This is an experimental part time project I did to get some desirable lighting approach through industrial design shots. So it was more based on a technical manner than artistic, but I believe from an artistic point of view, it still has something in it. I was planning to get a cool looking still shot so I can put on my reel, and nothing is more encouraging than knowing you're going to do something better than before! Imagining the result I'd get, I started the progress...
Also please note that I'm developing my website in a part time manner, so expect bugs, broken links, unfinished contents, etc.
Modeling process was started when I was working as a freelancer. Since I had my own time to manage through the project pipeline, it was easy to make some free times called Modeling Holiday! It's been done in 5 days with a part time approach, so it didn't bother at all and was full of joy as Audi is my favorite car company in designing cool looking cars.
I started with a common blueprint setup in 3Ds Max and kept going. 3Ds Max is fairly fluent when it comes to hard surface modeling stuff for those who know how to use it. So I started as simple as I could, I always prefer to use a simple one-face plane as start object, turning it to an Editable Poly and start segmenting and moving vertices until I get what I need. If you need more information on my approach to hard surface modeling, you can see this Tutorial to get a clue.
The idea of having a nice carting car model goes back to when I had Hamkharid project in hand, and one of the scenes was going to be a carting race environment. So I thought why not do it like if I may use these cars later in a closer shot than this extreme long?! Then I spend a bit more time and made the cars look good enough for later use as my reel shots...
The Carting Cars 3d models are available Here .
This shot is one of my favorites as a challenge manner. It took me almost a week playing around with different lights, shaders and materials putting them all together to achieve a kind of after-rain-night look! To be honest, I didn't achieve exactly the look I was hoping for, but after a week playing with the shot, I've been reaching 80% quality and as time was not on my side to keep testing and learning, I decided to keep the shot as is. Still it taught me a lot about night scenes which I took as an advantage to overcome so many shots later based upon it!
You may access the wrapped up scene in 3ds max 2016 Here.
I already knew how Lighting could totally change the look of a shot. However, I have to admit I'd never knew the actual effect if I hadn't see the results of using it on my own shots! Most of the consequences of being a Generalist aims the fact that we always try to act as a pass-by-experiment function through our pipeline in order to achieve the tightest possible timelines in production. And it comes with Making Standards by trying to build our own Static Situations that we believe are the One Button Make It Nice option!
TRUST ME, THERE IS NO SUCH BUTTON EVEN FOR EXPERIENCED PEOPLE!
Knowing how to fit the softwares and process will bring you the most available efficiency. I believe it's not something that comes by reading books and watching tutorials (which may not come true for everybody), but is achieved by getting your hands dirty and doing stuff by yourself! I started with a base mesh in 3ds max. Created the overall look I was aiming for, and used it as a concept to build everything on top of it. here's the mesh I ended up with after a couple of minuets:
As I didn't want to sculpt the pillars, I've made the mesh to look like highly subdivided by focusing the polygons on the edges. This will allow you to spend less polygons and still have a realistic model that feels to be rich in polycount, which is very useful when you're dealing with environments in Animation, Movies, VFX, etc.
After dealing with the modeling and unwrapping, I've moved the pillar mesh to Mudbox through an "obj" and started doing the paint stuff. I prefer to paint my models in a layered diffuse psd and then extract other slots from that psd to get the specular, bumps, etc. If you're curious about the texturing pipeline, I'd suggest you to take a look at my approach Here. I'm sure you'll not be disappointed!
Shaders and Materials has taken the most part in this scene. This specific project didn't had any heavy texturing workflow obviously. As this shot was originally based on a subjective showcase reel about a 21st century car design, there'd be no need to spend lots of energy building texture slots for materials that'll make the feelings of passing time and/or history of the subject.
Using MentaRay Arch&Design material, a great physically energy conserving material based on photography rules, I made my material slots pretty rich with reflective & luminance base samples to use. I'd highly recommend Master Zap's approach to build materials. Officially he's the one known as one of the leaders of writing "mia_arch&design" shader for MentalRay. For more info on what I mean by Zap's approach, you can watch this simple Tutorial to get the idea.
For a complete list of materials created in this scene, you can Download the scene archive in Assets page.
Lighting & Rendering is very sweet! When I see people start educating the 3D world and argue about the best softwares, render engines, etc, I can remember myself when I was 16, feeling so excited to choose my legendary 3D package! It took over 2 or 3 years for me to get the fact: "Results do not come out of softwares, They do come out of ARTISTS!". Of course a powerful developing background, troubleshooting communities, bla bla ... they can all help improve our use of "TOOLS", but the "Artist" part always come to be more than 80% of the result. And that's what this industry is all about, doesn't it?
Thinking about Result, I've found it the most inspiring part of almost anything humans do in their life! And in our industry, Lighting & Rendering are actually a very close part of the pipeline to Result! How exciting!
As I'm obviously a MentalRay fan, I set this scene up and running by MentalImages rules! Having a RayTracer in hand, you can fit everything together in its Correct way, and get the correct result out of it. One nice fact in this shot is there's no actual light as you may expect. It doesn't mean that there is NO lights, but it means there is absolutely NO LIGHT OBJECT as a traditional manner. The whole scene here is lit by mia_self_illumination shader and a simple FinalGathering setup.
This approach saved me a lot of render time, as we all know how Raytraced Shadows and other light parameters will cost heavy calculations followed by crazy render times! The image below is showing some of the invisible artifacts in darker areas at front. I call them Friendly Artifacts!
Further information needed on how to setup a scene like this? simply watch This!