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Making Of 'The Hornbill Express'

By Tiong-seah YAP
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Date Added: 22nd June 2009
Software used:
Photoshop, Maya

Shading

In this scene, I mostly used Mia_Material (available with Maya 8.5) for the materials - this gave a lot of control which provided nice results (there are clear instructions for the Mia_material inside Maya's Help - this will give you a clear picture of each section).
Here is a quick example of how to create a bump map for the mental ray material. There are 2 types of bump_map inside the mental ray material (if you are afraid of a complex networking then the "mib_bump_map2" is the best choice for you). Connect the mib_bump_map2 to the Material Shader and load the bump map inside the Tex section, and then connect the Mia_material to the colour section of mib_bump_map (Fig.15).

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Fig. 15 - Selected Shading Networks Of Mai_Material

Lighting & Rendering

(Fig.16) Inside this scene, 2 spotlights were set upon the ceiling as key lights with shadows, and there were 2 additional spotlights to help light up some areas. At the same time I also created 2 polygons and placed them at the position where some indirect light was coming from, and applied a ramp to the colour - this was to simulate the environment colour and indirect lighting.

How to set up the lighting is a 3D technical question (the same as how to draw/paint light with your graphics tablet or a pencil) - it requires the knowledge of the tool and time to practice and experiment. But how to use light is something different; it's kind of the visual language. Light and shadow always tell a story inside an image, for example, if we review the works of Giorgio de Chrico, we always get lost inside his strange perspective and lighting. Or the atmosphere that comes about from the loneliness and perplexity of those long shadows inside the works of Edward Hopper! These are some different examples of the language of lighting. Lighting helps the viewer to realise the physical space and the atmosphere inside the image, and from there they can start to discover the story behind the image.

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Fig. 16 - Lighting Set Up

Rendering

As usual, the setting for the rendering was the same as what I used in my last few images (you can review the settings in the Making Of Air Base, but this time I rendered the environment and the train separately. Under the render stats section of the Attributes editor, you can choose how to render out your objects with different options, and this can save you a lot of rendering time when it comes to multiple-frame rendering.

Part Three - Post Production In Photoshop

The post-production technique was similar to what I did inside Air Base, and here is a breakdown of my working process for the post-production:

1. From the beginning I used the mask layer to separate the occlusion layer and apply it with a different level of percentage, and gave a level adjustment layer to tweak the overall lighting (Fig.17 - 18).

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Fig. 17 Occulsion Layer / Mask

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Fig. 18 Occulsion Layer Applied

2. After the occlusion layer I started to add some lighting effects to simulate a working machine, and at the same time some smoke was also created (Fig.19).

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Fig. 19 - Lighting Effects / 1st Process On Atmosphere

3. I increased the direction of the light and gave some highlights to the image, and then adjusted the saturation and levels (Fig.20).

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Fig. 20 - Overall Lighting / 2nd Process On Atmosphere


4. Coming to the final stage now, I added a figure and some heavy smoke to simulate movement inside the dusty environment, and gave some final tuning to the saturation and levels. Finally, a zdepth layer was applied for a lens blur filter effect (Fig.21 - 22).

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Fig. 21 - Final Lighting; Figure / 3rd Process On Atmosphere

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Fig. 22 - Selected Close-Up Views

Part Four - Final Conclusion

Apparently, Dali discovered lots of ideas when he looked at the wall of the toilet (I am not sure is this true or not), but even when you can see nothing on the wall, you can still read an article in a science magazine to find out the possibility of building your favourite water world inside a space station, and then start sketching to make them visible! Sketching is a tool that helps us to study our ideas - the more sketches you do, the more your ideas will become more concrete. And then, when it comes to your 3D model, it will become easier to know if that penguin can actually fit inside the cockpit!

Thanks again for your time, I hope you like this Making Of. See you!




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