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Making Of 'Desert Gas Station'

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Date Added: 19th December 2011
Software used:

I put a Displacement map on the ground to get nice bumps and a realistic effect. Another thing I did was add in particles like stones and gravel. I used the Spray Point and Clone Point tools to get a nice, random effect on the ground (Fig.08).

Fig. 08

The lighting setup included a simple area light that made soft shadows and was an orange color to get a sunset feeling. Everything was rendered with Monte Carlo radiosity in FPrime.

The second light is a simple point light. I added a textured environment image to get the right colors for the desert. This was a simple, but powerful, way of lighting a 3D model effectively (Fig.09).

Fig. 09

Post Process

I imported everything to Photoshop CS4 and I did a color correction first. I played with the levels and put some photo filters in to get the right mood. I usually use a 55mm plugin and ColorFX Pro and all of my work is done with a Wacom Intous4 (Fig.10).

Fig. 10

I searched for a good background mountain on cgtextures, trying to find a similar lighting scenario so that the image would integrate into the scene. I added a sky too. For still images I like to use photo backgrounds to get a nice finish. When you're doing 3D images for stills you need to be practical and not model everything. It is a good challenge to do this, but in terms of efficiency it's a waste of time in my humble opinion (Fig.11 - 12).

Fig. 11

Fig. 12

Later, I did some touches with the Burn and Dodge tool to get bright values and darken some others. When I was happy with the result, I merged everything and continued drawing, because I don't like to get lost in layers in this type of job. I put in some lighter spots, adding glows in the brighter zones with round brushes and using my sharpen brush to get nice textures in some places.

After eight hours of post, I play with color values, added some filters to get a nice washed style finish and here is the final image (Fig.13).

Click to Enlarge

I took about three days to finish the project. It was a good texturing experience and a challenge to get crisp details like the displacement ground, a huge amount of particles and stones, bottles, shattered glass etc. If you would like to know more about any of my techniques, or want to say hello, just send an email to

Thanks for reading!

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Readers Comments (Newest on Top)
Nick on Wed, 30 July 2014 12:57pm
nice tutorial, concise but very informative :D im not using lightwave but the concept is basically just same so thank you!
Glen D on Wed, 11 January 2012 1:31am
Nice breakdown of how you did the image! Great to see another LIghtwave tutorial! Good Job!
LFS on Tue, 20 December 2011 1:48am
Nice image Eugenio, glad to see some new Lightwave tutorials in this site, you know they're not easy to find :) btw, I love your work. Are you in NT forums? you could post this image there. Keep on the good work
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