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Making Of 'Vantage at Dusk'

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Date Added: 2nd October 2009
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After finishing the modelling, I did an extensive material setup. The main challenge was the car shader, especially as black is, in my opinion, one of the harder colours to get just right. For this project I used a Vray Blend Material consisting of a highly reflective layer or clear coat on top, a grainy middle layer and a bottom layer with a lot of falloff and all combined as a non additive shellac (Fig07).

Fig. 07

As I was expecting, the material of the taillighta also presented a unique challenge. I had to make use of double sided materials consisting of coloured fog and various bump maps for the red and orange outer lenses. Slightly less reflective chrome was used for the plastic headlight rims and other trimmings. For the rest of the materials I used pretty standard stuff; a nice bump map for the tyre rubber's writing, proper leather and other more tactile plastic materials for the interior and dashboard. The windows were also unwrapped and given refraction maps to allocate where elements like the tints and rear window defrosters were going to be.


The next step was a proper lighting setup for the model. Seeing as I had chosen an exterior scene and the vehicle would get some direct sunlight, albeit subdued, I had to make use of a single Omni light with low settings. To light the rest of the model I added two Vray Plane lights (no specular) towards the front and the rear of the car, one larger Vray Plane (also no specular) above the vehicle and finally an ambient HDRI setup (Fig08).

Fig. 08

I set up the HDRI using a series of fast light cache renders of about 30 seconds each. These were rendered at intervals around the car so I could compare the use of light and shadow to get an optimal result. The Omni light was then moved to match the position of the sunset on the HDRI to make sure the shadows would be cast correctly (Fig09).

Fig. 09

Rendering Stages

Finally the project was lit and ready for the rendering stages. These included a series of small test renders with very low GI settings, followed by the final render passes of 4000 x 3000 pixels and the subsequent post production in Photoshop.

Because of the reflective nature of the black car paint shader, it tended to pick up every little element in the scene, especially above eye level. Therefore I had to render the rims in a separate pass where I could add some extra lighting helpers (planes with Gradient Vray Light Material applied) to add some extra specular effects and push the metallic rim shaders to a more appealing level (Fig.10).

Fig. 10

In post production I added the rim render to the main scene, adjusted the levels and added some extra detail to the tarmac material to make for a crisp end result. I also added some highlights to the headlight areas to make the scene more dramatic and tweaked the background to give the mood shot render a more stylised feel and ensure the focus remained firmly on the V8 Vantage in the foreground (Fig.11 and Fig.12).

Fig. 11

Fig. 12

Final Image

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