Making of 6th Render Party Rendering Competition
Once we have chosen the point of view and the aspect of the scene, we set out to search for reference images, which help us to get, as close as possible, the final idea.
The fundamental keys of our image were the deterioration and the abandonment of the place.
We are looking for images that show that feeling, to apply it to our scene.
Therefore, the first search was made on bridges or similar locations with some deterioration.
We think also that, such scenario like this, it could be habitable place for some individual animals, whom often use this type of places or conditions for nesting, such as crows, vultures, etc …
So, this was the second search in internet.
After deciding that the scene would be lit like a night or evening ambiance and snow finally take part of our scene, we made a third and final search, searching dusk sunset skies, and places where the snow is present.
For snowy process, we used a plugin for Cinema 4D : MagicSnow.
This plugin had advantages and disadvantages when is used. The advantages were obvious, the scene brought something different and for us back in our work. The big drawback was that we had to “wait snowing”, since the snow go fill the scene, like in real time. There wasn’t something like an airbrush which go filling the snow scene. We “had to snow” the different objects in the scene, and see how they appear, depending on the values we gave them.
We also had an additional problem because the snow pure and simple geometry, computers resented if we tried to do the whole scene at once.
We had to make it snow in parts, and adapting the final snow geometry to the scene, meanwhile in the distance, the snow could be less in quantity, resolution and definition.
Finally we were able to fill the scene after multiple tests, since not always chose in the right values, mainly because it was a novelty for us to use this plugin for the first time.
This video was very useful for us to understand the process:
Some screenshots of the snow process:
Initially, it was an element that was going to have some prominence, because we wanted to put in the foreground, and its inclusion in the surrondings, along with its values of reflection, diffusion, etc., would make it an attractive element in the scene . Finally, it is a “lost” element but still there giving more detail to the final image.
We sought photographic references to get an idea, although the water acquires multitude of aspects depending on multiple factors …
We used geometry and tried to liken as possible to reality. The puddle was more attractive when it was over. Finally stay in the background, but partly have fulfilled its function.
Regarding the issue of modeling vegetation we used “hair” of cinema, proxies for trees and pure and simple 3d model for the dry trees.
Finally back trees that seems placed in post-production, but, during the process, many tests of vegetation were conducted.
The trees were placed back in post-production, because we obtain more control, and we avoided having to “snow” that amount of trees, resulting polygons weight.
Also, we kept a large percentage of herbs and shrubs. Unfortunately, most of them were rather hidden by snow.
SINGULAR 3D MODELS
Some elements were modeled to be include in the scene.
We decided to place the crows perched on the bridge deck to generate renderings from different viewpoints right placed in scale and form.
We generated a specific UVs map for this model. The “skin” of the object is sectioned into “slices” and these are used as a canvas to “paint” on the texture obtained from several photos. Thus realism is very efficient on very short distances. As in other cases, at the end, the object is a bit off but, anyway, all the details increase the realism of the final image.
As in the crow case, we used UVs maps to texture the leaves. Later, we ajust exactly to the model. In this case, a projection canvas floor was used like guide.
With the 3dpaint brushes of C4D we directly retouch it into the camera perspective to tune.
“BREAKING” THE BRIDGE
First we model all the glass areas, then with Thraussi plugin, we broke it.
It generates random cuts in the model, but, unfortunately, The number of polygons, excedded the power of our computer. We thought that, in this way, we gained time and our image grew in realism.
We modified the top rail stairs manually, both, ruptures and folds.
In this case, we used a tool that appears in the latest version of Cinema 4d and previously was to be found in other more specific organic modeling applications: “SCULPT”. With this tool we could bend and soften the cuts and create dents.
However we made major breaks manually and then refine the details later.
In the creating process we shuffled several options, so we used elements in the scene in the beginning that don’t appear in the final image.
In a less snow version, the surrounding soil appeared full of small bushes and stones. Here we use the MoGraph, a tool to multiply and distribute copies of an object. We modeled three or four stones and three or four bushes. With the aid of this tool, we multiply randomly on the floor.
Really, we used several polygon’s selections on the ground to make it even more random (mostly to avoid overloading the file, placing elements only where needed).
Due to the aspect of the scene, there were several items that we took some special attention when we textured. Probably, some of them rather stay in the background, or they had less prominence at the end, but they are there, and they worked well.
One of them, it was the puddle mentioned above and others were the drum, graffiti, the crows … etc..
The drum was an added element in the last minute. Its texturing was based on finding an original picture and a model adaptation.
The texture map would be something like that:
We joined 2 textures, because the first hadn’t graffiti painted.
Noting that eventually some of them (the graffiti) were lost on the ground by the snow, we decided to include one in the dustbin.
We put some occasional bump to show damage, and weight material to trim the texture. With these tricks, we got the same sensation with a simple cylinder, but with a more efficient 3d model and less polygons.
Finally some specular value was added to the material.
The next screenshot, shows the model with its texture, and a reference about their labels.
Other elements were textured, and we made successive tests to achieve the desired results.
Some screenshots of the process:
Test ground with graffiti included, first test of damage in beams…
Testing ground, graffiti … will eventually be hidden by snow, but was equally textured.
Clean indoor tests, no shrubs, or herbs … etc, only a few leaves and a bit of “hair” (grass) in the boards.
Tests graffiti, glass …
Finally, we “broke” the 3d glass.
Here, you can see a test with the glass broken with texture effect.
LIGHTING AND SETTINGS
We used a GI Environment map (both cloudy and night). We didn’t use any physical light for general lighting. The scene also contains several artificial lights that illuminate the upper structure of the bridge and the lower corridor.
In all cases, they are area lights, although cloudy scene, was without any.
The standard configuration of these lights was:
During the process, we did several lighting tests.
Different lighting situations were proposed for the scene, specifically these three: DAY, CLOUDY AND NIGHT.
Examples of the work in progress :
With the snowed scene chosen, we discovered that day lighting did not work as we wanted, so the two options that we considered were cloudy and night.
In the process we doubt about which one was better, which one could provoke more love, which one could like most, wich one we liked most … We loved the night shot.
We didn’t waste the opportunity to present both.
An example of the previous study of both illuminations, before the final process:
For the rest of the settings, we applied a MAP + LIGHT CACHE IRRADIANCE.
In both cases, the settings were the same, the only thing that varied was the GI main map.
Some screenshots of the general configuration of IRR + LC:
This part was the “twist” ending to the scene. In this process, there did several important steps that dressed the scene.
The common elements for both images were added as birds flying, or background + sky, obviously in this case, should be different, as the highlights.
Despite working all 3d vegetation through proxies, we finally decided to replace it with a background of snow covered trees in both cases.
Small elements were inserted also little noticeable, but they are, as the fog was added at some points and colored the snow in others, the tree sticking out of the top mixed with existing small details that embellished the scene .
There are many alternatives retouching in this process, many options, many tools used.
We used different programs and combine their results.
They touched exposure values, brightness, contrast, hue, saturation, levels, color balance, cromatic aberration, vignette, focus, blur … and the end result is already known.
Some screenshots of post-production process:
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