3D artist, Sérgio Merêces, shares the 3ds Max workflow he used to create the calming Meditation Garden
I created Meditation Garden as a 3D render project, I wanted to design a place in the woods where we can be among nature and the animals; in a total peacefully, almost a secret place, with our family. My main inspiration for this piece is nature herself. In this making of I will show you how I created the image by discussing composition and light for the landscape using HDRi light.
Step 01: Modeling
In 3ds Max
I began by modeling and designing the terrain, I made base shapes with traditional splines. I then added a plane to represent the water and shaped the terrain to make islands. get all the terrain design I create base shapes with the traditional splines. I began to add a plain that represent the water and then I began to shape the terrain islands. With all the shapes done I used the Extrude Modifier to give them form, followed by the Populate Terrain script which gives the shapes better geometry and topology.
Populate Terrains allow you to fix bad geometry and topology in a nice and regular quad mesh
Step 02: Vegetation
For this environment I spent the most amount of time working on the different varieties of vegetation, such as the grass, flowers and trees. To make the grass I used the Forest Pack
preset in 3ds Max, for the trees I used Evermotion
and Mentor plants
. With all of the assets created and on screen I got on with designing the environment using the Forest Pack plug-in - with all of its features you can do almost anything! I created a Forest Pack modifier for each of the different types of vegetation such as grass, bushes, and trees.
I use Forest Pack in all my daily work, as it is great for designing environments
Step 03: Camera and composition
To work out the composition and find the best possible camera angle of the final image I like to do a rough sketch on paper first. With the terrain modeled and rough composition planned, I can spend some time working out different configurations and positions. I use the rule of thirds as a base for all of the composition.
Before you advance with any task in 3D you should draw a rough sketch to map out the composition
Step 04: Light and rendering
With the modeling and composition done I moved on to lighting my scene. I only used a V-Ray
dome with a HDRi - when you use an HDRi it is important to increase the dome samples in order to get a nice, clean result in the final render. For the render settings I use the ones in the image and I set the final image resolution to 8000 pixels to get a great definition for the small details.
I recommend the usage of render farm to help you with your render when you must render in big resolutions
Step 05: Post-production
Doing some post-production is always important, as it allows you to get nice color corrections! Doing render passes is also very important to give your work a polished finish. All my personal projects are done in 3ds Max, so at the end I only need to do a small amount of color correction in Photoshop. I use Curves, Levels and the Photo look plug-in for Photoshop. As a final touch I added all the animals and people in the post-production phase.
A few examples of my render passes
Here you can really see the difference the render passes make to the final image
Have a look at more of Sérgio's work on his website
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