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Making Of 'Tribeca Loft'

By Bertrand Benoit
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Date Added: 23rd March 2012
Software used:
3ds Max, ZBrush

Another question I get asked is how I did the landscape outside. I hate adding back-plates in post as you can never get the environment to properly reflect in the scene (if you are after photorealism). Normally, I tend to use hyper-large HDR textures (minimum 15,000 pixels wide), not just for lighting or reflection but also in lieu of back-plates. Yet given the amount of geometry in this scene and the complex, multilayered materials, using such mammoth textures just sent my render times off the charts. I compromised by using a low-res HDR map for lighting and an LDR panorama of New York I shot myself, which I mapped to a cylinder outside the flat, quite a long distance from the windows (Fig.08). The cylinder has a V-Ray Light material (so that the environment generates nice speculars on objects inside the flat), but is set not to generate or receive shadows so that it does not interfere with the HDR lighting. The result of the cylindrical mapping is an exterior environment that looks right whichever way you turn your camera and means no complicated comping in at the end.


Navigating an eight million poly scene in Max is almost as slow as rendering it (Max 2012 looks much better than 2011 in that department so far). Fortunately, there are a few features you can use in order to ease the ordeal. One is to make sure that all Turbosmooth modifiers in the scene are set to only show at render time. I know it should be standard practice, but I find it very hard to have the discipline to do it systematically (Fig.09).


I'm pretty sure I mentioned everything that is remotely interesting about the making of this scene. Fig.10 - 17 shows the room from a few different angles.






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Readers Comments (Newest on Top)
(ID: 180672, pid: 0) Alessa on Fri, 08 February 2013 8:50pm
is beautiful, I wanted to know the pendant lights are your own invention, if you've invented you are great
(ID: 178916, pid: 0) PhilBale on Tue, 29 January 2013 9:55am
I love this, the light works beautifully witht he environment! I've recently been adding bump maps to objects to give them a 'lacquered' look usign the 'Do not apply bumps to the diffuse shading' with Mental Ray and will now be using it more for EVERYTHING now I've seen your loft renders :) Photo-realistic work is very rewarding when it works well!
(ID: 97799, pid: 0) Le Fou on Sun, 25 March 2012 12:25pm
WoW! Very realist! Sorry, but it's true... 8|
(ID: 97539, pid: 0) Raoni Franco on Fri, 23 March 2012 7:39pm
Great work man! And great tips! Thanks for sharing this.
(ID: 97506, pid: 0) Pieryv on Fri, 23 March 2012 5:45pm
Very Nice! I'm really curious about your render time, though...
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