I used mental ray Arch & Design materials, which are really excellent, highly versatile and permit me to create any surface I want. Creating correct textures for the other objects was not that complicated. For the majority of the other items I only needed to apply Diffuse, Specular and Reflection maps as Glossiness Samples were used for the metallic surfaces (Fig.07 - 08).
Tweaking, Detailing, Background and Post-production
I love the part where the work is more or less finished and I can begin to tune all the details. Towards the end of the process I go through all the materials and add details here and there, adjusting the color and light intensity. My aim was to have the image function as an individual illustration and not simply a model presentation.
I began thinking about the background early in the process, but without spending too much time on it. In the end I chose the simplest method that I could think of. I was happy with the character, but the city in the background needed to convey a similar feeling so I had to make sure it was done well. Using photos of houses as references I created some simple box-like models in 3ds Max, which I duplicated. It was important that I put these together carefully as they needed to look as though there were streets in between the buildings.
The 3D models served as a good base and most of the background was created in Photoshop. The main colors and overall atmosphere was very important, as they needed to show both detail and depth. Because of this I suppressed the housing detail with fog (Fig.09). The far distance is entirely painted in Photoshop.
Given the amount of time I spent on this image one of the most important things to me was the opinion of family, friends and colleagues. They always come up with new ideas and constructive criticism. Without them this image would not be what it is today.