriate, pose the gure yourself. For this, use the controller on the Parameters palette. Youll nd that for every part of the model there are the options: Twist, Front-Back, Up-Down or Bend, Twist, Side-Side f.

08 Render Settings and rendering

07 Choose and edit the lighting

e Changing textures of the
clothing, hair and collar

f Change the camera

justication and pose the model the scene

g Choose and edit lighting for h The render setup for the
nal render image

The basic lighting for this image was reused from an earlier project. For this portrait, we modied the lighting until the face was best illuminated. Now you have to choose each and every light in the scene layer and modify it in the Parameters palette for Intensity, Color and Shadow Type (note the Deep Shadow Map has a much shorter rendering time). You can also adjust the distance and rotation of the light. To check the lighting e ects, do several trial renders g.

After posing the gure, choosing the camera perspective and nishing the lighting, the image can be rendered. For the rendering options, go to Render>Render Settings. Here you can adjust the format and size of the picture. For this portrait, we choose 3,000 x 3,000 pixels. Check New Window to render the picture in its own window. We also switched the rendering option from Fast-Time Renderer to Software Renderer for the nal rendering. All other adjustments can be seen on the screenshot h. h



Painting in the details

Start to edit with Photoshop
09 Load the basic render into Photoshop
The basic render you just completed in DAZ Studio and saved as a PNG le, has to be loaded in Photoshop (File>File open>Folder>Image (Pardon basic render)>Open. Next you need to cut the image with the Crop tool. Create a new layer and name it Background layer. Now you have to pull this layer with the cursor under the Layers palette, before choosing the colour for the Background layer and ll using the Paint Bucket tool I.

10 Adjust the contrast

The next step is to increase the contrast to give the portrait more brilliance in colour. At rst, youre only doing this for the basic layer the one that the portrait is on so select this layer again. Proceed as follows: Image>Adjustments>Brightness/Contrast and increase Contrast to 17 j. J

11 Paint the hair

One of the most complex and detailed steps is editing the hair. To manage a look that is as natural as possible, you have to draw single wisps of hair on special layers. For this, initially use a brush size of 35px, and after choose the basic colour of the existing hair with the Eyedropper tool. Now you have to draw several wisps of hair line by line. Afterwards, add shadows and then highlights to the hair with a brush size of between 1-2px. At the end of the process, hair which is not needed can be erased on the basic layer with the Eraser tool k.

Where to find the objects and other equipment

Objects and textures for the DAZ Studio or Poser library can be downloaded from,, or DAZ Studio itself is a freeware program and can be downloaded from its website. Rons Pinstriping can be bought from the MarketPlace at Renderosity.

12 Edit the eyes and lips

Now you can edit the eyes and the lips. For this, make three separate layers (using the process described in Step 9). On the rst two layers, change the eye colour, for example, from green to blue for this, use a hard brush with a small diameter. Choose a colour and an in-keeping blending mode (in this case, Hard Light). The same steps can be performed for the lips layer, but this time with Soft Light blending l. i Create a new layer and tint it j Adjust the Contrast for
greater colour intensity separate layer

13 Separate layer for shadows

l Edit lips and eyes on

di erent layers

m Create a new layer to

k Paint more detailed hair on a

paint shadows for the dress and jewellery

To gain a greater 3D e ect, make a separate layer for the small shadows, which are cast on the skin by jewellery and clothes. With the airbrush (Diameter approximately 200), you have to hem the jewellery and the clothes on this layer. For this, choose a colour which is similar in shade to the gures skin, but darker in tone. Then, add a Hard Light blending mode. Colour which was accidentally drawn over the edges of the clothes can now be removed carefully using the Eraser with a low-diameter brush m.


Artis t

Born in 1962 and raised in East Berlin, I acquired all my artistic knowledge and skills through self-study since I refused to study arts because I opposed the ruling regime. Today, Im a freelance illustrator and graphic designer. Since 2004, Ive delved into the digital arts, especially renderings. Porcelaine Poser, Photoshop (2010)


Keep on painting
Continue to add painted details
14 Edit the shoulders
Since DAZ Victoria 4s armpits are set too high, they have to be edited to increase realism. For this, use the following tools: Healing Brush (Diameter around 100) and airbrush (Diameter around 300). First of all create a new layer. With the Healing Brush, hit Opt/Alt and a relevant part of the skin, then draw over the parts that need correction. With the airbrush, you can level the di erences in the colour n. n

This portrait is made with Poser 7 and edited with Photoshop. It shows the contrast of skin shining like chinaware and the various violet colour tones.

Cant Fight This Feeling Poser, Photoshop (2008)

This is an image made with Poser 7 and edited with Photoshop, showing the DAZ Michael 4 gure. The tattoo is completely made with brushes in Photoshop.

Now create a new layer for drawing the glove. First of all, choose a basic colour for the foreground of the glove. The Opacity of the glove layer should be made approximately 75% to let the edges of the hand shine through that way you avoid drawing over the edges. Its convenient to make the Background layer invisible during this step. With lighter and darker tones and the airbrush, you can add depth and light afterwards o.

15 Paint the glove

n Edit the models

shoulders and armpits with the Healing Brush

o Create a new layer

for painting the glove

p Editing the eyes

and lips and painting the lashes on another new layer layers and adjust the yellow tones

q Combine all the o

16 Re-editing the eyes

Before the next step, change the background colour once again. Now create a new layer to give the eyelashes more density. The colour should be nearly black and the Diameter of the hard brush 1-2px. Also add shadow and light e ects to the eyes and lips on the basic portrait layer using the Dodge and Burn tools p.

17 Merge layers and adjust colour

White Elf DAZ Studio, Photoshop (2008)

This is a simple render with DAZ Studio 2. The whitening e ect was achieved in Photoshop with the Levels Eyedropper option.

To be able to work any further on the image, you have to merge all the layers together now. Its advisable to make a copy beforehand to save any previous work for a possible re-edit. To merge the layers, go to: Layer> Merge Visible and keep on working with the one layer. Next decrease the yellow tones of the picture by 40% (Image> Adjustments>Hue/ Saturation>Edit>Yellows) q.



Refining the portrait

Add finishing touches to your image
18 Use the virtualPhotographer lter
For the next step, we use the virtualPhotographer lter, which is not a basic inclusive of Photoshop but a third-party plug-in from optikVerve Labs. With this, we achieve a soft shine e ect and a higher brilliance of colours. To keep the sharpness of the face, you have to double the layer beforehand (Layer>Layer Duplicate). After using the lter, the face can be erased to make the unltered layer shine through r.

19 Hem the image with the airbrush

The next step is to hem the whole image with a soft airbrush. The Diameter of the brush should be about 1,000 and the colour the same as the background. By choosing the soft airbrush, youll gain a covering e ect on the outer edges of the picture, but a transparent e ect on the inner edges. You can do this step on a separate layer and merge this later with the one below s.

20 Readjust the colour and light

After this, decrease the yellows again by about 40% to make it less dominant (see Step 17). Afterwards re-illuminate the whole picture with the rendering lter: Filters> Rendering Filters>Lighting E ects> Flashlight. Make the diameter larger than the picture, the centre as the middle of the face, all colours white, Intensity 13, Gloss -33, Material 100, Exposure 0 and Ambience 18 t.

22 Frame and signature

21 Layer for applications

One of the last steps is to add some applications. We use Rons Pinstriping, which has to be installed additionally to the included brush presets. From those, we choose the Fitting Brush application and rstly put them on separate layers to individually resize and erase whats not needed. After this, all are merged in one layer (make the basic layer invisible for this). In Layers, apply an Exclusion blending mode u.

Next, delineate with the Rectangle Marquee tool on a new layer. To make a thin frame, use the Subtract from Selection option. This way, youre able to delineate a second rectangle inside the rst and then colour the space in between with the Brush tool. Lastly create another layer to add your signature with the graphics pen v.

Render time
Resolution: 3,000 x 3,000



r Use the

virtualPhotographer plug-in for a soft shine e ect a large airbrush in the background colour

s Hemming the image with

t Colour adjusting once

again and more lighting e ects with Flashlight

u Create a new layer and U

use Rons Pinstriping brushes write the signature

v Create a thin frame and


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

Username: carlosortega3d Personal portfolio site http://stroggtank.cgsociety.or g Country Mexico Hardware used Intel Core i7 920, 6GB RAM Expertise Carlos specialises in 3D modelling, UV mapping and texturing

Artist info
Carlos Ortega Elizalde
Supplied on the disc is the model of the bow with UVs in OBJ format. tesalia_bow_3da.obj

Software used in this piece

Maya Photoshop mental ray



Step by step: Model a cute fantasy figure

Tesalia 2010
A young female centaur visiting the ruins of her birthplace Arkadhia, an ancient mystical city
Carlos Ortega Elizalde specialises in modelling and texturing
esalia was created from scratch in Maya and rendered in mental ray. I created her as one of the two main characters for an animated story which Im still developing. I went for keep-all elements in a stylised fashion, keeping cartoony proportions without being too childish. One thing I took a lot of care with was the modelling. As this is a female character, the silhouette had to be thin and delicate, but balanced and solid at the same time. The armour, weapon proportions, facial expressions and colour palette had to reect the attitude of the character: cute, pure and delicate, yet dangerous, agile and strong. The nal rigging was one of the most di cult tasks, as it was tricky to manage extreme positions in face and body and avoid a harsh look at the same time. At the end of the project, the rig could have used a bit more cleaning, but that stage was enough for the still images purpose.



Inspiration behind the scene

01 I created the

original model about six years ago in Carrara 2, as one of my rst 3D works since centaurs are one of my favourite fantasy characters. Back then, my skills were pretty low, so this year I decided to model the character again with more style and detail.

02 I changed some

things from my original concept like thinner proportions and a di erent hairstyle. I did a quick sketch in Photoshop to block the main proportions of the body and the zones the armour would cover, as well as the basic colour palette, which consists of a dark magenta and white.

03 Most of the

inspiration I had for the armour ornaments were the beautiful oral graphics created in the Arts and Crafts movement and, in a special way, one of the pages of The Centaur, which has beautiful decoration. This helped me to enforce the pure and elegant nature I wanted for my character.
3DArtist 117

Artis t

Carlos Ortega Elizalde

Im a graphic designer and 3D artist from Guanajuato, Mexico. I currently work as a tutor in the media department in Guanajuato University, focusing on Motion Graphics and 3D art most of the time. Im also a freelance 3D modeller although I often nd that personal 3D design work is almost a full-time job in itself.


Creating the model

How the centaur girl was created

as reference, I imported it into Maya as an image plane to maintain proportions. Since this was a new version of my character and not a di erent one, I used only my old models head as a reference, though many of the details were rened later to suit the new style.

04 Using my sketch

was probably the part on which I spent the most time. It had to have nice topology and decent anatomy, but still be recognisable as part of a stylised, cartoony character. I went for an athletic and slender body, trying to mix it with an elegant, cute and attractive look.

05 The human torso

In the Ice Zone Maya, Photoshop, mental ray (2010)

The Echidna, all-terrain vehicle in a mission through the Ice Zone. This model was created for an online speed modelling contest.

render t s ime
Resolutio n: 3,150 x 4,2 00


Fulgencius the Wise Maya, Photoshop (2009)

Fulgencius, aka The Wise. He might be wise, but he has a terrible memory. Tonight is this 200-year-old wizards birthday party, but he cant remember where its taking place!

06 The legs were

modelled extruding from the waist edges of the torso. I modelled the whole horse body almost as an animal counterpart of the human torso, aiming to produce delicate but athletic legs. I created the horse body so it could be recognised as female just from looking at the animal part.

07 The hair consists

End of the Year Maya, Photoshop (2009)
This images shows a weird New Years party taking place in a space-based environment, attended by just a robot and an octopus.

of at polygonal planes. I started using a cylinder to recreate the mane and tails volume, then I extracted several strands to get a nice density of thin planes. I sculpted them by moving vertices by hand and using modiers like Bend and Twist on each strand.

detail in the hair, I inserted several edge loops in each stripe of hair, then moved some of the new edges outwards and others inwards, to reinforce the simulation of the hair density in each strand and the ow of each stripe.

08 To rene the



Refining details

Finishing touches and the environment

Colours and materials

I painted all textures by hand. I didnt want to create realistic skin or hair (just personal taste), so I only painted di erent skin tones and very subtle moles in the skin map, while for the hair, I painted colour variations as well as an Alpha map for the tips of the hair. I used the misss_fast_skin shader for the skin, an Anisotropic shader for the hair and a Blinn shader for the armour. I kept my palette to a few colours the dark magenta with gold hints to suggest royalty, but included some wear in the armour to prove this girl knows how to handle herself in battle.

09 The last step

for this character was to model the armour and bow. I started with all the armour plates, most of which consisted of extracted geometry from the body, then tweaked and rened them to t the way I needed. I modelled several pieces of ornamentation to use later as accessories for the armour.

10 The basic bow

shape was created from a cylinder, extracting the top face and tweaking the verts as I progressed. The bows decoration was added later as separate geometry, using some of the pieces Id previously created. The rest of the accessories consist of earrings, an arm bracelet and a diadem for the head.

for the face and body to get several expressions and poses, from which I picked a couple to render inside an environment as still images. The environment which I decided to create was the ruins of the main city where the whole story plays out, adding a more solid context for the viewer from a still image.

11 I created a rig

12 Taking inspiration

from some Ancient Greek ruins, I modelled a series of arches and columns, in which I sculpted some damage using Subdivision surfaces. I duplicated the arches section to get a decent set of architecture that could resemble the ruins of a once powerful ancient city.

regarding the modelling of the whole scene was the addition of plants and owers. The ground is a simple plane deformed with Mayas Sculpt tool. The grass, plants and owers were created using Paint E ects and then converted to polygons.

13 The nal touches


Step by step: Build your own monster

Frankensteins Monster 2009
My primary goal was to create a portrait that would have some sort of impact on the viewer
Anto Juricic specialises in character modelling and texturing
he saying a picture is worth a thousand words was my primary guideline on this project and I hope this image can say a few words. It was a big challenge for me at that time to overcome technical challenges because this was one of my rst Maya projects, but even more challenging was to create something that would touch the viewer. I have always wanted to model Frankensteins monster because hes a classic character with such a strong story, so this was a great opportunity. Many great artists have done their versions of this subject and they did great work, which makes my job more di cult. I thought the best way to reach the viewer was through facial expression and the look of his eyes that would tell the story about a sad, lonely monster. With that in mind, I planned how to achieve my goal. The rst thing was to split all the work into di erent tasks: sculpting a base mesh, retopology, making a high-denition sculpt with new clean topology, making clothes, posing, unwrapping, texturing, lighting, rendering and, nally, compositing.


Inspiration behind the scene

01 With every personal


project I do, I am trying to learn something new through creation rather than using the same workow over again. This time I decided to take a more artistic approach and use digital sculpting as much as I could. The quickest way for me was to make a simple ZSphere bust model in ZBrush.

02 After extending a few

spheres from the central one to shape the shoulders, neck and face, I converted the ZSpheres to geometry. This made my rst base mesh, which I would use for sculpting a generic human bust. The best tool for shaping geometry at this stage is the Move brush, and for higher levels I mostly used the Clay Tubes brush.

03 After making the

basic bust shape, the next task was to make a new topology that I could use later for texturing and rendering in Maya. I used ZBrush retopology tools for the task and reshaped the new topology to create the overall monster shape.

Save yourself some modelling time by using the ZBrush model and maps. Franky posed.ZTL

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

Personal portfolio site Country Bosnia and Herzegovina Hardware used Dual core 2.21GHz, 2GB RAM Expertise Anto specialises in character modelling and texturing

Sculpting, modelling, lighting


Software used in this piece

ZBrush Silo Photoshop UVLayout

Artist info
Anto Juricic


Modelling the monster

Bringing out the details

04 The best advice

I can give regarding sculpting is to not rush in too soon with the details. Overall shape and form is more important than skin pores and a few wrinkles, so make sure that you have used every polygon before stepping up to next SDiv level. Again, for this step I used the Move brush, Clay brush and custom Standard brush.

05 After a couple hours

of sculpting, I was happy with the results and I added some clothes which I modelled in Silo. Making the facial expression really gave life to this work and for that task I mostly used Move and Nudge brushes and Transpose tools for posing. I also added some simple geometry for the eyes and metal parts on the neck.

07 Shave and Haircut

is also powerful for simulating dynamics, so rst I simulated some freefall of hair over the head geometry. Combing hair was really fun with the many brushes integrated in this tool and I found that using the Translate and Pu Hairs Up brushes alternately worked best for me.

06 I have tried

a few di erent solutions for hair and the one that works best for me is the Shave and Haircut plug-in for Maya. If you are working in 3ds Max, that plug-in is already implemented as the hair and fur system. Basically, workow is simple: I made a scalp geometry which I populated with hairs.

08 Rendering of hair

was a bit di cult and after much trial and error I decided to render hair with Maya software render, which is quite fast for this task. I also rendered one additional pass to improve the overall look of the hair, by adding ambient occlusion rendered with mental ray.

Artis t
Anto Juricic

I am a self-taught and highly motivated 3D artist specialising in modelling and texturing. Im very passionate about modelling and texturing characters and creatures. I currently live in Bosnia and Herzegovina and I work in the Prime Time production studio in Sarajevo as a character modeller.

The Incredible Hulk ZBrush, 3ds Max, Photoshop (2008)
This was one of my rst fully completed 3D renders and I still like it today. The main goal was to test and set up a pipeline and workow for future works. I made the base mesh in 3ds Max, sculpted in ZBrush and rendered back in 3ds Max.

This was my rst Maya render. I chose Mr Obama because of his characteristic facial features. Im fairly happy with the likeness, but mostly I am satised by the overall look, especially the lighting and shading. I reused this lighting later on the Frankensteins Monster image.

Obama Maya, ZBrush, Photoshop (2008)

The Greatest ZBrush (2009)

This is a digital sculpture, made entirely in ZBrush, which served as a great opportunity for practising the anatomy of the male torso. I also tested some new features in ZBrush 3.5 R2 on this project and it was great fun.



Textures and lighting

Getting the right look and feel
the geometry, the next step was to make clean UV coordinates. For that task I used the headus UVLayout application, which is great for making fast and clean UVs on organic models. This task is important because texture relies on the model using these coordinates.

09 After completing all

11 To achieve a realistic

kind of look, I planned to use mental ray for rendering, and its great Fast Skin shader. This shader comes with many slots for textures that need to be fed in, in order to create real-looking skin; but I decided to use only the main ones such as overall colour, front and back scatter, specular and bump.

10 My goal was

to make the monster look more alive. To do so, I used a few di erent face photographs and projected them directly onto the geometry inside ZBrush using the ZApp Link plug-in. After that, I hand-painted some missing details in Photoshop. I repeated the whole process for the clothes.

Biggest challenges
Among all the technical challenges that I came across in this project, making the facial expression was the most di cult since I did not do any concepts or previsualisation. To make this image look realistic I needed a good understanding of how human skin reacts to light and to translate this to the mental ray skin material. Also, di erent light types react di erently with this material and I recommend area lighting as the best solution. For creating hair I used the Shave and Haircut plug-in. For rendering hair I used Maya, which does so really fast.

12 Basically, I imagine

lighting as painting the image with light, so every light in my scene has some colour and purpose. Most of the lights in this scene were area lights, because they can produce very accurate shadows and a soft feel. Also, area lights react with the specular component of the Fast Skin material; so the bigger the light, the wider specular reections, giving you great control over the nal look of the skin.

numerous 13 After render

4 5 minutes ren
ime Resolutio 3,000 x 3 n: ,000 der t

tests, I rendered a few di erent passes: main beauty pass, extra reection pass and ambient occlusion. The most important thing about compositing di erent passes is to understand that everything that emits or reects light should be layered over di use in additive or screen mode; and passes that subtract light, like shadows and occlusion, should be multiplied.


I enjoyed modelling characters much more than environments or props, and I gradually improved to go on to be a character specialist at everywhere I have worked since

We talk to Andrew Hickinbottom, a lucky-in-freelance character modeller currently getting creative under the bright city lights of London

My predominantly pinup-themed personal work is an outlet for when I want to create something easy on the eye and different to most of the work I get paid to do
Andrew Hickinbottom is a freelance character modeller
ndrew Hickinbottom recently made the big move to London, and things are looking up. With so many major production companies in the big city, hes always bumping into people whove been working on high-prole projects that hes long admired, which makes life a lot more exciting and has, in turn, given his art a new lease of life. With a lot more work going around in London compared to back in his hometown in the Midlands, he is currently freelancing as a character modeller for regular clients, such as Nexus Productions, where he models, UVs and occasionally textures characters. Before, he worked remotely from Birmingham the move means he can now work on site, and be inspired by all the capital has to offer the 3D artist!

short lms as well. The company has a large collective of award-winning directors and can produce content in differing styles: 3D, 2D, live action, stop motion, etc.

You worked on a high-prole project at the London-based Superfad in December. Can you tell us more about that?

Name Andrew Hickinbottom Job title Character modeller Personal website Location UK Expertise Characters Software 3ds Max Client list Coca-Cola, International Olympic Committee, Comcast, Panasonic, SEAT, Imagination Games, Actimel, Haven Holidays
All images Andrew Hickinbottom

AH: They needed me to create a stylised

likeness of Shakira for a SEAT car advert. Getting Shakiras likeness, and the overall level of stylisation approved was tricky. I liked the end result, but after all that work, you only saw her for a few seconds, and somewhat small on the screen I guess its because there was just so much crammed into the advert and my character was just a small part of it.

How did the contract at Nexus come about can you tell us more about the projects youve been involved with there?

Have you worked in any other cities, either here in the UK or abroad?

AH: I did a small job in Valencia for a month

in January, which was nice thats the farthest Ive travelled for a job. Some work in Japan would be good though!

Andrew Hickinbottom: One of the 3D leads

A Suzie Kickin Back is an illustration of my Suzie character lazing about b Bunny Girl is one of my most successful personal pieces to date

had been trying to get me to work with them for some time after seeing my stuff on the internet. I did some character modelling on a Coca-Cola advert a few years ago, then an Olympic Committee ad, and now they are regular clients. Nexus does work for advertising mainly, but has done title sequences for TV and lm, music videos and

As a freelance artist, how do you nd work? Do you nd it or does it come to you?

AH: Im quite fortunate: virtually every

freelance job I have done has landed in my lap. I have yet to chase down ideal clients. Its something I intend to do in the future.

b 125

c What was the pivotal moment when you knew that character modelling was your thing? How did it all start?
capacities during my many years at different studios, but Ive been using Max the longest, and I cant really imagine using anything else at the moment. Its nicely laid out, quick, easy to understand and has some great modelling tools especially the new graphite modelling tools in Max 10.

AH: At the rst studio I worked at many years ago I was the texture specialist, then I gradually found out that modelling was my most useful skill, having been doing it as a hobby since my late teens. I enjoyed modelling characters much more than environments or props, and I gradually improved to go on to be a character specialist at everywhere I have worked since. Ive always admired aspects of character design ever since I watched cartoons as a kid.
What software have you mastered in your career so far as a character modeller, and why have they been your tools of choice?

AH: 3ds Max, pretty much. Ive used Maya, Softimage and LightWave in various

AH: It took me a while to get used to ZBrushs unusual interface and I have only learnt the basic tools so far, but its certainly a powerful program. Its all too tempting to go nuts and ramp up the detail, creating a clichd dragon monster or old man, but Im going to strive to keep my simplistic style

Youve also recently started using ZBrush and V-Ray. Hows that going and what kind of new possibilities are they bringing to your work?

and take advantage of ZBrushs mesh manipulation and rening tools, rather than going down the realistic route. Sculptris is a good alternative to ZBrush, and its free. V-Ray is great especially for lighting although Im still pretty new to it right now.

Once I have started and got past the difcult Is it going to work? part, I get swept away and wont stop until its nished!

AH: My predominantly pinup-themed personal work is mostly an outlet for inspirations that gather in my head, and for when I want to create something easy on the eye and different to most of the work I get paid to do. If I see some artwork that I admire, or if I see things in real life that inspire me, I try to create an illustration or

Your pinup characters are possibly what the 3D community know and love you most for. Would you be happy to tell us a bit about your workow when creating a 3D character illustration?

I wanted to make a character in a similar style to Shane Glines or Bill Presings pinup work: nice and simple, quite shapely, and in a retro kind of way. Some retrostyled cartoon art doesnt really translate well to 3D as the shapes are abstracted depending on the camera angle, pose and composition. I built the model fairly quickly without much detail, focusing on the simplicity of the shapes and the appeal. The lighting was very ordinary: just a Key light, a Back light and an Ambient light to atten the scene. Her PVC clothes used a simple raytraced shader to reect a bright white plane I positioned o -shot to get the white, shiny areas. Im really pleased with the results, and I think its my best work so far. It reects what Id like to see in CG more: more innovation with the look and style of 3D characters. No super-realistic lighting, dynamic hair or advanced shaders, just nice, simple characters. Getting a at, illustrative look without cheap use of a cel-shader is quite fun and can be approached in so many ways.


Trixie is a kinky character inspired by Shane Glines retro pinup cartoon girls

character based on these different inuences. I have to act quickly, though, because I sometimes lose the drive to do unpaid personal work when the initial spark has gone from my mind. However, once I have started and got past the difcult Is it going to work? part, I tend to get swept away and wont stop until its nished!

How do you keep yourself motivated until that point? Any tips for those struggling to see a project through to completion?

AH: I nd it useful to keep a note of ideas

AH: Surprisingly, as far as Im aware, I have not had any job offers directly connected to my work being in print yet. Nevertheless, its cool seeing your work on paper, especially when you are among so many great artists in the same book. I suppose having your work in books and magazines can only be good for exposure and getting your work circulated and known among potential clients.
Are you working on any new personal projects at the moment? Can you tease us with any info on these?

tell us what kind of benets having your work printed in the likes of EXPOS can bring about?

c Grannies was my honourably mentioned entry for the CGTalk Spectacular competition d Family characters made for the board game Beat the Parents

E Suzie & the Lil Nipper is a Gil Elvgren-inspired illustration of my ongoing Suzie character f This gure was created as a collectible vinyl toystyle soldier design

that spring into my head wherever I am a text le on my phone usually does the job. I add things to it if I get sudden ideas. Taking pictures can be useful for reference if I see anything that can help, such as composition, interesting people or lighting schemes. Keeping inspired is denitely the key! Im always looking around on sites like CGTalk and CGHub for new and exciting artists to be inspired by.

AH: Looking at the posing and construction theories of good old cartoons Tom & Jerry, Bugs Bunny, etc help you understand how they simplify the forms of the characters to create clear poses. Model sheets for animated lms are good reference as they show varying poses and expressions. Pinup, glamour and adult photography/art in general is good reference, too having some dodgy pics can genuinely be reference, despite the old joke!
Your work is popular with CG publications, like the Ballistic Publishing titles. Can you

The dynamic poses of your cartoons are what bring them to life. What kind of research do you have to do and references do you need in order to pull this off?

AH: Since moving to London I have had quite a few ideas for personal work, but I dont have much time to work on anything. I recently made a new character that was inspired by random girls who Ive seen around London in nice weather. Its a bit more of an ordinary, slice-of-life piece rather than a pinup. As far as future projects go, I would like to do a very simplistic, at, illustrative piece that pushes the look that I adopted for my Trixie character. I would also be keen to do something that encourages me to be bolder and more daring when it comes to my proportions, compositions and colour choices, and of course, I have my long un-worked short lm. Im not sure if I want to pick up the pieces and carry on with it or not.

Thom Yorke
A website of which Im a member ( does weekly challenges where you are given a subject, and invites people to Photoshop them in creative ways. One week the theme was: Photoshop Thom Yorke from Radiohead. I thought Id enter and try my hand at caricature for the rst time. As the image challenge only runs for a week, I had to work fast. It was quite fun to do as I was only creating this one image no body was modelled, no morph targets or rig, just quick, dirty modelling and plenty of cutting corners. I experimented with mental ray for the rst time on this image and tried using Final Gathering and Subsurface Scattering. Im pleased with the results, and it was a special project for me as I had to work quickly, didnt have time to obsess over every detail like I usually do, and it was my rst attempt at a caricature.

made are about ve years old now Im worried that they may look quite dated. Maybe its time to do something new.

This was my rst attempt at a caricature: Thom Yorke from Radiohead

We would love to know more about the short lm can you tell us how this started, where youre at, and how youd like to see it go in the future?

AH: I had an idea for a simple short lm

featuring my ofce girl, bunny girl and ofce nerd characters shortly after I made them. I had the whole thing storyboarded, laid out, modelled, lit and ready to go about three years ago. I ne-tuned the composition, pacing and story through animatics and storyboards. When I got to the animation stage, I realised I lacked the experience to make it look as good as I wanted. I would have liked to do the whole thing myself as a challenge, but its an impossibility. I may revisit it, but I would have to nd an animator who is motivated, talented and, above all, someone I know well and trust. The three characters I
g Maid with Love was inspired by visits to maid cafs in Tokyo

AH: To be honest, due to the non-realistic nature of my work, and the fact that I dont use advanced rendering and shading much, I dont really need a very powerful hardware setup. However, I recently replaced my four-year-old computer, so now things are a lot faster to work with, and it encourages me to use V-Ray more as the render times are drastically reduced. My output resolution varies, but I usually make my images big enough for print, should they ever appear in a book or magazine at some point. I rendered my Trixie character out in a huge resolution, though, as I intend to do some large posters, canvases or prints for sale in the future.
At the end of last year you went travelling around Japan and then spent some time in Valencia. How important is it as a visual creative to experience the world?

What kind of resolution do you work in, and how does your hardware handle the job? Can you tell us a bit about your current setup?

AH: Well, I was in Valencia to work, not for a holiday, but yeah, its important to take a break and recharge your creativity if it gets in a bit of a slump, as mine often does. You see a lot of interesting things travelling, and sometimes you get ideas. Being away from computers for a while also helps!
Can you tell us about your inspirations and what inuence can you see in your own work?

AH: I love the work of Shane Glines. I nd the streamlined construction, retro stylings
i Debbie was inspired by random girls that Ive seen around London this summer


h Tokyo Girl was inspired by Harajuku teen fashion


Taking pictures can be useful for reference if I see anything that can help, such as composition, interesting people or lighting schemes. Keeping inspired is denitely the key!
and the ow of the shapes on his characters really fascinating. Bill Presing, Dean Yeagle and oldies such as Dan DeCarlo and Gil Elvgren are some of my main inuences too. I have many inuences and a number of favourite artists.

AH: More illustration/print work. I nd it

more satisfying being in creative control over the character, the composition, the theme and the overall design treatment. Its less technically minded and meticulous than making characters for animation too; if it looks good for the purpose of a still image you can cut corners and generally work faster. I intend to improve my drawing as I feel it would make me a better artist. Ive been attending the great Dr Sketchy burlesque life drawing classes in London because theyre a bit more relevant to my pinup work, and just because theyre fun! I would like to get my website back online, and perhaps put some prints/ posters up for sale. After seeing the results of a recent 3D print of my Trixie character I had made, I would love to get a collectible gure/sculpture made for sale at some point in the distant future. Generally, I can see things being more exciting and fullling in the future now I have moved to London. Ive just got to focus and stay productive!

AH: Although a lot of my design sensibilities and inspirations stem from 2D art and illustration, I do admire some 3D art. Like most 3D artists, I nd Pixar a big inuence especially its human characters, as seen in lms like The Incredibles. Certain lms click with me design-wise, eg Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. I loved the loose, rubbery and cartoony look of that they really pushed it and made it stand out. Generally, though, I tend to follow a handful of 3D artists in the community the majority of stuff I like is from random artists.
Whats next for you or what would you like to see on the cards for 2011?

Your main inspirations are 2D, so how about 3D art inspirations who do you tend to follow/admire most in the 3D community?


Step by step: Create a futuristic bar scene

This image was originally created for the competition called Uplift Universe, organised by I wanted to make a cheerful and humorous picture with humans and aliens
Michal Suchnek specialises in character modelling
obody can doubt my inspiration for this picture. When I was creating the rst concept I was thinking about old pin-up pictures and the light humour of retro-futurism. Id had enough of classic tough women in rough poses; I wanted to do something more light and, more importantly, something funny. I started work on this picture because of an ongoing competition on CGSociety website. About a year later I did a makeover for this image. I made it modern and the dress of the waitress more detailed, and I added some new details like poker chips. From the beginning I tried to gure out an overall colour for the picture and a light composition. Sometimes it was not easy. When I was creating the image I was working primarily with 3ds Max and ZBrush, and the nal scene was rendered in V-Ray. An important part of my work was also Photoshop. I adjusted the colour shades, cleared small imperfections and, for a greater sense of authenticity, I added the e ect of chromatic aberration in some parts of the image.

Space Drink 2009


Inspiration behind the scene

01I wanted to evoke


the atmosphere of a familiar environment despite the fact that the images story takes place in space. There are no hightech machines, but I placed some classic cigarettes and traditional paper playing cards. I like the fun idea of smoking aliens playing poker.

02 An inspiration for

the waitress in Space Drink were the images of pin-up girls from the Fifties. I like their funny atmosphere. One of the best illustrators for me is Gil Elvgreen. It was important to me that the girl should create a pin-up feeling, despite the fact that she is not a typical pin-up girl.

03 I wanted to make

aliens on the scene with their own characters. Most of my time spent on the piece was to create an appearance of the three small aliens. I tried to make them funny; each of them has its own part in the picture. No more slimy, scary monsters that the entire internet is full of.

Software used in this piece

3ds Max V-Ray ZBrush Photoshop


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

Modelling, styling, lighting

Artist info
Michal Suchnek
Personal portfolio site Country Czech Republic Hardware used Intel Pentium 4 CPU 3.4GHz, 2GB RAM Expertise Michal specialises in character modelling


Michal Suchnek

Artis t

I started working with 3D when I was about 17 years old. I liked the whole technique, which was something completely new for me. Back then 3D art was not so well known in the Czech Republic. What I know now I got from books, tutorials, the internet and many, many hours of hard work.

After I nished Space Drink I wanted to make another picture with a pin-up girl theme. My inspiration for this picture was a comic Rocketeer and the classic style and humour of pin-up girls. There is not as much stylisation as you can see on the Space Drink waitress, but I think there is a humorous retro feeling.

Modelling the figures

Creating the aliens and girl

Rocket Girl 3ds Max 2009, ZBrush 3.5, Photoshop CS2 (2009)

04 First of all

I started modelling the girl. I used an old head model for her face, that I modied according to the needs of the new image. This old base mesh was creating with the Box Modelling method. For making the best expression in the face I used reference photos from the internet.

is modelled in standard Da Vinci pose. I prefer to pose models inside of ZBrush after years of modelling and rigging in Max. I think this is a faster way than rigging the whole mesh. I unwrapped the UVs of models (head and body) in Max and then I imported them to ZBrush where they were ready for creating normal maps.

05 The girls body

render t ime
Resolutio n: 2,786 x 3,7 44


Mountain Patrol 3ds Max 2009, ZBrush 3.5, Photoshop CS2 (2009)

The story behind Mountain Patrol is: The two longtime companions patrol the border of Windy Mountains. They are looking out for their enemy, but nobody has shown up for a very long time. The truth is that I was little bit tired of making girls. I wanted to do something di erent, but I still didnt want to make some dull depressive fantasy picture. I tried to make it realistic and funny.

see our 06 Lets rst

alien called Bob. I started preparing a low polygon head and body. This alien was the funniest for me, because I love his expression.

An older image where I rst tested the ZBrush. A lot of people tell me the main character looks like Angelina Jolie. Well, they are right, but it was probably more of a coincidence than deliberate.

Closer 3ds Max 2009, ZBrush 2, V-Ray, Photoshop 7 (2006)

07 I modelled only

08 The other two aliens

Bobs hands and upper body; the rest of the body is not visible. The posed low poly mesh from ZBrush was exported back to 3ds Max.

were created through the same method as Bob. Drunken Lou and Pink Greedo also have only the upper half of the body. I unwrapped the UVs in Max and then I posed models in ZBrush. After that I modelled props, such as cards and cigarettes.



Adding fine details

I modelled basic meshes representing the background of the image. I made some stu like bottles and glasses, and then I started experimenting with locations for the props, light direction and colours. I also tested di erent sizes of the characters meshes. After I decided on a nal composition and a setup, I started work on textures.

Refining the models and setting the light


In this part

10 Time for adding some details!

Every character has three textures. I used the ZBrushs Zmapper tool for normal maps. Di use and specular maps was hand-painted in Photoshop. Their resolution is about 4,000 pixels. The hair of the girl is also textured planes. This solution was easier for me than using the Hair and Fur modier.

11 At the beginning

of sculpting it is important to focus only on the shape. Details can be added later. An accurate silhouette and natural shapes are important for a natural look of characters. A stylisation, expressions of all characters and their colours are important for the overall feeling of the picture.

12 Skin imperfections, wrinkles

and skin pores are aspects of realistic and believable characters. Originally I wanted the pink alien Greedo to just have one eye, but during the process of making the picture I started to add other eyes. Now he has ve! I like the idea that every eye looks elsewhere.

Retro colours and lighting

Space Drink was rendered in V-Ray, and I used a V-Ray Light with V-Ray shadows for the main light source. There are two coloured additional V-Ray lights with less intensity and one strong back light. I like to use coloured boards to help light the scene by the appropriate colour. There are two boards in this scene: the blue one is on the left-hand side and the yellow one is placed on the ground. The whole scene was then rendered into two layers the rst one is the foreground which holds the aliens and the girl, and the second layer is simply the background of the interior. A composition of the layers and a nal retouching which included a colour saturation, a bloom e ect and increasing highlights was all done in Photoshop.

models I exported all the normal and displacement maps from ZBrush. I used V-Ray SSS shader with a combination of 3ds Maxs standard Oren-Nayar-Blinn material for the skin of the aliens and the girl. The view in space and the smoke in the background were both matte painted in Photoshop.

13 After rening the


Step by step: Create a friendly dragon

The Final Warning 2009
Blending attitude and kindness with a menacing and powerful appearance in a stylised character
Carlos Ortega Elizalde specialises in 3D modelling, UV mapping and texturing
his tutorial focuses in the creation of a stylised dragon character. I like to retain the personality of the character if Im happy with the original concept in the rst place and I always try to emphasise clean modelling, although good skills like texturing, UV mapping, and a basic colour and lighting theory are very helpful if not essential to achieve a solid result. One of the main di culties in the process was the rendering; it was intended to be in mental ray directly in Maya, but after many poor results I decided to compose the nal image in Photoshop from di erent ZBrush renders. This was also a good choice, since I was able to retain full detail from the sculpting, avoiding the use of displacement maps. The original purpose of the image was just creating a plain model for an online forum challenge, but after more dedication it led me to the creation of a more solid character with some untold story behind the nal piece.


Inspiration behind the scene

my personal projects with some quick sketches (in digital or on paper), to block overall proportions of characters in this case. I try di erent complexions, attitudes, expressions and poses. I decided in this case to go for a roguish-looking dragon, menacing but appealing in some way.

01 I always start


at a cli s edge, about to commit some kind of prank, maybe steal some sheep or burn an old village just for fun. I focused more on the facial expression to re-create the dragons intention, along with his hands and legs in a position that could suggest he was planning something.

My original idea was to put the dragon

03 I love to work

and experiment with di erent colour palettes, even more when Im working with fantasy or stylised scenes. I often try to avoid the colours I frequently expect in a determined situation (a green dragon, for example) when sometimes it isnt the best solution; other times it leads to a very unique result even nowadays, when its pretty impossible to create something 100% original.


Save yourself some modelling time by using the posed dragon character in OBJ with UVs created here. the_nal_warning.obj

Modelling, sculpting

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

Username: carlosortega3d Personal portfolio site http://stroggtank.cgsociety.or g Country Mexico Hardware used Intel Core 2 Duo, 2GB RAM Expertise Carlos specialises in 3D modelling, UV mapping and texturing

Software used in this piece

Maya ZBrush Photoshop UVLayout CrazyBump

Artist info
Carlos Ortega Elizalde


Carlos Ortega Elizalde

Artis t

Im a graphic designer from Guanajuato, Mexico. I started working with 3D about 6 years ago, using Carrara Studio and now Maya for the last two years. I currently work in the media department in the Guanajuato University, Mexico, doing motion graphics and 3D art. Im also a freelance 3D modeller, although 3D is almost a full-time hobby.

Fulgencius The Wise Maya, Photoshop, mental ray, UVLayout (2009)

Modelling the dragon

Working on the creatures body shape

work, I rarely create reference images; I prefer to use the original concept or even nothing at all, since I already know what I want him to look like in 3D space. I often start from a 2x2x2 polygon cube and from the nose area, moving the existing vertices to match the concept I have.

When it comes to personal 3D

05 Once Ive blocked

the main shapes, I start to add and tweak more geometry using the following Maya tools: InsertEdgeLoop, SplitPolygon, Extrude, SlideEdge and MoveComponent, among others. I kept using the Extrude tool over the neck edges, moving the resulting vertices over the torso, and then extruding and tweaking again until the tip of the tail.

Fulgencius, also known as The Wise, is actually not that wise he is a 200year-old wizard with a poor memory.

06 Right from the

planning stage, the character was never intended for animation. So, to avoid the use of BlendShapes or a face rig to achieve the desired expression later at the posing stage, I modelled the face as I wanted in the nal image directly as I was moving forward.

legs were made the same way, starting from a six-sided cylinder and then sewn to the main mesh. Dorsal spikes were created by extracting the matching faces and then extruded outwards. Fangs and horns were modelled from a cube.

07 Hands, wings and

The Zcuintli aka Yellow Dog Carrara 5 Pro, Maya, Photoshop (2008)

Autonomous racing vehicles modied to watch the city limits and the military facilitys boundaries. They were also modied to carry a human pilot, but their free will caused many accidents. The machines still do their job by themselves. Workers only ride them for maintenance purposes.

Started as a speed modeling exercise as an homage to one of my favourite sci- machines, but after adding the rest of the details I ended up with this stylized version of the famous time machine.

Back To The Past Maya, mental ray, Photoshop (2009)

08 Once the model

was nished, I did the UV unfolding in UVLayout. In this case I tried to keep as few shells as possible. The whole process didnt take much time; even with tricky parts such as the armpits, the distortion was pretty low. Final touches like the shells layout and UV mirroring were made back in Mayas UV editor.



Lighting and colour

Getting the right look and feel

render t rs ime
Resolut 3,000 x 4 ion: ,000

4 hou

09 I imported the

model into ZBrush for detailing. Although the topology wasnt that even, the result was satisfying. I only used the Standard brush to add wrinkles and folds. Most of the scales were created using custom alphas, keeping them exaggerated in some parts and subtle in key zones like the face. Once done, I exported a 4k displacement map.

Normal mapping
Due to some hardware limitations, I wasnt able to render a proper normal map from ZBrush, so I used CrazyBump to quickly generate one from the displacement map. I extracted the blue channel to simulate a cavity map over my main texture and enhance the contrast of the scales and wrinkles. As for the lighting, the fact I rendered three di erent light sources in ZBrush helped in the composition to simulate a key, rim and ll light. The nal touch was to correct colour with Curves to gain a warm tone, levelling up the blue in the shadows and an orange/yellow in midtones.

10 Using an UV

template from Maya as a guide, I painted the base colours in Photoshop, using a basic round brush to create di erent tones while staying in my chosen palette. The displacement map helps in many ways to shade specic areas in the body. The stripes, eyes and extra scales are hand-painted.

11 I posed the

character inside Maya to match my sketch, but the dragon looked kind of weak, so I decided to pose him into a gallant ying position. The result was this roguish dragon leaving his crime scene with a satised attitude. The posed OBJ was imported as a 3D layer into ZBrush at the lowest level.

I exported several renders from ZBrush using di erent MatCaps, various light sources, a ZDepth and a at colour pass, previously setting my canvas to a pretty high resolution. All those renders gave me full control over the nal image composition later in Photoshop.


Back in ZBrush

I composited the ZBrush renders, masking the proper areas of the di erent layers to gain the desired volume. I wanted a warm atmosphere ,but also a painting-like mood. I painted extra shadows and put smoke from stock brushes. Finally I added subtle motion blur in the wings and depth of eld in the completed scene.

13 In Photoshop,


Step by step: Add textures and light to objects Flight of the Raven
Jade Raven was originally designed to be a subject in my book, 3D Modeling in Silo, which came out in October 2010
Antony Ward is a game developer and animation expert
hen designing Jade Raven, the Rocket Girl, I had to nd a concept that t in with what had to be covered in the book. She needed to be both organic and have hard surface elements, plus I didnt want to go down the route of the cyborg, or mutant hybrid, which has been done many times before. Instead I wanted the character to be almost normal in appearance, but with an added something. In the end I decided to take inspiration from

the past, rather than the future and give her everyday clothing and a powerful rocket pack, all styled with a retro twist. Once the main model was complete, I only had a short amount of time to get her ready for the cover, so I opted to output a quick Maya render and add in most of the details in Photoshop during postproduction. Its this process, and the shortcuts I used, which I will share in this tutorial.

Designing the Raven

Retro Fifties inspiration

cover organic 02 To modelling

of this characters creation is for a tutorial, her initial design has to cover both organic modelling and hard surface modelling. She also has to be visually appealing so the reader would actually want to recreate her.

01 Because the purpose

we make sure we rst create a full gure, which can be reused on numerous future projects. We then strip her down and dress her in loose clothing, which will initially be modelled, and then have more rened cloth details sculpted in later.

03 So the reader also experiences

Silos hard surface modelling tools, we add a simple rocket pack to her back, a helmet and also a pistol for her to hold.



Modelling, rendering, lighting

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

Artist info
Antony Ward
Username: Anchuvi Personal portfolio site Country UK Hardware used Core 2 Duo 3.16GHz 8GB RAM Expertise Antony has expertise , in game artwork and animation , character and vehicle modelling and rigging

Software used in this piece

Silo Maya Photoshop


Antony Ward

Artis t

Ive been working in the games industry for close to 16 years now and have been freelance for the last three. During this time, I have worked for some of the biggest companies in the industry and have experienced nearly all areas of game development, with character modelling, animation, MEL scripting and rigging being my areas of choice.

Athria Silo, Maya, Photoshop (2009)
I decided to brush up on my game art skills and create a real-time character from the ground up. I wanted to create someone with a futuristic feel; Athria was born. She was built in Silo and then made game ready in Maya with all texturing done in Photoshop.

Materials and textures

Giving the character the right look


mock up a background image plane so you can get a proper feel for the scene, and how it should be lit. We know we want her to be up in the air, which means a bright scene, with plenty of clouds and blue sky behind her.

Before starting work,

the lighting and the camera position. Having these and the background in place will help dictate the nal look and feel of the image. Its also important to add lights to the base of the rocket as we will later be painting in the ames, which naturally emit light.

05 The next job is to nail

Red Sonja 3ds Max, Silo, Maya, Photoshop (2008)

07 Now move on to 06 Next, set to work on the main

For this image, I took an existing 2D concept and brought her kicking and screaming into 3D, using similar methods I adopted for Flight of the Raven. I was looking to develop my highresolution modelling skills and this seemed like a natural step forward.

the rest of her clothing, rst blocking in the main colours you want before adding subtle reections to her visor and metallic areas. To add more detail, we also apply basic tileable Texture and Bump maps to her jeans and jacket, to give them more of a denim and leather appearance.

colours for each element. Her body will be the trickiest part as were looking to create more natural skin tones, so well work on these rst. We opt to use Mayas misss_fast_skin_ maya shader to achieve a subtle Subsurface Scattering e ect.

Kila is one of the characters I created in my rst book, Game Character Development with Maya. This was back before Normal maps and sculpting became commonplace in the games industry meaning the model and textures were among some of the key areas to focus on.

Kila Maya, Photoshop (2004)

08 The nal step is to

apply a rim lighting layer to the materials. As this scene is shot in the sky, you want to add lots of ambient lighting, which the Rim light does perfectly. It also helps to pick out details previously lost in the shadows.



Lighting plans and rendering

Apply the finishing touches
urs render t ime
Resolut 2,480 x 3ion: ,508

3D Modeling In Silo shows in detail how to create Jade Raven from concept to nal model. The book is published by Elsevier and is out now.


we render a 10 Next full-scene

Ambient Occlusion pass, also including the main lighting from her rockets. Because shes in ight, we place a basic Polygon plane, which isnt rendered, beneath her so the photons can reect back up onto her lower half. This adds much needed depth and detail to the render.

09 Rather than try to achieve

a nal render in Maya, we wanted to have complete control over how each element looked. To do this, render out various layers of the image, which you can then combine in Photoshop and tweak as much as you like.

Postproduction work
Once all the layers are in Photoshop, its time to start work rening and tweaking the colours, as well as painting in more detail. We focus on the hair rst, almost completely redoing it, as the 3D model is too at. This also enables you to add more depth and highlights around the edges. Next, move on to her body and clothing, repainting her lips and eyes before adding the seams into her jeans and jacket. The nal steps are to enhance the background and tweak the overall shading and lighting.

applied, the 11 Once Ambient

Occlusion pass will darken the existing rim lighting, so you need to next render a rim lighting layer which will brighten everything back up. To do this, simply make the existing Rim light white and turn the materials black, using the resulting image as a mask.

12 Finally you have to

decide on which areas you need to mask o and create masks for these. The whole body is an obvious choice and enables you to isolate the character renders from the background, but you can also add a mask for her skin so you can work on it separately.

13 With all the layers rendered,

its time to bring them into Photoshop and organise them into separate layers. The characters now ready for nal editing adjustments.


Artist info

Martin Ruizl

Incredible 3D artists take k us behind their artwor

The main Area light acts as a kitchen window in this scene, along with some extra Rim lights. I also used an HDR environment for reections and lighting

Website Country Czech Republic ush, Software used Maya, ZBr Photoshop

One of the most important things in this image is the octopuss skin. I have tried to create a wet, eshy and jelly-like skin by painting the main colour texture in ZBrush and sending this texture with a slight colour temperature offset to the Epidermal, Subdermal and Color slots of the mental ray Skin shader

teresting and to create an in e: pl m si ite to my qu ve the picture the image was the canvas to gi The idea behind on t likes ou ly it al t re in since she and then pr w kitchen, and simple render, ne le is e ho sh w a le s hi ha w her. She uld look at girlfriends mot hing that she co et m so te ea cr d to seafood I wante l! ea m r he ng yi enjo

2010 it t p p A n o B

Software used in this piece

Maya Photoshop ZBrush


I chose to use mental rays Bokeh shader for the depth of eld effect I like it, but the render time was hell!


Software used in this piece

ZBrush Maya Photoshop

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

Modelling, sculpting, texturing


Artist info
Chris Nichols
Personal portfolio site Country Canada Hardware used Intel Core i7 920, 6GB RAM Expertise Chris specialises in characters and creatures


Step by step: Create a Lovecraft legend

Cthulhu 2009
I wanted to create something squid-inspired because I like the texture and to play with scale and colours to make a dynamic image
Chris Nichols specialises in modelling characters and creatures
n November of 2009 I was asked by Pixologic to present at the Vancouver ZBrush User Event and had some ideas to make my own version of HP Lovecrafts Cthulhu. I had done a sketch a while ago and dug it up to consider modelling it. I wanted to show o some of the strengths of the latest version of ZBrush, namely a few of the brushes and tools and the amount of polygons it can handle. I had about three weeks in all to model/texture and render the scene ready for the event and wanted to try out some things I hadnt indulged in before, such as ZBrushs Polypaint for texturing and Decimation Master for exporting hi-res meshes that have been modied to retain their high level of detail while being under a million polygons. All in all I was presented with some interesting challenges, but enjoyed the project thoroughly.


Inspiration behind the scene

idea of the design possibilities I collected as much reference material as possible, rstly of artists interpretations of Cthulhu, as I wanted to see what had been done already. Next I collected pictures of squid and various other cephalopods to give me some ideas for shapes and textures.

01 To get a good

02 Starting with simple

sketches, my version of Cthulhu begins to take shape until Im happy with the overall look of the design. Im not too concerned about the colours or surface textures as this point, but just want a good idea of what Im about to model.

03 I started out

by quickly modelling a head and body that I was going to use in ZBrush. I could have used a generic base mesh, but wanted to make sure I had edge loops in the right places so I could get the necessary details into the face.


Chris Nichols

Artis t

Growing up in Australia, I began 3D back in 2004 after completing graphic design school, and worked on short lms and TV shows locally. In 2007 I moved to Vancouver and have worked as a modeller/texture artist at such studios as Bardel Entertainment, Spin VFX and CIS Vancouver.


Creaturing the creature

Cthulhu starts to take shape
to ZBrush to start the sculpting, I got the head to a point where I felt there was a sense of completeness without getting into too much detail with the face. Next I imported the body base mesh and started eshing out the main forms just I like did with head, keeping everything symmetrical.

04 Exporting the geometry

The Merc Maya, ZBrush, Photoshop, mental ray (2009)

I made this as a model/texture study and to test out Shave and a Haircut, a hair plug-in for Maya. I modelled all the geo out in Maya rst, UVd the meshes and sculpted the face expression and the skin details in ZBrush. Rendered in mental ray.

a complete mesh I exported the model back to Maya and rebuilt the animation mesh over the top. This can take a bit of time to rene the edge loops, but in case I wanted to animate it later I went ahead and retopologised the mesh then UVd it.

05 When I had

This is the rst character I modelled. It was really used as a learning project, that began back in 2006, to understand the modelling and texturing process. I kept going back and redoing parts of him until I nally nished it o in 2008.

Gunslinger Maya , ZBrush , Photoshop, mental ray (2008)

06 I exported the

new base mesh into ZBrush and accepted the option to transfer the details from the old ZBrush model to the new animation mesh. So I then had my UVd animation mesh with all the levels of detail from my ZTool transferred across so I could continue rening the model.

in ZBrush, I started to manipulate the model into a menacing pose and commenced sculpting all the ne details into the skin surface. I sculpted a lot of the rough bump details using the clay brush and went over with alphas for the ner detail.

07 Using Transpose

Rock Lizard Maya, ZBrush, Photoshop, mental ray (2009)

I made this as a texturing exercise inspired by photographs of Galapagos iguanas. I spent a long time painstakingly laying out each scale much of the time, but learned a lot about texturing and setting up shaders.

Polypaint in ZBrush, I used di erent alphas to build up my colours and surface texture, referring back to my various references of cephalopods. Starting with the head, I worked out the patterns and colours that would cover Cthulhu. Screenshots, colour-corrected in Photoshop, helped decide the scheme.

08 Beginning with



Refining the detail

Making the monster come alive
was painted to a certain level of detail, I started using ZAppLink to export screenshots into Photoshop. Using photos and di erent brushes, I rened the surface, giving it a higher res of detail using the Polypaint work as a guide. ZAppLink exported the changes back to ZBrush.

the 09 Once creature

10 After the creature

was complete, I began texturing the eyes using the same technique as before. The ngers, toenails and rocks were mostly painted with Polypaint and ZAppLink, and the texture maps were rened further in Photoshop with numerous rock and stone overlays.

render t rs ime
Resolut 2,000 x 2ion: ,554

2 hou

11 Now that the

creature was modelled and textured, it was time to set up a render in Maya. I exported out the posed model, base and anything else at a high resolution using ZBrushs plugin, Decimation Master. This condenses the creature mesh from 17 million polygons to 500k for export.

up the scene, imported the decimated meshes and creating shaders for all the geo. I used a simple rig of about three area lights and one spotlight, an IBL node with an HDRI mapped to it, and three colour cards for reections.

12 In Maya I set

UV map details
Cthulhu UVs were all in one map for this project as I wanted to do 80 per cent of the painting inside ZBrush. To get crisp enough details I recommend blocking out the main colours with Polypaint, but this leaves you with a fairly low-res texture. I set my document size to 4,480x3,360 and zoomed right into the area I wanted to rene. Clicking ZAppLink will export the screenshot to Photoshop where it can be edited at high res and, once saved, project those details onto the mesh. This way youre only limited in detail to whatever your UV map is set up as.

skin 13 The material

was set up using mental rays SSS shader and the colour map was converted into multiple skin layers such as epidermal, subdermal and overall, which were used to create a translucent slimy skin. I then rendered out six passes, di use, reection and multiple speculars and then comped them all together using Photoshop.


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

Modelling, lighting, texturing

Artist info

Software used in this piece

3ds Max mental ray Photoshop ZBrush

Daniel Schmid
Username: DanielVFX Personal portfolio site Country Mexico Hardware used Dual Xeon quad-core 2.33GHz 8G RAM Expertise Daniels work includes shading, texturing and rendering. He is a co-founder of Exodo Digital Workshop


Step by step: Create Pixar-style artwork Well Done

Create a cartoony character with vivid colours, which is both charming and visually appealing to the viewer
Daniel Schmid specialises in lighting, rendering, shading and texturing

his is a quick tutorial based on the creation of the image Well Done. The idea came from our concept artist at the company, Salvador Ramirez (http://www. The minute I saw the concept drawing I started to visualise it in 3D.

Soon I had fellow workmate, Omar Sealtiel (http://, interested in modelling the character so I could work on the textures, shading, lighting and rendering. My main focus was to experiment with lighting techniques I hadnt previously tried. I wanted to

achieve a Pixar look, and also to give the viewer a pleasant image full of bright colours and with a good composition. I dedicated a lot of time to the smallest details such as lighting tone, texture quality and overall mood so the image could ultimately exude a warm feeling.

Designing the girl

Inspiration behind the scene

where my sister teaches, I notice how nice it is to see the kids at play and enjoying themselves. It makes me think to myself, If this works for real life, it could make for a fun digital painting as well! Once back home, I draw this little girl from memory.

01 On a visit to the school

02 I use primary colours

and funny proportions to enhance the cuteness of the character. I also search for references that I correct later to give me a nice guide so that I can paint the textures as clearly as possible. The overall aim is to make her look interesting and mischievous.

beautiful girl with pigtails who I feel is reminiscent of Pixar-like characters. All she needs is to be given a few articles that will tell us something about her and make her look more natural hence the star on her forehead and those yellow rubber boots. Concept complete!

03 I end up with this


Daniel Schmid

Artis t

I have worked as a 3D artist for nine years in several animation studios in Mexico. In the last few years, I have specialised in lighting, shading and rendering. Now I work as CG leader giving the nal look to work at Exodo Digital Workshop of which Im a co-founder.


Creating the model

How the figure was created
Character model by Omar Sealtiel

05 For the hair, I use 04 To properly dene

planes to dene the primary locks. After this, I add smaller planes ready to start populating, repeating this process over and over until the point in which I use renderable splines to add ner details to certain areas, eg the pigtails.

volume, I model from general to specic; this way, I can draft the main attributes of the character. As the goal is to produce a still image, I model the character in her nal pose. The downside of this is that this makes the texturing process more complicated.

La Hacienda 3ds Max, V-Ray, Photoshop (2004)

The inspiration for this scene came from stepping into Guillermo Fernandez de Castros lithography shop one day, and thinking it would make a nice render. This scene took about two months to complete, because I was only using my free time to work on it.

The Barren Citadel 3ds Max, Photoshop, mental ray (2008)

This was the result of an eight-week matte painting workshop I took with David Luong. All the city was modelled and roughly textured in 3ds Max. The nal matte has four passes: Global Illumination, Ambient Occlusion, Z-Depth and Volumetrics.

basic model topology and creases in the cloth, I export the character to ZBrush. There, I minimise the perfection by reducing the models symmetry, giving a more organic look. I export from ZBrush with three subdivisions.


After Ive polished the loops of the

needs to be simple yet visually appealing. My colleagues and I think through the elements of the scene for a good composition. After a few tests, we decide to go with a wooden oor, a simple wall, a bureau and a make-up box.

07 The model of the background

Magma Memories Photoshop (2010)

This is the rst from a series of three matte paintings I have to complete this year. Im trying to experiment in natural landscapes and then hope to move on to urban landscapes. This is my rst matte painting in which no 3D was used at all, just pictures.

to model as the furniture topology is fairly simple. The model is made using primitives. For the edges, I use a Bevel prole, and likewise for the make-up box. As for the concertina supports of the boxs lid, I use a shape with an extruded spline.

background 08 The is quite easy



Finishing the design

in this image is to work with the skin shader and this is what I dedicate most of my time to. Ive discovered from previous projects that there must be wellestablished lighting before testing the shaders. This is why I build a rough lighting setup before anything else.

09 My main goal

Giving the character the Pixar look

10 I always thought

the lighting of the piece should be subtly contrasted; this way I can get delicate light bouncing in parts where visual attention is critical. The lighting setup is the basic threepoint light formula: a light simulating the sun, a Fill light in the left side and a Back light simulating the reection o the wall.

render t ime
Resolut 2,688 x 3ion: ,500


the scenes mood with a basic lighting setup, I focus on the skin shader. I use the SSS Fast Skin shader, which can be found on Zap Anderssons blog (http://mentalraytips. This shader gives you more control over reections and also the material specularity.

11 After I dene

the overall look of the shader, I proceed to texture the most complicated elements of the scene such as the sweater, the bag and the skirt. This means I can get a rough idea of how all the elements are working together and also check if some tweaking is needed in the texture values or the lighting setup.

12 When Im happy with

Colours and materials

The biggest challenge for me in this image is to achieve the look I have visualised with the combined e ects of the lighting, skin shader and the characters clothes. If we look at the original concept art, one of the main characteristics of the little girl is her multicoloured sweater. As a result, its modelling turns out to be a signicant element as I dont want it to look too rigid or heavy. This is why I decide to go to town with the knitting texture. I achieve this with a good Bump map and some ne tweaking in the Di use channel.

13 After I texture the background,

I work on the paintbrush in her hand. For this I create a new le so I can control the lighting and rendering parameters properly. The last step is to gather everything in Photoshop in three layers: the character, the background and the brush. With a few nal tweaks, I have the result I want.



Artist info
Murea Radu Iuliu
site Personal portfolio k www.sensestudio.t Country Romania Software used y 1.5, 3ds Max 2009, Vra Photoshop CS5 Artist bio dering was to The goal of this ren and also to relate to the viewer . This is express movement use of the gained through the balance k of sky that gives a lac ore to the image theref ling of accentuating the fee ow the thr o als movement and resenting beam of red light rep the centre the tra c that shifts lding. bui of attention onto the rt Hall Image name Conce


Grand designs ................................................. 158 Texturing and lighting architecture ..........164 Creating a stylish museum building ..........168 I made this: Viktor Fretyn........................... 172 Interview: Kuan Studio ................................. 174 I made this: Anton Cherenko ....................... 179 Creating a mansion ........................................180 I made this: Luis Tejeda.................................186 Interview: F10 Studios....................................188 I made this: Arkin Esref ................................. 193

Adam Grania
Personal portfolio site Country Poland Software used 3ds max 2010, Vray, Photosho p Artist bio While browsing the internet, I came across a photo of a temp le in Chicago. It was a marvellous harmony of composition that immediately got my attention. Being aware that modelling such a beautiful temple wouldnt be an easy task, I decided to give it a try. It turned out to be a tremendous adventure, a trial of skill and patience which was worth all the time and e ort. Image name Bahai Temple


Artist info


Dennis Kaya Iversholt

Personal portfolio site Country Denmark Software used 3ds Max 10, Vray and Photoshop Artist bio Since I have always been fascinated by New York I decided to create the 43rd stre et with a view towards the Chry sler building and Grand Central. Image name NYC 43rd Stre et

Artist info


Artist info

A project Ive been working on for some time, which I modelled using tourist photos
Rudolf Herczog, Fishermans Bastion, 2010

Rudolf Herczog
Personal portfolio site Country Sweden Software used CINEMA 4D, Maxwell Render, Photoshop


Artist info
Derek Jackson
Personal portfolio site Country UK Software used formZ, Maxwell Render, Photoshop

I wanted a vertical composition to give a sense of height and stacking, hence the portrait format. I also placed the pivot axis of the building centrally in the image to enforce the sense of mathematical geometry. Maxwells Shift Lens was used to reduce the amount of foreground yet keep the vertical lines parallel
Derek Jackson, Hover Competition, 2010

Grand designs
Wholey Building Desmone & Associates Architects


Disregarded by 3D purists as being feature-light, Googles SketchUp Pro is taking swathes of new creatives into the 3D world. Poz Watson discovers why architects and interior designers are leading the charge

s everyone reading this magazine knows, 3D software is incredibly complex and can take years to really master. And thats ne if youre a modeller or an animator, you work full-time in one program and you have the opportunity to learn all of its little software tricks at the same time as you learn your craft. But what if youre a creative that doesnt work full-time in the 3D space, but instead needs to dabble in it to serve the needs of your wider job? What if youre an architect? Or an interior designer? The complexity of 3D software slowed the migration of these types of creative profession to computer design for many years, despite the fact that doing things digitally was obviously going to have major advantages. But as well as the years of study it took them to learn how to create buildings, they often didnt have the time to master the likes of 3ds Max too. But then came SketchUp and everything changed. SketchUp is designed for 3D modelling just like 3ds Max, Maya or Blender, but its mainly used by interior designers and architectural illustrators, as well as set designers and hobbyists, rather than animators. It is extremely scalable, so its just as good at redesigning your kitchen as it would be to plan an extension, a small local development or even to model an entire city. But most interestingly, SketchUp, despite its power and potential, is not a 3D program aimed at

3D experts. Instead, its designed to be used by those who want to model as a means to an end, and who dont have the time to truly conquer NURBS and polygons. Architect and illustrator Lewis Wadsworth ( puts it simply: SketchUp has an utterly transparent interface. And that being the case, its users are free to concentrate on what they want to design and build. SketchUp began life as a general-purpose 3D creation package, with the USP that it was easier to learn and start using than any of the others. It was created by @Last Software, but when the developer released a plug-in that enabled it to work with Google Earth, the attention of the giant search engine was well and truly grabbed. Google bought the package in 2006, and released the current version SketchUp 7 in 2008. It comes in both Pro and free varieties, and the former retails for 354/$495. It also comes with LayOut, which allows you to create 2D documents and presentation, and Style Builder, which enables you to customise your display styles within the program. There are many other di erences between the two versions, including Pros ability to generate reports and export models in a greater range of le formats, but the free version remains a great package for students or those just getting started. But despite SketchUp Pros high-end features, its users continue to be impressed by its straightforwardness. There are only a little over two-dozen primary modelling tools, explains Wadsworth, Draw an edge, endpoint to endpoint, with a tool that looks like a pencil; connect three or more


Thiel Chapel Desmone & Associates Architects

Go global with Google Earth

Being part of the Google family means that SketchUp integrates happily with Google Earth, allowing you to utilise a world of data into your own projects. Architect Lewis Wadsworth explains that the combination is very useful for conceptual work. Its simple to import a bit of the virtual globe, terrain and satellite-photo texture into SketchUp, if I dont have enough survey information for a project or if I need a site model fast. Wadsworth made use of Google Earth on a project he calls Stormhouse, which won the 2009 BSA Unbuilt Architecture Award. As a structure located on Deception Island, just off the coast of Antarctica, Wadsworth obviously couldnt visit himself and could only find some dated surveys of the site, so the immediate local terrain you see in the rendering is in fact largely imported from Google Earth into SketchUp. Alternatively, as with 3D Warehouse, you can turn your hand to a bit of geo-modelling, and use SketchUp to create elements to be included in Google Earth. The world is your oyster after all

Palazetto adsworth Lewis W

edges, and bang, you get a surface! Hit that surface with the Push-Pull tool and you turn it into a volume Draw an edge on a surface in SketchUp and it splits it into two surfaces Push two objects up against each other and they become one object. Argentine Ricardo Cossoli is a partner in Three Dimensions (http://threedimensionsarg., a company set up in 2008 to provide high-end architectural images for real

Larger projects always start with SketchUp, are pushed to SketchUps polygon limitations, and are then taken into a program like 3ds Max to add some of the more CPU-intensive items such as vegetation, cars and high-poly items
Stormhouse Lewis Wadsworth

estate and construction. He is a big fan of SketchUp too, and says, We always try to make the best quality images possible, regardless of the size of the project, whether a small cottage or a large apartment building and we use SketchUp for everything from design to modelling an entire project, not using any other modelling program. Using SketchUp end-to-end isnt an option for everyone though, and many companies and individuals use it as one component part in their workflow. For instance, Adam Warner, a freelance

designer who specialises in architectural illustration, explains, Larger projects always start with SketchUp, are pushed to SketchUps polygon limitations, and are then taken into a program like 3ds Max to add some of the more CPU-intensive items such as vegetation, cars and other highpoly-count items. At times, I also use Rhino to make more organic-looking elements. So why is SketchUp so loved, given that most of its users admit that they have to use other programs as well to get their work done? Greg McHugh, from a home furnishings and interior design firm in Washington state (www.ksfhome. com), says simply: I hate changing software but the first date with SketchUp won me over. It was so easy to learn and very intuitive. Tim Sloat, senior designer at Lowney Architecture, tells a similar story: We began playing with it four years ago when looking for an alternative to Revits clunky concept design tools and it quickly became the concept and schematic design tool of choice. But simplicity alone is not enough to account for the apps success. As Wadsworth notes, SketchUp backs this up with a sort of intelligent second-guessing. The application only presents you with the tools that are applicable to the job at hand. And of course, in a depressed economy, ease of use equals speed of use, which means it


costs less. McHughs rm is a small one, and it recently partnered with a medium-sized architectural rm on the pitch for the $13 million expansion of the Lucky Eagle Hotel. We participated in a competitive design contest against a much larger architectural rm. I produced interior room designs with SketchUp and Artlantis. I collaborated with another designer at the architectural rm which had just introduced its sta to SketchUp. He primarily focused on the building exterior. We produced some very impressive presentation materials in a three-week period. Needless to say, they won the bid. Of course, the great thing about working with a program like SketchUp is that you can tailor it precisely to your needs by making use of all its Ruby Scripts and plug-ins. If you combine the native tools with several of the great scripts written by talented developers on the SketchUp forum, you have a pretty powerful arsenal of modelling tools at your disposal, notes Warner. But perhaps the real reason that SketchUp has become the de facto tool of architects and set designers alike is that by being rst and foremost

3700 Bigelow Blvd Adam Warner/Desmone & Associates Architects

an intuitive program, its users can forget about how they create things, and concentrate solely on creating them. Wadsworth says, If I have an architectural project in mind, the rst thing I do is open up SketchUp on a PC and start modelling stu . I almost said sketching stu , but really with SketchUp the one is the other. The softwares

name is not inappropriate. Sloat adds that the program is unbounded by the need for constant technical input (like most BIM programs require) for free-owing idea generation. Its powerful enough to do professional work but not so powerful that it bogs down ones ability to get fast and friendly-looking results.

SketchUp on the job

Architectural rm Lowney explains how it used SketchUp to design a new Safeway store in Oakland, California
Lowney Architecture ( is a full-service architectural company based in Oakland, California. Senior designer Tim Sloat has been with the rm for ve years, and works closely with the boss Ken Lowney, and the architects to tackle the concept and schematic design of their projects. The rm specialises in commercial and mixed use projects, as well as restaurants, and one of its largest clients is the grocery retailer Safeway Inc, which has employed them to design new stores and expansion/remodels in more urban areas and in communities especially sensitive to the need for creating architecture that relates directly to the community.
Oakland Safeway Tim Sloat/Lowney Architecture

Oakland Safeway Tim Sloat/Lowney Architecture

The design for the new Oakland Safeway (pictured) was primarily created in SketchUp. Expressing his views on the app, Sloat says, It allows us to quickly experiment, explore and experience design possibilities in three dimensions, almost as easily as drawing by hand. The intuitive and immediate connection between the tip of a pen and ones mind is something that CAD technology has been striving towards for years for the every-day architectural designer; SketchUp has come the closest yet to re-creating that experience. And that ease of use was needed, given that Lowney not only constructed the proposed project in SketchUp, but also used surveys, aerial imagery and site visits to construct the immediate surrounding context. Lowney also uses Revit for site plans and for studying the complicated grade and oor level changes as they related to the project along its block-long length. Sloat admits, Workow is a challenge between Revit and SketchUp [since] we can easily export 3D information from one into the other, the state of that information is not always ideal. The team also made use of 3ds Max and Google Earth. The creation of images to show the community was vital throughout the project, and Sloat notes, Our SketchUp-generated walk-through movies are our most powerful presentation tool when it comes to communicating the experiential aspects of our designs to clients or the public. The proposed design has been well received and is currently in the process of being entitled for construction by the city.


Office Interior Tim Sloat/Lowney Architecture

And what Sloat calls friendly-looking results are crucial in a situation where youre showing your designs to a wide variety of people the clients, the planning officers, the public not all of whom may be familiar with the process. When I worked for other architects, says Wadsworth, I found clients could be intimidated by utterly realistic images. They became agitated over carpet colours or curtain patterns, and couldnt see past such triviality to the more important design considerations. That doesnt seem to happen with SketchUps more painterly images. And as well as being easy to design with, SketchUp is also easy to present with, so those friendly images can be produced on a regular basis. Sloat adds, With easy-to-apply and edit
Beach Hut Adam Warner

textures, simple but effective face me components and seemingly unlimited combinations of styles that we can tailor to the project and client, its easy to go straight from designing to presenting. The scene tabs facilitate easy 3D presentations to clients, with the ability to manually explore the model in perspective 3D during meetings. And this ease has meant that some users dont even follow the usual model of rendering their sketches into finished 3D models. Sloat explains, SketchUp uses lines as a means of expressing edges and design compositions much the same way one might use lines drawn with a pen. However, once transferred to a true rendering program, all these lines, and the design information they might have been suggesting are invisible and only the faces matter. So suddenly, a building design that relied on lines as a shorthand for window mullions or expansion joints in plaster, etc, becomes a muddy mess. The lighting might be more realistic and the glass might actually reflect like real glass, but the building must be modelled to a much more detailed level at this stage if it is to achieve legibility. Of course, once you have put the detail in, your SketchUp designs can be rendered in the

3D Warehouse

Victoria Greg McHugh

Cork Factory Restaurant Adam Warner

The world is a big old place, isnt it? And if you dont have the time or inclination to model all the buildings that surround the building youre designing, for instance, then just head on over to Googles 3D Warehouse. There youll find thousands of 3D models that you can download and use in your work everything from detailed real-world landmarks to more generic components to all the trees, waterfalls and scenery decoration that your heart could possibly desire. 3D Warehouse was designed for the purposes of collaboration, so if youve created something youre proud of then you can also upload your own models to share with other people. And if Google deems them good enough, your models could be included on the 3D building layer of Google Earth. So, whether you want to search or upload, http://sketchup. is the place to go.



Concert Hall Ricardo Cossoli Delahouse Ricardo Cossoli

Savoy Restaurant Chuck Sanders, John Bettis and Luca Paganico

traditional way and some fantastic results created, which is what most users do. Arc-vis pro Cossoli says, To render all of our images we now use V-Ray but started working with a free program called Kerkythea and, briey, Twilight Render (for beta testers), but we decided to stay with V-Ray because of the successful integration between the programs, when you need SketchUp to be the end software. Warner is a fan of V-Ray (www.vray. com/vray_for_sketchup) too: I use V-Ray for all of my rendering. I couldnt be happier with the results I get from it. Other users opt for Shaderlight ( or LumenRT (

Despite the a ection the architectural community clearly feels for SketchUp, there are features that many wish it had. McHugh admits, Its still di cult to create more organic 3D items, such as rocks, plants, sculpted, free-owing items, and Cossoli concurs with this, noting that if there were more modelling tools then you could avoid having to use so many plug-ins, though this is just personal taste. Warner echoes this plea, and also adds, Support for proxies, better animation controls, higher polygon count and particle systems to the wish list. For Wadsworth, there is another problem: SketchUp was the rst program I used that had

Despite the affection the architectural community clearly feels for SketchUp, there are features that many wish it had. McHugh admits, Its still difcult to create more organic 3D items, such as rocks, plants, sculpted, free-owing items, etc

real-time shadows in other words, you could take lighting into consideration while developing your design, and instantly see the results in the application window. But the SketchUp developers havent really updated the function since I rst learnt the program, eight years ago. Other programs have pushed this technology dramatically forward, and Wadsworth wishes Google would deal with this, or dump the whole real-time shadow idea in favour of a quick rendering system that would generate shadows from multiple light sources. For my work, I really dont need reections, raytracing, global illumination or anything like that. I just want to be able to place some light sources in my SketchUp model to see how the lighting a ects my design and where the shadows fall. So while some programs may hungrily add features with every new release, SketchUps appeal to the architectural audience seems to lie in its continued simplicity. And with rendering tools, connection to Google Earth and Warehouse 3D and the vast array of scripts available online might its charms begin to appeal to the wider 3D community? Perhaps.

Become a SketchUp Pro

If you want to learn more about SketchUp, the rst place to head is http:// If you dont already have the program, you can easily download the free version here, and theres all the information you need to get started, although its fairly self-explanatory. Once youre up and running, you can nd out more about the app from the o cial sites blog (http://, including its training information. If you then

want to venture further aeld, has plenty of info, and is a more general architectural forum that has some keen SketchUp users. More of those keen users, as well as some great tutorials, can also be located at If youre tutorialmad, then more can be found at, www. and


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

Artist info
Viktor Fretyn
Username: Radic Personal portfolio site Country Hungary Hardware used Intel Core 2 q9550, 8GB RAM Intel i7-860, 8GB RAM Expertise I mainly work on architectural visualisations

Software used in this piece

3ds Max Photoshop After Effects V-Ray

Materials, lighting



Step by step: Texturing and lighting architecture

Normafa House 2009
Its an interesting challenge to make an image that shows off a buildings interior and exterior
Viktor Fretyn has experimented with 3D art since school and specialises in architectural visualisation
his image is part of a set of renders on a detached house in Budapest, Hungary. It is designed by Satoshi Okada and is under construction at the moment. Since this was an assignment, it means I had a deadline and had to follow certain requests and guidelines. Consequently, the end result was not satisfying enough for my taste and I decided to make my own version of the rendering. In this tutorial, I will explain how the materials for the surfaces were applied and how the lighting was set up. I think it is always an interesting challenge to make a successful image of a place that shows o both an interior and exterior at the same time. The composition, the lighting and the materials are quite dramatic. Im looking for this kind of drama in most of my work. I love to play with light and shadow, as well as with the colour of the light.

Design inspirations
The style for the scene

01 Satoshi Okada is

a Japanese architect who designed the Forest Refuge known by almost everyone thanks to Alex Romans interpretation. I was really excited when I got the chance to work on his new design. As an architect, the topic is always important; I have to like the design too in order to make nice renders.

02 As I said before,

this image is not part of the renders I delivered to the client. As often happens, clients prefer a more generic, less dramatic look regarding lighting and composition. Clients always seem to have a di erent taste in renders and, trying to gure out what it is, I can rarely satisfy my own expectations for the project.

03 This project was

anything but subtle. I mean, since the architecture was so pure, I decided to make the greenery as spectacular as possible. Every little spot of the image has something on it. There are no clean or empty surfaces in the scene. I wanted every image to be really vivid.


Viktor Fretyn

Artis t

I am a 26-year-old architect from Budapest, Hungary. I started using 3D many, many years ago when I was in elementary school. I experimented with small animations, effects and building primitive models. Years later, while studying at university, I found it was actually a good way of making money so I started to dig deeper into arc-vis territory.

Row House 3ds Max, V-Ray, Photoshop (2009)
This is a small, personal practice piece I made over a weekend and it included four renders of Tadao Andos rst realised project in Azuma, Japan. I love the raw concrete material and it features everywhere on these renders. I enjoyed working on this project especially because I did it in only a few days.

Material surfaces
Adding textures and materials
complex materials in the scene. I used only one concrete material, although it appears as if there are more, but those scratches were done externally in Photoshop. It has a VRayDirt map in the Di use slot which has a Radius of 3 metres. The same map was used for Reection and Bump in greyscale too.

04 There are no

made in the same way. It has a slightly higher IOR setting to get more reections and the VRayDirt is only set to 1.5 metres. The same bitmap is used again for all slots. I used colour correction to adjust the map.

05 The oor was

In waiting... 3ds Max, VRay, Photoshop (2009)

This is one of my favourite renders. It is the main aula [atrium] of the Exchange Palace of Budapest. I was working on that project for quite some time. The modelling part was insane as you can see on the render. This altered version of the original render tried to capture the feeling of a child dragged through a museum.

06 A typical dirt
KUMU Art Museum of Estonia 3ds Max, V-Ray, Photoshop, After E ects (2010)

map is set like this. I added the dirt map to every materials Di use slot. I used to render a separate ambient occlusion layer, but that meant every object had the same radius of dirt; this way, I can control each one individually. Obviously, a 6m-high plane wall needs a completely di erent radius to a 15cm-high vase on a shelf.

07 The curtain is

made from a translucent material. It is set in the simplest way it can be: using Hard Wax mode. It is similar to using a two-sided VRay material. It isnt as nice, but much faster and, for these purposes, it is perfect.

This is the project I am currently working on. I started months ago, but I just cant seem to nish it because the building has so many great views. This will be my most grandiose work once its nished. I would like to render daylight and night shots as well as interiors and exteriors with di erent seasons.

08 My nal advice

regarding materials is always use Fresnel Reections. If you do just a little research into everyday objects around you, youll gure that nothing has a constant reection but depends on the angle you look at it. And I dont only mean water or glass, but even plaster walls or fabric.



Lighting the scene

Balancing the interior and exterior

Modelling the scene

As you can see, there are no complicated models in the scene (except for the trees which are not modelled by me). I am really bad at this and everything you see in this image is made from primitives with the fewest and most basic of tools. Even the leaves on the ground were scattered manually instead of using the Scatter tool. I always want to get over this part as soon as possible. This is probably one of the main reasons I stick to architectural renders: the geometry is always the least complicated, as opposed to a car or anything more organic.

09 First, we need

a global di use light (sky light). That was achieved by simply adding a map to our environmental override in the VRay render window. Its a simple bitmap I downloaded from Note that this is not a light source, so it doesnt produce any shadows.

the main light source that stands in for our sky here. It is going to be a VRayPlane positioned above our scene facing down and tilted a bit towards the camera. Attached to it, there is a VRaySky which is put in the Reection/Refraction override.

10 Now put in

render t urs ime

Resolut 2,250 x 3 ion: ,000

12 ho

11 The three lamps

on the ceiling will provide the main light in the room. For these, I used VRaySpheres as lightbulbs. We need some supporting light sources from each side. I used small VRaySpheres with a Radius of 0.1 metres. I also needed three VRayPlanes to light the ceiling around the wooden walls on the left.

12 And here is

the result of the lighting. Its a bit bright, but thats okay since the override material is white so, once its all textured up, it will be balanced out. I particularly love the night shots because of this ambivalent lighting: the blueish outside colours complementing the warm colours of the interior and vice versa.

13 This shot of

the house from another angle provides an alternative perspective and is a good example of the balance between the two colours the warm and the cold and how well they can work together.


Step by step: Creating a stylish museum building

KUMU Art Museum 2010

I was mesmerised by this museum some years ago and, ever since, I knew I had to do my own version of it in 3D
Viktor Fretyn specialises in architectural rendering



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

The style for the scene

Artist info


Viktor Fretyn
Username: Radic Personal portfolio site Country Hungary Hardware used 2 x Intel q9550, 8GB RAM 1 x Intel i7-860, 8GB RAM Expertise Viktors passion is architectural rendering. Tha ts more or less the only part of 3D he considers himself good at

01 The first step is

always to do some research: I gathered every photo that I could nd of the building from the internet. Some of them were quite inuential, but most of them were just to gain a sense of the buildings geometry. In the end, out of about 150 photos, only a few were useful.

Software used in this piece

3ds Max Photoshop After Effects V-Ray

02 While doing research

think a major change has happened over the last two years in the eld of architectural visualisation. After the rst appearance of Alex Romans renders, the landscape of this industry has been totally reshaped. I knew that if I wanted to make something signicant, Id have to work harder than before to get any recognition. Therefore, instead of making one scene and shooting renders from di erent angles, I tried to make every render individual. I considered this to be ten di erent projects rather than just one, since each shot di ers not only in lighting and composition, but in almost every other aspect too. The most interesting render out of the bunch is probably the above scene with the snow. As you read through this tutorial, you will nd there are no secret tools no surprises coming up. In fact, this is a good example of making something look great with the simplest of tools!

over the internet, I came across the website of two students (Ankit Surti and Samuel Gwynn), who had already modelled the building in 3ds Max some years ago. Contacting them, they kindly agreed to help by supplying all the information needed to start the work, including the o cial drawings, which theyd acquired from the architect. Dont ever be scared to ask fellow artists for favours.

03 In terms of

colour mood, I loved this photo and wanted to make a render with the same feeling. Its as if you can virtually smell the rain. I always aim to create renders that move the viewers inside emotionally.


Viktor Fretyn

Artis t

I have a very strong passion for architecture and have never really tried any other areas of 3D. I love renders with an artistic touch. Technical achievements alone are not enough for me. I prefer the work of artists who create a balance with colours, light and shadow.


Modelling the building

Constructing the shapes

the main volume of the building, which is the green metal wall, drawing a spline of only two vertices which were set to Bezier Corners. Having switched to Adaptive Interpolation, I moved it to t the plan, converted it into editable poly and used Slice Plane to cut it as needed.

04I started with

it was quite similar, except it wasnt curved. I created rectangles for the outline of the wall and the windows, then converted them into splines and attached them. After that, I converted it into editable poly again and added a Shell modier. The horizontal joint lines of the buildings metal cladding were formed with a Displacement modier.

the other 05On side,

06I modelled the

KUMU, Main Lobby 3ds Max, V-Ray, Photoshop (2009)
I decided to showcase portfolio images all taken from this particular project. This was actually the rst render I took. I loved the colour balance between the cold blue coming from above and the warm, yellowish light from below.

KUMU, Spring, Daytime 3ds Max, V-Ray, Photoshop (2010)

details as precisely as I could even the ones I knew wouldnt be visible from such a distance. I did everything using only standard primitives or splines converted into editable poly images. The tools I used the most at this stage were Lathe, Sweep, Symmetry, FFD Box as well as the editing tools for editable poly.

What I especially liked about this shot is the composition. The horizon line is kept very low, making the building look like it reaches very high and the camera correction also adds to that feeling. The aeroplane that curves across the sky adds a bit of dynamism as well.

07For the railing

in front, I used splines again. I quickly outlined the posts, extruded the parts, chamfered the edges a bit and attached them into one editable poly. I made sure to watch the position of the pivot, so that I didnt have trouble o setting the railings when using the Spacing tool along another spline.

KUMU, Fall, Late Afternoon 3ds Max, V-Ray, Photoshop (2010)

This is where I tried to achieve the atmosphere I referred to in Step 3 with that evocative photo of a eld. I was aiming for a very bleak image with the sun almost set and just moments away from the breaking of a storm.

models started out as single boxes. Just by pulling vertices and extruding polygons, in a few minutes, I had created three kinds of branches. Applying Turbosmooth and scaling and rotating them several times, I ended up with some natural-looking winter trees.

08The leaess tree



Refining the details

Bringing it all together

2-3hours re
ime Resolutio 4,037 x 2 n: ,659 nder t

modelled using a simple plane that was distorted with FFD Box to follow the slope. I cut the holes in it by simply using the Boolean tool and adding a subtle Noise modier before turning it into editable poly again. I used the Soft Selection controls to pull up vertices near the walls.

09 The terrain was

10 This might be

disappointing for some, but the snow e ect was achieved using a 2D Displacement modier, rather than a particle system like PArray. I took a snapshot of the viewport from the top and drew a very large bitmap. Next, I applied it to the terrain by using a Planar UVW Map modier.

trick to doing glass that not many people use. I just added a little Noise Bump and simulated the double glazing by cloning the glass and pulling it back a few centimetres. I then applied a di erent glass material to it with the same settings, but a slightly altered Noise Bump.

11 Theres a little

12 Another problem that

can occur when glass panels are lined up is the reection breaking at the edge of each panel. To tackle this, I selected every second panel in a chessboard pattern and rotated them a little in all directions.

Lighting the scene

For the main light source, I used a VRayLightDome. Usually an HDRI might be used in the Map slot, but this time I just used a darker blueish colour. I set the Multiplier to 1.5 and made it invisible as to not a ect the reections (for which, I put an HDRI in the Reection Override slot). The Environment Override was also checked in with a black colour to ensure the background didnt a ect the lighting. As for the rest of the scene, I used smaller VRayPlanes and VRaySpheres with a warm orange colour.

a 13 Modelling window

is one of the easiest tasks, but can add a lot of realism when done right. I found a drawing of a section of a window and drew the outline with a spline. Once Id applied a rectangle with a Sweep modier, it was ready.


Artist info

Viktor Fretyn
Username: Radic Personal portfolio site rg http://radicjoe.cgsociety.o Country Hungary , V-Ray, Software used 3ds Max Photoshop

Incredible 3D artists take k us behind their artwor

As always, the modelling part was the least interesting for me. I constantly find myself browsing through free 3D libraries on the internet just to get over this part

west from my This image isnt the ne more interested in Im ys, portfolio. Nowada or rather than the interi the architecture itself en wh era us vio m a pre decoration. This is fro r renders were smalle in sts ere int in ma my s one. interiors, such as thi

Living Room by Night 2008

The composition is always interesting for me. In fact, it is one of the most important aspects of rendering. I wanted to create a nice living space that is both in order and a mess at the same time


Back when this render was made, I considered it my best so far, so I decided to make a really highresolution render. The nal image is 10,000 by 4,000 pixels, which really helped bring out all the details

The lighting of this image is also interesting because there are several light sources in the scene to make it really vivid: the TV itself and its backlights, the small reading lamp, the IES light sources from the left, and a warm, diffuse light from the right

Software used in this piece

3ds Max V-Ray Photoshop


We talk to Luis Linares of Kuan Studio about the philosophy of his new architecture company, based in South America

A Interior Bridges Watching a classic movie in a modern space

Currently, we focus on architectural visualisation and products in 3D, but our next step is audiovisual postproduction and videogames
Company Kuan Studio Founded May 2009 Company website Country Uruguay Software used 3ds Max, V-Ray, Photoshop, After E ects and AutoCAD Expertise 3D animation Client list Images of products for a design studio in Barcelona, Spain, architects in Switzerland, architects and real estate group investors in Panama, architects in Uruguay and Argentina

t was as recent as 2009 that three men, Agustn Gutirrez, Rodrigo Pea and Luis Linares, decided to get together and form Kuan Studio in Montevideo, Uruguay. The name Kuan comes from the Chinese classic text of the I Ching, meaning contemplation, with which the team feel an afnity. It was their common vision and the same passion, which is excellence in the visual communication of projects, that brought them together to form Kuan.

Luis Linares is the co-founder of Kuan Studio

Contemplating the project and listening to the client are key elements at the studio, as they share opinions in order to reach the best artistic result. To achieve this, they concentrate on taking care of details and have a deep sense of loyalty and a responsible commitment to the job. Each member of the team has a specic role on each project: the project manager is responsible for each project to assess and follow up to the nal product, and is also the



The name Kuan comes from the Chinese classic text of the I Ching, meaning contemplation, with which the team feel an affinity

Advertising ofce
This is a personal project inspired by the Facebook o ces, with which we were very pleased. We looked at all the details in the modelling phase, from the smallest to the largest, working on all the vegetation in 3ds Max and V-Ray. We sought the light that you get from a cloudy sky, with little direct sunlight on the scene. We decided that we wanted the interiors of the o ces seen through the windows to appear relaxed, because this is an advertising agency and did not need to be formal. In postproduction, the details in di erent parts of the building and the environment are greatly enhanced. Through Photoshop we retouched the grey walls of the building, the colours of the vegetation and overall image to get a result that blends serenity and simplicity in architecture.


B Shower Spa Refreshing the mind and body in a concrete setting (Mediterranean client)



visible face to the client; the art director is responsible for lighting as well as the realisation of the scene in each project; theres the animation and modelling manager; and nally, the postproduction manager is responsible for giving the nal touch to each image.

entering into the Swiss and German markets; however, any clients require condentiality, so were only able to name a few here.

Luis Linares: Currently, we focus on architectural visualisation and products in 3D, but our next step is audiovisual postproduction and videogames.
Who are some of your main clients?

What are the main services that Kuan Studio offers and the areas of CGI that you cover?

a warm and comforting mood in the house we were in charge of visualising.

LL: We are currently designing a catalogue

of bathroom artifacts for a recognised European brand. We have had clients in Panama for important real estate projects, such as luxury residential buildings and large commercial spaces. We are now

LL: We work on every scale across the industry and we take each project as a new and unique challenge.
What is the most interesting or rewarding residential project youve worked on? LL: The House in Switzerland, because in

Do you tend to work more in industry visualisation, commercial or residential, or is it an across-the-board approach?

LL: As a rst phase, we primarily use AutoCAD to model different parts. Next, we use 3ds Max for complex modelling. As an engine for rendering, lighting and texturing, we use V-Ray. For postproduction we use Photoshop and After Effects.
How many people typically work on one of your projects, either in-house or externally where necessary?

What software tools do you regularly employ and why?

this particular image we wanted to transmit

C Close-up Spa Close-up of the good life enjoying the peaceful nature of the sea (Mediterranean client)

D Mediateque Montevideos cultural reections at dusk

E Loft Mixing materials for a unique modern style of living in a house in Punta del Este, Uruguay

We work on every scale across the industry and we take each project as a new and unique challenge

The House in Switzerland

The House in Switzerland is a project that we loved and enjoyed throughout the production process. From the exchange of ideas with our client came the goal of creating a warm mood using the wood as a motivator of the scene. There are specic design elements that were modelled exclusively for the scene, which help to enhance the atmosphere in this image. We wanted to convey the cold contemplated from a warm place using multiple items such as wood that symbolises the warmth and serenity; also re and the stove that further reinforce a pleasant atmosphere. Postproduction was the most important stage to generate this space, since colour corrections, contrasts and e ects allow us to illustrate the idea of the desired space.

We had a good impact abroad and good reviews of our work for the time the studio has been open
LL: There are three people who work at Kuan full time, and we all participate in all the stages of creation. If theres a bigger project or we have several projects at once, we hire external contractors.
Can you give us some idea of the actual production pipeline for producing an image or set of images for a client?

LL: In the visualisation of products, we have

been commissioned for modelling and rendering a catalogue of bathroom artifacts in Barcelona, Spain. Also, we are in preproduction stage for an independent 3D animation lm.

LL: We want our customers to feel at ease

and comfortable. This working methodology is based on practicality and efciency to achieve the best results in a timely manner. It starts with the modelling process, where we send previews to the client to make the necessary corrections to get the best result in the nal product. Once the previous images are approved, we begin the nal rendering of images and/or videos.

LL: We are a new studio so we have not felt the crisis as others may have, and we had a good impact abroad and good reviews of our work for the time the studio has been open.
What are your plans and ambitions for the company in the future?
growing on a worldwide scale and enlarge our clients portfolio, and to grow as an architectural visualisation and postproduction studio.

The building and visualisation industries have both been affected by the global recession. Has your country and your type of work been affected as well?

LL: Our plans and ambitions are to continue

What kind of work have you been doing recently in the animation and product visualisation elds?

F House Cooking and living with style in San Sebastian, Panama

G Bridges Building Modern style of living in San Francisco


Anton Cherenko
Personal portfolio site www.cherenkoart.blogs Country Ukraine , V-Ray, Software used 3ds Max , Photoshop OnyxTREE, After E ects

Incredible 3D artists take k us behind their artwor

Artist info

The trees and bushes were generated using OnyxTREEs TREE STORM plug-in for 3ds Max, which were converted to V-RayProxies to make my work with the scene and image render possible, as far as memory resources were concerned

The rst step was to nd an interesting point of view. The GH House architectural design was great in that there were many good views to explore and choose from, but I wanted to nd a unique angle, one that would distinguish my image from the others

The GH House 20 10

Software used in this piece


3ds Max



After Effects


In order to achieve a more realistic view of the waters surface, I created ripples originating from the boat and lamps. First, I made a plane, converted it to editable poly and changed the vertex locations for my canal form

This was my en try for the GH Ho use Archviz Chal www.ronenbek lenge on GH House was desig Bekerman at th ned by Ronen e Israeli rm, Du nsky Kornhauser and was provid Architects, ed for participan ts to place in a co choice. The envir nt ext of their onment was at the discretion of we just had to ke each artist; ep the basic ho use geometry.


Creating a mansion Mansion At 6 Evan Way

This was created as a photorealistic detailed rendering to aid in the sale of the largest home on record for its area
Ryan W Knope is a freelance 3D artist with 13 years experience in the visualisation industry


3D artists explain the techniques behind their amazing artwork

Software used in this piece

3ds Max mental ray GrassO-Matic Photoshop CS4

Artist info

Ryan W Knope
Username: RWKnope Personal portfolio site Country US Software used 3ds Max 2010, mental ray, Grass-O-Matic, Photoshop CS4 Expertise Ryan makes a living largely from his architectural and interior visualisation business in Denver

his rendering was especially important because of its high prole. It is very close to Washington DC and, at 38,000 square feet, it was an important property bound to interest those wielding great power. With that in mind, the architect had very stringent ideas of how it should look in both building materials and the general feel of the rendering. Larry Link Jr is an old-school architect and used a lot of terms that I had not heard before many dating back to Greek and Roman architecture. One of the biggest di culties was guring out the pipeline to implement all of the greenery around the estate. This was accomplished by using several MAX les that were rendered

out and the layers blended in Photoshop. The rustication around the garage also proved quite time-consuming, as some of the areas didnt work out right with Bump maps and Displacement maps would have been far too heavy during render time. For that reason, I decided to place each stone block individually, which sounds laborious, but in the end, it looks much better on the nal render. The most interesting part of the project was that Link was still designing it as I was creating it, which could have led to a logistical nightmare. In this case though, it was satisfying to help shape the building and o er my thoughts and opinions during the creative process.



Modelling, texturing, postproduction

Information about the home: Developer/Owner representative: Michael Sotir Tel: 443-392-6752 Estate Home with great bones and classic new architectural plans. Builder is in place to nish home to new owners desires. Enough space to satisfy all client needs.

a Use renderable splines, boxes and Edit Poly to dene the

structure. Try to conrm a camera early on

01 Boxing out the structure

The concept for the mansion came directly from the architect, Larry Link Jr. A solid early plan and viewpoint was dened by the sketches. This made it much easier for me to lock in the framework from the very beginning.

Boxing out the structure and dening a viewpoint was my rst step. This boxed-out structure mainly consists of renderable splines for the walls and roofs. An Edit Poly modier was used to pull the walls to the desired height. Boxes were added for the chimneys and patio elements. The goal at this stage was to get approval of the overall shapes, size and positioning. Once approved, I then moved on to the detailing and rening. I also dened a camera angle. This allowed me to work on the foreground and side landscape while Link was still designing other elements of the home a.


Problems and solutions

The most problematic modelling element was placing the vegetation and grass. I quickly realised my machine had a very difcult time dealing with more than one grass mass at a time. Each grass area had to be separated and placed into a different scene. This eased the tension initially, but then I had to place the trees into the respective grass scenes to get the shadows to work properly. Each tree was between 750,000 and 1,000,000 polys or more. The grass was even heavier with geometry. Rendering the grass with the trees took a lot of patience. A bunch of render settings had to be rened because of the model densities and proxies used. In the end, I had to buy 2GB RAM to solve the issue, because I was not willing to sacrice sampling values.

Beyond the walls

Adding in the main features

02 Cutting out the windows

b Place boxes to get window

location and size approval

c Roof, window and pillar

creation process

d Use splines, Edit Poly and

the Spacing tool to add the roof rake

Next it was time to cut out the windows. This was a bit tedious, because there were so many. Thinking about my workow, I preferred to send Link a screenshot showing the windows as boxes through the wall. This showed location and I could get approval without having to cut them out. This was both good and bad, because once I had the boxes in place, it was too easy to use ProBoolean rather than cutting them properly in Edit Poly. About 95 per cent of the windows were cut using ProBoolean without aws. The remainder had to be xed and welded, with some re-cut in Edit Poly. ProBoolean still saved me time, but use it carefully b.

03 Windows, pillars and roof

The window mullions, casings and sashes were created using renderable splines. The stool and apron were created using Chamfer boxes. An Arch & Design material was applied that included the Round Corners value activated in the Special E ects Material tab. I used a box for the glass panes. Next I placed these sets around all of the other open window gaps. Some I kept as instances and some I did not, but I kept track of which were real windows and made tweaks to di erently shaped windows. Pillars started as splines and were lathed. The roof began as renderable splines for each section. Edit Poly was added and the roof pitches created by pulling the top set of vertices c.

04 Roof rake and frieze

For the roof rakes, in Edit Polys Edge Mode, I began by extracting lines from the top of the exterior walls. From there I created several ridges via renderable splines on the top and bottom of the rake bounds. The white backboard also started as a renderable spline, with vertices edited to match the existing depth. I drew a prole shape for the tooth detailing, then added another Edit Poly modier, extruded the shape and capped the object. Next I copied a previous spline and matched it to the contour of the walls so that I could use the Spacing tool to populate the tooth along the spline without having to place each one. For uniform architectural features such as railings/beams the Spacing tool is a great device for saving time d.



2 8 rend

Resolution: 5,000 x 2,988

er time


e Boxes are extruded to

dene shape, adding a bevel and a lip was quick with Edit Poly and basic objects because of distance and shadowed areas

f Construction of the chimney

05 Quoining the corners

The quoin stones started o as a box, which I then extruded, bevelled and scaled to create the front block detailing. The blocks were then alternated in size to create the necessary pattern. These blocks needed to share the same colour as the main stucco nish, so I copied the stucco material and added a rough stone texture to the Bump map slot. Box UVW mapping was used. For the corner stones, the objects were instanced and rotated. The reverse joints were instanced and mirrored e.

g Basic construction used

06 Constructing the chimneys

The chimney construction was pretty straightforward, though slightly di erent from the average design. The chimneys were created fairly fast by blocking them out with basic objects, such as Chamfer boxes, cylinders and renderable splines. Once massed, vertices were moved to Edit Poly. An Arch & Design material was applied with a Bump map in order to simulate stucco. This material also had the Round Corners option applied, saving me from having to chamfer all of the edges f.

07 French doors

Making sure that the distance from the camera was kept in mind, the doors were created as simple, yet e ective objects. The hole was cut into the wall via Edit Poly, then the doorframe and detailing were added with di erent size renderable splines. The doors themselves started as boxes and the holes cut using, once again, Edit Poly. The hole edges were then chamfered and boxes with the windowpanes inserted. Chamfer boxes were used for the shutters, box mapping added and an Arch & Design material applied. The material has a Di use and Bump map and both maps were given a Blur of .01 g.


Lighting and post-lighting

The lighting rig started out with a mr Sun and Sky. Final Gather and GI were set up, although I noticed some areas needed some ll lighting. Fill lighting was used in and over the patio above the garage to help simulate the articial lighting from inside that room. mrs Photographic Exposure control was set to Daylight Clear Sky. This same lighting rig was utilised for each scene le. I also set up an Ambient Occlusion pass. This greatly increased the realism of the shadows and detailing in the model. Once rendered, I painted in a lot of shadows and highlights for realism. To create an even softer lighting feel, I added softened white highlights in Photoshop.

Block it out
08 Applying the rustication 1

Finish the mansions masonry

The rustication began as copied quoin blocks. I placed each block one by one in horizontal rows until I could instance them up. This went along pretty quickly until I got to the arches. The arch rustication had to be edited quite drastically in Edit Poly. I used Slice Plane to cut through the object, adding more segments to deform. Once I had the left side complete, I then instanced to create the right side. Around the circular patio balcony above the garage doors it took longer, but the same methods were used. I placed actual geometry as I didnt want to use render-hungry Displacement maps, unless as a last resort h.

h i

09 Applying the rustication 2

Before rendering the nal passes, I processed all of the scenes at a high resolution and lower sampling rate (1/4) to make sure that everything lined up perfectly. It is too easy to nudge a camera or move something by accident. Once I conrmed all locations and objects as matching, I set up the render settings and rendered the scene out at a lower resolution (1/3 nal size). For the nal render, I used a sampling rate of 4/16, with BSP2 on. Final Gather and Global Illumination were used because of interior and overhanging porch areas i.

I placed actual geometry as I didnt want to use render-hungry Displacement maps, unless as a last resort

Ryan W Knope

I started 3D in late 1996. This developed into an obsession over the next year or two, which turned into a money-making career before I had graduated from high school. From there my love for the art has never faltered. My freelance visualisation business has been going strong for about 13 years, and over the last two years it has gone international.

Created for Ecocentrix, Sumiyoshi is a Luxury Living Community that has now been constructed in Japan.

Sumiyoshi Master Plan 3ds Max 2010, Photoshop CS4 (2009)

The World Has Moved On 3ds Max 2010, Photoshop CS4, ZBrush (2009)

A fun project for a contest. It won second place. Its based on a town in Stephen King novel, The Gunslinger.



10 Combining the renders in PS

Once rendered, the di erent images needed to be brought into Photoshop to be lined up and blended using layer masks. For the blending, I put the main house in rst, then began adding the tree layers. Since there were areas of similar colour, I inverted some layers to check the hard-edged bounds, painting on the mask accordingly, then inverting back to normal. With all of the rendered layers in position, it was time for postproduction detailing j. h Quoin blocks are resized to
t the smaller areas and cover upper patio walls


i Render settings that I used

were not far from defaults sets to be combined prior to postproduction

j Some of the di erent render

k The areas applied with

Dodge and Burn tools, plus a grass detail overlay postproduction added as nishing touches

l Various items of

Smoke usually does not rise straight up as there is often some wind that whisks it away. Originally, I had the smoke going straight up and the architect gave me a lesson on how straight rising smoke is indicative of old city slums, where less wind tends to be present. Hardly betting when it came to this multimilliondollar property!

11 Postproduction 1

Once I blended the layers, I created copies of the original layers and turned them o , saving them just in case something went wrong with my edits; you can never be too careful! Next I began to use Dodge and Burn tools in Photoshop. I used varying intensities and shade values. I tried to accentuate the highlights and darker spots. Starting the vegetation, I sent the architect the thumbnail shrub library, so that he could begin picking bushes and owers. I began placing each bush, keeping them on di erent layers and assessing shadows and highlights. Around a lot of the trees I added some taller grass stock from the vegetation library for variation and realism k.

l l

12 Postproduction 2

As Humans Control Nature 3ds Max 2010, Photoshop CS4 (2009)

This project started as a contest image and then became an obsession for two months. The inspiration was my terrarium.

For the chimney smoke, I began with a smoke stock image which I found online. I had to mask the image, blur and reduce the opacity. Lastly I set the blending mode to Multiply. Next I added detail to the yellow frieze with a blackand-white pattern. This layers blending mode was set to Overlay. Including people was a question from the start. In my opinion people can ruin the integrity of a rendering. For that reason I decided to only place them on the upstairs patio at 75% Opacity. This gives an element of scale, but they dont detract attention from the property l.


Artist info

Luis Tejeda
Username: 3dluis :// Personal portfolio site http Country USA, Spain , V-Ray, Software used 3ds Max Photoshop

Incredible 3D artists take k us behind their artwor

I chose to make a combination between wood and metal with no brick, trying to get a modern look for the house. I added a red tree to add distinction to all the dark green vegetation

It took me about three weeks to nalise the image. I used 3ds Max, VRay and Photoshop for the nal retouching. I used a free plug-in called Ivy Generator to do the growing ivy on the wall

For the nal composition, I rendered in different passes. The most important ones were occlusion, reection, refractions, Z-Depth, specular, shadows and, of course, the render ID with which you get more precision to separate different parts of the rendering by selecting a colour

For the lighting I used VRaySun and a V-Ray camera. I think for exterior shots like this one you can achieve better results. I used V-Ray displacement for the grass, then in Photoshop I duplicated the layer, made it darker and erased some parts to make grass patches


Peaceful House

This image was an entry for a co ntest where postproduction wasnt allowed . I elaborated a lighting schem e that would ac centuate di erent areas. With some post production, I later added de tails for more re alism.

I wanted to make the scene inviting to this beautiful house at a certain time in the day. Theres something very serene about a sunset and I wanted to capture this feeling

Software used in this piece

3ds Max V-Ray Photoshop


We talk to Nick Homer about running a small architectural visualisation company in di cult economic conditions

Pressing all the right

to see very positive images of it in full glorious colour, as it used to be in its heyday, was a very welcome change
Nick Homer is the managing director of F10 Studios
Company F10 Studios Ltd Founded 2008 Company website Country UK Software used 3ds Max, V-Ray, Photoshop Expertise Architectural visualisation Client list LCE Architects, Blue Edge, West Pier Trust

team is made up of only three people, but theres a large network of reliable modelling and visualising freelancers, so the team can expand when needed without the overheads, and risks, that have been very apparent over the last year or so. If F10 needs other skill sets, it can call upon some of the many other local creative companies on the doorstep.
A A golden hallway in a hotel designed by LCE Architects b Hotel concept in an urban setting from LCE Architects

ts unusual for anyone to start a business in the middle of a recession, but thats exactly what Nick Homer did with F10 Studios, an architectural visualisation rm on Englands south coast. By starting out when times were hard, though, Nick was able to run a costconscious business, ensuring low overheads and great value for customers. F10 Studios is based in the heart of Brighton, right in the thick of the vibrant and creative North Laines area. The core

What are the main services you offer and areas of CGI that you cover?




West Pier
In April 2009, F10 Studios was approached by Brightons West Pier Trust to graphically restore the pier and provide visualisations that illustrated the pier in its heyday. F10s brief was to capture the true beauty and romanticism of the much loved piece of seaside architecture as it was in 1920. Creative director Glen Bruckland said: The rst challenge was piecing together the original plans and drawings, some dating back to the 1860s. Some of these prints had not seen the light of day in years, and the job of pulling all the information together was a huge task in itself. Fortunately local structural engineering rm HOP was also able to provide several digital drawings, which assisted with the main structural modelling. In order for the images to be convincing, a high level of detail was essential. The West Pier Trust also provided plenty of reference photography from the Twenties, which was vital for adding all these details. In all it took over a month to model, with detailing going down to individual nuts and bolts. Rachel Clark, general manager of the West Pier Trust, said: Being able to preserve and show o to a new generation this wonderful part of British architectural history is extremely important to us. The stunning visuals produced by F10 have done just that, and we are looking forward to working with them on future projects to help our cause.

Nick Homer: We aim to go the extra mile

with both stills and animations, creating compelling imagery that assists architects and developers all the way from concept design through to successful bid applications and marketing tools.

in the detail, and we strive to add as much as possible in the timeframe.

Who are or have been some of your main clients over the years?

NH: Our team has many years of experience

working with many UK and international architects like Fosters, and has been a helping hand in some very high prole wining bids such as London 2012 and Glasgow 2014. We have also worked together with LCE Architects on a number of projects.

photos or paintings of it burning down or in tatters, that to see very positive images of it in full glorious colour, as it used to be in its heyday, was a very welcome change. The goal was to help regenerate interest in the Trusts plight, and we feel we did.

Is there are particular style or philosophy that you bring to your projects?

NH: Understanding the key messages and

What software tools do you regularly employ and why?

NH: 3ds Max and V-Ray are our primary

working out the most effective approach to each individual project is vital. We love to create punchy dynamic images that stand out and grab your attention. To make images convincing, the difference is

What is the most interesting/rewarding architectural visualisation project youve worked on?

NH: Our work last year with the West Pier

Trust, recreating the West Pier in Brighton, was a very interesting and rewarding project. It needed to be a very detailed model, so there were plenty of 3D challenges like modelling from 100-year-old design sketches and worn-out black and white reference photos, and creating many weathered materials quite complex V-Ray blend materials were extensively used. The reaction that the set of images received from people, who were very passionate about the pier, was incredible. I think people are so used to seeing colour

weapons of choice and everything we do is created by them maybe with the odd help from another plug-in or two. We have all been using Max for many years, and so it is second nature now. Like most software, it likes to throw in challenges from time to time, but on the whole it is a very good bit of kit, and with VRay on top, which has established itself as the de facto standard in arch vis rendering, we nd we have a very effective tool set.

How many people typically work on a project, either in-house or externally?

NH: A project can range from one person for

a day or two for a quick CGI, through to collaboration between ten of us and other companies in the area, lasting a month or two. There are many creative companies based around us, so there are always



A project can range from one person for a day or two for a quick CGI, through to collaboration between ten of us and other companies in the area lasting a month or two

e International fountain design project

c Busy at work in the F10 Studios o ce, where a small team means low overheads and costs for the client

d A mixed use architectural visualisation theme for Blue Edge

f A private residential project showing the latest design thinking in terms of materials and style


opportunities to bring different specic skill sets on board. We work very closely with our neighbours Blue Edge (, as their skill sets complement ours very nicely with them producing a broad range of visual solutions that our 3D content can be used in.

Can you give us some idea of the actual production pipeline for producing an image or set of images for a client?

NH: The process can vary depending on the

client and the stage of the design process that we get involved in, but the basic formula

is to start with understanding the key messages. From that we can decide on exactly what the views are of, and so what needs to be modelled. There is no point in modelling things we dont see, so its very important to get this signed off straight away. We then take the clients 2D Cad les and import them into 3ds Max. Plans, elevations and sections are positioned in 3D, and a 3D model built up from these. We stay in close contact with the architect during this modelling process, as quite often designs are not nal or are incomplete, until we have all structural design signed off.

Undoubtedly there has been a slowdown, although there is still plenty of work out there. F10 was set up at the beginning of the recession, and keeping overheads down was always a priority

While working on the lighting and materials, and with all views signed off, we can start adding the extra design details into the 3D model. When all this is complete we render the scene out, using V-Ray elements so we have total control when we are in Photoshop. We will always do a load of elements, in particular a good selection of Multi-Matte elements for individual object control, an AO pass, depth, and also various lighting. Reect and refract ones are always handy.

Have you been involved in any, or would you be interested in working in, the Gulf states, which house a number of very highprole projects?

NH: We have done some big exciting

international projects, but not in the Gulf states yet. We would love to get involved in projects out there with other worldleading architects.

The building and visualisation industries have both been affected by the global recession. Have you noticed any kind of slowdown, and what have you done to counter this downturn?

NH: Undoubtedly there has been a

slowdown, although there is still plenty of work out there. F10 was set up at the beginning of the recession, and keeping overheads down was always a priority. In this competitive market this means we can keep costs low without sacricing quality, which seems to be a winning combination with our clients.

What are your plans and ambitions for the company in the future?

NH: We want to continue pushing ourselves

creatively and technically, and improving our work so our reputation continues to grow. We would love to get involved in supplying architectural work to the documentary or lm industry. If theres a lm being made that is set in Brighton 100 years ago that needs some scenes set on the West Pier, then we can denitely help with that right now!

g A concept hotel designed by LCE Architects showing a luxury development tting into the natural environment

h National Park, design led by Mark Keville of LCE Architects


Artist info

Arkin Esref


Incredible 3D artists take us behind their artwork

Website Country UK Software used 3ds Max 2011, V-Ray, Photoshop, ZBrush

Times of day are always important in visualisation. I really enjoy sunrise and sunset, so I went for a morning feel with the Sun slowly rising and casting a warm glow

Quite a bit of time was spent thinking how the actual site would work; where rebars would go; where they would be stored; what I could add to the scene to make it a little more convincing, etc

Construction site at sunrise 2011

Software used in this piece
3ds Max V-Ray Photoshop ZBrush

I was surng the internet as usual looking for inspiration when I came across images of construction sites in Dubai. They showed modern towers going up in a desert environment, and I instantly thought to myself, Id really like to do an image of this. So I began to gather reference images and analysing construction sites the feel, the atmosphere, etc. I felt that creating a morning image would be best suited to representing the calm before the scene becomes a busy, sprawling construction site



Interview: Daniel Simon ..............................200 Creating a futuristic ying vehicle ..............210 Get that post-apocalypse look ..................... 214 Creating a magnicent Spitre .................... 218 I made this: Simeon Patarozliev................. 234 Modelling a sports car .................................. 236 Lighting the Silver Arrow .............................240 I made this: Andr McGrail.......................... 245 Building a concept car .................................. 246 I made this: Neil Maccormack..................... 252



Personal portfolio site www.skinnercreativ Country UK Software used Blender & Photoshop Artist bio This was my entry for NVART Competition the 2010 held on The the create a futuristic veh me was to icle inspired by the work of concept designer Syd Mead wh famous for designing o is for lms such as Alie vehicles ns, Blade Runner and Tron. Image name Orion 5

Chris Skinner

Artist info


Personal portfolio sit e .mx Country Mexico Software used Maya, mental ray, Photoshop Artist bio Inspired by Syd Me ad wanted to portray a work, I wa quiet sci- scene, hav rm and main character a veh ing as a icle, something huge and heavy that can look protective and safe at the same time. Image name The Fle a

Carlos Ortega

Artist info


Artist info

site Personal portfolio .com www.bearfootlms d Country Switzerlan Software used hop LightWave 10, Photos

Neil Maccormack

Artist bio as an entry The image was made ad for the CGtalk Syd Me being to me competition, the the uristic Fut design and render a le as Syd sty Vehicle in the same was my t Mead artwork so tha 10 to goal. I used LightWave ge ima model and render the some r and then painted ove areas in Photoshop. r Image name Trakke




Artist info
Paul Wesley
Personal portfolio site Country Dubai Software used 3ds Max, Vray, Photoshop Artist bio The concept behind this piece was to design a futuristic automobile that was equipped with ammunition and had defence capabilities. Keeping this in mind, I went with a look and feel that decidedly looked futuristic but at the same time incorporated elements from current or yesteryear vehicles. Image name Karmelion



Company Cosmic Motors Founded 2005 Company website Country Born in Germany, lives in California Software used Autodesk Alias, Autodesk Maya, mental ray, Bunkspeed Move, Photoshop Expertise Vehicle concept design Client list Disney, Marvel, Bugatti, Puma, Rocket Racing League, Honda

Cosmic Motors Daniel Simon Studio

All Cosmic Motors images featured are from the book Cosmic Motors by Design Studio Press (ISBN 978-1-933492-27-8). Copyright Daniel Simon (



We talk to Daniel Simon, a vehicle concept designer using 3D to stunning e ect in his hyper-real visions of a parallel universe

A concept designer creates products that do not exist, yet makes people believe that they could. Its about sparking dreams and fantasies in others and what would the world be without that?
Daniel Simon vehicle concept designer

a Cosmic Motors Gravion Racer 25 Pilot LaGata Donner posing with her winning turbine-powered circle racer


When I render, I imagine being in a pricey rental photo studio. I choose my angles, lenses, colours, materials, backgrounds, etc wisely. My life is too short to render images that no one will remember tomorrow

aniel Simon visualises vehicles of all kinds for feature lms in Hollywood. Prior to his move to California to work as a vehicle designer on such blockbusters as Tron Legacy for Walt Disney Studios, and The First Avenger: Captain America for Marvel Studios, Daniel worked for a number of years for Volkswagen Design and its related sports car brands, Bugatti and Lamborghini, as an exterior designer. Other clients have included Puma, for which he designed a global print ad for

futuristic soccer boots. He also successfully launched his own fantasy label in 2005, Cosmic Motors, which is a virtual studio, so to speak. Its all about the lifestyle: palm trees, blue sky and seductive pilots. But its not all glamorous: to bring his visualisations to hyper-reality he relies heavily on 3D software and spends a fair portion of his time indoors behind a monitor, where he envisions a fantastical parallel world.

Daniel Simon: We all look for balance in our lives. Mechanical beauty and female attraction is haunting me all day, so I try to combine it in my work. Nothing extraordinarily new, I guess, but its challenging. Its not easy to stay away from cheesiness and remain classy. But after months behind a computer its a relief to get outside in the sun and do a production shoot with a real model.
What does working in concept design mean to you?

You design stunning vehicles and work with beautiful women. What aspects of your job do you enjoy the most, and why?

people believe that they could. Its about sparking dreams and fantasies in others and what would the world be without that? So, its not about creating production data (although if it comes to manufacturing a vehicle for a movie then very much so), but more about a spiritual impact. Your art will be seen by a widespread audience from all cultures. There is no package to start from, no pedigree, nothing. You can get lost with so much freedom! A concept designer questions everything in the beginning of a project and does extensive research. Its fun to know a little about everything aircraft, ships, cars, space, manufacturing, architecture, animals, anatomy, history, fashion, photography, colour I love this variety and could never go back to a job that handles only one of these things.

What are your general feelings about 3D modelling and rendering for concepts?

DS: CGI is just a tool for me. Like a pencil.

But no one talks about their tool as much as 3D artists about their software. Sure, it is an interesting subject, but dont over-hype it. Its a tool and they change every year. Let software engineers (and God bless them) talk about it. For artists, all that matters

DS: Its being out of your comfort zone

almost every day. A concept designer creates products that do not exist, yet makes


d Cosmic Motors Camarudo Mono Sport Pod Made for impoverished racers, this cockpit is a practical mix of used spaceship parts


is what you do with it. Your eye, your feel for proportions, perspective, dynamics Its the creative mind piloting the tool. The same applies to rendering: for me, rendering is photography. Everybody can take boring photos with a badass camera. I get so tired of seeing another picture of a HDRI rendered sphere or bauble who cares? Its amazing technology and I am still blown away by it, but why post it on a blog? I dont get that. Say something with your rendering! Think about the lighting, the colour temperature, the mood, the angles When I render, I imagine being in a pricey rental photo studio. I choose my angles, lenses, colours, materials, backgrounds, etc wisely. My life is too short to render images that no one will remember tomorrow.

How did the Cosmic Motors book opportunity come about, and how long did it take to produce, from the galactic story and concepts to the 3D and hyper-real illusions?

DS: In 2005 the president of Design Studio

Press, Scott Robertson, saw my website and dropped me an email saying, Lets make it into a book. I fell off my hammock on a Brazilian beach when I read it. I ew to LA. We polished the concept of it and all was done in 2007.

b Cosmic Motors Nembiquarer An exhausted stewardess taking o after a long day on board this lavish business truck

c Cosmic Motors Nembiquarer This cutaway drawing reveals the trucks tight interior due to its military pedigree

e Cosmic Motors Galaxion 5000 Gangster Coupe A streamline limo, refurbished by heavily armed gangsters prone to style

f Puma ad campaign The design brief from the client asked for experimental-looking, full-leg soccer boots


Cosmic Motors
COSMIC MOTORS is an independent manufacturer of vehicles of all kinds, located in the centre of the Galaxion galaxy. CoMo, as it is a ectionately referred to by its fans, was founded by the famous Redooa brothers in the Galaxion year 8966-B. CoMo soon became a shooting-star company among the big established vehicle makers in the Galaxion system and countless record-breaking CoMo vehicles steadily caught the attention of the public Daniel Simons passion for car design, jet engines, aircraft graphics and scantily clad female pilots is clearly visible in this collection of fantasy vehicles. They are all 3D-built from scratch, rendered to perfection and accompanied by hyperprecise design drawings and sketches. This volume only scratches the surface of many of Daniels ideas, so its no wonder that work on a second book just started. Cosmic Motors, 176 pages, is published by Design Studio Press in hard and soft cover, and is available to order at

Cosmic Motors book cover Order at Hardcover: ISBN 978-1-933492-28-5 Paperback: ISBN 978-1-933492-27-8

g Cosmic Motors Ice Train at Factory Facility This composite of render, photograph and Photoshop painting emphasises the titanic size of the Arctic machine



h Cosmic Motors Camarudo Mono Sport Pod Built for junior racers to compete for lucrative spots in more powerful racing classes

In total, work on Cosmic Motors took about seven years two years full-time. It took forever! It was both fun and torture. But I wanted the book to be more than a quick brain fart it had to be a timeless, quality showcase. Scott, a concept designer himself, became a good friend and an endless source of inspiration.

What work is involved in the creation of your hyper-real concepts, and how long does the production of one of these images generally take?

Then, to render one image I need a few days to nd the right angle and lighting. All maps are custom-made; logos have to be designed. Graphics take days to nish. If it includes a real human model, add a week or so for costumes, location and postproduction. Most images are 10,000 pixels in true resolution, which equates to about 66 megapixels, so theres lots of work to do. On a feature lm its different: its all about speed. Sometimes I have a day for a model, sometimes up to two months.

DS: I rely on Autodesk Alias on a Windows

7 workstation, 64-bit, dual quad-core processor, 16GB RAM and a Quadro FX4600 graphics card (it will be fun reading this again in a few years!). I model NURBS. For creative lighting and rendering I like mental ray through Autodesk Maya. For fast visualisation on productions I run Bunkspeed Shot and Move. I also run a Mac for administrative work. But basically, I hate computers Id rather be the singer of a famous band but hell, I was born with a thrill for design, so I guess Im stuck behind a 30-inch monitor trying to model and machine my ideas. Bummer!

DS: For each Cosmic Motor I would say oneto-six months per vehicle. Its not about the modelling thats the fast part. Its the design work. Some are easy; some drive me crazy. I do many revisions, render daily, try different versions, go back to the drawing board For example, Im still not happy with the Gravion Racer on the cover: there is something weird about it in front view, so I am still ne-tuning it. Also, I dont reuse parts or download stuff. Everything is built from scratch to t perfectly into the design look. The extensive research also takes up quite some time. Per published vehicle I would have about ve unpublished, different versions.

How long did it take for you to perfect your technique?

DS: I wish it were perfect. I am learning

every day, but sometimes I get stuck with old techniques. It was 2003 when I started 3D modelling. I built a teapot in three days and I immediately saw the power of the tool. At that time I was a car designer at Volkswagen, dealing with full-size clay models. I was dependent on modellers extremely gifted talents but I struggled with the process. 3D software was a blessing for my creativity.

You seem to be happy in the old-school world of drawing as well as the computer world of 3D modelling. Can you tell us more?

DS: A pencil is a great tool to throw ideas

What hardware and software is essential to your workow, and why?

out quickly I am not even saying on paper; could be digital. I believe somebody who can draw can work more efciently in 3D. Most people rely on happy accidents on the screen, but I am not a fan of that (although some accidents Ive had have led to cool results). In my work on movies Ive found that every director is different, so its great to be able to make adjustments with either more


i Cosmic Motors Detonator Mk2 No6 Built for bike fanatic droids and unsuitable for humans the posing cosmic siren is misleading



I am fascinated by Daniels mastery of detail that is complemented by a thorough facility in three-dimensional realisation of his stunning designs
Syd Mead artist, futurist, illustrator and conceptual designer


Cosmic Motors Daniel Simon Studio

sketches or more 3D to get the best design results for the director.

Can you tell us how you got into feature lm work, and how your earlier experiences helped pave the path to these opportunities?

Continuing the feature lm theme, youre currently working on The First Avenger: Captain America. What are your contributions to this title and how long do your roles on movies like this tend to last?

Now youre working on feature lms, whats happening to Daniel Simon Studio?

DS: Its idling in the Galaxion Universe.

DS: In 2005 I quit my comfortable design job

at VW to move to Brazil to work on my own designs, which later became Cosmic Motors. I felt it was the right time in my life to take two years off and work on my dream. After I nished, I moved back to Berlin and opened a design studio there, Daniel Simon Studio. Well, two weeks after the opening, I closed it to follow the irresistible call of director Joe Kosinski and production designer Darren Gilford, to design vehicles for Tron Legacy. Ive lived in Los Angeles ever since and work with great people.

DS: Most feature lm projects in

What was it like working as vehicle designer in LA on Disneys Tron Legacy?

Hollywood hire about a dozen freelance concept artists preferably members of a local union so-called concept illustrators. There is so much talent! I am nding my niche amongst them as a specialist for vehicle design. I hope I can contribute to projects using my experience from the automobile industry and my quiet, nerdy interest in all sorts of vehicles. I like to stay on board from the rst concept phase to nal set build supervision, which is about six-to-twelve months. Sometimes I get hired for one week only, to spark ideas. Im never really done with a movie though until its released.

Your work has also been featured in numerous art, design, automobile and lifestyle publications, both print and online. How important is it to promote your work in this way, and what other marketing tricks do you employ?

DS: Private me is rather humble, but

publicity gets you jobs. Through my website happened the book, through the book happened Tron. Try to be unique in some way and promote that. Accept small steps but always think quality. My local hometown paper interviewed me rst, a year later Playboy magazine called. And I try to be present online producing a book trailer for YouTube was surprisingly successful.

DS: I can only say this for now: I guess I

will be proud of no more than three movie projects before I die, and this is one of them. In the feature lm design world many things get changed before they hit the theatre, for various reasons. But the work on this one was different. We can talk about it after its release. It will look incredible!

j Its all about the lifestyle: cool machines, palm trees, blue sky and seductive pilots

k Cosmic Motors Nembiquarer Luxury Truck The front wheels housing propellers can swing forward and pull the truck out of the swamps

l Scene of Starting Grid Preparation Hand-drawn with ball pen and shaded in Photoshop a fun exercise between computer hours



m Cosmic Motors Camarudo Mono Sport Pod Brunella XII is the most successful semi-droid on planet Oosfera

You toured through Japan last year with a series of lectures in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya on car, graphic and computer design. What was this experience like and how did it come about?
inch of that country is designed. I felt like I was on another planet. You think you are advanced? Yeah, right welcome to Tokyo. And the lectures were incredibly different to Western events; so much etiquette, so much bowing! And people are very humble and disciplined. You can nd some of the best designers there and nobody shows it off. Love it!

DS: Everybody should travel to Japan. Every

Each decade of the last 100 years has been defined by what manufacturing process was used in the making of vehicles, and that reflects in the design. Knowing all those subtle differences is only the beginning of a creative adventure
and down 20 per cent or so. The freedom can lead to terrible proportions. The same applies to shape language. Its so subtle. A certain type of radius decides if a vehicle looks Forties, Sixties, or Nineties. The way panels connect; how part lines run over surfaces; if glass is at, bent, or even has a crest line. Each decade of the last 100 years has been dened by what manufacturing process was used in the making of vehicles, and that reects in the design. Knowing all those subtle differences is only the beginning of a creative adventure. scale model collection for Cosmic Motors, but Ive never found the time to bring it to the market. This city hits you every morning in the face with irresistible job opportunities. There are so many movie directors out there I want to work with. And then there is the next book

In your lectures you talk a lot about proportions and design language. Can you tell us more?

DS: Proportion is everything. Thats the art,

and a thin line. Our eyes are so trained over the years to unknowingly nd something attractive, or not. Between a beautiful face and an ugly face there might be only 3 per cent difference. Its the same with cars. A quarter inch here or there will make you think, Ooh, how sexy! or, Oh, it somehow looks lame and fat. And then you model something on the computer and start ddling with volume that you scale up

You come across as an artist who has fullled many dreams in his career already. But are there any new aspirations for the future, or childhood dreams yet to be realised?

When your work on Captain America comes to an end, whats next for Daniel Simon and Cosmic Motors?

DS: If I design vehicles all day Id better

DS: Los Angeles is fast. You never know.

For years Ive worked on the launch of a

know how to y them, so next should be a pilots licence. That cant be so hard. Maybe a helicopter licence one day, too. As for the work, well, my own movie. Some day.


Step by step: Creating a futuristic flying vehicle

Future Flier 2010

Software used in this piece

3ds Max V-Ray Photoshop CS4 Unfold

The mass of the aeroplane is quite simple so that the geometry of this type does not cause problems, even for beginners at model building
Michal Kwolek is an experienced professional artist who specialises in 3D modelling and texturing

Concepts, modelling


The inspiration behind the scene

01 Formula 1 cars
Easy-to-follow guides take you from concept to the nal render

Artist info

of the Sixties were characterised by simple and beautiful shapes. The typical car shape looked like a long tube with a hole in the front. When working on the Future Flier craft, I wanted to re-create this basic shape. The rst step of the work was therefore to collect reference material for vehicles from those years. When I had the necessary pictures, I could start the modelling process.

02 The rst stage

Michal Kwolek
Username: kreska90 Personal portfolio site Country Poland Hardware used Intel Core 2 Quad 2.40GHz, 8GB RAM Expertise Michal specialises in 3D modelling and texturin g

was to work on the shape of a simple sketch, made in Photoshop, viewed from the side. The dimensions werent exact it was more important to get the lines of the vehicle sketched out. At this stage I did not care about details it was all about creating the right shape of the car so that when it came to modelling, it would be much easier to keep the form in the right shape.

his tutorial shows the process of creating the Future Flier image from conception to a nal render. The concept was based on the form of old F1 cars. The image has been completely modelled, lit and rendered in 3ds Max 2008 using V-Ray. The postproduction work was done in Photoshop. The modelling work was established quite quickly, in less than two weeks. The mass of the aeroplane is quite simple so that the geometry of this type does not cause problems, even for beginners at model building. Similarly, the hangar and equipment were very straightforward. After creating primitive models, the poly modelling for the detail parts was simple. The plane materials are standard materials in 3ds Max. The most di cult part of the project was the lighting and rendering, mainly because a few test renders were needed to get the exact glow and desired e ect.

03 After an initial

vehicle concept I decided to draw a more accurate version. The base for the simple model was constructed mainly from primitive shapes in 3D, then this model was rendered and composited in Photoshop. Here I have also modied the vehicle to t the proportions of the interior elements. The modelled ship now has the look of the original concept drawing.


Michal Kwolek

Artis t

Michal was born and lives in Poland, and is 32 years old. Hes been a computer graphics professional for eight years, previously interested in it as a hobby. For six years he was working for an advertising agency using 2D graphics. Currently he is working in the studio as the general graphic artist. He mainly deals with modelling and texturing, though from time to time does simple rendering and animation.


Modelling the vehicle

Creating the sleek lines of the craft

04 I made a model

of the ship using the poly modelling method. I started from a simple tube shape with a small amount of polygons. The tube was converted to polygons on the object and I removed the eld along the y-axis. Next I added the modier Symmetry to the shape of the tube. Now, the shape of the two halves was a mirror so the second half was a reection of the rst. Modifying the rst section modied the second as well. This allows you to obtain a symmetrical shape which saves a lot of modelling time.

05 When I was happy

with the balance of the preliminary modelling of the ship, it now looked liked a perfect tube. At this stage the most important point was to capture the correct proportions. I then cut a hole in the middle and modelled the edges so that they formed a basic cockpit outline. Then the front and ends of the hull were modelled so that the geometry bent inwards into a distinctive air inlet shape.

Kids 3ds Max, V-Ray, Photoshop CS3 (2008)

The work of Kids was created for a competition organised by the Polish portal, graphics. This work took rst place. I really like this picture; it brings much joy to me, especially the modelling of the kids and their parents. It was completely created in less than two months. It also qualied for a CG Gallery Choice Award.

Minotaur 3ds Max, V-Ray, Photoshop CS3 (2009)

Minotaur was formed in a free moment at work. The model took quite a long time, probably nearly three weeks. Originally intended to be a hero without a shirt, it was to be realistic. But I went away from that approach to a more cartoon style. Unfortunately, because a realistic weapon remains, it detracts from the whole image. Maybe someday Ill improve it and make the Minotaur a realistic gure.

I created the main elements of the ship. Not bothering too much about the details, I focused on the shape of the vessel and the proportions between di erent parts. All the elements still used the same Symmetry modier so that only half of them had to be modelled, with the other side being created automatically. When I decided that it had the correct proportions, it was time to start the ne-tuning.

06 In the next stage

08 When the ship

was initially in place it had metal-strut feet, but at the last minute I decided to put them on wheels, which were modelled from cylinders. The cylinders were distorted at the bottom edge so as to look as if they were subjected to a load. The chassis design of the undercarriage is a typical light aircraft arrangement. I made it with appropriately matched tubes that look like pistons.

Andrew 3ds Max, V-Ray, Photoshop CS3 (2007)

Reviewing the work of Daniel Frost, I had the idea of making a steampunk plane named Andrew. Its an amazing idea with large chimneys on a plane I like this type of invention. Creating it in 3D (originally it was a simple bar sketch) was a pure pleasure. The background and water were created in Photoshop. This image qualied for a CG Gallery Choice Award.

aligning the engine I didnt really care about the technical validity of the construction, I just wanted you to be able to see it at rst glance. Therefore I modelled a simple block, pistons and valves. All kinds of tubes, ropes and cables made lines. It has (like the hull) been completely treated by the Symmetry modier to make it faster and easier to nish.

07 When I was



Adding fine details

09 Having the basic
vessel and cockpit completed, it was time to add the details inside it. First of all I modelled a simple chair and then the handlebars for the steering control. These were placed inside the cockpit. Then I added seals around the windows and small air vents in the hull rear. All these elements were modelled with simple shapes and applied with symmetries.

Refining the model and adding textures

10 Initially I wanted

to present the vehicle in a neutral environment. With time, however, I decided the hangar would be more to the point. I modelled it with a cube, thicker layers of gauze and I added an undulating shape of the roof, the whole thing slightly asymmetrical so that sides were not very equal. The side structures were done with lines, giving them a proper thickness and rendering options.

1 0 hours rend
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11 The modelling of

Lighting the image

I wanted to present the scene at a certain time of day with the sun slowly setting westwards. A V-Ray light to simulate sunlight, using a spherical shape, and a light orange-pink colour was created outside. The hangar doors were xed open so that this sunlight could then come in from outside. I used the interesting shapes of the structures and accessories to create chequered shadows around the hangar. The aircraft was also illuminated with spots of light arranged around the area where it rested so that it was nice and bright, despite the sunlight outside. I also tweaked the reections on the paintwork so that they had a more realistic e ect.

ime Resolutio 4,000 x 2 n: ,250

this scene ends with creating the hangar interior. It needed barrels, bottles, boxes of tools and such elements. I wish I had the room to include a convincing character as well, but the perspective would have looked o with someone in it. Most of the objects were created from simple solids subject to minor modication. Besides those, I had taken a cable to connect things up and use fuse boxes and all kinds of electrics. That concluded the modelling process.

were prepared for the vehicle using the Unfold program and exported. Mapping was prepared only for those elements on the side nearest the camera. Knowing that the ship would only be visible from one side helped simplify the UV mapping. The walls of the hangar, as well as smaller items of equipment, possessed a simple map that was added directly in 3ds Max. Then I was ready to take on the UV texture making.

12 The UV maps

13 The textures were

prepared in Photoshop, mainly for the vehicle itself. A 4,096 x 4,096 resolution texture map turned out to be high enough. So I prepared a Di use, Bump and Specular channel render. Other textures were already lower resolutions, but this didnt matter as they were in the background. The oor needed a higherresolution texture as the camera was positioned quite low and close to it. Most of the textures I got free from


Open Road 2009

Step by step: Get that post-apocalypse look

Software used in this piece

LightWave 3D modo Photoshop

Create a barren post-apocalyptic scene featuring a Mad Max movie style vehicle nished with a grungy concept art look
Waldemar Bartkowiak specialises in modelling and texturing

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

Design inspirations
The style for the scene

Personal portfolio site Country Poland Hardware used Quadcore Q6600 2.7GHz, 8GB RAM Expertise Waldemar specialis es in modelling and texturing

Artist info
Waldemar Bartkowiak
Username: mancubus

build a post-apocalyptic style car, like you might see in the Mad Max movies, or Fallout computer games. It needs to be rough, dirty, put together from di erent parts look mean. Most of the parts need to be rusty, weathered and damaged, showing it has been built from junk and that it has a long history on the road. We chose the clich setting on some desert road, which highlights that there are few to no survivors left.

01 The idea is to

Texturing, lighting

n this tutorial, the main goal is to create an image, which has the feeling of 2D art, but uses 3D tools. You can nd a lot of shiny, brand new, realistic car renders out there, but we want this artwork to stand out from the crowd. We feel that concept art really complements the rusty pick-up truck in a postapocalyptic environment better than any other style. To create the image, a combination of 2D and 3D skills will be used. The car will be modelled with a large amount of detail, using LightWave 3D and modo. We want to design a truck that looks as if it could actually have been built in reality, but give it an illustrative nish. For lighting, rendering and compositing, LightWave 3D will be used to match the background. To get the 2D feel, multiple passes will be composited and then combined with overpaint techniques, using photo textures, procedurals and hand-painted elements. Finally, all the layers will be composited in Photoshop.

we used a combination of two popular pick-up trucks: a Dodge Ram and a Ford F-150. Using parts from both of them, the car was customised to make it less recognisable. Of course the car also needs custom tyres and a di erent engine that will stick out from the car body. We opted for a pick-up truck for the vehicle as it will be able to carry a greater amount of armour, fuel and equipment. Plus the survivors can load various objects/ resources, which they may discover in this unfriendly environment.

02 For the base,

03 You cant have

a post-apocalyptic vehicle without weapons. Militia in some countries use pick-up trucks as weapon bases/ ghting vehicles called technicals. While looking for references, we found the big, mean Russian Kord machine gun that seemed perfect for the main gun. Then, you can go on to look for other details and references like rucksacks, fuel canisters, pieces of armour, etc. This research part is very important, and the amount of time you spend on planning your piece at this stage will denitely pay o later.


Waldemar Bartkowiak

Artis t

Im a 3D artist from Poland. I have a generalist background, which allows me to do a wide range of CG work from drawing concepts, lighting and animation to composition. My favourite areas of 3D art would be modelling and texturing. For my day job, I create realistic assets, but in my spare time, I like to create more stylised artworks, like this one. Incident Zero LightWave 3D, ZBrush, Photoshop, Fusion (2009)

This is my admission for the Polish CGTalk contest. I tried to achieve a more illustrative look than a 3D render. The story behind it feels like a cheesy, B-class sci- movie. In a desert laboratory, while researching a new bioweapon, something has gone terribly wrong. A squad of special forces soldiers is sent in to rescue surviving scientists and to retrieve research data. I was trying to get a book cover/ poster look.

Material surfaces
Adding textures and materials

04 The texturing process

for this project was quite unique in that the decision was taken to hand paint most of the textures instead of using photos. We did use some pre-made textures (predominantly from for the base and to add a touch of realism, but the main part of the texturing was done using a Wacom Intuos 4 tablet. Start by painting the base colours for the various parts.

05 After applying the

base colours to the parts, break them up with some procedurals. Procedurals add some variations to the colours and change the tones. Next, create a mask to get rid of the paint from the metal parts and to show the grey steel underneath; you want to achieve a weathered look. You can also add some grunge or noise to make it more interesting.

to add the rust to the plates. To get this e ect, we used a combination of photos from CGTextures and handpainted stains of darker rust. You want to end up with di erent variations and stages of decay for di erent parts. Dont forget to add rust to the rest of the metallic parts of the car. Try to keep the rust to the seams and on the most exposed areas where there is little to no paint, by using previously created masks.

06 Now, its time

This is turntable sculpt from my demoreel called Greed. The life of a noble knight that fought many battles and monsters, completing numerous quests and dangerous tasks, nally comes to an end. He was defeated by his own weakness greed. After slaying the monster and returning with the treasure chest, he gets stuck in the swamp. With the chest full of gold, he was too heavy to move, and starts to slowly sink in the swamp. Refusing to let it go, he dies from exhaustion, but still holding his treasure.

Greed LightWave 3D, modo, Photoshop (2008)

make 07 Next, scratches

in all the metal textures. On the left side of this image, you can see the clear metal, while on the right, you can see it with a Scratch map applied. Paint all the edges with a grungy brush, and make them brighter than the rest of the surface. This enhances specular highlights, and also denes the shapes better. You can also paint drips onto the rusty surfaces under bolts, which combined with Ambient Occlusion, creates a great grungy look. You may need to paint extra highlights on the cloth surfaces to make the wrinkles more visible.

08 The last part

of this stage involves painting dust textures. To do this, youll need to use a combination of procedurals and grungy brushes. Try to add more dust on the lower parts of the car, and less on the top. The most dusty parts are, of course, the tyres, so they will need extra layers on the treads. We included quite a lot of dust to tone down the colours and make the car blend better with the background. Also, this is the time to add the important small details for the nishing touch such as bullet holes, scratches, leaks, etc.



Lighting the scene

Creating the environment

09 Before you start

to work on the lighting, you need to nd a tting background. We did many tests with various photos and tried many angles to e ectively blend the car into the environment. We also wanted to show the empty road to bring a sense of loneliness and isolation to the scene.

10 When happy with

the nal staging of the car, try to get the light to match the background and get the same ambient lighting on the car. Firstly work on matching the light angle and brightness, so you can then work on matching shadows. Try working with black-and-white images, so the colours wont be a distraction, and concentrate on the contrasting and corresponding shades of grey. incorporated into the background, split the rendering into separate passes such as Occlusion, Shadows, Reection/ Specular, Color passes for di erent parts of the scene. By rendering everything separately, you give yourself more freedom within the composition. This is particularly important as we are going for a very stylised and unique look, which avoids a straight CG render feel. Combining and blending all of your passes in Photoshop is the key.

1 hour rend
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12 Once the car is

ime Resolutio 4,096 x 2 n: ,444

the car angle sorted out and the strength of the light matching that in the environment, you can start working on the nal composition. Dont worry overly about the environment itself at this stage, as youll be heavily overprinting it later. In LightWave 3D, use Camera Projection to project the background image onto the ground plate to easily match the shadows.

11 When you have

Modelling the scene

While modelling, the biggest challenge we faced was the placement of the details. We wanted to create the feeling that everything had a purpose and had been placed there for a reason. Knowing that the nal object would be quite heavy, we started with a proxy model of the car and placed all the proxy details on it. The base car was modelled from two di erent trucks and later armour layers and details such as screws were added all over modos Mesh Paint tool is excellent for doing this. We modelled all the details as separate pieces (engine, rucksacks, guns, ammo boxes, etc) and replaced the proxy models with nished ones. The model ended up quite heavy, but with a highly detailed nal result. Many polys could have been removed by replacing them with various textures (tyre thread, for example), but we wanted this model to be able to withstand close-up scrutiny.

13 Once all your

passes are rendered, work in Photoshop to combine them in the right way. At this stage, you can also start working on the background to give it a more painterly nish. We have painted some city buildings in the distance to add a little story to the image. Paint the car render itself to x any errors and to increase the concept art feeling, while also trying di erent colour gradings to experiment with the mood.


Software used
modo 401 Photoshop ZBrush

3D artists explain the techniques behind their amazing artwork

Artist info
Dieter Meyer
Username: Deetz Personal portfolio site Country Canada Expertise I have been modelling highly detailed aircraft for over three years to use in my aviation artwork

Creating a magnificent Spitfire


Spitfire Mk5B 2010


Model and render a realistic Spitre for an animation or for compositing in your artwork
Dieter Meyer specialises in aircraft modelling

he Spitre rst ew in 1936 and made its combat debut in 1939 defending a Royal Navy base in the Firth of Forth, Scotland. Since then, it has been regarded as one of the best ghter aircraft ever built. This article will focus on the modelling of a Spitre Mk5B. This project will require a high level of skill and a good knowledge of working in modo. However, most 3D packages o er the same general methods, so this tutorials workow can easily be applied to other software. There is a great deal of work to modelling an aircraft and I may not be able to cover every aspect of the detailing process. I will be covering the major sections of the aircraft and the general process I follow in creating highly detailed models. The greatest challenge you will face on this project is the ability to keep the model entirely in SubD without the need to freeze the mesh. The benet, of course, is you can control the subdivision level at render time for a higher or lower level of detail depending on your needs. It also allows for a much easier UV mapping process. In the second part of this tutorial, well cover all the aspects of UV mapping and texturing the Spitre.


Starting the model

Creating the fuselage


a Box out the fuselage

using a cylinder with six segments and eight sides

01 Box out the fuselage

The rst step is to box out the basic fuselage by making a cylinder with six segments and eight sides. Make sure its centre is zero on X and delete the two cap faces. Give it a basic oval shape and extend it from the base of the spinner to the end of the fuselage; dont worry about the rudder yet a.

02 Adjust to t blueprint

Your next step is to begin adjusting the vertices so they line up with our blueprint. Press Tab to enter SubD mode. The nose of the Spitre is nice and at so well line up the top of the cylinder here. Take the rst set of vertices and make them into a circle to match the spinner b.

d b Use the conveniently at it needs to nish o looking fairly sharp. Use the Edge Slide tool to move the edge loops and pay attention to how they match the ow of the fuselage. Everything must taper to the rear nicely c.

03 Continue matching adjustments

Now continue the process down the length of the fuselage starting with the side prole and then switch to your top view and adjust the width of your edge loops. Next well need to add ve edge loops at the tail to create the base of the rudder and begin adjusting the vertices vertically to match the drawing.

nose of the plane to line up the top of the cylinder

c Add extra edge loops with Alt+C and Free mode selected d The cockpit area after adjustments to produce smooth, realistic edges

05 Onto the cockpit

04 Rene the rudder base

Here well continue to rene the base of the rudder by adding three more edge loops to help control the thickness. We dont want a bulky looking base here;

The last area to deal with will be the cockpit. Start by adding an edge loop at the rear of the cockpit. Bevel the two faces that make up the cockpit inward and down and delete them. Next well add more edge loops to sharpen the surrounding area of the pit. You will need to arrange the edges after the bevel so they provide a continuous ow with no triangles d.

Artis t

Dieter Meyer

I grew up in South Africa before moving to the UK and nally to Canada. Ive always enjoyed drawing and sketching and using an airbrush to create artwork, but it was around 2000 when I started using Photoshop and 3D software to create digital art. P-47D Thunderbolt modo 401, Photoshop (2010)


Modelled and rendered in modo 401 with all of the textures created in Photoshop. This was an interesting project for me as I had not done a bare metal nish on an aircraft before.



Those distinctive wings

Giving the Spitfire its edge
08 Add the distinctive curve
Now well add more edge loops along the X-axis to give the wing its curved shape. Use the Loop Slice (Alt+C) in Free mode with a count of 2 to add the edge loops. Use the top view to ensure the rear edge lines up with the aileron edge on the drawing; well use this later when we cut out the control surfaces. Move the vertices on the top edges upwards to give it a rounder shape g. e
Included on th Spitre Mk5 e CD is the full B modo 401 so model for the nished you can study result.

09 Join wings to the fuselage


06 Create the wings

Begin by adding a cube with three segments on the Y. Use the top view for initial placement and then the front to get the needed angle, and then scale the end down using the Action Center>Selection option. Do the same for the rear of the wing, making sure its very thin. Remove the faces that are adjacent to the fuselage e.

Extrude the edges adjacent to the fuselage to get the basic wing llet started. You will need to add edge loops as you go and continue to rene the shape. The wings will not join to the fuselage but sit against it. Once you have made the llet, add a small bevel to the edges that are nearest the fuselage to simulate the folded steel h.

e Boxing out the wings and f Adding edge loops and

tailplanes, using various views making the leading edge of the wings round

07 Hone the wing shape

Move the front top and bottom edge backwards to give the wings edges a round form. Next well add some edge loops to start creating a better wing shape. Use Alt+C for Loop Slice and change the count to 5 with Symmetry enabled. Repeat this process for the tailplane f.

g Adding more edge loops h h Placing the wing llet

to form the curve of the wing to sit ush with the fuselage

Towards Kharkov modo 401, Photoshop (2010)

This image uses my previously made Marder III H, made in modo 401, and depicts the advance on Kharkov in early 1943. The backplate is a combination of photographs I took with a lot of painting in Photoshop.

This is the Alfa Romeo I made for the combination render with my Macchi 205. modo 401 being the software of choice with Photoshop used for textures. This was an interesting project for me, learning about race cars from the Thirties and Forties very powerful!

Alfa Romeo 12C modo 401, Photoshop (2007)


Organising your meshes

As you model aspects of the aircraft, you may nd its hard to see which piece is which. An easy method to organise your meshes is to right-click on the layer and choose Fill Colour or Wireframe Colour to better distinguish them. This can be done without creating separate materials, making it very handy.

Rolling and climbing

10 Form the ailerons Part 1
In order to cut out the aileron, rst well need to add two more edge loops that will form the sides of the aileron. Once they have been added, select the faces that make up the aileron and Cut>Paste them to a new layer by using the shortcuts Ctrl+X to cut, N for a new layer then Ctrl+V to paste i.

Cutting in the control surfaces of the wings

11 Form the ailerons Part 2

i Cutting the ailerons

(wing-aps) into the wings to add faces to the aileron wing created by the aileron area of the wing

Now select the edges of the aileron and bridge them so its a solid piece. Make sure to deselect the vertical edge on the aileron or it wont work. Use the Bridge tool with three segments as well need to join the vertices onto the trailing edge of the aileron. Use the Join option rather than Join Averaged so the trailing edge remains exactly in place j.

k Rening the ailerons shape using edge loops

13 Close the gap

j Using the Bridge tool

12 Form the ailerons Part 3

l Filling in the gaps on the m Sharpening up the cut-out

The last step before returning to the wings will be to add four more edge loops to give the aileron some nice, crisp edges on the sides. Take the front upper and lower edges and pull them back to give it a rounded front much like the wing k.

Using the same technique for the aileron, well close the gap in the wing and then join the vertices on the trailing edge. Next an edge loop that surrounds the cut-out area will need to be added. C is the shortcut for the Edge Slice tool well use. Once this has been added, join the two vertices on each corner l.

14 Sharpen up

The last step for the cut-out area will be to add one more edge loop with the Edge Slice tool (C) at the corners in order to make them sharp. The same process will be used to complete the tailplanes at the back of the aircraft m.

i l



Wheel bays
n Creating the wheel
bay reference meshes

We have to put the wheels somewhere!

The Symmetry option

Many 3D modellers like to work with half of the object and then duplicate and join the edges. I prefer to see the entire shape take form and frequently use the X Symmetry option. Even after I have nished an object, sometimes I may need to go back and edit the surface. The Symmetry option makes edits and modelling certain areas a snap.

15 The shock process

This step is one of the more di cult tasks of making a SubD aircraft. It will require more patience and work to get it absolutely right. Begin by creating a six-sided cylinder on a new layer, but dont add any depth. Then, using the Polygon Pen tool, trace out the area where the shock will lie. These two meshes will be used as the shapes to trace onto the wing n.

o Adding the stencil of the wheel bay to the wing mesh p Cleaning up the vertices to form a complete circle q Finishing o the wheel bay, adding caps and sharpening corners with edge loops

16 Position your meshes

Arrange the cut-out mesh in blue as shown. Use the Edge Slide tool to arrange the edges on either side of the cutout mesh so they wont intersect. With the cut-out layer underneath your wing layer, select rst the wing layer then the cut-out mesh layer. Then opening Geometry> Boolean>Drill, use the Stencil option and Last Selected as the drive mesh o.

17 Going full circle

Hide the cut-out mesh layer. Select the faces that make up the stencil area on the wing and Cut>Paste them to a new layer; these will be used later when we make the landing gear. Connect the vertices together to form a complete circle. You will also notice that the top of the wing received the stencil this can be deleted by using Backspace p.

18 Mould the edges

Now well add edges to the corners of the circle and edges to where the shock will lie using the Edge Slice tool (C). Once this is nished, double-click the outline to select the stencil and extend it inwards and downwards (using Z) very slightly, then nally down until its deep enough to hold a wheel.

19 Final wheel bay touches

Use the Bridge tool and Edge Slice tool to connect the edges together to form a cap on the wheel bays. As always, add edge loops to sharpen those edges on the corners. Use the drawing provided to edit your shape so it matches the circle of the wheel bay q.


Problems and solutions
One of the difculties of working with SubD is that in order to rene a specic area, you may need to add a ton of edge loops. If your model is one piece, it may lead to an incredibly high-poly SubD model. When I model an aircraft, I use the major seams on the body panelling to break the model up, which allows me to better control the density of my mesh.

Lets add a frame and some glass

20 Place your window cuts
First we need to add some edge loops to control the mesh when we make our cuts for the window opening. Using the Slice tool (Shift+C), add two cuts, one to the nose at the seam of the engine and then another in line with the aerial. Select the faces in between and Copy>Paste to a new layer r.

Keep it plane and simple

Although I may not have been able to show how to create every element of the Spitre here, for all elements the construction is the same. Start with a cube or cylinder as a base and avoid adding segments initially as this just creates problems. Building from a very basic primitive will help you see where edges should go in order to rene your mesh. Pay close attention to the ow of the aircraft and try to use as many reference photographs as you can to help with modelling accurately.

21 Adding depth

Now we can position the edge loops around the window area to be cut out. Use the Edge Slide tool with Duplicate on to position the new edges. In Polygon mode, Copy> Paste the faces that make up the window to a new layer, then extend the edges of the opening inward to give it depth. Once again, add edge loops around it and the corners to sharpen the shape s.

22 Begin the canopy

Now we can get started on the actual canopy for the Spitre. Well start o with a basic cube with two segments added in X, Y and Z. Place the cube into position and move the vertices to the general shape. Now well begin rening the shape by adding edge loops to isolate the frame and window area t.

23 Divide the canopy

The next part of this construction will require us to separate the front and sliding section of the canopy for further rening. Select the faces that make up the front area and Cut>Paste them to a new layer; make sure to name it accordingly. Now we can continue on the front section without having to add unnecessary subdivisions to the rear section. r Isolating the cockpit area in
order to cut out the windows window of the cockpit

24 Focus on the details

s Cutting out the rear t Box modelling the canopy

area using edge loops to rene using the Edge Extend tool (Z)

u Adding depth to the canopy

Once we have rened our canopy to something close to the real thing, we need to separate the glass areas onto new layers and give the canopy frame some depth so it doesnt look too thin and unrealistic. I select edges and use the Edge Extend tool (Z) to do this a few times, constantly keeping in mind that I want the edges of the canopy nice and sharp u.

r t



Wheels and whatnots

Adding the final details
28 Get in a spin
Since were going to show the Spitre in ight, well need something to act as the propeller blades and the spinner cover. Using the front view, create a disc that matches the diameter of the blades. Use the cylinder primitive; just dont extend it to give it any depth. Lastly, create the spinner, from the front view, by creating a cylinder with eight sides and three segments and scale the edges to match the drawing y. v

Now that we have a Spitre ready to y, the second half of this tutorial will show you techniques for UV mapping, texturing and lighting your new aircraft. Well then place it in a scene and really give it some life! There will be nal scene les in modo plus OBJ models so you can texture using your preferred program.

29 Spit-re power

The last details to add are the cannons, named aptly for their explosive power on the Mk5B and some intakes. Use a cylinder for the cannons, deleting the rear face that extends into the wing. For the intakes, well use cubes and control the round edges by placing edge loops slightly away from the edge z.

v Adding the wheels to the

wings using a cylinder, torus and a disc model the wheel bay doors starting o with a cube

w Using the cut-out mesh to x Creating the planes rudder x y y Adding the propeller

placeholder and spinner

25 The wheels on the plane...

The drawings provided dont really show the detail in the wheel or shock. For this tutorial, well use a cylinder, torus and a disc. Lets start by making a torus for the tyre and delete the inner faces. The disc, after a few bevels will be the rim of the wheel. The cylinder will be the shock. Visit the website provided to add further detail to this area of your model v.

26 Add the wheel bay doors

Now well use the cut-out mesh we removed earlier from the wing to make the wheel bay doors. Use your drawing and delete the areas that arent needed. Use your Edge Slice tool (C) to add extra edge loops as shown and then use Polygon Thicken to give it some depth. Add two edge loops to sharpen it up w.

27 Rudder time

To make the rudder, start o with a cube. Align the cube into position and scale down the rear edges until theyre almost touching. Then begin to add edge loops using Loop Slice (Alt+C) and rening the position. Well need to sharpen the corner near the top the same way as the aileron corners x.

z Adding the cannons and intakes to the Spitre


les ction of is a sele Included you through the ape to guide lus a cool skysc p tutorial, tive propellor. c d.lxo and an a _texture bj _MkVb red.o tu spitre x te _ _MkVb spitre sky.jpg r.psd aps prop blu tures and UV m x te re it Sp


Texture, render and composite the Spitre model mid-ight onto an authentic sky backplate
Dieter Meyer specialises in aircraft modelling

ow that you are halfway through this tutorial covering the creation of a Spitre Mk5B, its a good time to look at what youve done. So far I have showed the workow for the modelling process using modo 401. In the second part Ill cover the aspects of UV mapping the Spitre, prepainting the model in modo and then perfecting the textures in Photoshop. The last stage will concentrate on lighting and rendering the Spitre, before compositing the nal renders to a backplate in Photoshop. The hardest part of this section will be the UV mapping. Youll nd that modo has excellent UV

mapping features and, once they are understood, it will make the process very easy. I generally create three or four highresolution maps for a model, but for the purposes of this tutorial, we will create a single 4,096-pixel map that will hold all of the UVs. Textures will be created in Photoshop with additional textures downloaded from Further reference material for the Spitre can be found at and


UV mapping
01 Mesh layers

Getting started with UVs in modo

As part of my workow, I initially created and named several mesh layers for the model. As we progress through the tutorial, we will combine the di erent layers into a single mesh with one UV map. Areas that have been UVed will be assigned a new material to keep things as organised as possible a.

UV mapping, texturing, rendering


02 Preparing a new UV map

Switch to the UV tab, on the top tool bar. If you cant see your model in the right view pane, just press A. Hide all layers except for the one youre currently working on in this case, the fuselage. On your Lists tab, select UV maps and then New Map, type in Fuselage and hit Enter.

03 Project from View

Select the brace on the cockpit and press H to hide it for now. Hit 3 for Polygons and, in the top view, select all of the polys on the right side. Switch to the right view and then select Project from View. Hit the left square bracket (ie [) to highlight polys not currently selected and click Project from View again b.

04 Adjusting the UV map

Select the left side of the fuselage and scale it in the V to 100%. Because the fuselage is rounded, well need to adjust the UV border to compensate or our textures will look stretched. We dont want to do it for both UVs though, so select both and then activate Fit UVs with the Keep Proportion option. Now select the UV Symmetry: V.

05 Continue to adjust the map

Areas in red indicate that the map is intersecting with other parts of the map. In some cases, this is okay, but not for the fuselage. Start by selecting the edges at the nose and pull them forward until there is no more red showing. Do the same for the rudder. It may be easier to select the edges in the model pane and move them in the UV pane c.

a Organising the mesh layers b Mapping with the Project from View option c c Adjusting the edges to avoid stretching and overlapping

Artis t


Created entirely with Subdivisions, the Macchi 205 proved to be quite a challenge in terms of modelling, but, in contrast, was really fun to texture.

Macchi 205 modo 401, Photoshop (2009)


UV Unwrap tool
06 Exhaust ports
Using the Unwrap tool is a great way to UV map rounded or more complex areas of a mesh eg the Spitres exhaust ports. In Edge mode, select the edge of one of the exhaust ports as shown in the screenshot. Set the Iterations to 2,000 and use the Cylindrical projection d.

UV mapping without Project from View

07 Multiple objects

Since we have six exhaust ports, we dont want to have to UV map each one individually. Select the exhaust port polygons in the UV pane and Ctrl+C to Copy. Then select the next exhaust port in the model pane. Back in the UV pane, Ctrl+V to Paste the UV map, then move it over slightly to the right. Repeat this step until all of the ports are mapped e.

08 Sewing edges

After you have unwrapped the aerial, it will split in half, so youll have to sew the sides back together. To do this, select the edges on one portion of the UV map. The corresponding edges will turn blue for the matching side. Use Selected to sew the blue edges to the ones you have selected. Or use Unselected to move the highlighted edges towards the blue unselected edges.

09 UV Unwrap

After youve sewed the aerial together, use the UV Relax tool to edit the UV shape. Select the polygons of the UV map, with Iterations at 100 and in Unwrap mode, click on the UV pane to edit the map. It should now be more linear in shape rather than warped-looking. Rotate the map to a vertical position f.

d Using the Unwrap tool on

the Spitres exhaust port

e Creating UV maps for

duplicate objects

f Using the UV Relax tool to

adjust the UV maps shape

Humber MkI modo 401, Photoshop (2009)

I wanted to start adding some armoured vehicles to my collection and thought this little armoured car would t well.

The only jet in my collection of CG aircraft. Modelled in modo and textured in Photoshop. The diorama base represents the area in which this plane is stored outside.

Me-262 modo 401, Photoshop (2008)


UV Relax
Sometimes the rst attempt at relaxing the map doesnt work. With Interactive checked, you can continue to adjust the UVs. Each time you click on the map at a vertex point, a blue square appears that can be moved around. These areas are also pinned and allow you to edit the specic section without the entire shape moving.

Painting in modo and Photoshop

Adding a little colour
10 Exporting the UV map
Finish UV mapping the model using the techniques explained. Refer to the les provided as a guide for the di erent areas to see how to go about laying out the UVs. The next step is to export your map as an EPS to open in Photoshop. Go to Texture>Export UVs to EPS and give the le a name of your choice g.

11 Setting up a new texture

Before doing anything within Photoshop, paint in basic colours in modo to get everything lined up. In the Paint tab, go to Utilities>Add Color Texture, then name the le and set it to 4096 x 4096 pixels. If you havent given your model a new texture yet, do so now, then drag it into the new Material group h.

h Setting up the new paint le

in modo prior to Photoshop

12 Painting in the base colours in modo

i Adding the basic camouage

pattern using the Hard brush base colours, panel lines and rivets

j Starting to add the correct

Now, under Paintbrush, select the Hard brush. At this point, you can choose any colour you like as it will be replaced later in Photoshop. Using the reference image provided, you can paint in the basic camouage. No need to worry about the underside as that remains a single colour. Painting in modo also allows you to paint across separate UV maps i.

g The nished UV map ready to export as an EPS

13 Setting up your les in Photoshop

Open the UV map as an RGB at a size of 4096 x 4096 pixels. Next open the colour map saved from modo. Ctrl+click the layer to create a selection and then Copy and Paste it to the UV le, keeping the UV layer on top. You may need to invert the UV layer so that its white to make it a little easier to see.

14 Painting in the base colours in Photoshop

Now that we can see where our camouage is going in relation to the UV map, we can start adding base colours. For the panel lines, use a 1px black line. To create the rivets, use a hard-edged brush. In the brush options, under Brush Tip Shape set Spacing to 300%. Click once to begin and Shift+click to nish j. j




Adding the dirt and light maps

Riveting stuff
When a real aircraft has rivets inserted, the steel of the body is distorted. In addition to the regular rivets and panel lines, try painting in some slight deformations with a soft brush and very low opacity to create interesting undulations in the bodywork. Another step is to duplicate the rivets and panel lines and add a Gaussian Blur to feather them out, thereby creating more subtle undulations to the surface. If the rivets are raised, then switch the colour so the area around them is depressed.

15 Dirt maps

k Bare metal texture

At this stage, we want to break up the clean look of the aircraft by adding some dirt maps. I nd that the site is a great place to start when looking for textures. I tend to use a dirty, bare metal steel, placed on top of my layers and set to Multiply. You can then play with the opacity to see what suits you best k.

added, set to Multiply with 48% Opacity

l Di use Amount map after

desaturation and altering the opacity levels layers of dirt maps added

m Specular map with several

16 Di use amount

Organise your layers in Photoshop so that all of your colour layers are in a single group. Duplicate the group and call it Di use Amount; this will control the light saturation of the colour map. Add a new Hue/Saturation adjustment layer, with Saturation at -100. Hide the camouage as both colours will receive the same light saturation. Reduce the opacity on the other layers as well l.

17 Specular map

I like to create Specular maps with high contrasts between white and black. I usually use a few dirt maps with di erent opacity levels layered on top of one another. Here Ive also painted in some areas where I think there should be more spec for instance, where the aircraft would see greater wear and tear m.

18 Reection map

White being the most reective colour, we now need to alter the various areas that will be reective. Tyres, for instance, should have no reectivity, whereas the metal body should have a good deal. We will control the actual reectivity later in modo. Overall though, the painted reectivity should be kept fairly dark.

19 Bump map

The black panel lines should have the opacity reduced so that when they are placed in the Bump channel, they are not too deep and look trenched. This also applies to the rivets, which are only going to be visible on close-up renders. Give the background a medium grey shade and make sure any Bump layers correspond n.

n The Bump map showing a

close-up of the rudder fabric



Bringing the Spitfire to life

0 mins 3d er time
Resolution: 3,888 x 2,592

20 Assembling the textures in modo

In modo, if you havent done so already, assign the Spitre a material with a unique name. Expand the Material group and use the Add Layer tab, then scroll down to Image Map and load one of the textures that you created. Do this for each map thereafter until all of the textures are loaded o.

Target the lights

To make it easier to keep the Area lights concentrated on the Spitre, create a locator by going to New Item>Locator. Select the Area light and then the locator and, in the properties of the light, select Set Target. Now when you rotate the lights, they will move wherever the locator moves. Just add the locator to your Spitre group.

21 Adding the sky

We now have to decide on how to light the Spitre. Well use our backplate as reference in modo. In the Shader Tree, expand the Environment group. Use the Add Layer tab to load the sky.jpg image. In the Texture Locator tab, change the Projection Type to Front p.

22 Boosting the lighting

We already have a Directional light, but well add two Area lights to help ll in some of the darker areas. The rst will be positioned below, to create simulated light bounce from the clouds, and the second as a light ll opposing the Directional light. Set to Physical Sun with London as a location and set the time to 17:30 with the North O set at 150.

23 Adding render outputs

The Spitre will be rendered in layers. Expand the Render group and use the Add Layer pull-down to add a new render output and set it to Ambient Occlusion. Do the same to add Reection Shading, Specular Shading, Transparent Shading and Di use Shading (Total). In the Render properties, enable Indirect Illumination q. o The texture maps once
added to the material for lighting reference to render in layers

24 Rendering

p Adding the sky image q Preparing the Spitre r Rendering the Spitre

Hide the sky layer for now. Rendering will be done in two stages. The Spitre rst, then without moving your render camera, the propeller place holder, which will be used in Photoshop when we add the propeller blur. The default options will be okay, but Antialiasing can be turned higher to 32 samples/pixel if you prefer r.



Compositing in Photoshop
Adding the Spitfire to your backplate
25 Opening the rendered les
The next step is to add a mask to all of the layers. Ctrl+click the Alpha layer to select it, then Ctrl+C (Copy). In the Channels tab, create a new layer and Ctrl+V (Paste) the Alpha in. Deselect the layer, then Ctrl+click to reselect the Alpha channel. Click on any layer and then hit Add Layer Mask s.

26 Adding the prop blur

Open the render of the prop place holder and Copy and Paste it onto the Spitre. Next, open the le prop blur. psd and drag the prop group onto the Spitre. Now use the Distort option (Edit>Transform>Distort) and use the prop place holder as a guide. The last thing to do here is to erase some of the prop that sits over the spinner t.

27 Layer blend modes

The nal step before we composite our Spitre onto the photo backplate is to adjust the layer blend modes for the various render outputs. Ambient Occlusion is set to Multiply to remove all white areas, while Reection, Specular and Transparent layers are changed to Screen in order to remove the black areas. These can now be ne-tuned to your personal taste u.

v Adding the Spitre u

to the sky backplate

28 Compositing the Spitre

Create a new group for all of your layers and call it Spitre. Open the sky.jpg image, then drag and drop your Spitre group onto it. Resave this as a PSD le to continue the work. Now add a Photo Filter adjustment layer with Density set to 25%; this will help blend the Spitre into the environment v.

29 Motion details

To give the Spitre a sense of motion, we can incorporate some vapour trails and exhaust fumes. Using a ne brush, add a few streaks onto the wingtips and perhaps add a little motion blur (Filter>Blur>Motion Blur). The same process can be used to add exhaust fumes w.

s Creating the layer masks t Adding the propeller blur

to the Spitre

u Adjusting the layer

blending modes

Keeping it real
When creating textures in Photoshop, try to use as much real-world reference as you can. The key is to alter and blend them in such a way as to in essence produce your own unique textures. Sometimes it may not be necessary to create a very worn aircraft, but adding a slight touch of wear and tear can make all the di erence.

w Adding some extra details to the image for authenticity


Artist info

Simeon Patarozliev
Personal portfolio site Country Bulgaria , V-Ray, Software used 3ds Max Digital Fusion, mental ray

Incredible 3D artists take k us behind their artwor

In terms of composition, the image is fairly simple. I wanted to give the car more space to breathe and was wondering if I should remove the opening in the wall, but without it, the image lost a lot of depth and the background itself became too uniform

y as didnt go as smoothl A bank robbery that simple e ag im the g pin kee planned I focused on g the hting, but maximisin in its modelling and lig od blo the details such as impact of intriguing rints ep blu s car er used anoth spattered loot. I rst s. nce ere ref of lot a n ns, the to set basic proportio

The Getaway Vehicle 2010

The lighting was done using the plug-in, Smart IBL. In general, the scene includes a HDRI, a direct light acting as the sun, and subtle V-RayShadows


My modelling techniques arent anything new to the CG world: I use both box and poly modelling. I started the cars main body from a simple box and detached all the parts at the end. The fenders were made using the poly modelling technique, as was most of the other geometry you can see. Modelling this vehicle was an interesting creative process

Rendering with V-Ray, I used Irradiance Map, plus Light Cache. I also added an Ambient Occlusion pass made in mental ray and used simple masks to adjust the colours and the contrast

Software used in this piece

3ds Max V-Ray Digital Fusion mental ray


DX-8 FEV 2010

Step by step: Modelling a sports car

With the popularity of the electric vehicle gaining traction, I decided to create a unique vehicle, something that will appeal to everyone
Billy Cheng specialises in hard surface modelling and mechanical design


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

The inspiration behind the scene

Personal portfolio site http://www.projectreality. Country Australia Hardware used Intel Core 2 Quad 2.66GHz, 4GB RAM Expertise Hard surface modelling is the area that I specialise in, including work in vehicle and mechanical (robots) design and creation

Artist info
Billy Cheng
Username: extreme88

this project was to create a concept car like no others. In order to do this, I needed to gather reference material similar to the style of car I am after. One of the best sources of inspiration for concept cars can be found at The image above contains some of my favourite designs.

01 My aim for

Concepts, modelling

Software used in this piece

3ds Max

02 After studying numerous

vehicle designs from around the globe, I started to piece together what my electric car might look like if it had a Lamborghini Reventon head, Ferrari 458 back and a Citroen GT Concept side. The image above demonstrates the conuence of di erent vehicle parts pieced together in Photoshop.

ue to increasing concern over the environmental impact, demands for electric vehicles are increasing every year. This has encouraged me to start this project. My goal was to create a concept car that is appealing and unique but not too futuristic. Traditionally, the process of modelling a popular vehicle that exists on the market becomes easier when reference and blueprint materials are commonly available on the internet. Without the use of these essential elements, it is di cult to model any object. This tutorial will detail the workow and techniques used to create my concept car. The concept drawing created in Photoshop will be used to assist with the modelling process. In terms of modelling, I will introduce a brief of how to create the body in 3ds Max using poly modelling techniques. The nal stage of the tutorial describes how V-Ray will be used to light the scene.

of di erent car arrangements in my mind. I even incorporated references from nature (like the shape of an eagle) and combined them together using the photo conuence technique mentioned in step 2, before I came up with the design in the picture above.

03 I had hundreds


Billy Cheng

Artis t

I am a 3D artist / freelancer from Sydney. I have been in the 3D industry for almost ve years. The services that I provide include product visualisation, vehicle and character creation, and interactive 3D applications.


Modelling the vehicle

Creating the stylish look of the car

04 The rst thing

we need to do is to create a set of blueprints from the concept drawing. Highquality blueprints are an essential element when it comes to modelling. This will not only help visually, but the accuracy of your model will increase tremendously if you can see precisely what you are modelling.

are modelling a car where references and blueprints are easily accessible, you could draw quick wireframes on them using Photoshop to get a better understanding of how the topology might ow from di erent angles. But in this instance, we dont have the luxury of this, therefore we will need to create a spline cage (like the one shown here) and use this to sketch some quick wireframes.

05 Traditionally, if you

Giant Robot 3ds Max, Photoshop (2009)

This piece is a hybrid between a Transformer and a Gundam type of robot. I worked on this in my spare time. It consists of 2.12 million polygons. All components were modelled in 3ds Max, rendered with V-Ray, and Photoshop was used for post-work.

by drawing some quick wireframe using photoshop on the spline cage in di erent perspectives like the image above, allows us to use it as a guide which will result in a quicker and more e cient modelling process.

my 06 From experience,

MRH Helicopter 3ds Max, Photoshop, BodyPaint 3D (2009)

This model was part of an interactive training application I did for a client. All major components, like the engine and other internal mechanisms, were modelled as well. The nal product consists of over 500 individual components. It was created in 3ds Max and all textures were created using BodyPaint 3D and Photoshop. It was rendered in V-Ray and Photoshop was used for post-work.

This piece was inspired by the Transformers movie; I created this based on a scooter I worked on for a client. I thought the design of the scooter looked pretty cool, so I decided to move it to the next level and created a Transformer scooter bot.

Scooter Transformer 3ds Max, Photoshop, BodyPaint 3D (2009)

as our guide, start by using the poly modelling technique to follow the contour of the spline cage as closely as possible, to create the initial shape. While I am constructing the car, polygon by polygon, I will constantly be looking at all viewports to make sure I am moving the polygons exacting where I want them to be.

07 Using wireframe

08 Without worrying

about the windows at this stage, we are focusing mainly on the main body. Make sure the ow of your model matches what is on the blueprint especially areas like doors and hood, where they will be separated from the main body at a later stage.



Getting the overall look and feel

Refining the model

09 In the initial

stage of the modelling process, it is essential to keep the doors and the main body as one single object to ensure the topology is consistent throughout the entire model. Once the overall shape is blocked out, the next step will involve the detailing of the current shape.

10 It is vital to

get the general proportions correct before we add edge loops to detail the model, because it could get arduous trying to change the overall shape once you have all the details cut into the high poly object.

11 Now it comes

to the part where areas like the doors and hood will be separated from the main body. We do this by selecting the door area with the poly selection tool. Then, under Edit Geometry, click Detach to create a new object, as shown to the left.

3 8 mins rend
er t

ime Resolutio 1,200 x 6 n: 48

equired body parts, it is time to add elements like windows, grill, wheels, headlights, back lights and interior. The nal result is shown in the image here.

separating 12 After all r

The lighting plan

The lighting setup for this scene consists of a target direct light for the simulation of the sun. It is set to a relatively low value and a V-Ray dome light is used for ambient to add a bit of mood to the scene. For example, I usually set the ambient dome light at a quarter of the value of the target direct light. Finally, open up the material editor and put VRayHDRI into your di use slot, then locate your HDRI and select spherical environment as your map type. Once this is done, put it inside GI environment (skylight) override under V-Ray Environment. With the help of the right HDRI image, you should be able to get a realisticlooking render using this setup.

13 Lastly and also

most importantly, I want to emphasise the signicance of the headlights, which are like the eyes of a vehicle in my opinion, they will be the rst thing that attracts peoples attention. To achieve realism in any image, the key ingredient is detail. The image here shows a cluster of elements such as the reector, glass cover and light bulb, which were all modelled as separate elements.


Step by step: Lighting the Silver Arrow

Djordje Jovanovic 3D artist

Mercedes Benz W154 2009

Learn how to dramatically pose and light a 1938 Mercedes Benz W154 racing car to make this and all your future vehicle projects really shine

Software used in this piece

3ds Max V-Ray Photoshop

Find a cool concept

n this tutorial, you will discover the best workow for creating your own virtual studio environment for lighting a reective industrial model in this case a 1938 Mercedes Benz W154 racing car. The studio is made up of a light setup which consists of two di erent light sources, custom reection cards and a background/ base. 3ds Max is our main app with a V-Ray plug-in used as the renderer. We will be using a standard VRayLight as our main (di use) light source, then adding a few standard Omni lights and assigning them to our custom reection cards. We can use this combination to accurately place reections and separately control the intensities for

di use lighting and reections. In postproduction, you can use Photoshop to add some depth of eld (DOF) to the image and do some colour correction. The major advantages of this setup is that the di use light and reections have separate controls and the whole thing can be set up fairly quickly. The major di culty will be the placement of the reection cards because it can take some time to nd the spots where reections will be most e ective. I found some interesting studio images and light setups on the internet that Id never tried before; these are always good for inspiration or to use as reference. Similar inspirational images are shown in Steps 1-3.

01This image provided

some ideas for the overall mood I was looking for. I liked the relationship of the cars semi-reective surface with the dark background in terms of contrast. The position of the main light source, directly over the car, which created a big shadow also appealed to me.


Lighting, rendering

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

properties of the car paint surface in this image and, similarly, the colour of the paint. I also liked the intensity of the reections, the level of glossiness and overall gradients across the whole surface as well as the di use light in the scene.

02 I liked the reective

reections were a fairly obvious choice considering the camera position. I did the frontal view like this image, but I wanted to go with an even wider lens closer to the car in order to accentuate the Silver Arrows front grille and the wheels.

03Almost symmetrical

Artist info
Djordje Jovanovic
Personal portfolio site Country Serbia Software used 3ds Max, V-Ray, Photoshop Expertise Hard-surface and environment modelling, texturing and lighting

Porsche AG


Lighting and rendering

Set up your virtual studio
with the main subject the Mercedes Benz W154. Next we need some kind of a base on which the car will stand, for which you can use a simple plane. And, lastly, of course we need the camera. I like to use VRayPhysical Camera because it has realworld parameters (eg F-stop, Lens focal length, Shutter speed, Color balance, etc). The parameters that di er from the default values are: Focal length 21.0, F-number 2.0 and Shutter speed 20.0. Also make sure your environment background colour is set to black.
VRayLight with Di use settings gives us the overall mood of the image

Modelling the image

The whole car was built in 3ds Max 2009 using standard poly modelling techniques. I started with the front of the car body, which was the trickiest part. The major challenge here was to create a lot of precise details (air vents) on a surface that is curved in all directions, while maintaining the surface continuity. Once that was done, everything else was a breeze. I then quite quickly created the interior of the car, the suspension and the wheels. The tyres and the front air vent were the only other parts which demanded a bit of extra detailing work.

01 Well kick o

02 The main light source

in the scene will be the VRayLight placed directly above the car; the Type is set to Plane. The light area should be slightly longer and wider than the car and have its colour set to pure White. In the light Options, make sure that A ect specular and A ect reections are unchecked, while Cast shadows and Invisible are checked. This way youll have a light source that emits di use light and casts shadows, but doesnt create any reections or specular highlights on the car. Play with the intensity until you are happy with the mood.
Creating the rst reection card for the front reections

we rst need to add a simple plane. This one is placed directly in front of the car and tilted slightly forward. The plane has a VRayMtl applied to it. Di use color is set to White and theres a JPEG added to the Opacity slot, which is just a basic black-to-white linear gradient. All the other material parameters are set to their default values.

03 To add some reections


a standard Omni light placed between the card and the car. On this one you need to make sure that the shadows are turned o . The most important thing to set here is the Include options. You need to include only the reection card to this light. This way the light will only cast its rays onto the card, which will then reect back to the car, giving us independent control over this reection.

04 Now we need

Djordje Jovanovic

Artis t

As a son of a photographer, I became involved in visual arts from an early age. Im currently working as a freelance 3D artist specialising in hard surface and environment modelling, texturing and lighting.


Custom Humvee 3ds Max, V-Ray, Photoshop (2010)

I always had a fascination with old, rusty mechanical stu , like construction or military machines and vehicles, so wanted to create something on the subject. This customised Humvee was made to satisfy that desire and learn new techniques along the way. Modelled from scratch in 3ds Max and rendered with V-Ray.

two more reection cards, using the same process as Step 3. These two planes should also be placed above the car and rotated slightly downwards. However, these planes should be placed more towards the rear of the car. The camera is set to use a wide-angle lens which produces distortion; by moving the planes closer to the back of the car, we are able to minimise these e ects and ensure reections are almost ush to the cars body.

05 Next we need to add

The camera is set to use a wide-angle lens which produces distortion; by moving the planes closer to the back of the car, we minimise these effects

Hudson 3ds Max, Maya, mental ray, Photoshop, BodyPaint 3D (2010)

My desire for creating old mechanical stu wasnt quite satised with Custom Humvee so I decided to make some more. This time I had a great time modelling the old Hudson steam locomotive in 3ds Max, rendering it with mental ray inside Maya and painting textures in BodyPaint 3D and Photoshop.

Hiroshi Sambuichi 3ds Max, V-Ray, Photoshop (2009)

06 For the nal step

of this lighting stage, we need to create two more Omni lights. Place them just above the car in the middle of the scene. Set them up as per Step 4, but include the left card to one light and the right card to the other. This way you will have separate intensity controls for each card. By this point, youll be able to see the e ect of the gradient in the Opacity slot; it creates a nice fading-out reection instead of a solid white line.

While browsing through a local bookstore, an image of a Japanese interior stuck in my mind. I noted the name of the architect and, a few months later, when I nally found some free time, I created this image. Its an interior of a rural Japanese house designed by Hiroshi Sambuichi. I created all the geometry from scratch in 3ds Max and rendered using V-Ray.


Add some depth

How depth of field was created

01To quickly add

a DOF e ect to the image, we rst need to render out a Z-Depth pass. A ZDepth is a greyscale image, similar to an Alpha channel that is a graphical representation of a scenes depth. Go to Rendering>Render Setup>Render Elements and add Vray_Zdepth to the list. Next time you hit Render, youll get a Z-Depth pass alongside the standard RGB pass.

scene size and default 3ds Max units, you might have to play with the Z-Depth Min and Z-Depth Max values in the Z-Depth parameters y-out menu. Basically you need to get a whole range of greyscale tones starting from white and ending in black, while maintaining the visibility of the whole car geometry.

02Depending on your

03There are a few solutions

for adding DOF in post. I like to use the DOF PRO plug-in for Photoshop by Richard Rosenman, mainly because of its speed, quality and the options you get. Adding DOF in Photoshop is as easy as loading your original RGB pass, starting the plug-in, loading the Z-Depth pass and playing with the size and shape options.

This image is almost texture free. The one texture I did use was to create details on the tyres. It was a standard black-and-white image used as a Bump map.

DOF in Photoshop is as easy as loading your original RGB pass, starting the plug-in, loading the Z-Depth pass and playing with the options

1 . 4 hours ren
der tim

Focus on postproduction
Apply finishing touches

Resolution e 3,500 x 2,161:

Lighting issues for 3D vehicles

Depending on the e ect youre attempting, you can run into a lot of di erent issues when lighting a car. However, there are some universal things that need to be taken into consideration. The rst is the key relationship between the subject and its environment in terms of space, composition, colour and contrast. Next is the position of the main light source and the shadows, which can make the di erence between a dramatic or peaceful scene. Then there are reections. The position of the reections across the car body, their intensity and shape can make or break an image. Finally the body paint material is also an important factor that can a ect all lighting aspects.

01Usually when

working on this kind of mechanical-based image, I try to do as much as possible with the 3D software, leaving very little to do when it comes to the postproduction stage. However, sometimes I do play a bit with the image in Photoshop to enhance a model and its environment. In this case I just toned down the saturation a little in the Hue/ Saturation options and then tweaked the Curves adjustment very slightly. for Photoshop called 55mm Digital Optical Filters developed by Digital Film Tools. This plug-in allows you to do many things, but I use it mainly for its Chromatic Aberration tool. In optics, chromatic aberration (also called achromatism or chromatic distortion) is a type of distortion in which there is a failure of a lens to focus all colours to the same convergence point. Adding this kind of subtle distortion can add an extra layer of realism to a 3D illustration.

a cool 02Theres plug-in


Andr McGrail
Username: Verasl Personal portfolio site nz land Zea New Country Software used Modo401, Photoshop

Incredible 3D artists take k us behind their artwor

Artist info

The entire bike is made in SDS subdivision in modo, giving it the ability to be rendered close up by automatically adding polygons; it also ensures there are no very sharp edges, getting rid of the CG look

With my lighting I used the new SLIK kit from Luxology, a kind of content pack with premade studio lights and tons of options to set up any type of real-world photography lighting. This, mixed with global illumination, gives a professional-looking render

Suzuki Intruder 250LC 2010

Software used in this piece
modo Photoshop

working for a portrait piece Im Ive created the bike my the bikes owner on which will include t. Since the bike in the deser on d en beautiful girlfri tter be t ou d ne tur d piece an its the rst nished duct pro a t ou r de ren to ed than expected, I decid logy. w SLIK kit from Luxo style shot using the ne

I wanted it to resemble a professional photoshoot, so spent a lot of time moving lights so reflections look sleek and simple, to bring out the bikes shape


Building a concept car

Sting Ray 2010
3D artists explain the techniques behind their amazing artwork

Tyree Ross
Username: O cialist Personal portfolio site Country USA Hardware used Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 3GHz, 8GB RAM Expertise Tyree specialises in 3D concept art

his tutorial will show how the Sting Ray was created. My thought process behind the idea was to create something that was on the border of reality and fantasy, yet still with a designer edge to it. The idea was to create something fresh and completely original. The biggest challenge in modelling a concept design is knowing where to begin. This tutorial will assume that you are already familiar with the basic modelling nomenclature of 3ds Max. I will give a broad overview of the steps used to create the Sting Ray. While creating the vehicle, I used the box modelling technique with editable polygons. The big challenge faced in the completion of this image was welding the vertices. Although it is tedious, it has a rewarding feel when you reach your nal render. Correct geometry is so important when modelling vehicles. 3ds Max was the software used for the modelling, along with mental ray renderer.

Artist info

My thought process behind the idea was to create something that was on the border of reality and fantasy, yet still with a designer edge to it
Tyree Ross specialises in 3D concept art


Modelling, texturing, rendering
01 Drawing the blueprint
The rst step is having your idea on paper. Draw as much detail as you need to help you model your design. The template doesnt have to be detailed, but have just enough detail to get you the basic shape of the concept vehicle. The template or drawing will be the top and side portion of the tutorial a.

02 Digitise your drawing

Scan your blueprints into your computer using Photoshop or any other software that you have to scan your images. Try to save them with the same measurements: it will make it easier when you import them into 3ds Max. I used Adobe Illustrator to redraw the design, just to make sure that the curves were neat and precise b.

03 The setup

Start o with two planes. The rst plane will be in the top viewport. This will be for your top blueprint material. The second plane will go in the right viewport for the side view. This plane will have the side-view material . Be sure to make the material active in the viewport. In the Hierarchy tab, check all boxes to keep the planes from moving during your modelling. Once the planes are set up to your liking, add cylinders where the front and back wheel would be and lock them into place as well c.

Software used in this piece

3ds Max mental ray

B The blueprints need not be detailed. The idea is to concentrate on achieving the shape

a One plane will be in the top; place the second plane in the right viewport

C Adding cylinders is completely optional. When dealing with

distinct shapes, use extra references


Modelling the car

04 Sculpting
In the top viewport, make a box with four segments. They will be divided by height and width. Convert the box to an editable poly. Use polygon mode to start shaping the wheel well. Try to start at the bottom of the wheel-well and work your way around the cylinder, extruding the polygons. Once the wheel-well has been created, extrude the wheel-well to start shaping the front end d.

Box modelling is the best approach

render time
Resolution: 3,000 x 2,100



05 Basic shape

Once you have extruded the polygons to the second wheelwell, start extruding the top and side of the vehicle. Be sure to wedge the vertices together as you get closer to the rear of the vehicle. It should stop just behind the back wheel. In the middle of the base, extrude inward to create the opening for the pedals. Also, model the base of the vehicle to make the seating area e.

e Model wisely with the polygons. Less is more and more can be a headache

Problems and solutions

I found that welding and chamfering are very powerful in modelling. Welding vertices can be so helpful in making complex shapes, but at the same time troublesome in lining up the vertices. After a few models you will get the hang of it. Later I found out that using the scale tool while having two vertices selected will bring them closer together. That alone cut my work down by hours. Once I was introduced to chamfer, I was amazed that the look that I have been wanting for so long for the 3D images was right under my nose. It is a process like any other technique. It has its own separate properties to get use to. As always, practice makes perfect. Detail, in my opinion, will make or break your image, aside from the design. The more detail you have, the better. People will always remember the detail you put into your work.

06 Cut and weld

d Be sure to stay true to the blueprints

In the front of the vehicle, cut two polygons in half. By doing this, we are outlining where the glass and the vehicle meet. Perform the same for the rear of the body. By doing this, you are dening where the glass ends and the vehicle begins for the rear wheel. We will cut the shape of the grill and both lights in the same manner. With the polygon mode, extrude the grill and lights inward. Select all of the polygons in the light casing and copy them f.

f Basically you are outlining

where details will be added later



Lighting and rendering

Lighting is very important when rendering your image. Too much light can make the materials look cheap. If there is not enough light, you will not see all the hard work and detail that was put into your model. Not to mention, too much light can make your render time longer. In the rendering settings, I make sure that my Gather points are set anywhere from 750 to 1,000 and check global illumination. Use a Skylight setting of 1.5 without this the scene will be very dark. You can also add other lights such as spotlights and omnis. I try to use three lights in some renderings. Only one light will be used for ray-trace shadows and the others will be at a lower intensity to assist with the lighting.

i g Detaching and welding is tedious, but when it is completed it is worth it h The best part of this method is the exibility you can have with the design i Space the rst copy just right. When its duplicated, it will ow with the bend

07 Detach and attach

Select all the polygons that would make the glass and detach them. Select the glass again; with all polygons selected, extrude slightly. From the corners of both headlights toward the wheel-wells, detach and drag the inner edges downward to connect the vertices. Now that all three sections are separated and edges are connected, chamfer all edges and corners to dene the Sting Ray. Chamfer the edges within the extrude as well. For the nishing touch, extrude two edges toward the back wheelwell and connect the vertices g.

10 Final details

Make a box with three sections on the top portion to create the seat. Convert the box to a polygon and bevel each square individually. Raise each polygon slightly to form the cushions and add cylinders to each connecting corner. Repeat the same steps for the back cushion. Take three polygons from the back of the seat frame and extrude them to wrap around the tyre. Delete the middle polygons on both sides and reconnect them to make an opening. The steering wheel, buttons, monitors, light bulbs and gas pedals were all made with basic shapes j.

08 Custom chrome wheels

Start o with a Gengon and make sure that it has llets at each corner. Convert it into a poly and extrude all sides by polygons. Extrude a second time and move them forward slightly. Extrude a third time and chamfer the edges. Create a cylinder and convert it to a polygon. Select all vertices in the middle of the cylinder and scale down slightly to create the rim. Pull back the outer edge of the cylinder and chamfer the edges. Scale both objects to create a realistic custom wheel h.

09 Simple tyre tread

For the tyres, create a plane with sections ranging from six to eight. Convert it to a poly. Extrude the polygons to your desired tread. On both ends of the extruded poly, bring the vertices out to create a slope in the tread. From here, copy the tread 25 to 35 times, and group or attach them together. Now bend them in a 365 angle. Take the outer vertices and scale them downward and add a vertex weld to your modier stack i.

j Cylinders, tubes and boxes

were all used to make the console


Applying textures and materials

Applying textures is where everything comes together

Overall material
All of the interior textures were multi/sub-object materials. Although it saves space in the material editor, the polygons will shift once you smooth it. The tyre material is a standard material with a dark grey di use and low Specular and glossiness setting. k Set the value of the shellac
colour blend to 85

l l You can change the colour in the di use map to achieve di erent e ects m Set the refraction in the fallo to 1.5

11 Making car paint

Make a shellac material. For the base material, the Specular level is 120 and glossiness is 60. Go to the di use and choose fallo . Set the rst colour to black and second colour to dark grey. Change the fallo type to perpendicular/parallel. Change the line to a curve to where the two endpoints touch the left and top line. Go to the parent and go into the shellac material and change it to a ray-trace material. Change the di use to black; Specular level is 160 and glossiness is 90. Go to Reect and choose fallo and fallo type Fresnel k.

13 Chrome paint material

12 Tinted glass material

Start o with a standard material. Change the shader parameters to Phong and check 2-sided. Change the di use colour to black. Specular level is 100, glossiness 60 and soften is 0.4. In Extended Parameters choose In; Amt is 100, Type is subtractive and Index of Retraction is set to 1.32. Reection Dimming is checked, with the Reection level set to 3.95 l.

The chrome material is similar to the car paint material except for a few things. Your base material is a raytrace material. Shading is Phong, the di use is black, and your fallo material in the reection slot is set to a light grey (and the bottom colour is white). Specular level is set to 100 and the glossiness is set to 70. The shellac base is a standard material with the Specular level at 100 and glossiness at 20. The shellac blend is 50 m.

Artis t
Tyree Ross

I have been drawing since the age of ten and a graphic artist for seven years. I was introduced to 3D artistry six years ago. In college I fell in love with 3ds Max. Since then, I have been self-taught with my modelling.

The Boss is my interpretation of a concept Harley-style motorcycle. It was built with two motors, dual exhaust and wide tyres for handling.

The Boss 3ds Max (2010)



Lighting and rendering

The lighting process is always trial and error

Studio appearance
To achieve the studio appearance, draw a line in the right or left viewport. This line will be in an L shape. Once the line is drawn, select the joining vertices and apply a llet. The llet will allow the corner of the line to curve. Apply a lathe to the line and set the lathe to max. This will create a wraparound scene to help with lighting and reections of reective material.

n The box will only render as a reection on the vehicle

o Multiplier settings, along with the global illumination, can be increased to make the scene brighter

14 The illusion of light

Create a box the same width as the vehicle and raise it above the vehicle. In Object Properties, uncheck visible to the camera, receive shadows and cast shadows. Make a material to apply to this box to give the illusion of light shining down. Create a standard self-illuminating material of white, with an output of 3.0 RGB in the colour eld n.

15 Using the skylight

Add a skylight to the scene from the lights menu. Without the skylight, the scene will not be illuminated. Set the multiplier to 1.5, with the sky colour set to white. The placement of the skylight does not matter as long as it is in the scene when it is time to render o.

16 mental ray setup

Choose mental ray as your renderer. Under the Indirect Illumination tab, enable Final Gather and set the rays per FG point to 1,000. Set the FG Point Interpolation to a radius of 15.0 and a min of 0.1. Also enable the Global Illumination and set the maximum photons to 500. For the Renderer tab, change the samples per pixel to a max of 16 p.

p Get the right settings in the mental ray engine to produce a quality nish to the render

Breezer 3ds Max (2007)

The Tear Drop was a concept based from the Sting Ray. It has speakers behind the seat and a dual exhaust for life in the fast lane.

Tear Drop 3ds Max (2010)

A futuristic zipline car. It is built for speed with a streamlined look and is lightweight due to its size.


Artist info

Neil Maccormack

Incredible 3D artists take k us behind their artwor

Website Country Switzerland 10, Software used LightWave Photoshop CS4

Decide what the main focal point of the image is and stick to it. Dont try to give the viewer the whole story; let them imagine some things for themselves

Software used in this piece

LightWave Photoshop

Carrier 2010

i- movies, pired by classic sc age that was ins im an , looming te ge ea cr lar a to I wanted an by having to portray that th y s to evoke wa wa r t tte ep be nc at co e and wh rocky planet? Th y, st du a ture, or on g e on Earth in th fu spaceship landin uld be happening co g ents m din ele lan c e th sti d some reali the idea that ote planet I mixe m re r, fa e m so maybe on lievability. es to increase be with futuristic on

Only include detail where you need it. The background ships are lowpoly and low-res; I didnt need them to be high-res because theyre only featured to give an idea of depth



To create the notion of scale and size, I painted some small characters in the foreground. This helps the viewer believe that the ship is huge in comparison, adding to the grandeur of the image

tri Spe al ci of al fe r

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