Thursday, 16 April 2015

Tower haze

Tower Haze is a 3D environment created with 3ds Max, Mudbox and Photoshop. Whilst the majority of modelling is not particularly complex the texturing and lighting proved to be difficult to manage. As this scene was rendered with mental ray I felt comfortable using the Arch & Design materials. Whilst it is essential to have a bump map for the stone textures it's often not necessary to have a reflection map for stone as the reflection is so diffused. I also used a mental ray Mist material to create atmospheric perspective.

Lighting - I always start with complete darkness and very slowly add in lights. This scene has about 110 lights, you can't get away with just plonking in a sun light and pressing render. It's very important to use light/darkness to draw the eye around the image and whilst this is a slow process the result is usually better. I always render low resolution images to see the progression.

Atmospheric lights were used to create the 'godrays'. This was added into the image in Photoshop, blending mode set to 'screen'.

Texturing - Each object was carefully UV unwrapped for texturing in Photoshop. Couple of 'diffuse' examples below. Whilst I used displacement map for the mountains and some foreground objects I had to use bump maps to obtain extra detail on the background pieces.

Final render resolution was 6k wide. I split the model up into 2 passes, foreground and background and saved the outputs as 16-bit PNG files with alpha enabled so I could add in a sky image in Photoshop. 

And finally, here's a clay render (showing displacement) and the 3ds Max viewport image.

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