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3D Art

& Design
Boo
The

Volume 3

Inside

Photoshop
3ds Max Maya
Cinema 4D
ZBrush

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Welcome to
The

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

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The

3D Art
& Design
Imagine Publishing Ltd
Richmond House
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Aaron Asadi
Head of Design
Ross Andrews
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Hannah Kelly and Sarah Harrison
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Greg Whitaker
Design
Lauren Debono-Elliot
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James Sheppard
Cover image
Matthew Burke
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William Gibbons, 26 Planetary Road, Willenhall, West Midlands, WV13 3XT
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Disclaimer
The publisher cannot accept responsibility for any unsolicited material lost or damaged in the
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be reproduced in whole or part without the written permission of the publisher. All copyrights are
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This bookazine is fully independent and not affiliated in any way with the companies mentioned herein.
The 3D Art & Design Book Volume 3 2014 Imagine Publishing Ltd
ISBN 978 1909 758 933

Part of the

bookazine series

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08 of CG software
The evolution
Character

Photorealism
70

Make a realistic human portrait

18

Create a portrait

Architectural
visualisation

24

Render your character's skin

48

Build a wooden interior

77

Gallery: Then Flying The Youth

26

Sculpt intense facial expressions

52

Build C4D arch-vis assets

78

Design a stunning dress

30

Design and model sci-fi characters

56

Make atmospheric renders

84

Create hair and fur

37

Gallery: Equilibrium

63

Gallery: Butterfly

91

Gallery: Photorealistic CGI

38

Mesh-shatter your characters

64 Add post-production touches

92

Bring still-life objects to life

45

Gallery: Fatal

67 Gallery: Contemporary Living Room

6 3D Art & Design

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161

154

178

171
Environment

Vehicle

Animation

100 Build a city in 60 minutes

134 Model a complete car

166 Animate a dialogue shot

106 Use modular textures

141 Gallery: No More Gas

171 Gallery: CTN Animation Expo Kirk & Lucy

112 Create a videogame environment

142 Build a vehicle game asset

172 Shatter moving characters

118 Build matte paintings

149 Gallery: AEG27Cern 05

178 Master blend cycles

124 Create underwater renders

150 Create Bunkspeed renders

131

154 Model a fighter jet

Gallery: Seedy City

185 Gallery: General Shellshock


186 Animate vehicles

161 Gallery: Waldo


162 Create wireframe renders

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3D Art & Design

Evolution of CG software
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THE

EVOLUTION
OF

CG SOFTWARE

From early wireframes to Avatar, we talk to the


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

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Leader of the Yost Group, which


created and developed an early
version of 3ds Max

Gary Yost

Lead designer for 3ds Max.


Worked with the original creator
of 3D Studio (Bent Image Lab)

Fred Ruff

President of the LightWave 3D


Group, a division of NewTek Inc,
with numerous lm credits

Rob Powers

Author of Cg101: A computer


Graphics Industry Reference.
Technical director at ILM

Terrence Masson

Senior software engineer at


MAXON. Co-writer of the
precursor of CINEMA 4D

Philip Losch

Hired to dene, test and abuse


software such as Maya. Has
Oscar-winning animation work

Chris Landreth

Senior developer and


programmer of CINEMA 4D at
MAXON studio

Tilo Khn

Main developer of 3D Studio, as


well as its precursors and
prototypes (Yost Group)

Tom Hudson

Founder of Derivative and


co-founder of Side Effects
Software Inc.

Greg Hermanovic

Co-founder, chief executive


officer and president of Side
Effects Software Inc.

Kim Davidson

Inventor of Bump-mapping, the


Blinn-Phong shading model.
Researches realistic rendering

Jim Blinn

Head of computer animation at


Omnibus. Early work at Alias
working on PowerAnimator

Will Anielewicz

Evolution of
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3D Art & Design

Evolution of CG software
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01

02

HOUDINI & PRISMS


My big break came in 1985, begins Kim
Davidson. I was hired at Omnibus
Computer Graphics in Toronto as a
programmer, helping it develop its internal
3D animation software. The largest
computer graphics company in the world,
Omnibus was already using mainframe
computers to create ying logos and station
IDs as well as boasting state-of-the-art
computer animation studios in Toronto, New
York and Los Angeles. It was here that
Davidson rst met Greg Hermanovic who,
after a background as a programmer
working on everything from real-time ight
simulators to a training simulator for the
Space Shuttles robot arm, was hired as the
new head of the Toronto R&D team.
Together, they began developing the early
version of Houdinis predecessor: Production
of Realistic Image Scene Mathematical
Simulation, or PRISMS. However, their time
at Omnibus was short-lived. In 1987, after
having swallowed both Digital Productions
and Robert Abel & Associates, the company
that had seemed so powerful suddenly went
bankrupt under the weight of its many debts.
I dont think of myself as entrepreneurial,
or a risk-taker, but I loved it so much that
when Omnibus went bankrupt in 1987, I
didnt hesitate to jump into starting a
company so I could continue working on
computer graphics in Toronto, explains
Davidson. There was nothing close to what
we had created at Omnibus and that was
the reason for starting Side Effects.
Luckily, the struggling Omnibus had
licensed PRISMS to other companies in
order to bring in extra revenue. This meant
that when Davidson and Hermanovic
acquired the rights to PRISMS, they had their
rst licensed customers right from the start.

Evans & Sutherland founded,


marking the rst computer
graphics company

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

UNIX operating system developed


by Kenneth Thompson and
Dennis Ritchie at Bell Labs

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1972

First public demonstration


introducing the computer
mouse by Doug Englebart of SRI

1969

10 3D Art & Design

1968

CG software: a few
key events

computer-generated sequence for Star Trek


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

1968

e may not think about it


often, but its difficult to
go even one waking day
without some form of CG
somehow making its way past our eyes.
Whether in adverts, music videos, YouTube
streams, screensavers, or any other number
of computer-generated imagery, the art form
has fully entrenched itself in our day-to-day
lives. Strange then, to think that just 50 years
ago there was effectively no such thing.
By the late Sixties, the few computers in
the world capable of producing any form of
line-drawn animation cost the equivalent of
nearly $700,000 today, were the size of a
bunk bed and used only paper tape. Even
computer science itself was so unheard of
that when computer graphics pioneer and
inventor of Bump-mapping Jim Blinn
attended the University of Michigan in 1967,
it wasnt even offered as a subject.
However, during the early Seventies, hubs
like the University of Utah began to
showcase 3D imagery produced by pioneers
like Blinn. There were early examples of
shaded 3D CGI, produced with framebuffers for display on TV monitors, and even
the rst 3D, computer-animated graduate
shorts like A Computer Animated Hand, by
Fred Parke and future Pixar founder Ed
Catmull. Nevertheless, CG remained
something only a programmer could
realistically develop for some time to come.
Also, bizarre by todays standards, special
effects in the movie industry were by no
means prevalent. In fact, when George
Lucas began to produce Star Wars in 1973,
he quickly discovered that the Special Effects
Department at 20th Century Fox was
actually no longer operational.
It was in order to create the effects
required to match Lucas vision that
Industrial Light and Magic was born in 1975,
and the result of its work is hailed today as
one of the rst examples of the modern-day
blockbuster. Star Wars even included 3D
effects. A year after a brief 3D-digitised
representation of a face and hand was rst
seen in Futureworld, 1977s Star Wars Episode
IV contained the rst truly extensive use of
3D computer-generated imagery and
animation ever seen in a feature lm, during
a very basic, untextured wireframe sequence
of the Death Star trench.
Larry Cuba, back in the Sixties and
Seventies, single-handedly completed the
wireframe of the Death Star simulation in the
original Star Wars, explains Terrence
Masson, author of CG101: A Computer
Graphics Industry Reference. He tells us that by
1982, ILM had produced the rst entirely

A Computer Animated Hand, a short by


Ed Catmull and Fred Parke, is developed
at the University of Utah

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

Evolution of
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03

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

04

03 The Omnibus team in


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

Emerging as early as 1989, PRISMS


was extensively tested by the
founders of Side Effects, Kim
Davidson and Greg Hermanovic

04 SIGGRAPH 1993

NEW STUDENTS ARE BETTER IF


THEY UNDERSTAND THE
EVOLUTION OF THE SOFTWARE
AND WHATS BEEN MADE WITH IT
THATS ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL

1974

1972 The
University of Utah

TERRENCE MASSON, independent VFX supervisor

AMC-SIGGRAPH, the special interest


group of the Association for Computing
Machinery, is rst established

Martin Newell develops the now


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

Bump-mapping is
introduced by Jim Blinn
and Martin Newell

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The other big milestone probably was the explosion of


commercialisation in the Seventies Terrence Masson

1978

Its amazing how many advancements have happened in


computer graphics over the last 25 plus years. Mobile phones
have graphics capabilities that far exceed the early graphics
workstations and at a fraction of the cost and size, says Kim
Davidson, co-founder and president of Side Effects. However, Im
frustrated that Side Effects and the industry arent further than we
are. There were animated CG humans 25 years ago The
industry is just doing more a lot easier, but I dont think we are
doing it a whole lot better. The majority of animation is still done
by an animator sitting with a mouse moving a limb and creating a
keyframe and its still nearly impossible and expensive to create
photoreal CG humans. John Pennie, president of Omnibus, said in
1986 that in two years we would be creating CG humans that were
indistinguishable from real actors I knew it wouldnt be two
years, but I thought it would be a reality 27 years later. So for all
the accomplishments we have obtained, theres still lot to do.
Thats exciting to me and that continues to be our motivation.

of a sudden, Side Effects found itself in


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

1975

The need to innovate

In their rst years running Side Effects, the


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

3D Art & Design

11

Evolution of CG software
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04

05

Today, Will Anielewicz works at Caustic


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

Autodesk is
founded in CA
by John Walker

1980s

20 minutes of full 3D
CGI released within
Disneys TRON

Jim Blinn receives the rst


ACM SIGGRAPH CG
Achievement Award

1983

12 3D Art & Design

1982

06 Image from
Subconcious
Password, Chris
Landreths latest
short lm, which he
created using Maya

1983

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

1982

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

during Torontos harsh winter months, a lack


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

Before Greg Hermanovic took over as head


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

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developing software which was later to


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

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

Alias founded in Toronto by Stephen


Bingham, Nigel McGrath, Susan
McKenna and David Springer

1985

MAYA & ALIAS 1

06

NewTek
founded by
Tim Jenison

Evolution of
WorldMags.netCG sofware
really did not expect Maya to still be in use,
reveals Anielewicz. Its been almost 30
years. I use it every day.

3DS MAX & 3D DOSR1


Id been going to SIGGRAPH since 1986,
drooling over the SGI Iris workstations and
software from companies such as
Wavefront, Alias and Vertigo, begins Gary
Yost. However, those solutions cost
upwards of $40-50,000 at the time and
were totally unavailable to mere mortals such
as my friends and I.
Yost had already founded Antic Software
in 1984 and, together with fellow developer
Tom Hudson, had been working on the
creation of a set of 3D tools, before becoming
limited by the graphics their budget could
afford. Then, in 1987, they were asked if they
would be interested in developing 3D
software for the PC under license to the
ever-growing Autodesk.
By 1988 the Yost Group was formed with
Gary Yost at the helm. The small team began
working on a modelling and rendering
application internally, code-named THUD
after Tom Hudson, who was the only
programmer on the project. Impressively, the
rst version of 3D Studio DOS was released
only two years later. The response to DOSr1
was huge, remembers Yost. There was just
a lot of pent-up demand for something like
that. Once it took off, we just got on the train
and didnt look back.
There were two huge shortcomings with
3D Studio DOS. There was no Undo function
and there was a lack of animatable controls,
meaning that once the user created
something, the mesh would be xed aside
from scaling, rotation or morphing. The core
group made up of Yost, Hudson, Dan Silva,
Rolf Berteig, and Don Brittain were soon
joined by Mark Meier and Gus Grubba. They
spent the next seven years working to rewrite
the entire code base of 3DS DOS, leaving
what would become 3ds Max.

We were motivated by a lot of things, not


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

WE ALWAYS SAID THAT WE


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

07

08

Giving up on 3ds Max

07 This is my character, Klanky the Robot, with the cornerstone character


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

Omnibus caves to
crippling debt and
les for bankruptcy

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Side Effects
Software
established

1988

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

1987

Steve Jobs purchases the Computer


Graphics Division from George Lucas and
establishes Pixar

09

1987

MAXON formed by current


CEOs Harald Egel, Harald
Schneider and Uwe Baertels

1986

1986

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

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

13

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10

11

Image by Philip Losch using early


CINEMA 4D. Losch still works as one
of the most important developers for
the software today

I THOUGHT OF BUMP-MAPPING WHILE LOOKING


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

10 Spinning top from The Mechanical


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

NewTek Video Toaster, for


the Commodore Amiga
computer, is launched

1990s

1990

14 3D Art & Design

1990

12 I never understood why in most


applications you had to dene a light
source, a camera and material before
rendering We implemented a
different behaviour in CINEMA 4D,
explains Losch

3D Studio released by the


Yost Group only two years
after the group was founded

1991

12

When Tim Jenison founded NewTek in 1985,


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

FastRay developed by
brothers Christian and
Philip Losch

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showcased all of this amazing new


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

FASTRAY & CINEMA 4D


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

1994

LIGHTWAVE

DreamWorks SKG founded


by Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey
Katzenberg and David Geffen

WorldMags.net Jim Blinn


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

14 Image created by Philip Losch using


early CINEMA 4D. When he was just 13
years old, he and brother Christian Losch
wrote their own raytracing software the
earliest predecessor to CINEMA 4D

14

BEHIND THE PIXELS


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

Houdini 1.0 ships


after ve years
in development

1996

Pixar releases Toy Story, the


worlds rst computeranimated feature lm

years ago are still on board, continues


Losch, who is himself still one of the most
important developers at MAXON.
Everyone on our team works from home in
a relaxed atmosphere and loves 3D its not
just a normal job.

1996

1995

a big learning exercise! says Losch.


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

3ds Max delivered after


being initially unveiled at
SIGGRAPH in 1995

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

WorldMags.net

Alias|Wavefront rst introduces


its new agship 3D product,
Maya, to the 3D community

1998

13 The Utah Teapot is one of a handful of


iconic models from the early
development of 3D computer graphics,
having been developed by Martin Newell
and modied by his co-worker, Jim Blinn,
in 1975

1998

13

When did you first gain interest in CGI and 3D imagery?


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

Blender is rst
released to the
public by NaN

15

WorldMags.net

Character
Bring your character
concepts to life
18

45

26

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

24

Render your characters skin


Learn how to use ZBrush in order to
render your sculpts

26

Sculpt intense facial expressions


Sculpt a character, building emotive facial
expressions using ZBrush

30

Design & model sci-fi characters


Learn to create a highly complex and
functional armoured alien character

37

Gallery

24

Equilibrium by
Daniel Arnold-Mist

38

Mesh-shatter your characters


Create an abstract character constructed
from various pieces of geometry

45

Gallery
Fatal by
Adam Martinakis

18

38

30

16 3D Art & Design

WorldMags.net

WorldMags.net

You feel a great sense of


achievement when you create a
fully developed character from
its initial concept
37

WorldMags.net

3D Art & Design

17

WorldMags.net

Character

Artist info

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

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

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

aking the concept of a menacing


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

Establish initial form


Block in the basic shapes of the character

01

Build the base mesh With the DynaMesh tools in


ZBrush it doesnt really matter if youre starting with
a sphere or a pre-existing base mesh. The main thing is to
keep the subdivision low at this point. I like to keep my brush
size large and avoid zooming in on the character early on.
This way Im only concentrating on the overall silhouette of
the character. To start well concentrate on getting the main
shapes and proportions of the head, neck and shoulders.
Hitting Y will toggle between the default white and black of
the SubTool, enabling us to check the silhouette easier.

02

Work out the major forms I like to exclusively


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

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

03
02

01 Having the SubTool black is easier to quickly

visualise and check the silhouette


02 Concentrate on establishing the forms before

starting on the details


03 Once the teeth are sculpted, adjust their

position within the characters mouth

18 3D Art & Design

01

03

Add eyes and teeth For the eyes, click on


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

WorldMags.net

Create
WorldMags.net a portrait

Concept
Were going to be making
an interpretation of Simon
Dominics concept. The
character has some strong
features that well focus
on, like his jaw, brows and
substantial scars.

WorldMags.net

3D Art & Design

19

Character

WorldMags.net

Make refinements
Create clothing and add details

04

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

04

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

05

Its all in the eyes I like to apply some Polypaint to the eyes before I nish the

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

04 Use DamStandard and

05

ClayTubes to create the scar


05 Polypainting the eye with the

Standard brush
06 Use masking to pull out the

overlapping shapes
07 Position the SubTools then

use DynaMesh to merge and


subtract the shapes

06

06

Create the shirt To clothe our character well

begin by appending a sphere and resizing it to


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

07

Build the chain collar To shape the chain collar were going to use DynaMesh to

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

07

20 3D Art & Design

WorldMags.net

Create
WorldMags.net a portrait
Morph Targets and layers
The use of Morph Targets and layers can be extremely
benecial to non-destructively add detail. For example, you
can store a Morph Target then start to sculpt scars and if
you arent happy with a particular area, use the Morph brush
to paint back to the stored version of the sculpt. Layers can
be helpful for controlling tiny details like pores. By placing
the pore details on their own layer, you can increase or
decrease the amount that theyre visible, giving you greater
control over them.

08

Add the chain links For the chains well need to


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

09

Detail the accessories We can now do a


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

08
10
09

10

Focus on the face With the sculpting phase

almost complete, its now time to add some ner


features. DamStandard is the main brush I use for applying
wrinkles and the smaller details. For the pores and stubble
texture, I use the Standard brush with a pore Alpha and the
Stroke set to Spray with a low Intensity. Try to keep in mind
places like the nose, which tend to have larger and more
visible pores. You can also use a mask for areas like the lips,
where you dont want any pore detail.
08 Create the chain links and

position them using the


Transform tools

10 Use a pore Alpha with the

Stroke set to Spray to achieve


the pore details

09 Add a mask, use the Move

brush to dene the seam,


then Standard and
DamStandard to rene

WorldMags.net

3D Art & Design

21

Character

WorldMags.net

FiberMesh and Polypainting


Apply the texture and build the hair

11

12

11

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

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

12

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

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

13

Begin Polypainting For the skin I like to use the

11 Mask the head and apply the

FiberMesh options to fully


build up the hair

22 3D Art & Design

12 Edit FiberMesh presets to

create the sideburns and


rugged eyebrows

13 Layer on the colours and

tones for the most-effective


skin tone

zbro_Viewport_Skin2 MatCap, which can be


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

WorldMags.net

Create
WorldMags.net a portrait

Finalise the sculpt


Add the last touches to bring out real personality

14

Final posing To nish well need to add asymmetry

14

and pose the character. This can be done with


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

15

Set up the render When the sculpt is nished and

ready to be rendered, well need to nd a nice


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

16

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

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

17

17

Unify the bust Once weve rendered out our passes

14 Use Transpose Master to

pose the character


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

passes together

Experimenting with MatCaps


Dont be afraid to experiment with layering different
MatCaps in your render passes. You can also edit existing
MatCaps to suit the material youre trying to render. Trying
out different MatCaps and blend modes can lead to some
interesting effects and an overall more engaging render.

its time to put everything together. I like to


experiment with the different layer blending modes in
Photoshop to see which effects I can nd. In this case my
Ambient Occlusion, Cavity and Shadow passes are all set to
Multiply with the layer opacity lowered. For the Rim
Lighting, Reection and Specular passes Ive ended up using
a combination of Color Dodge and Screen. Once youre
happy with how the image is looking, you can make a nal
Levels and colour correction to really make the image pop.

WorldMags.net

3D Art & Design

23

Character

WorldMags.net

Artist info

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

Thomas Lishman
Personal portfolio site
Country UK
Software used
Expertise

Render your
characters skin
Learn how to use ZBrush to render your sculpts

01

endering in ZBrush has improved vastly since its


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

24 3D Art & Design

01

WorldMags.net

Set up your skin


shader Take

SkinShade 4 and click Copy


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

Render skin
WorldMags.net
02

Apply your Shaders Copy your Double-Shader


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

03

Render settings and canvas In the attached

screenshot you will nd the settings I use for my


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

02

04

03

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

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

04

ZBrush perspective
ZBrush doesnt use true to life perspective; instead its
quite distorted. Use low levels to zero for sculpting. When
rendering, amp up your Angle of View to get the best
possible result. Below the oor button is a Local
Transformations button, which when enabled will rotate
the camera around a certain point on the model. Try
disabling this when rendering as it will snap to the world
grid centre instead, enabling you to nd better angles to
view and render your scene.

05

05

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

06

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

one into the rst pass. Hide all but ll. Now unhide the rim and set it to screen. This will
overlay it over your ll layer. Adjust Opacity and Color however you desire. Next unhide your ll
layer and bring it down to a low opacity, and change the colour with Ctrl+U to a cool blue. I
usually experiment with levels, colour ranges and opacity to try and nd something that looks
good. But if I dont have the time, default settings are usually best.

06

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

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3D Art & Design

25

Character

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Artist info

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

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

screenshots, as well as

Final render of the sculpted character

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

ithout expression, characters run the


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

26 3D Art & Design

Look at yourself in the mirror and try to keep a


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

and details in all individual areas of the face is key


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

WorldMags.net

Facial
WorldMags.netexpressions

Give your character some personality


Sculpt a character with realistic facial expressions
Maya viewport screenshot

ZBrush screenshot of
nal sculpt

01

01
02

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

02

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

03

03

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

increase the resolution and get to work on rening the character to give him a unique
identity. Use the Standard brush to dene areas where bone and cartilage protrude, as well as the
Dam Standard brush for creating creases/folds and the Clay Tubes brush, with a low Intensity
(3-6), for volumes. During this stage, focus on the planes and structure of the face. Dont go into
too much detail here, as well get to this in a later stage, once our character has been posed. Its a
good idea to retopologise your mesh now, as it makes posing easier and more efficient later on.

Anatomy
In order to achieve a believable humanoid character, complete with good expression and
personality, its benecial to have some understanding of basic human anatomy. When
solely relying on reference, without any basic understanding, you could easily fall into the
trap of thinking your anatomy is correct, when it could perhaps be slightly faulty. You dont
necessarily need to devote your life to understanding every bone and muscle in the body,
but understanding the forms and planes that these bones and muscles create can be key to
a believable sculpt. I encourage you to do some research on the subject as it will help you a
great deal on all further projects. There are many fantastic books available on the subject,
one of my favourites being Artistic Anatomy by Dr. Paul Richer.

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27

Character

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

04

04

Capture good reference Reference plays a vital

role in the sculpting process and with the invention of


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

05

05

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

06
07

06

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

07

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

08

Build up the mouth The Move Topological brush is

useful for morphing the mouth into the desired shape,


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

28 3D Art & Design

08

WorldMags.net

Facial
WorldMags.netexpressions
09

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

10

09

10
The clay
material
When creating the
material, I opted for a
simplistic approach. I
created a VRayMtl,
setting the Reection to
white, decreasing the
Glossiness and enabling
Fresnel Reections.
Fresnel uses the viewing
angle to determine the
amount of reection that
occurs on any given
material. This mimics
real-life reection
behaviour if you would
like more information on
this, I encourage you to
search for BRDF online.
For my specic material, I
wanted it to resemble
clay, so, I plugged a
ngerprint texture created
by Jeff Patton in as a
Bump map. I played
around with the Intensity
until I found something
that I was satised with.
Because I hadnt created
any UVs for my character,
I applied the texture as a
projection based on my
render camera.

11

Add wrinkles and folds By utilising ZBrushs layer


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

11

Make some tweaks Before exporting the character to


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

12

12

Set up the render We are now ready to bring our


character to life. In order to provide the scene with
some ambience, create two V-Ray Dome Lights. Light 1 affects
theDiffuseattribute, while Light 2 affects the Reection. This
ultimately provides us with additional control over the nal
render, becausewe are able to tweak the Reection and
Diffuseamountsseparately. Lighting is important when
creating expression, as it will ultimately add more denition to
the character and the details you have created. Accompanying
the V-Ray Dome Lights are three V-Ray RectangularLights.
Light 3 is the key light and Light 4 is the rim light. To calculate
GI, use an unbiased solution by setting both the Primary and
Secondary Bounce to Brute Force. Please note that this will
increase your render time signicantly, but in my experience it
produces the most accurate results. By default, V-Ray also
produces too much GI, so lower the Bounce values to around
0.65. The nal image is rendered out at 3,000 x 1,800 pixels as
a 32-bit OpenEXR.

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3D Art & Design

29

Character

Artist info

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

WorldMags.net

Design & model


sci-fi characters
Lukruk The Thelarian Elite
2012

Ben Erdt

Here Ill discuss how I created a highly complex and functional


armoured alien character, from concept through to nal vision

Username: Benjamin Erdt


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

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

ukruk is an armoured alien character I created as


an exercise at Vancouver Film School. During this
process youll get an insiders view of his creation from
the rst spark of inspiration to the nal render. By the end of
the steps youll have a full understanding of how Maya,
MODO, ZBrush, MARI, Photoshop and NUKE can be used to
achieve the nal result.
Lukruk was a very complex project from both a design and
technical point of view, so here you can get a closer look at

how to design and build complex characters with rigging and


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

Make a concept
Develop who and what your character is

01

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

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

01

Find energy
and flow

02

Take the design in-depth As the head is the focal


point of the character, I wanted to make sure Lukruk
had a very expressive face, attitude and a great design. I wasnt
happy about the rst iteration, because he didnt look as
powerful as I wanted. I decided to make his head more angled
and sharp along the jaw. The argus monitor lizard was a great
reference for this. The elongated cartilage tips on Lukruks chin
further helped to emphasise the shape of the head. To counter
the aggressive features of his design a little, as well as to add
some conict to the design, I gave him two small ears.

02

03
03

30 3D Art & Design


3DArtist

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

WorldMags.net

A friend of mine advised


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

Sci-fi
WorldMags.net characters

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

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3D Art & Design

31

Character

WorldMags.net

Work on the model


Begin sculpting in Maya

04

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

04

05
05

Rene the head After blocking in the eyes, I move


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

06

06

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

07

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

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

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

32 3D Art & Design

07

WorldMags.net

Sci-fi
WorldMags.net characters
08

08

The model versus the rig Making sure that Lukruk wasnt only functional in design

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

09

10

A clear end goal


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

09

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

images of crocodile skin to create a smooth transition between the separate scales and skin.
Greek turtles have a noisy scale pattern on their neck that I used for inspiration when sculpting the
softer skin parts on the characters face. I used the Clay brush to block out scales, then while sculpting
in the surface details I kept the design of his head in mind, making sure the details didnt overwhelm
the overall aesthetic. The Slash2 brush was used to sculpt in some overlapping scales, while the Slash3
and Dam Standard helped to emphasise the crevices in between. The Inat and Standard brushes add
more volume to the eshier areas, while hPolish was used to break some of the hard edges of the
scales. Once happy with the result, I rendered the Displacement map inside ZBrush. Here I chose an
8,000 pixel-sized map to have an opportunity for a higher-res detail pass in MARI.

10

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

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3D Art & Design

33

Character

WorldMags.net

Clean up the scene


Prepare and unwrap the geometry for the next stages

Complexity demands organisation


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

11

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

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

11

12

12

Unwrap all the pieces I exported the pieces as

individual OBJ les for UV-generation, plus the MTL le


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

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

34 3D Art & Design

WorldMags.net

Sci-fi
WorldMags.net characters

Prepare textures

Showcase

Artis
t

Enhance and refine the character

Ben Erdt

Im a professional character artist working at Guerrilla


Games on next-gen game characters. Ive been
fascinated by sci- universes and movie creatures
since I was a kid. I trained myself in CG art so that I
could make my own.

13

Batty ZBrush, Photoshop (2013)

13

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

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

This is the kind of sculpt I do after work or over the weekend. In


this case I wanted to sculpt a bat-like creature based on a drawing
I did some time ago.

Collector 3ds Max, ZBrush, MODO, Photoshop (2011)


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

14

14

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

with almost 50 sets of four to ve textures, so it was important to maintain a consistent


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

Deep Sea Creature XSI, ZBrush, MARI, MODO, Photoshop


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

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3D Art & Design

35

Character

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Render and post-production


Finish with tiny details and complete render passes
15

15

Include dirt and


paint chips

Alongside some handpainting, I also used


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

16

16

Render out passes The screenshot shows the


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

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

36 3D Art & Design

WorldMags.net

WorldMags.net

Gallery

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

Artist info

Daniel Arnold-Mist
Equilibrium, 2012

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

Work in progress

WorldMags.net

3D Art & Design

37

Character

Artist info

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

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

WorldMags.net

Mesh shatter
your characters
Polyman
2013

The goal was to create an abstract character constructed from


various pieces of geometry. The image illustrates vulnerability
Christopher Velez spends his time improving his skills as a graphic designer. He also
performs theatrical acting on the side

have always enjoyed looking at sculptures,


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

In this tutorial I will take you through a


step-by-step process for creating a mesh
shattered surface using my Polyman character.
Youll learn different concepts from mesh
shattering a surface to a few post-production tips
and tricks. First well discuss how topology will
inuence the surface of your model. Then well
cover the peeling away of certain areas of our

character, exposing different layers underneath.


We continue by manipulating some of the
geometry on our character to help convey
randomness and imperfection. We will then
focus on the vacuum effect that is happening on
Polymans back, by manipulating oating pieces
of geometry. Finally, we cover the rendering and
post-production process.

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

38 3D Art & Design


3DArtist

WorldMags.net

Mesh shatter
WorldMags.net characters

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3D Art & Design

39

Character

WorldMags.net

Getting started
Focus on topology flow

01

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

02

Model setup and detach edges Lets jump right into making a mesh shattered

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

01

Adding extra surface detail


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

03
03

40 3D Art & Design

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

WorldMags.net

Mesh shatter
WorldMags.net characters

Mesh shatter and peeling


Start adding the details to your model

04

Scale for a shatter effect Select the entire model


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

05

Randomise the surface This is where the fun


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

04

05

06

06

Add Layers Lets continue with the models left arm

as we start adding layers to our damaged section.


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

07

Create a peeling effect Add peeling to make it


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

More on randomising

07

For Polymans face, I preserved the features by scaling


down some of the geometry to add clarity to the eyes,
nose, and lips. I also deleted geometry that was obtrusive
to the model while rearranging other pieces around. By
adding a sense of randomness, your model helps break the
CG look of appearing too perfect. No matter how abstract
your art can be, adding a bit of imperfection will make your
scene look more aesthetically pleasing to the viewer.

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3D Art & Design

41

Character

WorldMags.net

Finalising the model


Add some finishing touches to the scene

08

08

Create a vacuum effect Now were almost done with our model, its time to add

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

09

09

Fill empty spaces To nish, well cave in the centre


of our models back by selecting the backs centre and
moving the various pieces down inside the model. Next, scale
your selection down so that its smaller, creating the
appearance of oating debris inside the hole. You can apply this
to other hollow areas of your model.

10

11

10

Generate oating debris Now we will focus on the nal part of the modelling

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

11

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

42 3D Art & Design

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Mesh shatter
WorldMags.net characters

Showcase

Render and post

Artis
t

Set up your render and head into post

12

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

Christopher Velez

I was born in Brooklyn, New York, but in 2009 I moved


to California. Art has always been a passion of mine. I
channel my creative energies into digital art where I
have limitless freedom to manifest my ideas into
reality. Im a freelance digital artist with a focus on
character modelling and I also do theatrical work as
an actor on the side.

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

12

13

Material settings

As for the materials, I


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

Persian Princess
Maya (2013)

13

This simple face study


shows that Christophers
work isnt just based on
abstract works, but also
on realistic and
believable models.

Z Moments Maya (2013)


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

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3D Art & Design

43

Character

WorldMags.net

Head into postproduction


Touch up your model for a clean final result

14

Render settings Lets take a look at the primary settings I use for my renders. I have
provided detailed screenshots of my settings with the disc. Start by selecting the V-Ray
tab. Sampler type is set to Adaptive DMC; Antialiasing is set to Lanczos for sharper details;
Adaptive DMC is set to 1 min and 8 max; Threshold is .005. Next we move onto the Indirect
Illumination tab. Turn on Ambient Occlusion; set the Primary bounce to Irradiance Map and
Secondary Bounce to Light Cache. I didnt use any render passes, but V-Ray makes it very easy
to set up render passes if you choose to use them.

15

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

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

3hours

creation time
Resolution:
2,000 x 1,254

14

More on touch ups


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

44 3D Art & Design

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Artist info

Gallery

Adam Martinakis

This was created


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

Adam has been working and


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

Work in progress

Adam Martinakis Fatal, 2013

WorldMags.net

3D Art & Design

45

WorldMags.net

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

Build a wooden interior

63

Techniques and resources behind


establishing a neo-classical interior

52

Build C4D arch-vis assets


Model a simple antique chair in just a
few simple steps

56

Make atmospheric renders


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

63

Gallery
Butterfly by
Thiago Queiroz Lima

64 Add post-production touches


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

67 Gallery
Contemporary Living Room by
Jonathan Beals

64
46 3D Art & Design

52
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48

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56

67
WorldMags.net

3D Art & Design

47

Architectural visualisation
WorldMags.net

Artist info

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

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

48 3D Art & Design

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

ts important to have an efficient production-ready


workow right from the start in order to build
convincing timber in an interior scene.
During the course of this tutorial well discuss the
processes and helpful tips for modelling, texturing, lighting,
rendering and post-production. As always, the intention is to
create an image in a manner thats timely and productionproven, enabling changes along the way should the need

arise. Typically professionals can expect to go from a


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

WorldMags.net

Wooden
WorldMags.net interior

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

its hard to understand the nuances of materials and how


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

01

The techniques used


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

02

02

Model the individual elements of your scene

The scene has been designed to accentuate the


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

Find reference images and make sketches

When creating a photorealistic architectural image, it is


paramount that you rst nd a suitable reference. This should
roughly reect the intended style, colouring and composition of
your desired outcome and will provide valuable insight into how
certain materials and lights should look when combined in a
real-life scenario. It is also important to have a rough
composition in mind before beginning any image. A simple
sketch is more than sufficient as a guide to work from. Lack of
direction at this stage will stie the entire image and cause no
end of frustration. Put simply, dont begin until you are nearly
certain of this steps completion.

01

02

Candy and Candy 2013

WorldMags.net

Find a decent reference


image and then combine it
with simple sketches to set
the groundwork
Loosely draw the cabinet in
AutoCAD, model it in 3ds
Max, then apply Subdivision
and FFD modiers to bend it
to shape
3D Art & Design

49

Architectural visualisation
WorldMags.net
05

03

04

Geometry vs textures

06

A vast amount can be achieved using textures, from


reectivity-mapping to full geometric-displacement,
which negates the need for overly complicated models.
Should absolute detail be the name of the game, there
may come a time when modelling individual planks in a
timber oor is the best route, but detail should be relative
to time and distance; dont spend hours modelling minute
details that cant be seen or appreciated by the viewer.
07

03

Model the scene With the cabinet done, begin

assembling the elements required for a complete


scene. Start by establishing a VRayPhysicalCamera and
positioning it in relation to the walls, oor and cabinet.
Remember to always model loosely at rst, blocking in larger
elements and rening details as the scene develops. For ornate
prole details, such as the skirting and wall panelling, we cant
recommend the free Sweep Prole script highly enough. This
brings several useful architectural proles to your ngertips at
the click of a button (www.3d-kstudio.com). The ower model
used can be purchased from CGAxis (www.cgaxis.com).

04

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

as the Production Renderer from the Render Settings


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

05

Make the cabinet shader Find an appropriate

wood texture, grouped ideally as Diffusion, Specular


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

50 3D Art & Design

and set the Reective Glossiness to around 0.85 (higher will


result in more reectivity). Now add the Bump texture into the
Bump channel and set the value to around 3-5. We wont be
using a Reectivity map in this case, as the desired material
outcome is very smooth (varnished). Now apply a UVW Map
modier to scale the texture.

06

Add a timber shader Repeat this process for the


timber oor element, combining Diffuse, Specular
and Bump maps in the appropriate channels so as to create a
convincing shader. Here weve also used a ColourCorrect layer
between the Diffuse map and the texture, enabling the hue,
saturation, brightness and contrast to be tweaked exibly. This
isnt essential, but provides an extra layer of control thats
particularly useful for those who prefer to minimise any time
spent in post-production. Apply a UVW Map modier again to
scale the texture appropriately.

07

Complete the textures Repeat the process of


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

WorldMags.net

03

Set a VRay PhysicalCamera,


block in modelled elements
and then gradually rene
details as the direction of the
scene becomes more clear

04

Activate V-Ray and apply a


standard grey material to all
the scene objects

05

Find suitable textures and


apply them as maps in a
new VRayMtl

06

Create a new shader for the


timber oor, using Diffuse,
Specular and Bump maps

07

Repeat the whole process for


the rest of the elements and
reduce the Blur values in
order to bring sharpness to
all the textures

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

08

08

Light the scene Once again speed and simplicity


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

09
09

10

Prepare for rendering Open the Render Settings

dialog box and set the Render parameters as per your


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

10

Begin post-production work in Photoshop

With all the rendering (and inevitable tweaks)


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

11

Patch things up

When in Photoshop,
continue to rene the raw
render by correcting errors in
the Patches group. This is
used for chopping out
elements that simply dont
look right, such as the image
and reections in the photo
frame. Weve also applied a
crop to the image at this
stage, having decided upon a
more effective composition.
This is quite simply a black
layer hiding elements that are
no longer required. Rendering
at higher resolutions can be
very helpful once you arrive at
this step.

12

Make nal
adjustments Now

begin to make large


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

11

08

Use simple lighting and change directional parameters for


stronger shadows

09

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


render passes

10

Open the rendered passes in Photoshop and organise the layer/


group structure

11

Patch up surplus elements and experiment with some cropping to


enhance the result

12

Apply some nal colour adjustment layers and tweak the effects in
your Global group

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3D Art & Design

51

Architectural visualisation
WorldMags.net

This is the nal render of the antique


chair created by Gustavo

Build C4D arch-vis


assets with NURBS
Artist info

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

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

52 3D Art & Design

Learn how to model a simple antique chair in a few simple steps,


using splines, Sweep NURBS and Subdivision Surface objects

n the following tutorial youll discover a simple method for


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

Once we have the approximate shape set up, we can


create cuts around the edges using the Knife tool, increasing
the low subdivision model using a Subdivision Surface object.
Dont forget to create these cuts around the low-poly model,
because if you import the model into a Subdivision Surface
without making these necessary cuts, youll effectively lose
the model that you want to produce. You can also add more
edges using the Bevel tool.
The process of capable arch-vis modelling is one that you
should really focus on, because mastering and memorising
these techniques will open up a huge range of possibilities for
you when it comes to nding customers in new areas of
work. In my personal experience, hotels, shopping centres,
museums and more might buy your 3D furniture designs and
send them to be manufactured. Any good idea could be
approved and used in a variety of places. So, follow the
process carefully and consider how what you learn could be
applied to other projects. Be sure to check out the video
tutorial with the disc!

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Build C4D arch-vis assets


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Model an arch-vis chair


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

This reference image can be used to better


understand the different perspectives of the model

01

01

Shape the frame First we need to create the frame

of the chair using splines and Sweep NURBS. Dont


forget to use a Frontal view for this. Go to Draw a Freehand
Spline and select Bezier. Now you need to add the rst point in
the middle of the X axis and create the other points as you can
see in the attached image. Use Adaptive Interpolation Points
for this. Once you have established the points using the Frontal
view, change the view to Left, then drag and drop the points as
in the example vertex in the accompanying image.

03

02
02

Add Sweep NURBS Next, go to the panel where


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

Work on
proportions

Select the Top view, then


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

Recommended types of splines

03

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

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Architectural visualisation
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05

04

06

04

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

05

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

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

06

Create the chair cushion Now we need to create a spline around the seat frame. I
used the same process as in Step 3, but in this case I used Mirror to duplicate the
selection to the other side of the X axis with the following parameters for the Mirror: Co-ordinate
System=World, Mirror Plane=ZY. Once you get the separated splines with the same shape on
each side of the X axis, you need to join the vertex using Join Segment, which will enable you to
close the spline. Add Extrude NURBS, then drag and drop the spline into it. Set Extrude NURBS
Movement (0; 40cm; 0), but dont use caps.

07

Close up the holes Now convert the previous Extrude NURBS to Editable mode and
use Close Polygon Hole. You also need to close the upper hole (see the accompanying
image). If you close the bottom hole youll notice how the Subdivision Surface object added in the
next step will deform the base. You can close the bottom hole with Subdivision Surface
unchecked, then add a bevel in the bottom edges to create two edges. This means that the
Subdivision Surface object cant deform the cushion.

08

Complete the cushion Add another Subdivision Surface object, then add it to the
Extrude NURBS that we created earlier. Doing this will round the surface. However,
before heading to the next step, uncheck Subdivision Surface. Now, using Loop Selection and
Edge mode, you need to add a bevel. This way the Subdivision Surface object cant deform the
model. Switch to Polygon mode and select the polygon that you have created using Close
Polygon Hole and move it upwards. Activate a Subdivision Surface object, then use Top view to
help follow the shape of the seat frame.

54 3D Art & Design

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07

08

Build C4D arch-vis assets


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09

10

09

Model the backrest Using the same process as


for the chair cushion, we need to create a spline
(Type=Bezier, Intermediate Points=None), following the
backrest shape as in the current image, and add an Extrude
NURBS object. Add the spline previously made into it. Use
Extrude NURBS Movement (0; 0; 60cm), dont use caps and
convert this object to be Editable.

10

Bevel and adjust Close the polygon holes (both the

back and front). Using Loop Selection and Edge mode,


select the edges around the rest and add a bevel around it. Its
important to keep the original shape during this stage. Apply a
Subdivision Surface object, then add the Extrude NURBS
created previously into it. Youll likely need to adapt the points
over the backrest, so when you activate the Subdivision Surface
object it will retain the desired shape.

11
11

Work on the armrest To complete the armrest


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

12

Final details and render Once youve completed all

of the previous steps, you can start experimenting with


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

Final rendering and


lighting of the scene

12

In the nal rendered scene you can create studio lighting


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

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Architectural visualisation
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Artist info

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

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

56 3D Art & Design

Make
atmospheric
renders
Gardenian House
2013

I wanted to create a romantic atmosphere, with the cool blue of the


sky contrasting with the warmth of the lights and resulting in a mix of
beautiful colours, making for a stunning hidden sanctuary
Srgio Merces is a professional 3D artist who provides 3D visualisations to clients all around the world

WorldMags.net

Atmospheric
WorldMags.net renders

ere Ill reveal my project workflow and the


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

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

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57

Architectural visualisation
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Modelling, texturing and materials


Set up your assets for the scene composition

01

Exterior and
interior modelling

We will start by creating the


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

02

01

02

Create the
terrain To create

the terrain and design of the


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

03

Textures and materials For the house interior well


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

Modelling with Ribbon Tools


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

03

58 3D Art & Design

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Atmospheric
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Vegetation and Objects Scattering


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

04

Grow the small grass For the terrain we must

create a small grass model and spread it. To create


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

04

05

05

Add water lilies In this example I used several


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

06

Place leaves on the water We will now model

one leaf from a normal plane with four length


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

06

07

Background bushes and grass For the bushes I


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

07

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Architectural visualisation
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Add finer details


Create and place the lanterns and interior objects

08

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

main trunk in SpeedTree, followed by the branches. To create an authentic shape we


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

08

09
09

Create the Chinese lanterns I used Forest Pack

once again to spread the Chinese lanterns across the


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

10

Work on interior objects For the houses interior

objects we will create a new 3ds Max le, merging only


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

Leaves in the wind

10

For the leaves in the wind I created a Particle Flow event,


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

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

60 3D Art & Design

Silent House 3ds Max, V-Ray, Forest Pack,


Photoshop (2013)

Hotel 3ds Max, V-Ray, Forest Pack, Photoshop


(2013)

This is a personal project. I wanted to experiment with


the V-Ray 3.0 Beta and the Forest Pack plug-in.

This is one part of a four-part project for a client. I


wanted to set it in dramatic atmosphere.

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Lighting and environment


Set up the scenes lights and environment

11

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

12

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

11

13

Render settings For the render settings its important


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

13

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

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

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Post-production
Bring your render to life in Photoshop

14

14

Import and organise render passes Open the

RAW render le in Photoshop, then open all the render


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

15

15

Corrections In all renders there are small accidental

mistakes that crop up from rendering the scene. In most


cases these are little things that we cant actually see before we
render the image in full resolution. Thanks to post-production,
when they do crop up they can be easily xed. In this image
there are a few bad lighting calculations and texture errors. To
x these, create a new Layer in the Corrections folder and use
the Healing Brush Tool, Patch Tool and Clone Stamp Tool to get
rid of as many of the aws as possible.

Sharpen the result


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

16

16

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

17

Effects and nal adjustments Well do the nal adjustments in the overall colours of

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

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Artist info

Gallery

Thiago Queiroz Lima


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

Work in progress

I was really tired of seeing the same kind of 3D


architectural images: box houses in the middle of
trees or lofts with the same furniture. I thought up
a solution, using the buttery as my main concept.
It was just thinking outside the box!
Thiago Queiroz Lima Buttery, 2013

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Architectural visualisation
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Add postproduction touches


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

Artist info

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

Srgio Merces
Personal portfolio site
Location
Software used

Expertise

64 3D Art & Design

ere we are going to cover post-production methods


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

After Effects to spruce up the areas where we want more or


less illumination. Together with the exposure of the effect, this
technique can be used to correct the gamma on the image. Ill
then show you how to use the Z-Depth pass to dene an
environment, create a fog effect and give depth to images.
Finally, Ill run through the nal touches for bringing the image
its ultimate look, using the Magic Bullet Suite plug-ins, Mojo
and Looks.

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01

Post-production
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02

01

03

Render in 3ds Max For more control over your


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

02

Set up in After Effects When you have your


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

03

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

04

04

WorldMags.net

Use contrast &


gamma This step

is rather important because


here we will x the lighting
and contrast of the image.
Create a new solid layer and
paint on it with the Blend
Mode set to Overlay. Apply
white all over the areas you
want to be brighter and use
black in those areas you want
darker. Then add the
Exposure effect and set the
parameters shown in the
screenshot. These settings
will reduce the saturation of
the image and subtly lighten
the overall feel.
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05

06

05

Use environment
effects In order to

create the whole atmosphere


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

66 3D Art & Design

Light with HDRI maps

I recommend all those who wish to create sunset-lit


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

06

Final touches To nish, use the Magic Bullet Suites

Mojo and Looks tools in order to add the nishing


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

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Artist info

Gallery

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

Work in progress

Since entering the VFX industry, Ive been


fascinated with artists who can mimic reality
and create photorealistic art. I came across the
Foo House series by Apollo Architecture and
immediately fell in love with the contrast
between the concrete and wood and how the
light played upon each
Jonathan Beals Contemporary Living Room, 2013

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67

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

Make a realistic human portrait

77

From the initial concept, see how to


make a portrait look like a photo

77

Gallery
Then Flying The Youth by
Leng Shang-Peng

78

Design a stunning dress


Use Marvelous Designer to create
beautiful images of flowing fabric

84

Create hair and fur


Make a truly photoreal and captivating
image with FiberMesh

91

Gallery
Photorealistic CGI by
Set Visions Imaging Studios

92

Bring still-life objects to life


Construct a realistic still-life scene using
photorealistic techniques

78

84

91
68 3D Art & Design

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Photorealism
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Concept
I didnt use any concepts
but rather relied on
real-world reference that I
gathered as inspiration
and visual aid to create
my nal artwork.

70 3D Art & Design

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Realistic human
WorldMags.net portrait
Artist info

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

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

Make a realistic
human portrait
Freckles in a Blanket 2013

This image is a realistic portrait of a girl wrapping herself in a


blanket, looking into the camera at the viewer
Dan Roarty is a lead-character artist at Crystal Dynamics/Square Enix

ver the next few pages Ill outline the


steps and techniques I used to create
this image. First, well gather some
reference and dene the project to ensure a
quicker and more organised workow. Well cover
modelling in Maya, as well as sculpting and

texturing within Mudbox using stencils and


projections. Ill introduce a free piece of scanning
software I used on my phone for capturing 3D
data and using it in the nal image. Well cover
creating and styling hair using Shave and a Haircut
and the workow for converting to Maya Hair. Ill

also show you how I created the eyes and the


texture used. When we have everything modelled
and textured well create realistic V-Ray shaders
for the skin, hair and eyes, and Ill show you the
lighting setup and render settings I used for the
nal piece.

Define your concept


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

01

Decide on an idea When working on their own


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

02

Gather reference I gathered a lot of online


references for hair colours, facial expressions and
specic poses of the face that looked appealing. I didnt intend
for my model to fully match the references I found, but set out
to use them as inspiration and a general guideline to follow.
Another big reference and help for me was my wife. I took a
few photos of her looking into the camera as a reference of the
general look and angle that I wanted to achieve. It was also very
helpful to see how the blanket would look in the picture and
how I wanted to make it.
02

03

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

03

Break it down to bite-size pieces


It took me quite a bit of time to build a head I was happy with and with nice UVs. Dont feel
pressured to rush into creating a large, complete project right away. At times, I think 3D
artists take on far too much as a rst project, and end up sacricing quality in order to
complete a piece. Begin small and work on easier projects while concentrating on
fundamentals. Practise anatomy and hone in on your skills in between bigger projects.

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Photorealism
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Sculpt the head in Mudbox


Start forming and texturing the head

04

Add expression and pose With our base head


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

04

05

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

06

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

05

06

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Realistic human
WorldMags.net portrait
Sculpt back and forth
When sculpting the head in Mudbox its okay to go back
and forth throughout the process. When youre at the
rendering stage, you might notice that the shape of the face
or expression isnt quite reacting the way you were
intending with a skin shader applied. As such, I usually bring
my sculpted head into Maya, apply a skin shader and try
different lighting conditions to see how natural it feels. If I
notice areas in the face that arent reacting correctly to
lights and shadows, this usually means there is further
renement to be made to the expression or shape.

07

07

Texture the face For texturing I relied on photo

reference for projections. I began using the Paint brush


and blocking out very basic colours to show where I wanted blush,
lip colour and eye shadow present. From there I created new layers
and used photos of Oldriska from 3D.sk as texture reference for
projecting her skin and freckles. I wasnt too concerned with the
top of the head, ears or back of the head, as I knew none of these
would show in the nal render. I wanted to ensure that the freckles
would pop as well, so I used the Burn brush afterwards to really
punch them out when it came to rendering. I also projected a faint
colour for the eyebrows to use later as a template with Shave and a
Haircut. When done, save the nished texture as Colour, bring it
into Photoshop and create a slightly desaturated blue with less
contrast. Save this out as Subsurface.

08

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

09

09

Complete the Reection maps Open Photoshop


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

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73

Photorealism
WorldMags.net

Add realism to the hair and eyes


Create the hair with Shave and a Haircut and the eyes with realistic textures

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

10

Style the hair To create the hair, import the lowest

subdivision of your head mesh into Maya and extract a


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

10

11
11

12

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

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

74 3D Art & Design

12

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Realistic human
WorldMags.net portrait

Shaders and lighting


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

13

Lighting setup Bring in the highest-res OBJs of the

head and blanket. Ensure Visible In Reections and


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

14

15

Layered skin shader with reection For the skin


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

Render setup

14

Some of the major


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

16

15

16

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Create the eye


shader For my eye

shader I created a VRayMtl


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

Photorealism
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Render and composite


Add the final elements and bring the image together

17

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

18

Render Elements With everything ready to go, start


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

17

18

Dont forget the lashes and brows


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

19

19

76 3D Art & Design

Quick Photoshop comp All the hard work youve

put in has nally paid off and now its time to play
around with some colours and values. At this stage I did some
minor touch-ups and colour adjustments. One thing I found
useful to do is to play with some overlays using your render
elements. There is no right and wrong way of touching up your
photos. Ideally you will have done most of your hard work
before rendering, so you wont have to worry about adding too
much at this stage. For this project, I darkened the lashes and
played with the levels to nd the exact look I was after.

WorldMags.net

WorldMags.net
I integrated MARI and Photoshop to
Artist info

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

Gallery

paint all my textures. All shader


parameters were based on the real world
(Model Size, Scattering Distance, Skin
Refractive Index, Fresnel Reection). I
then ne-tuned each parameter to get
the nal effect on the image
Leng Shang-Peng Then Flying The Youth

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

I used a V-Ray light


and Global Illumination
for the nal lighting.
Rendering the whole
image took up more
than 50GB of memory.
For any large-resolution
rendering piece you
must ensure there is
enough memory on
your computer,
otherwise the render
will be slow
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77

Photorealism
WorldMags.net

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

Artist info

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

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

78

3D Art & Design

n this tutorial we are going to create a dynamic dress design with the software
program Marvelous Designer (MD). Marvelous Designer is primarily focused on cloth
simulation and is mostly used for the creation of clothing and furniture pieces. It has even
been adopted by studios as prominent as Weta, for use on the production of The Hobbit.
Throughout each step of the dress creation in this tutorial I will cover the basic
functionality of MD right through to some of the more in-depth aspects. We will discuss
everything from creating the patterns and the sewing and draping of the fabric to the
physical properties and animations. At the end of the tutorial I will also reveal the scene
setup in 3ds Max for the nal render. The great thing about MD is that you dont need a
fashion design background to follow this tutorial or to create any kind of clothing. Theres a
lot of creative fun to the process! Be sure to check the disc for some accompanying video
les that will go into more detail on several of the steps discussed.

WorldMags.net

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

Design a stunning dress


WorldMags.net

Avatars and patterns


The basics of using Marvelous Designer

01

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

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

01

02

02

The pattern window Before we start making the


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

03

Add hems Next


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

03

Using the Marvelous


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

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79

Photorealism
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Pattern sewing, draping and adjusting


Time to start working in 3D
04

04

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

05

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

06

05

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

Particle Distance
Its a bit of an odd term for what it denes, but the Particle Distance value determines how
dense your mesh will be. This value is the average distance between vertices in millimetres. So
a lower Particle Distance will increase the amount of vertices and with it the detail. Be careful
that you dont go too low. Set the Particle Distance to your desired mesh complexity.

07
07

80 3D Art & Design

Wrap the top section Before we wrap the top part of the dress, we want to create two
internal lines in the undershirt to attach the draping layers and the drapes of fabric. Freeze
what we have created so it wont interfere. Create a rectangular pattern piece and sew it to the line
we just created on one end. In the settings for the piece set the layer property to a value higher than
the underskirt so it will fall on top of it. Now we can use pins, created by holding W down in the 3D
window while clicking, to pin the long part into place. We need to move the pins around to make
new pins while wrapping the piece around the body. At the end remove all pins, except maybe a
few important ones, and simulate it into place. You might need to drag the pattern piece around to
get it placed as you wish. Lower the Particle Distance to give it some more detail.

WorldMags.net

Design a stunning dress


WorldMags.net

Material and physical properties


Animate the dress layers and physical properties of the materials

08

Material physical properties When weve


simulated the pieces up to this stage, they have all
reacted in a manner dictated by a set of physical material
properties. The undershirt will have stretched out when the
draping part was pulling it down, for example. You can change
these settings to simulate different kinds of cloth materials, using
MDs useful list of presets. These presets provide a helpful
starting point for changing material physical properties. For the
undershirt we will apply a simple cotton preset as we wont see a
great deal of this garment in the nal render. However, for the
more visible parts of the dress we will use the satin preset. Lower
the values of both the Bending-Weft and Warp to 2 so they will
bend a lot easier. Also lower the Density so the fabric will be
lighter when simulating. Change Stretch-Weft to 26 and
Stretch-Warp to 23.

08

09

10

09

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

10

Start on the other draping layers Once the rst layer is done save the le and
export what you have to .obj. Create a new avatar that includes the rst draping layer.
This way it doesnt need to simulate the rst layer again and our second layer wont go beneath it
when we simulate it. We can create the next layer quite simply by using the pattern of the rst
layer once we have imported the new avatar. This routine will be duplicated for the third layer
once the second layer is completed.

11

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

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

11

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Finalising and rendering


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

12

12

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

13

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

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

14

14

82 3D Art & Design

Set up the V-Ray material By adding an unwrap


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

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Design a stunning dress


WorldMags.net
15

32hours

creation time
Resolution:
6,000 x 3,500

Importing personal patterns


For this image I created the clothing patterns myself, but
you can also use some patterns from external sources
should you wish to. Since MD doesnt have an import
function for pattern les a little workaround is needed.
First convert your pattern source to a supported image le.
Create a new material and apply the image to the texture
slot. Next, create a rectangular pattern piece and apply the
material. Now you can make the new pattern pieces by
tracing over the image with the Create Polygon tool. Dont
forget to freeze or delete the pattern piece with your image
on it afterwards.

15

Scene and render setup For this scene I used a


studio setup ,with a key light with a slight blue tone
and a VRaySoftbox texture in it, shining in the direction of the
avatars face. I added a main ll light from the opposite
direction and three ll lights on the sides with colours varying
between a light blue and light yellow tone. In the environment
slot I used a 360-degree spherical image of a warehouse
that creates realistic reections to add to the depth of the
piece. The avatars hair was achieved using the Ornatrix hair
plug-in from Ephere with the VRayOrnatrixMod modier on
top of it.

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Artist info

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

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

Create hair
and fur
Cold as Lava
2013

FiberMesh is just one of ZBrushs many powerful options, so here


well use it to make a truly photoreal and captivating image
Yasin Hasanian is a freelance CG artist working professionally in the lm and game industries

hese steps will take you through how to


create decent-looking fur with the help of
ZBrush. Well do this by utilising
FiberMesh in different stages of the pipeline,
using it in conjunction with other software,
including plug-ins such as Shave and a Haircut.

Obviously, ZBrush is a program thats


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

opens up a whole host of options for producing


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

Build a concept
Dissect the fur structure and analyse photo references

01

Gather reference images Either you are working

on something completely imaginary, or youre working


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

01

02

02

An overview of sculpting The nal Ztool for this


tiger has been made available with the tutorial, so we
wont go over the minute details of how it was sculpted here. In
general, the head was made in ZBrush from scratch with
DynaMesh. One thing that you have to make sure of, however,
is that if you start your modelling completely inside ZBrush and
plan to send the meshes later to another program, such as
Maya, check your mesh sizes as soon as you have blocked out
the general shapes in Maya. This means you wont have to alter
the sizes later when it comes to rendering, as this tends to
become problematic in complex scenes.

03
03

84 3D Art & Design


3DArtist

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

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

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

WorldMags.net

Hair
WorldMags.net and fur

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

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Lay the foundations


Pre-visualise fur in order to get quick feedback

04

04

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

05

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

a character, there are essentially two ways of organising FiberMesh elements to


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

05

07

07

06

06

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

over the model and mask each region in turn to grow bres from. Usually, on the
FiberMesh Modiers tab, its best to zero out any sort of randomisation at the start to avoid an
unwanted result and to build up the look manually. Since were still on the prototyping stage, the
idea is to work as fast as possible without worrying too much about details. After accepting each
of the FiberMesh sections, we can groom them with GroomHairLong. Although the fur isnt
actually long, this brush is perfect because it enables more control along each strands length.

86 3D Art & Design

Groom the bres into a pattern While grooming


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

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Hair
WorldMags.net and fur
08

Prepare the mesh After youre nished creating all FiberMesh elements, proceed to

09

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

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

08

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

10

MARI performance tips If you are experiencing


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

Volume illusion

10

If you are working on a furry creature based on reference


images, always be mindful of the volume and shape of
what you are sculpting. For example, if you match your
sculpt completely to a reference image on the silhouette
and later decide to add fur to it, you will most probably get
incorrect results. This is because youre adding another
layer of silhouette on top of the character, making it look
fuller. Sometimes you might be able to cope with this later
by an overall negative ination.

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Further refine the fur


Make FiberMesh ready for Shave and a Haircut

11

Continue building FiberMesh elements The


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

12

Layer the bres Some areas on the tiger fur have a

layered FiberMesh set up for higher delity in the look


development, as well as to have Shave work as expected.
Without this, Shave doesnt really know how distinct the two
fur types should be, resulting in a uniform interpolation
between the strands. An example of this layered style took
place on the tiger chin one layer with a dense, short
FiberMesh and one with less-dense and longer elements.

13

11

Adjust the grooming brushes As you are


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

12

Shave and a Haircut tools


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

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3D Art & Design

13

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Hair
WorldMags.net and fur

Fit the pieces together


Prepare the tiger fur ready for rendering

14

14

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

Maya to prepare them for rendering and export out all


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

15

Add whiskers Regarding the whiskers, you can totally


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

15

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

Miss Mutation Maya, ZBrush, mental ray,


Photoshop (2011)

Say Cheese to the World Maya, ZBrush, Shave


and a Haircut, mental ray, Photoshop (2010)

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

Sculpting and most of the textures were made and


hand-painted using just the mouse.

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Photorealism
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Render and post work


Modify your shaders and set up the final render in Arnold

16

Set up the shaders Here the Arnold aiHair shader


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

17

Begin the render Theres only one Skydome light in


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

Arnold and fur rendering

16

Arnold is an amazing renderer thats optimised and


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

17

90 3D Art & Design

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Artist info

WorldMags.net

Set Visions
Imaging Studios

Gallery

This image was created in 3ds Max, then


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

Set Visions produces


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

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Bring still-life
objects to life
Afternoon Siesta
2013

Construct a realistic still-life scene using photorealistic


techniques and the careful study of light and shade
Soan Moumene works as a lead CG artist at Carioca Studio in Bucharest, Romania

92 3D Art & Design

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Artist info

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

Still life

he purpose of this tutorial is to create a


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

Sofian Moumene

Concept

Personal portfolio site


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

For this project I


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

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Sketch out your composition


Organise your essential starting materials

01

Search for
reference images

You can use Google to nd


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

02

Complete rough sketches With all reference


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

01

02

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

Start modelling
Use a variety of tools to model objects

03

03

Work on the room Use real-world scale for the

whole scene and build just two walls one in the front
to form the background of the still-life subject and the one on
the left, where you can also put a small window to use as the
main light source. The oor isnt visible in the nal image, but
its important to include it to obtain more natural light bounces.

04

04

94 3D Art & Design

Shape the wicker basket For this element, start


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

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Still life

05
05

06

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

06

Add the pear To model the pear, you can use the same workow as for the gs: rst

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

07

Bring in the plates and cutlery To model these

08

Create the grapes Modelling the grapes is more

objects you can apply basic techniques with the Knife


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

08

09

complex due to the amount of objects. First block out


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

09
10

Finish the grapes element Next, apply the Shell


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

10

Modelling with layers


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

Model the glass and ceramic wine canister

For this, youll once again need to use the Line tool for
the outlining, along with the Lathe modier. Add another Edit
Poly modier to model the handle and the neck of the canister.
Apply the TurboSmooth and Noise modiers to add some
small imperfections to the glass. For the ceramic canister, use
the same method but at the end add a Displacement map to
mimic the horizontal marks left on the clay.

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95

Photorealism
WorldMags.net

Light the scene


Experiment with HDRIs and settings

11

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

11

12

Dene the light sources Try to avoid lling the scene with lights and use as few light
sources in the scene as you can. In this example, only two V-Ray Dome lights coupled
with an HDRI and a V-Ray rectangular light have been used. When youve decided on which
HDRI to insert, just create a V-Ray light source and select the Dome type, load the slot with the
chosen HDRI and then experiment with the Intensity multiplier. As we dont need the light from
the HDRI, just the reections, we can deselect Affect Diffuse from the options rollout. Now
move to the exterior of the room, just outside of the small window on the left of the scene, and
try making a plane-type V-Ray light as the main light source. Experiment a little with the position
and intensity to quickly nd a satisfying result that looks natural.

Create drops with MultiScatter


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

12

Texture and shade


Use ZBrushs powerful texturing tools

13

Texture the gs and pears This is the rst stage where well take advantage of
ZBrushs Spotlight tool for texturing. First download some high-res photos of cut-in-half
gs and whole gs, then start projecting with Spotlight onto the 3D model. Here the 3D g
model was subdivided into around three-million polys to obtain a crisp texture, because the
resolution of the PolyPaint depended on the number of polygons. The best part of the Spotlight
feature for texturing is that you dont have to worry about the seams. Next, transfer PolyPaint to
the texture by going to the Texture Map rollout and using New from the PolyPaint option. You
can texture the pear using a similar process. The shader for the cut-in-half g here was VraySSS2
along with the potato preset, because its close to the result we want to achieve once the scale
has been altered. For the pear, a simple VrayMtl was added with the Translucency set to Hard
Wax, with some Bump and Translucency maps made from the Diffuse map in ZBrush.
13

96 3D Art & Design

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Still life

14

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

15

Build the shader for the glass container To nish the glass container, rst make a

16

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

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

14

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

16

Work in reverse
In my opinion the best way to learn something is to reverse-engineer it. Supplied with this
book you have the full scene at your disposal, so study the shaders, textures and the models.
If you have any questions please dont hesitate to contact me.

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97

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

106

106 Use modular textures


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

112 Create a videogame environment


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

118 Build matte paintings


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

124 Create underwater renders


A scary diving moment involving a huge
school of fish and a great white shark

131

Gallery
Seedy City by
Zhang Chen

124

131
98 3D Art & Design

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118
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99

EnvironmentWorldMags.net

Artist info

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

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

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

Learn how to easily create massive 3D urban


environments for your 3D productions
Brooks Patrick is a 3D solutions engineer at Esri

or those who havent been introduced,


CityEngine is a standalone software
product that provides professional users in
architecture, urban planning, entertainment,
GIS and general 3D content-creation with a
unique conceptual design and modelling
solution for creating 3D cities.
Esri CityEngine is the tool of choice for the
creation of massive 3D city models for movies,
TV and games. CityEngines procedural tools have

been successfully used in movies such as Cars 2,


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

hundred-thousand housing units by hand!


CityEngines procedural nature gives you the
power to literally make innite building variations,
with full control over all the parameters of each
building, including the level of detail.
Once your 3D city model is complete, you can
export to your 3D package or game engine of
choice, using one of many industry-standard le
formats. We make sure that with our technology,
you can work in a fast and cost-effective way.

Get to know CityEngine


Create massive cities in minutes

01

Dynamic city layouts This guide provides an


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

02

Get to grips with procedural modelling

When it comes to procedural modelling, rules offer


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

100

Master the
city tools

3D Art & Design


3DArtist

01

02

WorldMags.net

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

WorldMags.netBuild a city

Tutorial screenshots of
the various settings used

WorldMags.net

3D Art & Design

101

EnvironmentWorldMags.net

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

03

Get started When you open CityEngine for the rst


time, you will be prompted with the Welcome Wizard.
This dialog will let you congure 3D navigation settings and
gain an overview of the learning and support resources. You
will also be asked to download example projects, so simply
click to start the download. Well be using these again later on
in the process.

04

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

03

05

04

City Wizard This part of the Welcome Wizard will


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

05

Choose your city style The nal step of the City


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

06

Essential skills It may take a couple of seconds for

CityEngine to generate your city, but you can monitor


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

06

07

07

Explore the city


Rule parameters

The initial buildings vary in


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

102 3D Art & Design

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WorldMags.netBuild a city

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

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103

EnvironmentWorldMags.net

Refine your sci-fi metropolis


Assign rules and develop a futuristic theme
08

08

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

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

09

Assign some sci- rules Once you have imported


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

10

10

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

104 3D Art & Design

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WorldMags.netBuild a city

Add extra elements


Include futuristic flying cars and export your city

11

Populate the city with ying cars Now that we


have applied the new building rule, its time to populate
the scene with ying cars. Select a few street shapes, then
drag-and-drop the yingCars.cga rule onto them. Flying cars
will now start to appear in the scene, making it seem much
more vibrant and appealing.

12

1hour

creation time
Resolution:
4,000 x 3,200

Export your 3D city model In the previous steps

you have learned how to assign rules to procedurally


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

11

Bring more detail


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

12

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105

EnvironmentWorldMags.net

Use
modular
textures

The Watchtower 2013

Artist info

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

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

Create a fast and efficient real-time


environment using modular textures
Tor Frick is a 3D generalist, working with everything from
characters and environments to shaders and pipeline design

ver the following pages Ill showcase my workow


for developing a modular environment. First Ill go
through the basics, such as blocking out the
environment, analysing what to build and how, and how to
design and create modular textures. Im using MODO and
UDK here, but the workows arent application-specic. I will
also briey show how my modelling pipeline looks, both for
modular textures as well as high-poly objects. Later I will
discuss how to assemble the various elements, nalise the
scene, and how to use shaders and detail meshes to mask the
modular nature of the scene. The end result is a scene that is
easy to create and can be readily expanded upon.

What is a modular texture?


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

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Modular
WorldMags.net textures

Build the blockout


Block it out and break it down

01

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

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

01

02

02

03

Analyse whats needed in modular textures

Some of the materials have a clear separation, such as


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

Divide modular
and unique areas

With the blockout of the


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

03

Quick hard-surface sculpting


In order to make the textures pop a bit more, without introducing too many additional steps
in my pipeline, I use MODOs sculpting tools to add basic detail sculpting on the hardsurface textures. They dont offer the same power as ZBrush or 3D-Coat, but since the tools
are non-destructive and work on top of your Sub-D mesh, theyre great for a quick damage
pass. I use it a lot for features such as complex machinery, where you dont want to bring the
whole thing over to a sculpting app but still want to achieve a slightly worn surface.

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107

EnvironmentWorldMags.net

Create the main tower


Construct the various elements and assemble in UDK

04

05

Work on the modular textures For every


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

05

06

Texture the unique pieces The textures for the


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

07

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

Assemble the tower Now I assemble the main

tower in pieces per material, instead of one object with


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

108 3D Art & Design

The main reason for including


discrete, unique elements is
they should be areas that
cant be made quite so well
with modular textures. As
such I make sure I use shapes
and details that require
custom textures. I use a lot of
oaters when I build
high-polys and even try to get
away with as little subdivision
modelling as I can. I mirror all
the unique stuff as
aggressively as possible,
since I plan to cover that with
vertex painting later, saving
both time and texture space.

07

06

08

Start building
unique elements

08

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Modular
WorldMags.net textures

Showcase

Artis
t
Tor Frick

I am 28-year-old 3D artist, currently residing in


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

09

09

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

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

Baroque mansion, MODO, UDK, Photoshop (2013)


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

Modular Lab MODO, UDK, Photoshop (2011)


This is a still shot from an experiment in modular textures,
where I created an entire environment using only one or two
256 x 512 textures.

10

10

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

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

Modularity for speed


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

WorldMags.net

Datacore MODO, UDK, Photoshop (2011)


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

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109

EnvironmentWorldMags.net

Add finer details


Decals, vegetation and rock will add realism

11

Add decals This scene is pretty sparse when it comes


to decals, since the majority of the environment is
organic. Ill use two decals, one giant number for the tower and
a simple rust decal, which can also be created using shaders if
youre willing to put in the work. Decals are a great way to bring
in a sense of narrative to the environment, but in a practical
sense they can also be used to cover up unnatural-looking
surfaces or hide repetition.

12

Build out the ground area For the next stage I can

use my blockout as a base and clean it up a bit, redoing


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

Cant build it? Hide it!


11

12

Very often there is one part of a model or a texture that Im


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

13

13

Include vegetation I want to enforce the feeling that


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

110

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Modular
WorldMags.net textures

Polish the scene


Make the final tweaks and backdrop to the scene

14

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

15

Add a backdrop When constructing the backdrop I make sure to have a separate
window open at all times with a view of the shot of the tower. This way I can make certain
that I work on the right elements and dont get bogged down working on details that wont even
be seen in the nal render. In this case Ill reuse the same rocks that I used up-close and just
rotate and scale them until I get the shapes I need. The only new asset Ill make here is a simple
sloped ground mesh, for covering larger pieces of ground. You can recycle the same tower a
couple of times in the background, to give a greater sense of scale and distance.

14

15

16

Move to post-production This scene is very light on effects and post-processing. I


used colour correction to make the colours pop a bit more. The original plan was to have
it more sombre and desaturated, but the saturated look works much better. All the clouds are
created by making simple billboards with an Additive Cloud texture placed on them.
16

17

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

17

Final scene tweaks In this nal stage I take a step

back from the scene and make nal tweaks. I always do


a few more passes than I think is needed. Its easy to feel like
you are done with something, but taking a few extra rounds of
polish is almost always worth it. Here I added some more ivy
meshes, tweaked the lighting a bit, and ironed out some of the
rough edges on the rocks by adding more detailed meshes.

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111

EnvironmentWorldMags.net

Artist info

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

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

Create a
videogame
environment
Engine room 2013

Use 3ds Max to quickly visualise a concept and bring the


white box into higher-resolution models for pre-vis
Stefano Tsai works for The Creative Assembly, SEGA as a senior artist

hen creating videogame


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

112 3D Art & Design

focus on modelling, forming the various


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

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

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Analyse the scene

Showcase

Artis
t

Apply colours and basic shapes

Stefano Tsai

Blocking out
the key
elements

Im a concept designer and 3D artist. I have been


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

01

01

Establish a design Dont rush to building something


straight away, just spend time talking to game
designers to see what the original idea and story behind this
level is. The most important thing is to nd out which areas the
player is going to interact with most. This could be with NPCs
(non-playable characters), just the machines or even a
computers monitor.

Corridor Study 3ds Max (2013)


I used simple shapes and materials to form one section of corridor.
This is the realistic version, as I tried to match the real world as
much as possible.

02

At this stage were going


to create the rst blocking
of the models and form all
the key elements. With
the rst blocking models
in, we can start to
visualise the proper size
and shape, then put them
into the correct place. The
most important thing for
this stage is to keep things
as simple as possible.
Well only create the basic
shapes so that people can
instantly understand what
their function is. For
example, if at this stage I
want a plumbing system,
I wont build gate valves,
miniature valves,
draincocks, jumpers,
nuts, washers and so on.
Ill only model basic pipes
using 3ds Maxs Spline
tool and turn on Enable In
Viewport from Rendering,
then play around with the
Radial setting.

02

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

Corridor Study 3ds Max (2013)


Here is another study of a mechanical corridor, but this time in a
more steampunk style.

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

114 3D Art & Design

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

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Videogame environment
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Add simple details


Make the scene light and efficient. Dont overcomplicate it

04

04

Use primary elements There are many similar


objects in the scene, so here we used an instance copy
for those models to save time. For example, when youve nished
one model, you can duplicate it multiple times in the scene. When
you modify one model, you can see all of its children change at the
same time. This is the easiest way to read their relationships with
one another, as well as with the space around them. For this stage,
its best to break the basic shapes and make them more compact.
The key is to integrate all of the basic shapes you get into the scene,
so people cant tell that youre using simple boxes and spheres.

05

05

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

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

06

06

Build a pathway Focusing more on the actual


gameplay for a moment, you need to ensure that the
pathway is large enough for players to walk through. In
contemporary games, this can mean two or three people
walking through together. Normally this is wider if you compare
it to a real-world scale. Here we can use the information taken
from Step 3 to form the path through the engines. For creating
these platforms, try using the Shell Modier to minimise the
work required. Dont spend too much time on modelling every
metal frame, simply model from a plane and let 3ds Max
generate the thickness for you. You dont need to do everything
by hand, just nd the easiest way to save time.

Choose a focal area


This is a pre-vis scene, meaning you cant include
absolutely all of the details that you want. You only have
limited time, so you have to pick certain elements that are
most in need of further development, especially in the focal
areas. Again, you need to keep it as simple as possible,
while at the same time keeping all of the modier stack, if
you adjust the models. You can add another editable poly
on the top of your stack list, as this way, if things go wrong,
you can always go back to a previous step.

07

07

Use the viewport lights to review Different colours and tones can tell a story all by
themselves. For example, here bold yellows, reds and blues have been used for lighting.
Place yellow Omni lights from the top and middle to light up the primary elements. Try to think
about the real source of the lights. Here we can presume there are some lamp stands near the
machines to help workers and strong lights from the ceiling to illuminate those ceiling machines.
However, remember that if you show everything, youre really showing nothing, so dont be afraid
of darkness. You need a contrast of lights. Here weve left some darkness between the main
platform and the lower deck, then placed some red Omni lights. Red gives off a dangerous mood,
as we want players to feel as though theres something even more dangerous than mechanical
machines down there. This is the best way to give players another layer that they can see and
feel but cant reach. Blue is often used because it has a more articial feeling. This could make
players feel as though there are computer monitors nearby. This hints to the player that there is a
control room above this area, for instance, which could be their next destination.

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Refine the environment


Focus on the smaller points and evoke realism

08

Rene the background In this particular scene,

the engine room is sitting inside a bed of rock. To


make this believable, we need to have real material on the
surface, not just at and box-like surfaces. Here weve used the
Soft Selection options with an editable poly to quickly adjust
the faces to look more like rock.

09

08

09

Finish the blocking details With the viewport


Omni lights and the background set up, we now need
to nish blocking out our models. Here weve added some huge
pillars along the rocky surface to establish some buffer
between the rock and steel materials. This can be done after
completing the rst pass of lights, because its now clear where
the darker areas are going to be and, even more importantly,
where the player will be moving. We dont need to put too
much detail into the areas containing darkness, or spend time
on something that the player cant see or reach. Darkness can
be a great tool in this regard.
10

11

10

Develop the main reactor If you keep all of the


basic shapes from the original cylinder, it will make the
object very boring. As such, take the top area and open four
doors for the cooling systems pipes to release some hot air, but
still keep the side of the cylinder simple, only adding some
frames to make it a bit more heavy-duty. Keeping the middle
surface clean is a big benet later. You dont want to overdo the
models, as the clean space can be used for decals and textures.

11

Shape the turbine In the same vein as the previous


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

116 3D Art & Design

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Videogame environment
WorldMags.net

Use lighting effectively


Add final details to the scene to make it come alive
12

12

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

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

13

Make viewport lighting dramatic Drawing the


scenery is just like using charcoal pencil, as you can
wipe away some details for better balance. After bringing in
more details for the models, we need to return to adjust the
lights. Dont be scared to add more contrast, because if you
give the same value to everything, your nal scene will be
boring. Tweak the Omni lights to create a more exciting mood.

14

Insert decals Now follow the concept to add some


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

Play around
and show
opportunity
to your lead
Dont forget to show
multiple versions of your
concept. You can easily
drop another version of a
reactor, a turbine
generator or even play
around with the
composition of the
elements. Most of the
time your rst version
isnt your best, so youll
need to adjust it. It can
make huge difference
spending just another 30
minutes moving things
around or changing their
proportions. You dont
need to model your scene
precisely. This process is
more about putting down
ideas and developing
them with your lead than
making the perfect
models. Its meant to be
quick and rough; more
like a pencil sketch than
the nal inking.

14

15

Post-production in Photoshop 3ds Max currently

cant handle visual effects in the viewport, so for these


youll have to use a script to grab a high-resolution screenshot.
You can then bring this into Photoshop to add some further
details such as smoke, volume light and other small details.
These are the nal touches for the scene and can bring the
image a bit closer to the nal look, as well as help sell the mood.
If possible, you can normally use another angle to give a team
leader a little more perspective.

8hours
creation time

15

Resolution:
6,000 x 3,840

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Artist info

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

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

118 3D Art & Design

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

WorldMags.net

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

ve used all different types of software for my digital


matte paintings, but Vue is the go-to program that I
use when I cant nd the right landscape, mountains,
skies or foliage.
In the following steps I will explain how I use Vue for
matte painting projects in the lm and commercial
industries. Ill reveal how to create terrains, a calm ocean
and an extended landscape including Metablobs.
The outcome could be used as an establishing shot of an
island to show where the next scene takes place. Usually
these are pretty shots. As such, after the scene is rendered
fully in Vue, I will take it into Photoshop CS6 and tweak the
colour, make a Levels adjustment and add any small
nishing touches to make it ready for the nal shot.

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EnvironmentWorldMags.net

Design the layout


Establish the broad shapes of the new island

01

Create a new world The rst thing that is needed to


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

01

02

Find reference To make an impressive island you


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

03

02

Set up the building blocks To help with the render

time and to work with the scene in an easier fashion,


we will open a default scene before we add an atmosphere. In
our scene well start by bringing in a simple procedural terrain.

03

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Matte
WorldMags.net paintings

Set the scene


Unlock the beauty of Vues evolution

04

Work with Hyperblobs The next stage in the new


version of Vue is building with Hyperblobs and
Hyperterrains. You can stack these in any formation and any
conguration of simple geometrical shapes and then simply select
the Hyperblob tool. Pick the right Bump map and you have yourself
a realistic-looking rock structure. Any material can be added for an
even more photorealistic feel. You dont have to follow this shape
exactly to build the rocks, but make as close a match as you can.

05

Group the shapes With the structure of the rock

built, hit the Hyperblob button. This will group your


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

04

06

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

05

07

Apply materials The centre of Neverland has a mountain with snow that goes down
to grass and rock using a mixed material. You can play with which material you want to
be used most. Here I made one island that I then used for various areas of the main island,
meaning I didnt have to populate the main terrain with an EcoSystem and slow down the render.
I named this island Neverland Cove and saved it as a separate scene so when I need it, I can
merge it into the main scene. Be sure to delete the Sun and ground that wont be needed.
06

07

Painting with plants


If there are certain areas that need to be populated with plants, you can just paint them in.
Painting the ora will create a separate layer so it wont be attached to the terrain. Hit the Eco
Paint button and choose which plants you want to paint. You can change the size of the brush
and the scale of the plants to suit. The brush paints directly on any areas of the terrain, no
matter its shape. This is a great way to add exactly what you need, where you need it.

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The ocean and beach


Build up a tranquil ocean and a sandy shore
08

08

Include MetaWater and scenic beaches

Adding an ocean is just a click away in Vue and


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

09

Add planets This is probably the easiest part of the


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

10

Render time Now were into the nal stage of the

Vue process. To keep the render time down to a


minimum, turn off anything you dont really need, as well as
anything that can be completed in post-production using
Photoshop. Try to maintain a good balance between keeping
render times down, while hanging on to everything you need.

09

10

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Matte
WorldMags.net paintings

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

11
12

11

Add Hooks ship For the pirate ship I added a model of

The Golden Hind from Poser. You can use any ship from
Cornucopia 3D or Poser, or any 3D model you have access to. I
brought it in with textures and baked it, so it was compressed, then
placed it in the cove. This is the only element in the scene that
wasnt created in Vue. It can also be added later with Photoshop.

12

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

40hours

13

13

creation time

Place more elements Since we can see planets

surrounding the island, we also need stars in the sky,


which will be reected in the ocean. I have a personal collection
of starelds, but you can grab plenty for free online or paint
them in yourself. I recommend you download a few and try
them out. Pop them in the le and screen, then add a layer
mask and paint out any stars over the island and the planets.

Resolution:
5,500 x 3,700

14

Final details For the nal touches I added foam


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

14

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EnvironmentWorldMags.net

Iliya has supplied


settings for his particle
ow, materials, lighting
and renders

124 3D Art & Design

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Underwater
WorldMags.net renders

2013

I wanted to re-create a scary diving moment,


when you are surrounded by a huge school of sh
and a great white shark bursts through them
Iliya Atanasov is studio director and lead artist at Pixelhunters

ere well be working through the process of


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

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

Artist info

Create
underwater
renders
Diving with sharks

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

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

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Establish your base mesh


Move between Maya and ZBrush via GoZ to build an initial shape

01

Sculpt the body Divide the base mesh several times,


using the Move tool and Clay brush to dene the shape.
Move from low-res subdivisions to higher-res subdivisions to
change the larger forms to smaller details. Try to keep the
sculpt on the lower subdivisions as much as possible.

01

Why model the whole shark?


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

02

Detail the face We should pay a lot of attention to


the face, especially the mouth area and teeth, as they
will be the largest parts in the nal work. Make the brush
slightly smaller than the previous steps to help add very ne
details. Go a step down to the low-res level and reshape the tail
a little to conform to the nal render pose.

03

Model small sh and other elements The idea


here is to model a low-poly object with a few
variations on the tail and textures, which can later be used for
emitting instancers. Take a sphere with eight spans, extrude/
move the vertexes back to form the body and make a couple of
variations to be smoothed later. As were dealing with a huge
amount of sh, multiplying them would take too long, so add an
emitter to produce particles that will follow a path. Later you
can add in your sh models to take the place of the particles.
For the corals, use a low-poly sphere primitive from Maya with
30 spans and delete the half that wont be visible to save
memory. In the Polygons tab, go to the Sculpt Geometry tool to
reshape the rock. You can also make loopable textures in
Photoshop from real coral images. Include other types of corals
and creatures, use the General Editors>Visor>Paint Effects and
convert them to polygon objects.

02

ZBrush tips

03

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3D Art & Design

There are a whole range of ways


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

WorldMags.net

01 Use ZBrushs Move and Clay

brushes to dene the body of


the shark
02 The face is the most vital

aspect of the model


03 Apply Maya primitives to

model the various elements

Underwater
WorldMags.net renders

Work with dynamic elements


Explore Mayas Dynamics section to bring your scene to life

04

Create curve ow Go to the Effects section in Mayas Dynamics menu and click Create

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

04

05

05

Replace the particles with an instancer Go to


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

06

Model the plankton in the water A tiny but very

essential part of any underwater scene is the clouds


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

04 Mayas Dynamics menu is

very intuitive when it comes


to populating a scene
05 Play with general options of

the Instancer to achieve


quality results
06 By using Omni emitters, we

can distribute plankton


particles in the scene
07 Maya Paint Effects is just one

way you can create realistic


bubble elements

07

07

Make an ocean surface and bubbles One of the


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

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Apply materials and shaders


Prepare the basic and advanced materials for your scene
08

08

Texture the shark model Choose a VRayBlendMtl for the shark and the
VRayFastSSS for the base material. It isnt compulsory to use an SSS, however, so feel
free to experiment with basic VRayMtls, along with Maya Blinn material. Were simply using the
VRayFastSSS because it produces the best results for this scene. Well intentionally make the
scatter colour very red, as this colour will begin to disappear underwater within a depth of ve
meters. If we go to ten meters, there will be no red at all, but because this is an artwork we can
still give it a slightly red tint. For the Diffuse Color well use the texture as it is with a Diffuse
Amount of 0.4, but for Sub-surface Color you can make the texture much more saturated with
clearly saturated reddish parts around the tummy and the mouth. Also try setting the Scatter
Radius to 2.5 to exaggerate the effect a little more.

09

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

10

Detail the small sh and corals For these parts


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

but VRayBlendMtls on the


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

128 3D Art & Design

09 Use Bump and Reection

maps to get the wet effect


10 Texture the other elements,

such as the school of sh

10

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Underwater
WorldMags.net renders

Light and render


Prepare lights and render passes

11

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

12

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

Irradiance map and Secondary bounces on the Light cash with relatively small
subdivisions (500). This is because, in this scene, we dont need such well-dened thin shadows.
If you want to use real caustics, with rays emitting from the rectangular Sun light, this next part
will be tricky. The huge numbers of small sh involved would be almost impossible to render, but
theres a trick. Make a Directional light and project a Procedural Noise texture on the Color
attribute. Now apply a white Lambert material to all the objects to achieve the caustic pass,
which well later use for compositing. Make sure you render the ocean separately from the rest of
the scene, as V-Ray currently doesnt support the Maya Ocean shader.

13

11

12

Begin render passes First add extra dirt texture to

simulate some Ambient Occlusion, building up some


shaded areas around the teeth base and inside the mouth. Next
is the Reection pass, which you can use to make areas around
the gums and inside the mouth more reective later. The
Specular pass serves much the same purpose as the Relection
pass, but will exaggerate the specular levels further.
14

13

14

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

15

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

with a V-Ray dome light and


rectangular lights
12 Effective use of Global

Illumination is the best way to


achieve the right atmosphere
13 A bit of dirt texture will

produce ambient occlusion in


the teeth and mouth area
14 You can produce authentic

depth of eld with the


Z-Depth render pass
15 A Spot light can be used to

produce the Sun rays

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3D Art & Design

129

EnvironmentWorldMags.net

Unify the scene

Showcase

Artis
t

Composite your layers and elements

Iliya Atanasov

Iliya is a 36-year-old Bulgarian CG artist. He has worked


for TV channels, advertisement agencies, lm
companies and videogame studios. He currently works
for Pixelhunters, which is based in Dubai, UAE. The
studio mainly focuses on videogame cinematics.

16

16

Merge the layers Well be using Digital Fusion to composite the different passes.

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

Smilyan House Maya, Digital Fusion (2008)


This scene required some hard-surface modelling, as well as
Mayas Paint Effects for the lush greenery. IBL lighting in mental ray
was also applied to nish things off.

Alien Swamp Maya, Digital Fusion (2009)


Another hard-surface modelling piece that again used Mayas Paint
Effects for the foliage. Lighting has been used in unique ways to
achieve a simultaneously drab and homely scene.

17

17

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

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

More dimensions
16 Move to Digital Fusion to

composite the piece together


17 Tweaking the water to be

murky and forboding will


nish off the result nicely

130 3D Art & Design

Always try to use a combination of 2D and 3D programs.


Hugely benecial changes can be made in the compositing
stage, rather than trying to achieve everything in 3D. It can
also save time when ne-tuning the results.

Maldives Maya, Digital Fusion (2012)


This made great use of displacement materials and Mayas Paint
Effects. The wooden structures and the epic clouds combine to
produce a pleasing composition.

WorldMags.net

Gallery

Artist info

WorldMags.net

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

Work in progress

This work took me one month to complete. I


attempted to portray the desolation and loneliness
of a city without the usual dark shades and tones. I
adopted the bright sunlight of noon, which
enables the rich colours to shine through
Zhang Chen Seedy City, 2011

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3D Art & Design

131

WorldMags.net

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

141

141 Gallery
No More Gas by
Colie Wertz

142 Build a vehicle game asset


Create and prepare a vehicle object for
use in a videogame production

149 Gallery
AEG27Cern 05 by
Luigi Memola

150 Create Bunkspeed renders


Showcase a sci-fi vehicle concept in the
shortest possible timeframe

154 Model a fighter jet


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

161 Gallery
Waldo by
Moran Tennenbaum

154

132 3D Art & Design

134
149

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142

150

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3D Art & Design

133

Vehicle

Artist info

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

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

WorldMags.net

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

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

134 3D Art & Design

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Model a complete car


WorldMags.net

f you want to learn the process of modelling a complete car in Maya, building realistic
materials and lighting, then rendering out passes to composite and enhance a nal
image, youre in the right place. Here well look at how to deconstruct and then
reconstruct a complex vehicle body quickly and accurately. This super-efficient modelling
method, combined with mental rays powerful tools, make this pipeline surprisingly fast
and very fun. Well be using the 67 Shelby Cobra as our subject, but most of this tutorial can
be applied to any type of car, so feel free to follow along with your favourite model. Well be
covering a lot of features and methods, but wont always have room to cover every detail in
each one, so I always encourage exploring and experimenting beyond the bounds of the
steps. The tools and techniques used here are some of my favourite, but Ive seen a lot of
different methods used to achieve some great results. Remember that its all about
exploring, learning and having fun to nd the workow that makes the most sense to you.

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3D Art & Design

135

Vehicle

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Make preparations

About line
structure

Gather blueprints and set up the scene

01

Collect reference Well need two types of reference,


starting with the turnarounds for the image planes,
which will be our primary guides when creating our model. A
great source for free vehicle turnarounds at excellent quality is
The-Blueprints.com. Next we need an abundance of photo
reference from many different angles and in a variety of
environments. In the modelling phase, these will be helpful to
ll in the perspective details that arent clear in the turnarounds.
These images will also give us a great understanding of the
material properties of our surfaces.

02

Start your scene in Maya To avoid distortion

when making image planes, the dimensions of each


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

01

02

03

03

Establish structure and the car design Before

we start modelling, well identify the important lines


that make up the bodys design. These will give us a great
starting framework for the body geometry. Well be working
with all the lines noted in the adjoining image, but lets dene
some of them here. The A-line runs over the car, tracing the
silhouette from the front of the hood to the back of the trunk.
The belt line runs from the headlight, through the bottom edge
of the windows. The base line runs along the bottom of the car,
from the very front to the very back.

Begin modelling

04

Establish the main forms of the car

04

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

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

05

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

136 3D Art & Design

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Structural lines can be


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

Model a complete car


WorldMags.net
06

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

07

06

07

Model the
Shelbys fenders

For the next step we need to


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

08

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

08

09

Work on the interior The interior is comprised of a


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

09

10

Add exterior accessories External elements can


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

10

WorldMags.net

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

137

Vehicle

WorldMags.net

Work on materials and lighting


Use image-based lighting and form realistic car paint

11

Set up image-based lighting

12
11

et a suitable

Make the car paint material Mental ray comes


with a powerful and simple shader designed to simulate

variant is best to use because its compatible with mental rays


Passes system, which may be handy later. This shader can

curves away from the eye, or into direct light. The Bias value

13

Use other materials r this image, almost all the

any material. This shader is also worth studying in real depth,


but for this tutorial we can only cover some of its basic
12

13

How to get the best


materials and lighting
Materials and lighting are disciplines in their own right, so
we cant cover all of their intricacies in great depth here.
Below are just some of the most important concepts that
should be mentioned:
ensure that Maya is reading textures correctly, as well as
displaying renders accurately.
tab by increasing the lter. The Accuracy and Point
lighting detail and delity.
should enable Output Maya 2009 Passes in the
Advanced dropdown menu.

138 3D Art & Design

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Model a complete car


WorldMags.net

Start the render


Adjust your render settings and make initial passes

14

Tweak the quality settings

15

The Beauty passes

16

The Reection passes

14

15

Make the
right passes

16

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139

Vehicle

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Composite the passes


Bring all your render passes together in Photoshop

17

Experiment with passes For this project were

compositing on top of a Beauty pass, so we dont


absolutely need all the different types of passes, but a complete
set can be a powerful tool for enhancing the visual quality of
the nal image. Having an abundance of different passes to
work with is always advisable, even if some end up being
discarded. This way you can experiment with a bunch of
different passes, adjustments and blending modes to see what
looks the most effective. In addition to the Beauty and
Reection passes, Specular, Shadow, Ambient Occlusion,
Depth and Diffuse passes have also been used here.

17

19

18

18

Composite your passes Open Photoshop and copy

19

Make nal touches At this point were still striving

your various passes into a single PSD. Take the full


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

for realism, but with a focus on visual interest and


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

140 3D Art & Design

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WorldMags.net

Gallery

This image was created as a demo


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

Artist info

Colie Wertz No More Gas, 2012

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

Work in progress

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141

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Vehicle

Artist info

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

Build a vehicle
game asset
Ready to roll out 2013

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

Learn how to create and prepare a vehicle object


for use in a videogame production
Rainer Duda is a freelance 3D generalist focused on creating assets for high-quality videogames

n this tutorial well cover the creation of a static game


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

Following these steps well build a high-poly version of the


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

Start the mesh


Use a grid and blueprint to begin

01

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

01

02

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

03
03

142 3D Art & Design


3DArtist

02

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

WorldMags.net

Build a vehicle
WorldMags.netgame asset

Rainer has supplied


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

Concept
If you dont have any self-produced concept
art or designs, blueprints are another great
option. For a quick and easy start we will take a
blueprint of a 2001 Dodge Charger from www.
the-blueprints.com.

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143

Vehicle

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Bring in more features


Finish the initial mesh and start adding more elements

04

04

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

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

05

Add more elements Some vital elements are still


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

06
05

06

Time for the big guns The last sub-asset what we


need is a medium-sized Gatling gun. We dont really
need special reference for this piece, as we can imagine it
however we like. The rst thing to do is model a base structure
out of a cylinder. After converting it to an editable poly, an inset
and afterwards a poly-extrude will complete the base. The gun
itself consists of one cylinder with a chamfer and ten simple
cylinders arranged in a circle. Ammunition comes from a
cylinder that stays vertical to the gun next to a funnel, which is
quite simply a modied box. The holding structure is an
extruded box braced by a half-cylinder that can be extruded
along the normals. Again, note that we are using only simple
geometries at this stage.

Creating your low-poly


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

144 3D Art & Design

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Build a vehicle
WorldMags.netgame asset

Finalise the sculpt


Begin unwrapping to project details and paint the object

07

Build space to paint Before we start painting or even


exporting elements of the car, we need to unwrap the
low-poly with a UVW Map modier. Be careful and overlap as
many parts as you can, as it makes sense to save space and scale
them up later. Both the front and back wheels can be overlapped
and of course all the gun barrels, plus the remaining parts that are
symmetrical to one another. Dont try to ip UV sets, because this
can produce Normal map errors that well have to x later in
Photoshop by inverting the Green channels.

08

Let there be light The UDK gives users the


possibility to use their own UV channels for the Light
map, which is useful as we can decide for ourselves what kind
of polygons get more light information than the others. The
only difference in comparison to the rst UV channel is that
there cant be any overlap on the Light map. By increasing the
maps channel to 2 and clicking on Abandon, a new UV
channel will be created. Its necessary to reorganise all
meaningful polygon units so that there is no overlap at all.

07

09

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

08

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

09

isnt ready for the game world, as it needs information


relating to where the player is unable to move through or over.
To provide this information, build nine simple boxes that cover
almost the whole car, including the guns. Its important that the
boxes arent touching or intersecting with one another. After all
the boxes are in place, its time to attach them and give the new
piece a name with the prex MCDCX followed by the name of
your low-poly. After exporting the low-poly, complete with the
collision geometry, the UDK will interpret the second geometry
during the import as collision data.

10

Export and map-generation xNormal takes lowand high-poly meshes as separate inputs, which is
good for us because at the moment we only have the low-poly
version. Whats important at this stage is that we dont export
the whole vehicle at once, but rather its various units. To do
this, split the complete vehicle into parts to be on the safe side
and to obtain proper maps. At the end youll have the body, one
wheel from the front, one from the rear, both mirrors, the
bumper, one turbine and an exhaust pipe. All of these parts
need to be centred in the 3D world. In addition well keep
another version of the complete low-poly vehicle as well.
Unfortunately we have to explode the turret to make it work
properly. This means all the parts that arent overlapping need
to be detachable and separated from the main mesh and as
such can be exported separately. Furthermore, low-poly parts
for the map-generation need to have just one smoothing group.

10

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Make the high-poly mesh


Its time to slice the low-poly and build high-poly parts

Maximise
on polygons
For this vehicle we built a
high-poly directly in 3ds
Max. However, youll nd
there are certain
limitations when working
with a large number of
polygons, as if the
number is too high or
your machine too slow, it
simply wont be possible
to work in a simple
manner without any
crashes and distractions.
As a consequence, users
can switch the whole
high- and low-polybuilding process to
ZBrush. Pixologic has
implemented a highly
useful function to render
decent Normal maps, but
alternatively its also
possible just to create a
high-poly mesh and use it
in combination with
xNormal and a low-poly
object from 3ds Max to
achieve the same result.

12

11

11

Time for metal Our low-poly has a straightforward


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

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

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

13

12

Prepare to export
the vehicle mesh

Next merge the high-poly


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

146 3D Art & Design

13

WorldMags.net

Build a vehicle
WorldMags.netgame asset

Create the maps


Take your meshes into xNormal

14

Import all the meshes Open xNormal and import


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

15

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

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

16

Use an optimal projection cage xNormal gives


users the ability to take advantage of an implemented
ray distance calculator that puts a projection cage around the
high-poly to measure the ray distance between the high- and
low-poly meshes. How accurate the calculation is depends
entirely on the time that the calculator is originally given, but so
long as the calculator measures as more detailed, the maps will
look better. Any calculation that lasts longer than one minute is
ne in principle, because the cage has had enough time for the
calculations to expand correctly. After this stage all thats left is
to copy the results and generate the texture maps. The nal
steps in this process involve combining of all the parts to
complete both maps in Photoshop. If the Normal map detail
isnt quite strong enough, you can try moving to CrazyBump,
which is perfectly capable of increasing the intensity needed for
the nal result.

16

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

17

17

Build two maps Now Photoshop can be used to paint

18

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

18

Ready to roll out The complete low-poly object can


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

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

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Gallery

Artist info

WorldMags.net

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

Work in progress

The design of the bike piloted by a droid belongs


to my wider personal project in which I created a
series of vehicles. The chapter CERN05 describes an
extreme competition between motorcycles and
droids that are piloted remotely
Luigi Memola AEG27Cern 05, 2012

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149

Vehicle

Artist info

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

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

WorldMags.net

Create
Bunkspeed
renders
Adaptive Field Tank
2013

Here well look at how Bunkspeed can be used to showcase


a sci- vehicle concept in the shortest possible timeframe
Peter Blight Sci- and fantasy concept designer

unkspeeds suite of products is famous for


achieving beautifully rendered images at breakneck
speed. Here I have re-imagined an original concept I
created several years ago, the Adaptive Field Tank.
The AFT is half jet, half tank, built to take advantage of
the unusual physics of cyberspace. In reality, you cant just
stick a jet engine on a tank without causing problems
treads dont move that fast and the aerodynamic drag would
prevent it from reaching a decent speed. In cyberspace, the
treads only materialise where they contact the ground and
are attached by code alone. This keeps the ship in ground
effect for pursuing hyper-fast wheeled vehicles in areas
inaccessible to air attacks, with the additional advantage of
being tethered to very grippy tread segments to absorb the
recoil of its powerful turret and weapon pods. Make no
mistake, you dont want this beast on your tail.

150 3D Art & Design

Bunkspeed
Pro 2014 60-day
trial with
the disk

Putting myself inside the mind of an evil computer-world


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

WorldMags.net

Create Bunkspeed
WorldMags.net renders

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

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Prepare and render your model


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

01

Getting started Open up Bunkspeed and select the

Hybrid renderer (if this is not already selected) then hit


New Project. Under the Project Menu, select Import Model.
Select the le AdaptiveFieldTankTutorial.obj from the cover CD
provided with the magazine. In the Import Settings menu,
select Materials tab, check Ignore Texture References and then
press OK. Ensure that you have the Fast button pressed in
order to take advantage of the realtime preview. Some quick
navigation tips include Alt+ hold left mouse button to rotate,
Alt+ hold right mouse button to zoom and Alt + spin your
mouse wheel away from you to exaggerate the perspective for
a more dynamic pose.

01

02

02

Create custom materials In the right tool panel,

03

Browse pre-made materials In order to give you

select the Material tab. Here we can make the whole


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

more choice of materials you can join the Bunkspeed


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

152 3D Art & Design

03

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

04

04

Assign a decal In order to efficiently assign a decal its helpful to do so in an orthographic


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

05

05

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

06

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

06

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Vehicle

Artist info

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

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

WorldMags.net

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

ere youll learn how to model a ghter jet


from scratch, then construct a dramatic
scene featuring a dogght high above the
clouds. Throughout well be using Blender for
modelling and rendering the 3D elements, GIMP
for painting textures and Photoshop for the nal

composite. Well cover blocking out the model


from references, before creating the details with a
mix of retopology and modelling methods.
Next well move to making materials for the
ghter jet, with a view to rendering a nal image
with Blenders Cycles renderer. Well focus on

mixing procedural techniques with hand-painted


maps while using Blenders node materials.
After nishing up the jet itself well move on to
creating the nal image, adding two pursuing jets
into the background along with other exciting
features such as explosions, contrails and clouds.

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

01

Throughout the modelling


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

02

Start simple Begin with basic primitives, such as

cylinders, spheres and cubes, to input modications


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

Snapping
surfaces

03

02

Build the fuselage With the model blocked out,


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

154 3D Art & Design


3DArtist

03

Shape the wings Youll need to nd some reference

for the cross-section of a ghter jets wing to get the


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

WorldMags.net

01 The jet blocked out with

simple geometry
02 Using a Mirror modier to

model the fuselage. Edge


loops are added around hard
edges to retain sharpness
03 To construct the wings, rst

create curves for the


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

Model
WorldMags.neta fighter jet

Concept
A modern ghter jet
bursts out of the
page, pursued by
enemy jets, as a
missile streaks by in
the foreground and
explosions punctuate
the distant sky.

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Detail and texture


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

04

Model the missiles Adding details to the jet will

mostly consist of examining reference material and


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

05

04

UV unwrapping

Its now time to UV


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

06

Multiple UV maps Because well want to add


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

05

large camouage pattern on the wings and the sharks mouth


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

04 The missiles for the ghter jet

are modelled with simple


cylinders, extrusions and
extra parts for the ns
05 Mark seams for UV

unwrapping the ghter jet


06 Creating various UV sets is a

bit of extra work at this stage,


but it makes texturing tasks
much easier later on

06

156 3D Art & Design

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Model
WorldMags.neta fighter jet
07

Bake textures Once we have the ghter jet

08

Paint a camouage pattern Here weve gathered

unwrapped, we can add an Ambient Occlusion map


for the whole model using the baking tools in Blenders Render
tab (note: you have to set the renderer to Blender Internal for
this, as Cycles doesnt currently support texture-baking). Now
bake your AO map to the rst UV set you created.

various textures for the ghter jet as separate images,


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

09
07

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

Attach decals to the jet Now paint the decals for


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

08

09

07 Baking an AO map. Make sure

you have the renderer set to


Blender Internal and turn up
the Samples settings for your
Ambient Occlusion
08 Paint the camouage pattern

for the body in GIMP

09 Some of decals on the jet


10 Take a square selection of

your base texture, offset the


image to position the seams
in the middle, then apply the
Resynthesise lter on the
models boundaries

10

Make grunge and scratch textures Now build up

a few different seamless textures for dirt and scratches


to be used in various materials covering the jet. To make a
texture seamless, rst offset it in GIMP and place the
boundaries of the image in the middle of the canvas. Select the
seams and use the Resynthesise lter to ll them with a
continuous texture. This should produce a smooth result.
10

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Realistic surfaces
Apply Blenders node materials ready for rendering

11

Construct a Diffuse shader Initially make a Diffuse

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

12

11

Apply glossy reections Now you can combine the


Diffuse shader with a couple of Glossy BSDF shader
nodes using Mix Shader nodes. You can also reuse some of
your textures to affect the Color and Roughness inputs for the
Glossy shaders, to provide a bit of variation in the glossy
reections. Apply two Glossy shaders: one for broad soft
highlights over the shape of the jet and the other to give some
sharp reections on top. This isnt physically correct, but it
gives extra control over the look of your material. Use a couple
of Layer Weight nodes to control the mixing of the shaders.

13

13
12

The Cycles render preview


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

158 3D Art & Design

Displace elements

The Cycles renderer


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

WorldMags.net

11 By creating a Diffuse shader

for the jet, you can use node


groups to keep your material
nodes organised
12 The two Glossy shaders

shown on their own, plus the


overall node setup
incorporating both diffuse
and glossy reections
13 Some displacement brings

detail to the surface of the


wings and fuselage
14 Linking the jet into the nal

BLEND le as a linked library.


This keeps the scene live if
you need to go back
15 Rendering the volumetric

smoke and trails in the scene


as separate scenes

Model
WorldMags.neta fighter jet

Showcase

Develop the scene

Artis
t

Build a dramatic environment

Ben Simonds

Ben Simonds is a 3D artist and a director of Gecko


Animation Ltd, a small VFX and animation studio
based in London. Hes been using Blender for about
seven years. He also produces tutorials and articles for
his website, www.bensimonds.com, and is the author
of Blender Master Class, a book all about creating 3D art
using Blender.

Pirate Captain Blender,


GIMP (2010)
This scurvy sea dog was
created a few years ago for a
portrait competition. At the
time, subsurface scattering in
Blender was relatively new
and I wanted to create an
interesting but lifelike
character in the software.

14

14

Link the jet into a new BLEND File To create the nal image, start a new BLEND le
to work on lighting and to render the jet in. To link the jet into this new le, assign all of the
objects making up the jet into a single group, then link this group into the new BLEND le. This
enables us to go back and modify the jet in its original le and have the nal scene update
automatically when we reload it. It also enables us to create a couple of duplicates of the jet to
act as the other ghters in the scene.
Abandoned Warehouse Blender, GIMP (2011)
An abandoned warehouse full of rubble. Modelling was completed
in Blender, textures in GIMP and rendering in V-Ray.

Fourarmed II
ZBrush, Blender
(2010)

15

15

Build up smoke trails To add some extra intensity to the image, you can include some

smoke trails created with Blenders smoke-simulator tools. These have to be rendered
with Blenders older render engine Blender Internal which supports volumetric materials.
Render these effects in separate scenes, then link in objects like the jet to act as masks (using the
Mask Layers options when rendering).

Ben has created a vast


amount of Blender
work over the years
that straddles
everything from
believable human
likenesses to
spaceships and
captivating soft-body
sculpts such as this
detailed creature!

WorldMags.net

3D Art & Design

159

Vehicle

WorldMags.net

Post-production

Simulating explosions

Refine the lighting and render settings

For my nal scene I wanted the jet to be pursued by other


ghters, among explosions and missiles. To create some
explosions and missile trails I used Blenders smokesimulation tools. I made a couple of separate les with
different smoke simulations in one for a fast-moving
missile with a trail of smoke behind it, another for some
smoke erupting from the wing of the jet and another for fullon explosions. The smoke-simulation tools can be pretty
ddly, so creating these in separate les will enable you to
concentrate on these elements in isolation. After youre
happy with the result you can combine them with the other
pieces of the nal scene.

16

16

Position the lights The lighting in this scene is pretty simple. We used a HDR sky map
to provide some global illumination lighting and a sun lamp for the main directional
lighting. We also added a large at cube below the jet (out of shot on nal image) and assigned a
light-blue Emission material to it. This provides some lighting from below to mimic reected light
from the clouds. You can also try adding a bright-orange point light on the damaged wing, just
where the smoke is supposed to be pouring out, to create an orange glow on that side of the jet.

17

Rendering and
nal composition

This nal composite was


completed in Photoshop.
GIMP is preferred for painting
textures, but Photoshop has
exible layer-management
for making multilayered
images. We rendered out
each of the elements for the
image as separate passes,
while completing a small
amount of compositing in
Blender. We then opened all
the passes as layers in
Photoshop. At this point you
can add aerial perspective
(fading distant objects), as
well as some extra motion
blur. You can also tweak the
colours of the various cloud
and smoke layers.
16 The lighting setup, showing

the Emitter mesh below the


jet, the sun lamp above and
the small orange point lamp
on the wing
17 Compositing the nal image

17

in Photoshop

160 3D Art & Design

WorldMags.net

Gallery

Artist info

WorldMags.net

Moran Tennenbaum
A 2D turned 3D artist, Moran
specialises in environments,
props and characters
Personal portfolio site
www.morantenn.com
Country USA
Software used Maya, ZBrush,
Photoshop, Mudbox, xNormal,
V-Ray, NUKE

Work in progress

This project was created as part of the


Demo Reel class at Gnomon. The design and
intricate details presented a welcome challenge
in terms of modelling and textures
Moran Tennenbaum Waldo, 2013

WorldMags.net

3D Art & Design

161

Vehicle

WorldMags.net

Artist info

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

Jonathan
Williamson
Personal portfolio site
Country
Software used
Expertise

Create professional
wireframe renders
Make professional-looking wireframe renders in
Blender using its Cycles feature

endering wireframes in Cycles can be


done using a few different methods.
One option is to use the Wireframe
Input node within a Cycles shader node tree.
Alternatively you can create actual
wireframes via the Wireframe Mesh Operator
in Edit mode. Additionally, you can combine
your Cycles render with a Blender Internal
render through the compositor.
The rst method, using the Wireframe
Input node, is the simplest it also renders
everything in triangles at the highest
subdivision level. However, this tends to result
in a very messy-looking render and its not
very exible. With the second option, you can
have a great level of control, but it relies on
actual geometry, which can become
expensive very quickly and also clutters up
the scene. In light of these two, the third
option, combining your render with one from

162 3D Art & Design

the Blender Internal, is my preferred way to


create decent wireframe renders. By
compositing two renders you can create
excellent results and keep a ne level of
control over the nal effect. Its also quite easy
to set up.
The Blender Internal method just takes a
few steps, but to make the process
manageable we will utilise Blenders scenes,
duplicates of our model(s) and a series of
materials. We will need a material for the
base material, the wireframe material and a
white matte material. Last, well need to set
up a simple compositing node tree to
combine the two renders together from each
of the render engines.
The true benet to making wireframes in
this way is that you are able to take full
advantage of Cycles powerful node-based
shader system.

01

01

Duplicate objects to a new scene The rst thing


to do is create a new scene and duplicate or link all of
your model(s) into it. Duplicating objects is the most exible
method, but linking them can be more convenient as itll use
the same mesh data for each instance of the model in each of
the scenes. In this case, Ive chosen to make a new scene with
linked objects, as this way if I ever change something in the
mesh, the changes will propagate across both scenes.

WorldMags.net

Wireframe
WorldMags.net renders
02

Set the render engines for each scene Once both scenes are created you need to
specify which render engine to use for each one. The rst scene, which will be used for
actually rendering the model, should be set to Cycles. The second scene, which will create the
wireframe render, should be set to Blender Render (also known as the Internal Engine).
02

03

Create wireframe material for second scene Next its time to create the
wireframe material in the second scene, (which should be the one set to Blender
Render). The rst step (and most important part if youve chosen to link your objects) is to
change what the active material is linked to. Materials can either link to the data of an object, or
to the object itself. When the link is set to Object, you can use a separate material for each
instance of that object. In this case, Im setting the link to Object. Now you need to make a new
material, since changing the link to Object has emptied the active Material slot. On this material
set the type to Wire and the Diffuse colour to black. You should also enable Transparency and
increase Z Offset to something around 0.01.

04

03

Produce white matte material for the frame

05

Now repeat the previous steps for the white matte


material, but this time leave the type set to Surface, set the
Diffuse colour to white and then enable Shadeless. Also, go into
Edit mode, select the whole mesh, then press Assign in the
material. This material will be used to tell the compositor what
to ignore, as well be multiplying the black wireframe over the
Cycles render. While creating this material, its also a good idea
to set the World Background Color to white as well, or you may
nd it slightly conicting later on in the process.

05

Render both
scenes Once the

materials are created and


added to each object for
rendering, its time to actually
render both scenes. Since
were using multiple scenes,
this is most easily done from
the compositor. Switch over
to the compositor, then go to
Input>Render Layer Node for
each scene, then specify the
scene from the dropdown
menu on the node. To render
a specic scene, just press
the Camera icon on the
Render Layer node.

04

06

06

Composite the
two renders
together Finally, to put it all

together we need to multiply


the wireframe render over the
Beauty render. This can be
done by adding a Color> Mix
Node and then setting the
Blend Type to Multiply. This
method is not as fast to set
up as some alternatives, but it
tends to yield the best results
with the most exibility.

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3D Art & Design

163

WorldMags.net

Animation
Allow your 3D art to truly come to life by
learning how to animate
166 Animate a dialogue shot
Create seamless and believable Maya
dialogue shots in 12 easy steps

171 Gallery
CTN Animation Expo Kirk & Lucy by
Angel Navarro

172 Shatter moving characters


Animate a fractured character, as if
they are made of something brittle

178 Master blend cycles


Achieve Assassins Creeds style of
animation in your artwork

185 Gallery
General Shellshock by
Koen Koopman

186 Animate vehicles


Take your car out for a spin and create
some cool stunts

171

166

164 3D Art & Design

WorldMags.net

WorldMags.net

178
185

186

172

WorldMags.net

3D Art & Design

165

Animation WorldMags.net

The audiences attention is


typically centred on the
characters face, especially
during a shot with dialogue

Animate a
dialogue shot
Artist info

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

Digital-Tutors
Personal portfolio site
Expertise

166 3D Art & Design

Digital-Tutors reveals how to create seamless and


believable Maya dialogue shots in 12 easy steps

ackling a shot that involves facial animation can be a


rather challenging process that takes up a great deal
of time. In fact, so much work is involved that its best
to approach the facial animation as if it is a completely
separate shot in and of itself. There is as much planning and
care involved in animating the face as there is in the rest of
the animation.
In this tutorial, we will condense the process into 12
important steps, ensuring the facial animation of your shot is
rock-solid and can hold up on its own.
When animating the face, head and mouth, the same
techniques that you use to animate the entire body can be
applied. Timing, lead and follow, drag and exaggeration are all
extremely vital to accomplishing a great animation. Any time
the audience notices something strange in the animation,
thats the moment they will stop buying into your character.
Thats the last thing that you want to happen.

Since you are trying to convey real-world movements into a


3D virtual world, knowing just how human faces move is an
extremely important step. With this in mind, before you even
start attempting to create believable, well-crafted facial
animation, you need to carefully study how your own face
deforms and moves around. Have a go at looking in the mirror
and reciting the dialogue yourself. What do you see? The
amount of planning that is involved can seem like overkill, but
having this type of preparation in place will certainly speed up
the process and help push the animation to the next level. As
ever when working in 3D, taking the time to get things right is
absolutely key.
The character that we are going to animate will be saying:
Ahhhhh Have you seen the rest of my body? The shot is 77
frames long. Our example character is an ogre, but any
character rig with good facial controls should suffice. You can
nd the tutorial project les free with the disc.

WorldMags.net

Animate
WorldMags.net dialogue

Get to grips with facial animation


Important tips for creating your dialogue shots

01

Create a dialogue chart As we mentioned earlier,


planning is incredibly important when working on a
shot with dialogue. Write down each word of dialogue and
then break it up into syllables. Next, track the timing for each
word and study where the emphasis hits, or the points where
the character speaks most loudly in the audio. Most words
should have one of these emphasised sounds. Take notes on
what syllable they occur on, and then use the information as a
guide as to where to push the lip sync in your animation.
01

02

02

Act out the scene Animators are actors. The best way to get ideas for the scene is

to get in front of a camera and act out the shot. Dont be shy or feel awkward all
animators do it. Try to become the character during the acting process. Play the audio in the
background and play out the scene over and over again. When you think that you have got the
shot, play back the video that youve captured to double-check. Only stop when you are entirely
happy with your performance. A good rule of thumb for this is to force yourself not to settle for
anything less than 15 to 20 minutes in front of the camera. This technique will help you to really
get into the acting of the shot, and give you plenty of different options to pick between.

03

Block in six key


poses Use the

video that you shot in order


to nd the proper storytelling
poses that truly describe the
facial animation. For each
storytelling pose you should
make sure to pose each area
of the face, rather than just
the entire head. This
technique will help you to
work out the type of facial
pose that you want to hit for
each specic word in the
dialogue. Try to keep the
poses to an absolute
minimum; you really only
want to block in the most
important ones in at this
stage. For example, our
blocking pass consisted of
just six main poses.

03

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3D Art & Design

167

Animation WorldMags.net
04

Create
breakdowns The

04

breakdowns are the poses


in-between the storytelling
poses that describe how the
character is getting from one
pose to the other. Study your
reference and use that as a
guide to help you create your
breakdowns. Look at the
spacing between each pose
thats in your reference and
incorporate that into your
animation. Its very important
for you to remember that
breakdowns are not just
in-betweens. You should be
thinking about drag,
exaggeration and poses, all of
which can add a more
appealing look to the action.

05

05

Exaggerate the movements Once you have all


the proper breakdowns in place, the brunt work of the
animation is almost done! Make sure the timing is exactly how
you planned it and your holds are in the right spot. Once youre
happy with the timing, go in and start pushing some of the
poses to really exaggerate the facial movement. For example,
when the character brings his head down, drag the eyebrows
and have them offset a few frames. You could even play with
the scale attributes for the head to add some squash and
stretch. Exaggerating movement is just as important with
facial animation as it is in the rest of the body.

168 3D Art & Design

06

06

Animate the eyebrows Its important to have strong eyebrow poses to sell the
facial animation. Dont overdo it by having the eyebrows moving during every single
word. Instead, nd a few important eyebrow shapes that you want to hit during the dialogue. In
the ogre animation there are really only two main eyebrow poses: frowned and surprised. Its
how you transition between the two that helps sell the animation.

WorldMags.net

Animate
WorldMags.net dialogue
07

Fine-tune the eyelids After the overall


movements of the head are looking how you want
them, its time to go in and start ne-tuning some of the
smaller details. The eyelids may seem like the least important
area on your character, but they can really help sell the
emotion of your character if used right. For example, in our
animation the eyelids have been opened very wide in the spots
where the eyebrows are raised. This makes our characters
face feel like its all one cohesive unit, working in sync.
07

08

08

Add in blinks When adding blinks to your facial animation, make sure that you
arent adding them just because you think the characters eyes must be getting dry. If
you want to add in blinks with the correct timing you need to think about the emotional state of
the character. Is he angry? Sad? In our animation, the dialogue has a concerned tone to it, so the
characters blinks can be minimal. In this shot there are a total of three blinks; the rst is during
the head turn at the beginning, the next is when the character looks up at camera, and the nal
one is when he bobs his head. Remember that you can also use the controls under the eyelids
to be able to really make each blink feel eshy and tactile.

09

Time for lip sync

09

Once the head


movement and face are
working properly, its then
time to work on the lip sync.
This should be relatively
simple because you created
the dialogue chart in step
one. The rst thing we need
to do is block in the jaw
opening and closing. Typically
this is done at the start and
end of a word, however, it
can be very easy to fall into
the trap of opening and
closing the jaw far more than
is actually needed. Keep
referring back to your
reference video to see how
much the jaw moves while
the dialogue is being
delivered and dont overdo it.
Once this is completed youre
already halfway done with
the lip sync.

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3D Art & Design

169

Animation WorldMags.net
Animation tutorials
Find hundreds of full-length tutorials to help you become a
better animator and learn todays leading creative
applications at www.digitaltutors.com. You can join
thousands of artists by becoming a member and learn
using the same training used by top schools, studios and
artists all around the world.

11

10

10

Work on mouth shapes When you have blocked

in the jaw movement, you are then able to go in and


start ne-tuning the shape of the mouth. Add some
asymmetry to the mouth shapes in order to help add
believability. Animate each lip control to get a sort of peeling
effect when the mouth opens. Think about the arcs that the
jaw is taking during this stage. You can really add a very eshy
look to the lip sync by animating the entire rotation axes as
well as the translate axes. Have fun with this and dont be
afraid to exaggerate!

11

Animate the cheeks A great place to make the

characters face feel eshier is in the cheeks. When


animating the face you do not want any area to feel dead, so
utilise some of the facial controls in order to make the face feel
like its all one unit working together to create the shapes. For
example, when the B sound is being expressed in our shot, try
using the facial controls to puff out the cheeks. This adds a
sense of realism to the shot, while also making the lip sync feel
more natural.

12

Polish the animation Once you have animated the


lip sync, its then time to go in and add that nal 10%,
which as you will see will really push your facial animation
to the next level. Simply track the arcs of the corner of the
mouth, nose and eyebrows. Tweak the eyelids in order to get a
nice eshy look during blinks. Once the polish pass is nally
completed, then your facial animation is nished!

170 3D Art & Design

12

WorldMags.net

Gallery

Artist info

WorldMags.net

Angel Navarro
A Spanish character artist living
in Sweden, he has a passion for
animation and characters
Personal portfolio site
www.angelnavarroart.com
Country Sweden
Software used MODO 701,
ZBrush, Maya, Photoshop

Work in progress

This is a promotional poster for CTN Expo, featuring two of


the characters, with a lm-noir style. As a team we put this
together for the webinars at VirtualAnimators.com. I was
responsible for modelling, texturing, posing and rendering
Angel Navarro CTN Animation Expo Kirk & Lucy, 2013

WorldMags.net

3D Art & Design

171

Animation WorldMags.net

Concept
In this tutorial we are
going to shatter a
pre-fragmented
character by geometry
using mParticles and a
little ADM (Advanced
Data Manipulation) in
3ds Max 2014.

172 3D Art & Design

WorldMags.net

Shatter moving
WorldMags.net characters

Artist info

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

Shatter moving
characters
Ice Man Shatter
2013

Anselm von
Seherr-Thoss
Username: 3delicious
Personal portfolio site
www.incendii.com
Country USA
Software used 3ds Max 2014,
RayFire (optional)
Expertise Anselm has worked
on VFX for the likes of Avatar
and Star Trek: Into Darkness

Here were going to animate a fractured character, as if they are made


of something brittle, using hand-animated control objects
Anselm von Seherr-Thoss is an award-winning VFX TD and VES (Visual Effects Society) member

ere you will be learning how to pre-fragment a


character using 3ds Max and RayFire. We will
then pipe the fragments into mParticles and lock
them to the original moving character. Based on handplaced geometry objects we will then release these
fragments over time creating the effect of a crumble while
the character is walking. This effect was used in a

Gazprom commercial where a fast running group of horses


shatters: tinyurl.com/3DAGazprom.
You will also learn basic ADM (Advanced Data
Manipulation), which is the former PFlow Toolbox#3.
Furthermore you will learn how to optimise your mParticles
ows and prevent a major PhysXplosion, which is caused by
intersecting geometry.

Prep work
We need to fragment and prepare our character before we pipe it into PFlow

01

01

Ensure the scene is set This initial step is small but


important. Make sure your scene is in Film/24fps and
100-130 frames long. Also make sure Realtime is unchecked,
as mParticles playback will be affected by that. Finally, make
sure your units are Generic and Centimeters. Units will have an
effect on the overall speed and look of things.

02

02

Check the provided character The initial scene


provided has a character with a PointCache modier
in it. Re-link the point cache to the le provided, then make a
snapshot since we want to keep the original walking character
as the driver for our fragment. Overall its always a good idea to
make a copy of your original object and put it on another layer.

Conform meshes for particles


Once you have the fragments there is one last important
step before we can make those particles! The fragment
pivots need to be central and the Xform should be reset.
Once thats done you can convert them all to meshes. The
pivot centre of each fragment will be the particle pivot.
EditMeshes carry less data then EditPolys and are therefore
faster, so they should be your preferred mesh choice when
working with particles.

03

WorldMags.net

03

Fragment the
snapshot with
RayFire Select the snapshot
and start RayFire. If you dont
have RayFire open the second
step as a MAX le, you will
nd the character already
broken up in there. In RayFire
load the character into the
Impact Object group and
open the Fragmentation tab.
Choose Voronoi Uniform as
the Fragmentation Type and
around 1,500 fragments, then
hit the Fragment button. Your
result should look like the
thumbnail in the screenshot.
3D Art & Design

173

Animation WorldMags.net

Head into PFlow


Pipe the fragments into PFlow and set up mParticles

04

Create the PFlow

Its now time to set


up the PFlow for the
character and fragmentation
effects. Hit 6 on your
keyboard to open the Particle
View. From the depot drag an
Empty Flow into the view.
Make sure you see 100 per
cent of your particles in the
viewport and that the
Sub-Sampling is set to
Frames. Our character is
moving fairly slow in the
provided example, so in this
case we dont need require a
huge amount of precision.

05

04

Bring in the fragments Add a Birth Group from the depot and connect it to the root

event. Add all your fragments into the Birth group and hit Update Particles from
Objects. This will make every fragment a particle and will also inherit shaders and mapping.
When you set your Display Node to Geometry you should see the fragments as particles.

05

06
07

06

Lock the particles to the moving character When you scrub the timeline you
will notice that the particles are just standing there. In order to make it move like the
original character we need to unhide it again and in the PFlow create a Lock/Bond test. Pick the
character as Lock On Object. Set it to Lock To Surface and Animated Surface. Now scrub and the
shapes should somewhat follow the characters walking motion.

07

Get physical In order for mParticles to work we need an mpWorld and an mpShape.
Drag an mpWorld operator into the ow and hit Create New Driver. This will add a
helper in the world centre called mParticle World. Make sure this has Ground Collision and
Gravity active. Next make an mpShape, which will make every particle a PhysX shape that can
collide with other shapes. Adjust this to Convex Hull and set the Display to Wireframe. You can
see that some shapes will overlap due to the Convex nature of the shape. We can counteract this
by adjusting the Weld Threshold value and Interpenetration tolerance (see Avoid PhysXplosion).

174 3D Art & Design

Avoid PhysXplosion
When you scrub the timeline you will see that the particles
just fall down and some might bounce out of the shape.
This is because there is potential shape interpenetration.
The engine tries to separate those shapes causing an
explosive motion, so to counteract this its important to play
with the Weld Threshold and Interpenetration Tolerance in
the mpShape and the Sub Samples in the mpWorld. Lower
Restitution and Friction values can cure the spasms. Its up
to you to nd the best working path depending on what
look you are after.

WorldMags.net

Shatter moving
WorldMags.net characters

Create trigger geometry


Make mpShapes obey the Lock/Bond and trigger fragmentation

08

08

09

Turn off PhysX features Drag an mpSwitch under mpShape and check Speed and

Rotation to match and follow legacy operators. This will keep them in place despite the
Lock/Bond operator telling them otherwise. Or, you can check Turn Off Simulation and PhysX will
be turned off and will kick in when told to. This can result in explosive behaviours, but it is faster.

09

Create the trigger geometry We want the fragments to fall eventually, so an easy
way is to include geometry that surrounds the particles at some point and triggers an
event change when they are inside the trigger object. For this I just hand-animated two spheres that
trigger the arms and a plane that triggers the remainder top down. You can alter the timing as you
like using your own geometry; just make sure it surrounds the particles you want to trigger.

11

10

10

ADM inside object trigger Data Test This the only time we are going to utilise ADM.
Add a Data Test under the mpWorld, then open the Data view and drag a Select Object
sub-operator into the view. You need this OP every time you want to select something from your
scene. Add all your trigger geometry, then drag a geometry sub-operator into the view and connect
it. Your trigger objects are geometry, so this is the OP of choice. Set it to Inside Object and this will
test if a particle is inside the objects or not. Create an Output Test into the view and connect it.

11

The second event of free-fall Now that you have a

Test operator to send particles into a new event with new


rules you can design the free-fall part of the effect. Select the
mpWorld, hold down the Shift key, then drag it down under the
PFlow event. This will prompt you if you want to copy or
instance the operator pick either one. The mpWorld helper is
the box object in the viewport and only references this
operator. Now you should have a second Display operator as
well, so pick a distinguishable colour from the rst event.

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3D Art & Design

175

Animation WorldMags.net

Optimise the flow


Apply new rules to the particle simulation

12

PhysX with a spin As the particles from the rst event are loose, the Lock/Bond
should not just fall down and collide with the ground, they should have some spin to
them. Drag a Spin operator above the mpWorld in the second event and play with the Spin
amount you like to achieve the desired effect. In order to make mParticles obey legacy
operators we need an mpSwitch, so drag a second mpSwitch right under the Spin and set it to
obey the legacy spin.

13

Tame the overall effect Some particles might spin a lot and some might bounce

based on your Restitution and Friction settings in the mpShape and mpWorld helper. To
tame this behaviour its always good to have a little Drag introduced. mParticles has its own
Drag operator for this, so drag an mpDrag under the mpSwitch. Check that you want to apply
Drag to Angle and Rotation and play with the Amount value until it eventually suits the effect
that youre looking for.

12

13

14

14

Reduce unwanted jumping or PhysXplosion There are a few factors that can
cause undesired behaviour in your mParticles usually Restitution/Friction and
Subframe Factor/sampling. A lower sub-stepping might cause less chaotic bounce but less
accuracy along the way. The Sleep Threshold is also worth playing with, as it takes particles out
of the simulation until they are hit by another particle, so raising the thresholds for Energy and
Bounce will tame particles once landed. There is no magic number here to x everything, just
nd a good balance of all these different values.

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Shatter moving
WorldMags.net characters
15

Cache or bake the nal result If you plan to render

on a render farm it is a good idea to cache the system


either with Cache Disk, which is new to PFlow with ADM, or
with the mParticles World. Set it to Viewport/Render and
check Cache Test Result, then hit Update. If you bake it with the
mpWorld helper click Cache/Bake Particles and let it run
through the timeline, then check Use Baked Cache. This will
ensure that every machine sees the same thing at render time.

1hour

creation time

Showcase

Artis
t

Anselm von Seherr-Thoss

Ive created visual effects for movies, commercials


and music videos for about nine years. My special
elds are particle and smoke/re/uid simulations. I
live and work out of New Orleans, where I run Incendii
LLC Visual Effects. I have worked at studios like BLUR,
Pixomondo, Atomic Fiction, Frantic Films and Psyop.

Resolution:
1,280 x 720

Snow horses 3ds Max 2010, PFlow Toolbox#2/3, V-Ray (2010)


This is a collection of RnD I did for a Gazprom commercial. I want
to show the still I really like its a snow horse. The image is, in its
essence, this tutorial.

15

Bonus round
You could also use the PFlow Baker script (www.scriptspot.com/3ds-max/scripts/
PFlow-baker) and bake the particles into meshes. Then you can pipe those into a new
particle system where you spawn smaller debris from the falling pieces. Adding more detail
by emitting from the baked particle surfaces like this can really enhance the overall effect.
You will nd a bonus max le with baked out particles and additional debris with the disc.
Constructor - A Particle System 3ds Max 2010, PFlow
Toolbox#2/3, V-Ray (2010)
You can watch this video in motion at: www.vimeo.
com/14597952. The high-res model was pre-fractured with
deconstructor by Marc Lorenz then passed on to Particle Flows
BirthGroup and triggered with a deector.

Venus 2.0 3ds Max 8, V-Ray (2006)


This was an art piece I did while learning Particle Flow. I used the
PFlow Toolbox#1 and a Max script that leaves particle trajectories
as splines. The statue is the Venus de Milo that stands in the
Louvre in Paris. It was rendered with V-Ray.

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177

Animation WorldMags.net

Artist info

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

Jonathan Cooper
Personal portfolio site
www.gameanim.com
Location Canada
Software used
MotionBuilder
Expertise Making interactive
characters and worlds ever
more believable

compatible with
MotionBuilder 2010
onwards

178 3D Art & Design

Supporting image is from marketing material


WorldMags.net and does not necessarily reect the nal look of the tutorial

Blend cycles
WorldMags.net

Master
blend cycles
Assassin Sprint 2012

Here we will learn how to create the Sprint Impulsion acceleration


cycle, an animation that captures the Assassins free spirit
Jonathan Cooper is an animation art director at Ubisoft Montreal

o achieve Assassins Creeds style of animation,


we require a vast amount of animation cycles
and transitions, bringing the assassin to life for
even the simplest ground movement before we layer
on cutting-edge technology such as reactive physics
and IK.
Here youll learn the process for making a awless run
cycle using motion capture, as well as a relatively quick and
simple looping technique that can be applied to any kind of
motion where seamless cycling is required. For this example
were using Autodesk MotionBuilder but the same
techniques can be applied in any software that has the
ability to blend sections of animation with one another.

Concept
Starting with a longer
shot of a mocap actor
running, were going
to be extracting a
section in order to
create a perfectly
looping cycle. This
can then be used for
animating a game
character, such as
Connor Kenway.

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Animation WorldMags.net

Direct your mocap


Great mocap starts with good acting, so get the most out of your actors

01

Inspire your actors imagination Because the run

01

cycle is perhaps the single most important animation in


your game, ideally you should have several to choose from,
covering a variety of attitudes, speeds and intensities. An
essential tip here is not to ask an actor to simply run fast, but
instead to give him or her visual direction in the form of: you
are chasing after a stolen purse, or you are escaping a burning
building and so on. Employing visual references is more likely
to provide a range of performances rather than simply
adjusting the speed of the capture. You can even try tying
weights to legs, if your actor is willing, or modifying the terrain
for wildly varied motion styles.
02

02

Be kind to the talent Dont leave high-energy


actions like running to the end of the days mocap
recording, especially if your actor is more thespian than
stuntman, or is not in the peak of physical condition. This will
avoid fatigue creeping into your recordings. Additionally,
starting with a quick burst of action is often a fun and
energising way to start off a session. Remember, never criticise
a performance, because actors are emotional beasts that
require encouragement and inspiration to bring something
amazing to their performances. The same can be said for
animators in general.

Acting is for actors

03

Use all of the volume Unlike stationary actions, running requires you to maximise
the use of the mocap volume the space the cameras can record as even large studios
typically have only enough room for a dozen or so footsteps. Ensure your actors run diagonally
across the volume for maximum recording distance, having them run out of the space before
decelerating if possible. This minimises wastage of mocap data when on a budget and gives you
as wide a range of footsteps to choose from as possible. However, Its easy to reposition and
realign performances, as we shall see later.

Often an animators rst approach when directing actors is


to show the action themselves, but this is severely limiting.
We pay actors a lot of money to bring their talents to our
session, so why not use them? Performances are much
better when an actor feels as though they are more
involved in the process. The direction you provide should
be broad enough to enable them to come up with their own
interpretation of what you originally wanted. Nine times
out of ten you will nd that this will be much better than
what you originally envisioned.

03

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Blend cycles
WorldMags.net

Set up your scene


Before editing, its important to ensure you have a cleanly set-up scene

04

Convert to the control rig Once your mocap is delivered, the real fun begins! Before
we can edit anything in MotionBuilder, we must move the motion from the skeleton to the
control rig. Do this by selecting Bake(plot)>Bake(plot) to Rig from the large blue character button. You
may also want to deselect Constant Key Reducer in the Options box to retain maximum delity. Hit
Ctrl+A to display the control rig in the viewport if it isnt visible already. Get into the habit of plotting
between the rig and skeleton often, for an easy before/after comparison between changes.

05

05
04

Enable the Story mode In order to broadly manipulate the motion, well use

MotionBuilders Story mode. While mostly used for editing cinematic cutscenes, Story
mode is also a powerful blending tool. Open the Story tab in the Navigator and turn Story mode
on if it isnt already. Right-click the space to the left of the timeline and choose Insert>Character
Animation Track. Choose your character from the Character dropdown menu, then right-click in
the empty timeline next to your newly created character track and select Insert Current Take.
06

06

Select a segment From the variety of examples,


youre looking for one that best suits the personality
of your character, keeping the rest as backups for other
characters. Youll want to select a range of at least three steps
that have a constant momentum. Ignore the acceleration and
deceleration likely captured at the extents and avoid noticeable
actions that would stand out in a repetitive loop. Using the
Assassin_Run.FBX le well drag the edges of the clip to frames
305-329. Youll want to start and end cycles on a passing pose,
with one leg up, to make similar poses most recognisable.

07

Scrub your animation Moving the clip back to

zero, you can make scrubbing through keys more


readable by zooming to the extents in the timeline. Do this by
manually typing in the start/end times in the S: and E: boxes at
either side of the timeline, as well as in the story by clicking on
your clip and hitting F. Note that the Story timeline differs from
the viewers the one that youre editing and one that youll see
when you press Play. You can jump back and forth one frame
at a time by hitting Ctrl, then the left/right arrow keys.
07

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Animation WorldMags.net

Refine and repair


Clean up your clips and locate the ideal join

08

Clean up your scene With the clip at zero, notice


that the numbers above and below it are out of sync.
The top numbers are scene-based and the bottom are internal
to the clip, which can cause issues on earlier versions of
MotionBuilder when copying and pasting clips. Plot to the rig by
right-clicking it and selecting Plot Whole Scene To Current
Take. Right-click and delete your original Story clip and plot
back from the rig to the Story tab once more. This resets the
clips local timeline and is a good habit to get into to better
understand the real length of clips when you move them
around. The Global In/Out indicator is the clips position in the
scene, whereas the Local In/Out setting is local to the clip.

08

09

09

Align to an axis Now that you have isolated what


you want and because we captured the motion at an
angle, we must align to an axis to make the looping workable.
You can edit the position and rotation by clicking on the Show/
Hide Ghost (eye) button in your character track. With the clip
highlighted, you should now see a green line that represents
your characters travelling motion. On the rst frame of your
range, select the Translation tool and enter 0.00 into the X,Y
and Z elds. Now select Rotation tool and manually rotate the
orientation to have the green line best match the Z axis. The
Top view, via Ctrl+T, is the best angle to rotate to the axis. Hit
Ctrl+E to return to the Perspective view.

Rapid iteration is key


Working in this manner to quickly create cycles enables us
to see them where it counts in the game engine. An
animation is never done until its fully playing and blending
in real-time with all the other cycles and transitions. Only
then can we tell whether the action is good enough and ts
the characters personality. Videogame animators often
have many animations being worked on at once and make
adjustments before exporting, review while playing, then
rinse and repeat in this manner until the game not only
looks good but feels good with the controller in our hands.

10

10

Find the best join

This is the key


element of what we are trying
to achieve, making the join
seamless and unnoticeable.
Its important to identify two
complete footstep actions
not just single key poses
that are most similar. In our
example we chose only three
steps, so notice the rst and
third steps are the two similar
actions. We will be using the
latter two as the basis for our
cycle. This means that frame
8 will then be our starting
pose. Here weve identied
the second passing pose as
our best join frame.

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Blend cycles
WorldMags.net

Blend the motion


The crux of this process is choosing to match motions rather than poses

11

12

11

Loop the footstep Now we are going to blend back

13

across one full step to ensure the looping motion is


seamless, with the momentum of every body part retaining
constant velocity throughout. We need to avoid the noticeable
hitch that would occur if we simply pose-matched the rst and
last frames. What were essentially doing here is, over the
duration of the nal footstep, blending back into the keys before
the starting footstep, so we end our cycle at exactly the same
pose as the start, with all the same momentum as the rst
frame. In our three steps, there are two similar left-to-right
actions we can blend across.

12

Blend the motion back onto itself With passingpose 2 (frame 8) as our desired start frame, shrink the
clip start to reect this. Now right-click the clip, select Copy,
move the timeline slider to exactly after the clip, right-click the
track and select Paste. We now have two identical clips
immediately following one another. Ignoring forward
movement for a second, jump into the Front view via Ctrl+F.
Select the second clip and drag its start half-way across the
original. The X shape in the Story tab shows the original clip
blending back across the keys prior to its rst frame.

13

Adjust the blend duration Now set the timeline to


be the length of the rst clip only, (8-24). Ensure looping
is enabled via the Loop button to the right of Play and hit Play.
You now have a seamless loop. Play around with how long you
blend back across the cycle to itself. Longer durations provide
the most seamless results but will increase foot-sliding,
whereas shorter durations are most stable but will increase the
visibility of the join. Only use the Front view at this stage in
order to see the seamless looping.

Cycling on the spot


Never remove the forward (Z axis) movement keys from
your characters root/pelvis bone to see your character
cycling on the spot, unless you want them to plane forward
in an unnatural manner when you key them forward again.
We dont move linearly in real life and instead push a little
with each step in a rhythmic fashion. To see a stationary
cycle, add a second layer and key the character backwards
linearly, removing the layer again later if required for
exporting into your game engine.

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183

Animation WorldMags.net

Close the loop


All that remains is to clean up the action to make it game-ready
14

14

15

0?

Match the forward position Moving back to the

Perspective view, we still have the issue of the clip


returning to its starting forward position. Rectify this by
selecting the Translation tool once more, entering the Side view
via Ctrl+R and repositioning the second clip forwards or
backwards until you reduce foot-sliding, which is bound to
occur during the blend anyway. MotionBuilder has an Auto
Match button in Story mode, but because we only want to
match the forward position and not the up/down and left/right
we can avoid it here. You can use the handy Ghost skeletons to
line up your clips with minimal guesswork.
16

15

Clean up the foot Plot from the Story to the rig and back while deleting old clips to

produce one clean clip, which you should reposition back at the origin. Plot the Story edit
onto the rig one last time and turn off Story mode. Youll likely have some lateral foot-sliding
remaining that occurs across the blend, so eliminate this by modifying the offending keys,
ensuring you dont change the initial or nal pose. Cleaning up the minor foot-sliding is easy with
MotionBuilders FCurves. In the Front view, select the left foot controller and open the FCurves
window in Navigator. Select the Translation X curve and modify the foot inwards before it lands.

Not just for running


This technique can be used for any cycling action you wish as long as you blend across two
similarly large motions rather than two subtle ones. This masks the blend more effectively
and reduces the foot-sliding and other cleanup work that follows. Assassins Creed required
many cycles to blend between in real-time sometimes only for a few frames at a time. With
this handy technique, your own projects can also have many quickly created cycles, but how
creatively you use them is up to you!

16

Improve the silhouette From this point onwards its


important to retain the cycling motion while editing. In
Assassins Creed everything we avoided in this tutorial, such as
asymmetry, acceleration and deceleration, was re-created in
the game engine to give personality and a sense of effort. How
much work you have remaining depends on how close your
original mocap was to the desired result, but now that we have
a awless cycle an animator is free to begin the real creative
work of adding appeal and personality. Remember that while
videogame animations need to look good from 360 degrees,
runs are seen mostly from the rear.

184 3D Art & Design

17

Final adjustments Lets quickly raise the shoulders

for a more heroic posture. Turn on AnimLayer1 and the


AutoKey (key) buttons, as well as selecting Full Body in the
Body Parts dropdown menu, all under the Key Controls tab.
Next set Reach R to 100% for the head and shoulder
controllers under the Character Controls in the upper right.
This enables us to blanket keys across the entire animation
unhindered. Finish off by pulling the shoulders up and back and
tilting the head down slightly on your cycles rst frame for that
classic Assassins Creed look. Now were ready for a rst pass in
the game engine many more remain!

WorldMags.net

17

Gallery

Artist info

WorldMags.net

Koen Koopman
Username: TBKoen
Personal portfolio site
www.tubuh.nl
Country The Netherlands
Software used 3ds Max,
Mudbox, After Effects,
Photoshop, V-Ray

Work in progress

This was an image I created for fun and


practise, revised from an older version with my
current knowledge of sculpting, lighting, colour
palettes and composition
Koen Koopman General Shellshock, 2013

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3D Art & Design

185

Animation WorldMags.net

186 3D Art & Design

WorldMags.net

Animate
WorldMags.net vehicles

Animate
vehicles
One giant leap
for car-kind 2013

Jahirul Amin is a freelance rigger, animator and an


associate lecturer at the NCCA, Bournemouth

Artist info

Easy-to-follow guides
take you through the
creation process

The control rig

Jahirul Amin
Personal portfolio site
www.warpeaceandpixels.com
Country UK
Software used Maya
Expertise Jahirul is an expert
animator and rigging genius

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187

Animation WorldMags.net

Animate
vehicles in Maya
H

aving modelled and rigged our car, we can


now nally take it out for a spin. Well be
hurtling down a stretch of rough road, then
taking a jump over a broken wooden bridge. This
little stunt will denitely test out our rig and well
need to play with the suspension and tip the car
using the pivot controls. Well also have to make
sure the car doesnt penetrate the environment as it
travels over the bumpy surface, most likely by
adding extra keyframes, then nally adding weight
as the car hits the ground after the jump. So grab
the supplied tutorial les and lets take a look.
Thanks to the millions of petrol heads out there,
youll nd more reference than you could ever need
online. This is especially handy to help you work out
the timing, as well as to observe small details that

add texture to the piece. However, theres no


substitute for rst-hand resources, so if/when you
drive, really feel the way the car moves in response
to changes in surface, shifting gear and so on.
In terms of approach and technique, well come
at this task as if we were completing a character
animation. Well lay out the broad strokes to begin
with and try to get the timing right before adding
any ner points. When the timing is just right, we
can add detail layer by layer, tweaking that timing as
we go. The problem with attempting any detailed
work before the timing is sorted, is that if you need
to signicantly rework it, youve got to undo the
detail added on top in order to x it, which I nd
pretty soul-destroying. Technique-wise, well be
using the very useful Editable Motion Trails, which

Start the engine

Hey, who took


the bridge?

enable you to see the path your object (here, the


car) is following. They also enable you to edit the
motion live in the viewport.
Before we hit the steps, Ill run through the
process briey. First well set our animation
preferences, create a custom shelf, frame our work
and make a camera to work to. Then well block out
the motion of the car, rst moving it from A to B,
then working and reworking the timing to get it
looking believable. Next the layering begins, so
ensure the wheels dont penetrate the surface of the
road and add weight by playing with the suspension.
Finally well add details such as the damage to the
car on landing, the movement of the wooden bridge
struts as the car hits them, and animate the
character in the driving seat.

Modifications to the rig

Check the settings & create a camera

Ive made a few tweaks to an original rig I created to make it


t for purpose. First I added an attribute to allow for
pivoting independently from the driver or the passenger
side. I also created a control for the steering wheel and
hooked it up to the Front Wheels Turn attribute, so the
steering wheel will turn with the tyres. Finally I popped a
character (Box Boy) into the car, parented his IK hand
controls to the steering wheel and constrained his root_ctrl
to the cars body_ctrl. Check out the scene le rapier_rig.
ma to see these changes and have a play around before
beginning the tutorial.
01

01
02

Tweak the animation preferences

Before we drive, we need to check the animation


settings. Go to Window>Settings/Preferences>Preferences
and scroll down to the Settings category. Under the Working
Units, set the Time to PAL (25fps) and then go down to the
Time Slider tab. Under Playback, set the Playback Speed to
Real-time [25fps]. If youre used to working at 24 or 30 frames
per second, feel free to set it to this. As the car will travel
between keyframes, set the Default In and Out Tangents to
either Auto or Spline under the Tangents in the Animation tab.

02
03

01 Setting Time preferences

before we start
02 Framing the shot
03 Creating camera bookmarks

and selection tools

188 3D Art & Design

Place the camera Go to Create>Cameras>Camera


and rename this render_cam. Open the Render
Settings under Window>Rendering Editors and set the Image
Size to either HD 720 or HD 1,080. Select the newly created
camera in the Outliner, then in the viewport panel go to
Panels>Look Through Selected. Position your camera where
you think is best and turn on the Resolution Gate to help you
frame your shot. I ended up tweaking the camera slightly
throughout the shot, so as to frame the animation better as I
progressed. However, working to one main camera means you
can cheat a few things should you need to.

03

Custom shelves & shortcuts Create a new


custom shelf and call it car_anim. In this shelf well
make a shortcut to return to our camera view, as well as a
shortcut to select the main controls that well be keying in this
shot. Looking through the render_cam viewport, go to
View>Bookmarks>Edit Bookmarks. Select New Bookmark and
then Add to Shelf. If you arent quite decided on a nal camera
angle, create a few bookmarks to switch between. Next select
the following controls: main_ctrl, body_ctrl, fpTyre_ctrl,
fdTyre_ctrl, rpTyre_ctrl and rdTyre_ctrl. Open up the Script
Editor and highlight the commands from the History and
middle-mouse-drag them onto the custom toolbar. When it
prompts you to Save Script to Shelf as Type, select MEL.

WorldMags.net

Animate
WorldMags.net vehicles

Move from A to B

04

Its all in the timing; details can wait

04

Apply guide curves Before I begin animating, I like to create a curve to help me gure
out the path the object will follow. Go to Create>CV Curve Tool or Pencil Curve Tool and
make sure the Curve degree for either is set to 3 Cubic. Navigate to the top view and create a nice path
from the top-right corner of the environment and over the bridge. If youre using the CV Curve Tool,
make sure you make several clicks from start to nish, enabling better editing of the curve. Now tweak
the vertices, as theyll currently be at on the surface. Once youre happy with this, use the cars
globalSRT_ctrl to position and rotate it in the direction of the curve.

05

Block out the controls To translate the main mass


of the car well block out the main_ctrl. Only focus on
translating the car in the X and Z axes initially and dont worry
about the up-and-down translation too much, other than on the
bridge. When the timing is rened later on, well come back
and clean the up-and-down translation, so the car will sit on the
surface better. As we have to deal with both Translate X and Z
in the Graph Editor, things can get pretty tricky when trying to
get them to work together. Luckily we can use the Create
Editable Motion Trail tool, which youll nd in the Animate
menu. With the main_ctrl selected, run the tool to create the
curve of the path the car is following. You can now live in the
viewport use the handles to edit the trajectory. This is a very
useful tool when animating a shot like this.

05

06

Re-time the animation & make an impact

07

06

Replicate the drag At this point weve got the car

Once the main blocking is complete, we can really


start concentrating on the timing and try to get it to a state
where only minimal changes may be needed later. Try to think
hard about the weight of the car and how the front (where the
majority of the mass is) will behave. Use the Front Wheel Pivot
and the Rear Wheel Pivot attributes to lift the car up from the
broken bridge, and then also to add weight as it comes crashing
down. As the car comes down, we can consider the principles
found in a bouncing ball animation: the spacing increasing
gradually and then the sharp contact, to help convey a sense of
weight and impact.

running at some speed and the rst turn is pretty


sharp. To help strengthen the idea of a speeding car, use the
Front Drag attribute on the main_ctrl to delay the rear of the
car. This will also help enforce the idea that the main weight of
the car is at the front, causing the rear to fall behind. As the car
begins to straighten up before the jump, you could also add
some drag in the opposite direction. Doing this will bring a little
texture to the animation to prevent it becoming too cleanlooking and boring.

Where is the weight?


During this process I was constantly
considering where the weight was in the car.
For this model the engine would be at the
front, so as the car swings the rear will drag.
As the car comes down from the jump, its the
front that will lead and hit rst. Stunts like
those performed in The Dukes of Hazzard had
the boot stuffed with weights to soften the
landing and stop the car from nose-diving.
Think about what would be physically
plausible rst and if you need to exaggerate
slightly, do so.

07

04 Using curves as guides helps

to project the ight path

using the Graph Editor

05 Use the Dope Sheet to help

edit the timing

06 Bring impact to the landing


07 Add texture by dragging the

rear of the car

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Animation WorldMags.net

Adjust the tyres & suspension


Apply weight & keep the tyres on track to maintain the illusion

Motion trails
Whether youre animating
a character or a
hard-surface object, youll
want to make sure the
arcs created are appealing
to the audiences eye. Ive
supplied a script created
by a colleague,
Constantinos Glynos,
called CG_
VertexMotionTrail_v2.py.
This enables you to take a
selected vertex and create
a motion trail from it. Here
Ive checked that the trails
created by the tips of the
cars wings owed.

08

08

Stay on the surface By now we should have the


main beats of the animation, so we can begin cleaning
up and layering in the details. Go through the tyres one control
at a time, using Translate Y to keep them on the surface rather
than penetrating it. Keep the geometry of the wheels and the
environment in smoothed mode, as viewing unsmoothed may
give slightly odd results. As the surface is so bumpy, especially
as it travels up and down the bridge, youll probably nd that
you have no choice but to set a key on almost every other
frame if not, a frame here and there.

09

Animate the suspension Once the wheels are


sitting well on the surface, use the body_ctrl to bring
the feeling of suspension as well as further appeal to the
animation. As the car makes the rst big turn, rotate the body_
ctrl away from the turn and then hit it in reverse. Delay the
body_ctrl so its always trying to catch itself. As the car comes
crashing down, you can really help sell the impact by rocking it
back and forth a few times before settling. With the
combination of the movement in the wheels and the
suspension, this will help add some life to the animation.

09

10

190 3D Art & Design

10

Tweak the tyres

For the wheels,


disable the autoSpin attribute
on the main_ctrl and use the
Spin attribute on each tyre
control. This enables us to
edit the speed of the tyres
spinning at different stages.
For example, when the car is
travelling through the air, the
front wheels need to slow
down but the back wheels
should spin at a faster rate.
You can apply something
similar for when the car
makes its rst major turn. You
may nd that due to the style
of the hubcaps its pretty hard
to see the wheels spinning,
but adding motion blur can
help sell this effect. To turn
the front wheels, use the
Front Wheels Turn attribute
on the main_ctrl.

11

Place the driver To have this car with either blackedout windows or no driver would look odd, so pop BoxBoy
in to let him take it for a spin. We can use this to our advantage,
as it enables us to replicate the bumpy ride. By adding some
delay and overlap to the upper body and the head, we can sell
the idea of this car careening around and slamming down. You
dont have to spend too much time here as the motion of the
car is fast, but even these small details help add some reality to
the animation. Youll also have to use the Elbow attributes in the
IK hand controls to stop the elbows from popping about.
11

08 Make sure the wheels arent

penetrating the surface


09 Add more weight by rocking

and tilting the main body of


the car

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10 Turn the wheels and add

some spin to them


11 Create further drag and

overlap by animating the


BoxBoy driver

Animate
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Add more details & texture


Small points will make all the difference, so lets add some

12

Include bumps & breaks In order for the front of the

13

Apply further jitter For greater interest, we can

12

car to crunch the oor on landing, the licence plate will


have to penetrate the oor for a couple of frames. Although
theres no control for the plate, we can animate it to move
slightly backwards as it contacts the oor. You may have to edit
the pivot point to be able to rotate it from a better position. To
do this, simply hit the Insert key on the keyboard before you set
your keyframes.

include more detail for the cars vibrations and jitters.


Use the autoJitter_ctrl with the following settings: Master Ctrl
Speed: 1, Master Ctrl Size: 1, Body Rock Speed: 6, Body Rock
Size: 0.2, Body Up Down Speed: 5, Body Up Down Size: 0.2,
Bonnet/Boot Speed: 7, Bonnet/Boot Size: 0.1, D Door/P, Door
Speed: 7, and D Door/P Door Size: 0.05. Try experimenting in a
clean scene with just the car, as its hard to see the effects in a
fast-moving vehicle but they do add to the overall animation.

12 Apply some minor damage

14 Use a bend deformer to add

some vibrations to the struts


13 By adding subtle jitter on top

of our main animation we can


increase the believability

15 Clean up the animations

13

curves before signing off

14

Interaction with the environment The last


additional details can affect the struts as the car lands.
To avoid animating each piece of wood individually, select the
majority of the horizontal struts and navigate to Create
Deformers>Nonlinear>Bend. Rotate the bend deformer 90
degrees in the Z axis and animate the Curvature attribute,
found under Inputs, with very small numbers. Ive handanimated some of the vertical struts using the Rotate Z channel
to reinforce the illusion of weight slamming down.

15
14

Clean up the animation curves Finally, check the

curves and clean them up or delete any keys from


attributes that have no animation on them. Youll know which
attributes have no animation as youll see a straight line in the
Graph Editor. And now, you can take that brisk Sunday drive!

Light up your animation


Lights are awesome and I have a tendency to use them
often when checking my animation. I like to create a
directional light with Use Depth Map Shadows turned on
and an ambient light with a very low Intensity of around
0.25. Adding Viewport 2.0 and turning on the Screen-space
Ambient Occlusion really helps to show you if your models
are penetrating the environment. Minor penetration isnt a
bad thing, as it helps to sell the idea that one object is sitting
on top of another but go too far and it will look wrong!

15

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3D Art & Design

191

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al ci
of al
fe
r

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