The top of the head was a little tricky to do. I modelled it as a normal rounded head and kept it as reference for every section I did, because I wanted to keep the spherical aspect of it. I used the shell modifier for every section. This modifier is pretty cool, because you can achieve the thickness on an object. Every part of the robot is done like that (Fig06).
The lighting was quite easy to do. I didn't want to pass time working with final gather in Mental Ray and dealing with bouncing light. So I kind of faked it. The first thing I did was to change the ambient. In the environment panel, I clicked on the black colour in the ambient section and chose something a little bit less dark, and also added a blue feel (Fig07). Now I won't have any black shadows, instead I will have a brighter feeling. I used the 3-point lighting technique.
After that, in every material I put on the character, I added an ambient occlusion in the diffuse section (Fig08). This will add the occlusion effect on my character and it looks pretty good! One thing to remember is how to deal with glass material that covers other parts, like the eye. When you model an eye you have one sphere on another; the bigger one serves for the reflection and refraction of the eye, so you need it to be transparent. Mental Ray doesn't know that material is transparent so he will process the ambient occlusion of the smaller sphere reacting with the bigger one. This will cause your smaller sphere to be black (Fig10). The way I did this was, in the properties of the transparent sphere, I added the number 90 for the object ID. After that, in the ambient occlusion panel of the smaller sphere, it the section called "Incl./Excl. Object ID (Neg. = Exclude)" I wrote -90 (Fig08). This is going to tell mental that you don't have to take care of the entire object with object ID 90. Now the ambient occlusion effect will work Fig09.
When the render was done it was time to colour correct the picture in Photoshop. The first thing I do every time is to adjust the brightness, contrast and the saturation. I always find that the render from Max on too insipid. I also add a new layer with a more vivid colour to bring the colour of the picture together. I put this layer on Vivid Light and work on the opacity of it, or the saturation of the colour.
The effects, like the smoke and sparkle, are just pictures I found on the Net and worked in Photoshop. I recommend you to find smoke with black background - it's a lot easier to merge! On this picture I was able to merge it with the layer in Lighten mode with 70% opacity for the smoke, and with a Linear Dodge layer at 100% opacity (Fig10).
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