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The making 'Cakebot'

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Date Added: 7th November 2016
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CG artist, Vincent Tonelli, shares how he made Cakebot in Maya...


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The goal of this project was to create a colorful and fun image with a robot. I will take you through the steps I followed to create Cakebot.

Step 01: References

I looked for references for the robot, the cake shop, and the ambiance that would fit the scene I wanted to create. I found an image of an old stove and used this to imform the design of the robot. I used the book The Art of Robots from the film Robots for inspiration and robot design. I am also inspired by the work of the artist Brian Despain who did many wonderful robots illustrations. For the cake shop I wanted to use a traditional bakery design and found most of my references on Pinterest.

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Step 02: Modeling

I started the modeling of the robot in Maya. I wanted the robot to have a mix of vintage and steampunk look and feel to the design. I tried to keep the design simple because I didn't want to waste time doing a complicated rig. I structured the robot very simply; the different parts of the body are connected in a uncomplicated way.

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Final model of the robot

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Final cake shop model

Step 03: Composition

I drew a couple of small sketches to work out the composition of the image. I wanted to show a robot who was proud of the cake he has made. I tried to find a pose and a composition that would serve my purpose. I tried to use the position of the robot's limbs and elements of the cake shop to guide the viewer's eyes and get them to look at the cake.

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Composition ideas

Step 04: Texturing

For the texturing I used mainly MARI and Substance Painter for the copper parts. Textures are very important for the surfacing. When I work with Guerilla Render I try, as much as possible, not to put overrides in the render options, the objective is to manage the surfacing as much as possible with the textures.

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Bump map

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Diffuse color map

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Roughness maps

Step 05: Lighting

For the lighting I used a pink environment, a yellow key light, and a blue back light. I also use one light for the front elements. Lighting a scene with both warm and cold color lights is useful to create contrast within the image. I also put some textures in the lights to have add imperfections and make the lighting look more natural.

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Lighting set-up

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Lighting settings

Step 06: Compositing

I rendered the image and front elements separately. I was easiest for me to blur the front elements in compositing because their place in the scene was not logical so I couldn't have the wanted effect by controlling the blur with the field distance of the camera. Apart from that I didn't want to have to modify the render a lot in compositing so I tried to render the image properly.

Finally in compositing, I blurred the front elements, I modified the contrast a little bit, and I added a vignette to add some structure to the image. The vignette allowed me to reinforce the story I wanted to tell with this image. I did this with Krita (free to download) which is a very good alternative to Photoshop and can run on Linux. I would like to thank Claire, Romain, Rachid and Loris who helped me a lot with theirs critiques and advice.

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Separately rendered elements and vignette

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The final piece

Related links

To see more of Vincent's work check out his website
For all things 3dtotal news related
Feeling inspired? Grab a copy of Beginner's Guide to Character Creation in Maya today!

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