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At first I'd like to thank the VRay Workshop team and Evermotion for their recognition of my work. It's a great opportunity and honor as a young visualization artist to be recognized among other talented individuals in the Image of the Week selection.
The image I will be sharing some information about was a quick commission done for Jacob Brillhart Architect over the course of a long weekend. The project was a part of a proposal for a series of vacation cabins located in the mountains of North Carolina. As an artist with an architectural background, I feel inclined to mention that good design will tend to yield a good image, and I think it is no different in this case.
The modeling, texturing and lighting schemes for this image are rather straightforward processes, whereas the post-production is where I feel I can get an image to really shine.
The modeling process was rather straightforward - I received a cleanly built and fairly detailed Sketchup model of the cabin, which only required some detailing in areas such as the standing seam roof, tweaks to the design of the stilts.
The environment was the biggest obstacle in creating a convincing base plate. I used a large plane and push/pull and relax deformation tools to create the general mountainside landscaping.
Once modelled, I divided the mesh into two areas: a closeup patch for Multipainter, and the landscape where I could implement some non-specific vegetation scatters.
I didn't model vegetaion, I used ready vegetation models. After researching references of mountainside locations, it seemed only really necessary to scatter taller models, and leave the ground plane to be more or less textured with a convincing leaf texture. This kept the model and rendering relatively light and manageable with rendertimes.
Large rocks were brought in from a project I completed earlier and were created using techniques outlined by an excellent tutorial by Sascha Henrichs. They were hand placed in the scene to get the desired look.
Lighting - Interior lights were a compination of simple Vray Plane Lights with Vray Mesh Lights at the light fixtures hanging from the ceilings.
A few camera positions were explored before settling on the final composition. During this exploration, each cabin unit was also oriented in slightly different directions to create a bit more visual interest to the image. A couple of back and forth discussions with the client resulted in the final shot. Here are some initial camera views, along with the final composition.
There are some simple compositional guidelines that are used in this image. I tried to create visual movement through the repetition of units within the composition denoted by the red marks. As the eye is guided from the upper left to the bottom right from unit to unit, foreground to background, the visual movement in the image is capped along the right-hand side by a (somewhat flimsy) repoussoir element. The subjects of the image (the cabin, and arguably the boy) are horizontally placed roughly using the rule of thirds, denoted in the cyan.
Gamma settings. I do not use a 2.2 gamma correction through the 3DS Max Preferences menu, as it is a superficial gamma adjustment. Rather, I apply the gamma correction through the Vray Color Mapping menu. When done this way, the resulting rendering is more accurately calculated by Vray, particularly in low-light situations.
The Post-production process typically takes place in three stages for me: 32-bit – where I adjust specific lighting elements. I then apply a a slight Magic Bullet filter. In this case I brought the image into After Effects so I could comp in the zdepth and maintain a 32-bit format for the Magic Bullet filter. The image is then collapsed into an 8-bit format so I can composite 2d elements and color correct. Here is a video showing some of this process:
I hope this tutorial was helpful, and shed some light onto a bit of the process.
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