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Creating a meditation garden

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Date Added: 5th May 2016

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.

My V-Ray settings

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

Final image

Related links

Have a look at more of Sérgio's work on his website
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Readers Comments (Newest on Top)
Dylan on Fri, 13 May 2016 4:09am
WOW! this is amazing and motivating!! I'm really looking to get myself to this level but still learning. I can model all day but can barely UV and texture. Great work here!! Looking forward to make something similar!
Sergio Mereces on Mon, 09 May 2016 5:59pm
thank you Pritish.
Sergio Mereces on Fri, 06 May 2016 4:45pm
hello Pritish, thankyou and my pleasure can show some quick making off about this 3d render.
Deepanshu Goel on Fri, 06 May 2016 4:41pm
Hello Sir, Its looking very fabulous work..... I want to knw that how to create a plants on the bridge and how u did water ripple with leaf. I want to see in video from starting to end. please sir....i want to be good 3d artist. Thanks, Deepanshu Goel
Pritish Sanghvi on Fri, 06 May 2016 12:37pm
Sergio beautiful image you have created in one of my favourite 3D softwares. Love the composition, and it reminded me of Japanese zen garden, one of which i'd visited in Vancouver. :) Oh, and thank you for the tutorial ...
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