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Making of 'Steamnocchio'

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Date Added: 9th December 2009
I wanted to generate the feeling of a closed room illuminated by a lamp, but I didn't want it to be claustrophobic or too dark. The omni had far attenuation set to falloff to the background. Pinocchio had to be the most clearly lit element in the scene in order to focus the attention on him. Like I said before, I wanted Pinocchio to be the first thing you noticed in the image, before your attention was dragged across to Geppetto. So I put Geppetto in a less well lit area, in the middle range of the main light falloff. I forced Final Gather to make the secondary illumination (Fig.15) so that I didn't have to use any other lights.
I used Mental Ray Arch Design with glossy reflection for almost all the materials, so that the light really reflected off the walls, table and other elements, making a better interaction between the pieces in the scene.

Fig. 15


For me this was the most important stage in this work. Here I could calibrate the light and provide the extra mood that was missing. The final render didn't even get close to the end result, but I didn't worry because I knew I could make things look right in Photoshop.
I made six render passes (Fig .16). Before the render, I separated the objects into layers in 3ds, kept one layer visible and hid the others from the camera so that all the objects would cast shadows and be reflected by the rendered elements, but wouldn't appear in the render pass. It is much easier to control the entire composition using separate passes.

Fig. 16

The hair pass came later (Fig.17).

Fig. 17

The raw render can be seen in Fig 18.

Fig. 18

Fig.19 shows the colour correction and occlusion pass with multiply.

Fig. 19

Glow, depth of field and light effects made by hand are shown in Fig.20.

Fig. 20

Steam made by Photoshop brushes was added last (Fig.21).

Fig. 21

So the composition basically consisted of placing all the passes, colour correcting to warm tones and adding contrast and effects like glow, depth of field and smoke.


From the beginning to the very end I always worried about the clearness of the main idea. I wanted people see it and know immediately what was going on. That's the reason I blurred the background and put a light right on to Pinocchio, so as to drag the attention to him. With the feedback I got I believe that I managed to achieve my objective.

I did this twisted version of Pinocchio with all respect to the original creator of such amazing story: Carlo Collodi.

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Readers Comments (Newest on Top)
Matthew Axeman on Sun, 15 July 2012 7:53pm
How long did this whole piece take you to finish... collective hours?
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