Hi all, my name is Eve Berthelette. I started ''Le Bain'' in 2007; the idea was to do something architectural and oriental. After some sketches, it became a bathhouse - I thought having a water surface would create a nice reflection effect. Unfortunately, I had to put this project aside due to lack of time, which resulted in a lack of motivation as well... But recently (this last January 2010) I happened to have lots of free time... and still had this unachieved project, so I gave it a new try - it took literally a month of work, and here it is at last!
I unfortunately have not kept my early paper drawings; Fig.01 is the oldest draft I have left - a modeling and rendering test from 2007. But the final image evolved a lot from this early work - I don't have the 3D scene anymore, only this image remains. So this time I started from scratch again. It was the same idea but I think it could have ended up quite different if I had kept going with the old modeling.
For both though, there is one thing I did exactly the same (and maybe this was not the best idea): I did sketches and started modeling without any references, just to see what could come out of my head and how far I could push it.
It worked a bit (a tiny bit to be honest). Fig.02 is what I ended up with. And then I was stuck.
So I changed strategy, and looked for inspiration. I also started showing Fig.02 to my co-workers. I'll point out that unlike the 2007 render, this time the room is much bigger and light comes from back left. I wanted the sun to hit the exterior wall - the one you see across the room, through the door on the furthest wall. I was happily surprised by the very positive reaction people had to it. Most were very curious to see where this would lead me, and many provided me with inspiration images, travel pictures, ideas etc.
I therefore referred to the work of a couple of Orientalist painters and some Iranian travel pictures. One website I really liked was: www.arabiaexotica.com
Here are my favourites (Fig.03a - 03b).
Fig: 03a - Pool in a Harem. 1876 by Jean Léone Gérôme
Fig: 03b - Une Plaisanterie (An Arnaut Guard Blowing Smoke at his Dog) by Jean Léone Gérôme
Work In Progress
From there my work progressed much faster. I also decided what look the final image would have. I liked the painting style of the Orientalist painters, and wanted to create an illustrative work more than a 3D-looking image. It would be realistic, but not photoreal. Each week I was showing something new to my coworkers, and gathering new comments and suggestions.
Fig.04 shows the modeling work in progress. Point of view is refined and I started adding accessories to fill the room.
Fig.05a shows the first diffuse maps applied on objects. Starting the texturing early helped me to figure out how to set the final mood. From there on, I alternated between modeling and texturing.