Hi there, my name is Esam, I'm from Palestine, and I'd like to thank Lynette and the 3DTotal team for giving me the opportunity to talk about my work in this article.
The main goal of this project was to create what I personally feel when time takes us back to our childhoods, where we used to play together every day; to recreate a place that holds lots of memories of peace and love. Another motivation was to practice my texturing some more. I also originally wanted to make a simple camera motion for this piece, but the render time was not on my side in the end.
Before getting stuck into the work for this project, an important first step was to collect reference images that I thought would help in the creation of the image. There are many sites and many sources for high quality textures, such as collections like 3DTotal's Total Textures (Fig.01).
Modelling was not special in this scene, although you must always take care of the little details and things that will make your work distinct, such as cracks on the edges and interlacing wires, some pieces of scrap here and there, and so on. The buildings were so easy: to begin with just a plane or a box, and I then made the windows and doors and finished off with the fine details. With regards to the plants, I simply cut branches of a tree from Evermotion's Archmodels 52 collection of trees and bushes.
Here you can see that the power and telephone cables linking the buildings were also quite simple to create (Fig.02).
Here are some close-ups of the scene (Fig03).
Texturing was the most important part of this kind of work – it's all about the texturing! First of all, I had to prepare the buildings for texturing, which meant unwrapping. The unwrapping of the models in the scene was not too complex though, because the shapes were simple and so planner mapping worked well for me. I unfolded every part of the buildings and then rendered them in high resolution for texturing, at about 4000 x 4000 pixels. Here is a sample of an unwrapped building (Fig.04).
In Photoshop, I then created the main texture, which was composed of two different wall textures. I then added the other details such as cracks, dirt on the windows, cracked bricks, and so on (Fig05).
It all looks pretty easy from the images, but it actually takes a lot of time in order to search for the proper images of cracks and dirt, and then of course putting them in the appropriate places, for example between walls and under windows as it's natural for it to be dirty there.
With regards to blending and adding layers, this can be done in different ways; sometimes masking, painting, or even burning colours, but I like blending them using the layer blending options – putting the dirt layer above the main texture layer and playing with the blend IF sliders (Fig06). With this method it's easier, and it's all blended well in the under layer texture.