What's up, guys? My name is Brandon Martynowicz. I have been working as a CG matte artist/environment artist for the last six years in the film/game industry. My primary skills include modeling, texturing, shading, lighting and rendering.
I have put together a short "Making Of" of my latest personal piece, called Final Stand. This image was inspired by a quick pencil sketch I did a while back. A big part of creating this image was to keep practicing my skill-set, and to play with composition and lighting. I love doing personal projects because they give me the freedom to create what I envision, rather than being under constant art direction.
By starting off with a sketch, I immediately knew I wanted to create something vast in size and scale, something old-ish, dirty, grimy, urban and somewhat sci-fi-esque. This led me to Google, which lead me to the Kowloon Walled City in Hong Kong. This is a well know existing place, so references were quite easy to find. I immediately fell in love with the size, scale, weathering and amount of detail in this city (Fig.01).
The modeling process for this piece was extremely simple. Low res building facades were poly-modeled in Maya in a modular way. UVs were laid out per object once the model was complete. External pieces such as window frames, over (and under) hanging deck pieces, AC units and pipes were also modeled in a low res fashion. Model the detail that you know you will see - forget about the rest. I knew I would be relying heavily on textures and paintover, so I did not go too crazy on modeling detail (Fig.02).
After the modular building facades were finished, I decided to do a quick layout and play around with the composition. This is where I knew I wanted the camera to be down near ground level, left side, and that I wanted the building to curve around from left to right (Fig.03).
Textures and Shaders
I will always be pulled towards the "tightly pack your UVs", "use only the texture resolution you need" and, "make sure you texel density is consistent" type of in-game art logic. For this piece I used around 20 different 1k and 2k texture maps. Also, each map has its own specular map and bump map, so around 60 maps were created for the entire piece. With this many different shaders and texture maps, it is critical to keep everything properly named and organized (Fig.04).
The shaders were setup with the basic V-Ray power shader (Fig.05):
- Diffuse component: painted and color corrected photo-based maps, primarily collected from cgtextures.com.
- Reflection component: greyscale specular breakup map piped into the reflection and Rglossiness slots. Reflection was used with the glossiness turned down (around .95), Fresnel reflections turned on, IOR based on the material properties and subdivs around 24-36 (always in powers of 12).
- Bump component: a grayscale, high frequency image used on all shaders.