I'm 35 years old and I live in Xanthi, Greece where I work as a graphic designer. Xanthi is a small town in the north part of Greece and the old part of it is filled with aged buildings, which are what inspired me to make some 3D scenes.
I've been working with 3D graphics with my wife (www.kouki1.deviantart.com) for six years as a freelancer. This particular project fulfilled my personal ambition to create a realistic image with aged buildings, and the main inspiration came from a model that I found on Board4All.cz. I wanted to create it from the beginning, blend it with water, and give the sense of an abandoned village, just like the ones we might see in the ancient town of Fenghuang, China.
I made some sketches before I started work in 3D. With my chosen sketch (Fig.01), I started up 3ds Max where I then began working on the models from standard primitives and using some basic modifiers like Lathe, Bevel, and the Unwrap UVW modifier. I created just four buildings and copied them with different parameters (Fig.02). Some extra models were also necessary in order to complete the project (Fig.03).
The fun part began when I started to work with materials. I like working with the Unwrap modifier and transferring all of my unwrapped renders into Photoshop where I can then blend many different kinds of aged textures to my liking (Fig.04).
For the lighting in my scene I used a Target Directional Light, but I worked further on the lighting once in Photoshop because I had to blend the final render with the background image which I used from the stock library by Pierre Laurent (www.cat-in-the-stock.deviantart.com). I could have done this work in 3ds Max, but I decided I could control the lighting blend better and more quickly in Photoshop without having to render all the time to check the final result.
For the scene I used Adaptive DMC as an image sampler, the V-Ray Lanczos filter as an antialiasing filter, Irradiance map for the primary bounces, and Brute Force as secondary bounces. The V-Ray Irradiance map was set at medium with 50 Hsph Subdivisions and 40 Interp. Samples, and no environment lights were used at all. I also rendered some other elements, like Vray Alpha, Vray Atmosphere, Vray Global Illumination, Vray Diffuse Filter and Render ID, which I used as extra layers later on in Photoshop.
When I was finished with my first render (Fig.05) and before I used the materials, the scene looked very bright, like a sunny day was about to come, but my goal was actually quite the opposite! I wanted to portray a sense of abandonment in a small village with a storm on its approach. So I applied all the basic materials in 3ds Max because the light always looks different after I apply them (Fig.06), and then re-evaluated the image.
The rest of the work was done in Photoshop where I continued to work with materials. I also painted some extra parts, like ropes hanging from the buildings and some dead trees behind the buildings. The dying trees work in contrast with the thriving ecosystem featured in the background image, and in my opinion this helps make the scene look a little spookier. As a finishing touch I played with Curves layers to achieve the most appropriate looking atmosphere for the scene and the story (Fig.07).
Thanks for reading, please be sure to visit my webpage for further information about me and for more examples of my work. Thank you!