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Compiling complex scenes

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Date Added: 26th December 2014
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Andrew Averkin gives us a detailed walk through the processes behind his amazing image Far Away from Home


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I dedicate this work to my wife. Her parents live very far away in Siberia, and as the distance is pretty huge, she has to travel a long way to get there. She misses her parents quite a lot because she can't visit them very often. Probably everyone has this feeling when you are far away from home, family, friends, and far from the place where you live and from everything that you love and care about. With this image I've tried to capture those feelings of missing everything that is important to you. A lonely girl standing in an old train station platform after a rainy day brings these emotions to the mind, yet the morning sunshine brings hope that soon we'll be close to everything that we love.

General overview of the modeling process

For modeling I used 3ds Max. In most cases, I start the modeling process with a simple primitive object - like a box, cylinder, sphere, or plane, and after that, I convert them into Edit Poly and start to play with their forms. I like this polygonal modeling method because it allows you to control every point, edge or polygon on your object.

Also, I often use a hard surface modeling method using modifiers such as TurboSmooth or MeshSmooth that allow you to create more complex objects or more smooth and natural surface. I only really use this when needed though.

Usually, to save my computer memory or render time, I try to divide objects into two types, depending on their location and destination. Objects that are located closer to the camera I do more complex. I pay a lot of attention to such objects and usually I do them with hard surface technique. Objects that are located in the middle of pictures, in the background or that do not require too much attention, I do as low poly models.

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Using different methods to create different aspects of the model

General overview of the texturing process

Applying materials and textures is one of the most important stages in my workflow. It's much simpler, faster and efficient to use high-quality textures, rather than spending a lot of time on routine modeling.

I always try to use photo textures which I do by myself or usually I take them from cgtextures.com or from freetextures.3dtotal.com. I fix some textures in Photoshop by making them brighter, more contrasting, or sharper and so on, or in cases when I need seamless textures. To save time when creating seamless textures, I often use very good software called PixPlant, which has some great functions that allow you to make great seamless textures with almost one click of a button.

Almost every material in the scene has the same structure. I always use the Diffuse map plus Reflection, Refraction, Normal and Bump maps, which help create a more realistic result - as every material like wood, concrete, tile, metal, glass and so on has its own properties that include refraction, reflection, bump and so on. Typically I create reflection, specular, bump or normal bump maps from one diffuse map software called nDo. This is a really great software with many presets and tools that make your life much easier.

Also, it's very important to use Displacement in your scenes. It will give a more realistic effect on your objects and in the scene in general. Usually I use VRayDisplacementMod as I work with the V-Ray renderer. To avoid waiting for the long render time, I use Displacement in 2D mode.

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An example of the types of texturing used in this scene

Making buildings using textures

To create the majority of the buildings in the scene, I used great technique that allowed me to kill two birds with one stone. This method also allowed me to completely lower the time I worked on the buildings, as well as achieve quite a realistic result.

This principle consists of modeling any object using photo texture, regardless of whether it is house or wall, column, bridge, fence or anything else.
The good thing about this technique is that you use same texture for modeling and texturing at the same time. In other words, the texture of the object is the texture that you use for modeling.

So to start, I found good textures of industrial buildings in high resolution. It is important that the lighting on the texture is uniform and has no direct sunlight or hard shadows on it. Reference photos are best taken on a cloudy day when shadows on the textures are much softer.

Also, it will be good to rotate your texture to have horizontal and vertical shapes on it. So, before modeling I usually fix horizontal and vertical shapes of textures in Photoshop, aligning all the shapes using a rule and tools such as Distort, Warp and Liquify. If the texture has objects that you do not want, then it is better to get rid of such objects before modeling.

A great way to get rid of such things is to use the stamp brush. This image shows a brick building. Here we have texture that has soft lighting and all shapes are already aligned vertically and horizontally, and unnecessary things already deleted with a stamp.

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The flat reference texture model for my building

Transferring the textures

I created a plane in 3ds Max, and set the width and height of this plane to the same as the width and height of the texture I used. Next, I assigned the texture on this plane, and froze it, but kept the plane visible.

Then followed the fun, yet time-consuming part. I created a second plane and assigned a standard material with Transparency, so I could see the texture of the building under the plane. You can play with the Opacity parameters here to find the best numbers, though I usually use about 20 or 30.

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Setting up transparent planes over the texture image

Transferring the textures II

I converted the plane in Edit Poly and began the process of modeling. I will not describe the whole process of modeling in detail, but the basic idea that I covered the texture with polygons, choosing most fundamental and significant forms of texture. This included walls, windows, cornices, metal beams and other areas.

When everything was ready, I unfroze the background plane and assigned the texture of the building on all the models. After that, I collapsed everything into one mesh and used a simple planar UVW.

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Transferring the textures to the planes


continued on next page >

 
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Readers Comments (Newest on Top)
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Vray on Fri, 08 January 2016 1:14am
This is definitely another Excellent tutorial ... http://www.3dmaxfarsi.ir/
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Michael on Tue, 17 February 2015 7:19am
Thanks for sharing this wonderfull tutorial. I have a Google+ group by the name "3ds Mas for beginners" where I have shared your tutorial. Hope it is OK. https://plus.google.com/communities/116904343385131862566 Best regards Michael
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Michael on Tue, 17 February 2015 7:19am
Thanks for sharing this wonderfull tutorial. I have a Google+ group by the name "3ds Mas for beginners" where I have shared your tutorial. Hope it is OK. Best regards Michael
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Theo on Mon, 05 January 2015 10:07am
Very nice. I wanted to know; how long did it take you to finish this work from start to finish
avatar
Tejinder Singh Grewal on Sat, 27 December 2014 1:54pm
Very nice work, thanks for sharing!
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