Architectural illustrator Tamas Medve reveals the creative workflow and inspiration behind his image, Dioptase Colony - Power Diving.
In this tutorial, I will explain my workflow and show the main steps I took in creating this image – from the idea phase to the 3D setup and on through to post-processing.
First, let me say a few words about the background of this project. I have to say that my new hobby is to create sci-fi scenes and watch VFX breakdowns whenever I get some spare time. This idea came from the new Star Trek
movie. I was particularly inspired by the scenes in the film which showed the USS Enterprise starship crashing into the city center. I found that scene amazing, so I decided to create a small scene featuring skyscrapers but imbued with action.
References and lighting
If I make an arch-viz image or any personal work, I never start without reference photos. I think this is a really important part of any project because it helps you to setup and direct the lighting, and also provides a good pallet reference when applying the final tweaks.
Generally, from the beginning I have an image in my head about a certain camera angle and mood, but of course this does not mean that I won't do any experimentation during the remainder of the process!
In this case, I knew that I wanted to create an aerial shot and I had a certain mood in my mind, so I just started scanning through photos online.
After getting an idea of the scene I wanted to create, I began by setting up the lighting using basic geometry to test compositions and values. For this scene, I used VRaySun and VRaySky. Again, the reference photos helped a lot in setting up the lighting and achieving the right angle and intensity.
The scene with the sun in position
I didn’t spend too much time on this stage because everything was going to be glass and metal. I used really simple, generalized materials because I realized this would give me much more freedom to take the materials in different directions during the post-production stage.
The generalized materials allowed greater freedom later on
Modeling one building
In the first stage of the modeling process, I used simple geometry (like boxes) which defined the location and the scale of the buildings. Honestly, I didn’t think too much about the design, and so its refinement was achieved in a somewhat random way. Of course the initial idea of ‘Dioptase’ gave me some direction. Dioptase is a bluish-green translucent mineral and these features affected the whole design.
For the modeling, I used only the basic poly-modeling tools like Bevel, Extrude and Connect. First, I modeled a segment of the main building and simply cloned and rotated it, with some alterations here and there, until the complete skyscraper emerged.
Using basic modeling tools to model the building