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Christmas in Alsace - Making Of - Part 2

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Date Added: 13th February 2016
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Read how Nicolas Brunet made the beautiful Christmas in Alsace
short film using 3ds Max


Christmas in Alsace 2015 is the fourth film of a series of promotional short films inviting viewers to spend end year's holidays in Alsace. It's a collaboration between Gaylor Morestin (artistic support), Thery Ehrlich (music) and me. The project consists of a poster and 2 films: a 2min50 length version and a 32 seconds long trailer displayed in Paris theatres between October 15th and 25th 2015. This year's theme was "Christmas tree and its ornaments". In the first part of this making of I'll come back to the Genesis of the project, storyboard, design, and modeling.

Step 1: Procedural texturing

This is the step I enjoyed working on the most in this project. Apart from a few bitmaps, the Christmas baubles textures are fully procedurally generated with the help of a composite material using 3ds Max maps: Ramp, Checker, Tiles, etc. This way, lots of materials could be created and modified in a matter of minutes. The white plastic brackets are made from a blend from procedural and normal bump to handle the deformation of thin parts of the object.

Almost real
An example of bauble shader
Plastic bracket shader

Bitmap2Material & Box mapping

With so many elements to texture, I had to create some tileable texture pack used on almost every object: grunge, finger prints, dirt, scratches, etc. Some came from pictures processed in Bitmap2Material to extract displacement and normal bump information. By placing a light close and a camera at 90° from the subject, a more or less creased fabric, the "slope based" option from B2M computed believable displacements. Not 100% accurate but it saved valuable time compared to the Normal Map photography method.

Finger print and scratch textures were used the most to control all the surfaces glossy and bump aspects. As there were many simple geometry elements, unwrapping was not needed, a simple UVW box mapping was enough to quickly texture meshes like on wood furniture.

The magic of Bitmap2Material
The magic of box mapping on boxy objects

Lazy Nezumi

Adding details in texturing process is my thing now. Lazy Nezumi allowed me to quickly draw fabric seams ? such as on Julia's hat ? using constraints like "sine" to create wide triangular seams. This step can be repeated to create vector shapes used as path to scatter custom brushes. Of course this can be done inside ZBrush, but after all these years I still don't feel comfortable using ZBrush for such detail creation. I feel there is more control making tiny details in a 2D image editing program.

The plug-in allows you to edit your own equations to create the desired path deformation

continued on next page >

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