This image is a part of an animation that I have been working on from time to time, and I made it to keep my spirits up – to keep motivated for animating. It all started a long time ago, at the moment of boredom, when I drew a strange character that resembled a cat, rat and a bat – all in one. I did some small animations but I never had a setting for it, so I created this scene. The concept for it was done in another moment of boredom; I imagined a complex room with lots of stuff there so I tried to make a low poly proxy version of it before doing any serious modelling. I decided to experiment a little so I drew everything I wanted to have there on paper, and used that as a texture. I projected it on a hollow cylinder and extruded parts, like the desks, windows, shelves and washing machine – just cutting and extruding. Max's cut tool has a mind of its own so I really enjoyed the careless cutting that made a lot of illegal geometry! The low poly model was very helpful when I started with the high poly; I knew what was left to model and where everything should be. Most of the things I did according to low poly, although I did change some things… For the fun of it, I also tried lighting the low poly, too, using lights and colouring the geometry with vertex colours. It came out very cartoonish! I think I will do a short using that technique for scenes and characters in future – there's no need to render at all, as it looks good in DirectX! (Fig01 and 02)
The main problem that I was trying to solve was in the texturing and rendering. I'd like to focus on that here since everything else was straight forward. First of all, I had lots of objects that I didn't feel like I would want to map and texture, individually (I guess I'm lazy, or just seemed to be overkill doing all that!), so I tried to come up with a way to make groups of materials for certain types of objects. I made large, generic textures of metal and wood with distinctive features on them, and combined them with vertex colours that I painted on every object (using a bump map as a mask for mix amount). I used the Vertex Paint modifier for the first time (3ds Max) and I lo-oooo-ved it. I placed it below the subdiv. modifier mostly; it makes the colours appear smoother. I use this technique as often as I can, whether for basic colour planning that I bake and use in 2d apps, or mixing with generic textures to get more complex materials. I also used it for faking some colour bleeding effects on static geometry, too.
You can see red and green shades on the wall around windows on the final render. I managed to colour a lot of objects in a really small amount of time using just a few textures – and had fun doing it! Another reason why I did this was to save some memory as I had to keep in mind that I was primarily doing a scene for animation and I would need every speed boost I could get! (Fig03)