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Making Of 'Scarecrow'

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Date Added: 9th December 2009
Software used:

Specular Maps

Specular Maps define the material you are making, so it is very important how the specular behaves for certain materials. I used the colour texture as a base to create a Specular map. Because I had all the layers from the previous colour map, I was able to adjust each layer separately.

  1. All layers were now greyscale. On a new layer, I painted some white highlights with different brushes. The layer was set to Screen mode and most of the highlights were painted where the material was to be shiny. These were edges, some wrinkles, lumps and where lighting would hit the surface first, such as the nose, bottom lip, cheeks, knees, pockets, front of shoes, seams, etc. Note: for the cotton and wool the specular is almost black, because these surfaces usually have minimal specularity. The wet parts, like the stains and stitches, have small highlights to distinguish themselves from other materials.
  2. The second step was the actual material texture. I adjusted the brightness and contrast to get small details out of the leather texture, which was used from the colour map.
  3. The dirt texture was used to break up the uniform highlights. I also emphasised the shadows between clothing wrinkles, seam and button shadows (Fig. 16).

Fig. 16

Round parts, such as the barrel and power plant, achieve much more realism if you highlight one side more than the other. This also helps in defining a round surface a lot more. 
For metallic parts, I also highlighted edges between paint and rust, and darkened any leaking stains.


For lightning and rendering I used Max. First, I setup the scene and put all the elements together. The lighting was very simple: one yellow Spot light was positioned in the top left with casting shadows turned on. I used ray traced shadows and decay was set to inverse. A second blue Spot light was positioned on the right side. No shadows and decay was set to inverse. A dark blue Omni light, with low intensity, was positioned on the right side, behind character. Shadows and decay were set to inverse. The last light was a yellow Omni light which was positioned on the right side, below the character, with shadows turned on and with ray traced shadows and inverse decay (Fig. 17). 

Fig. 17


I used a simple blinn shader for every model - I filled the diffuse, specular level, opacity and bump slots. For each part I also played with the specular, colour and glossiness slider (Fig. 18).
For the barrel I used a falloff with fresnel reflection. A reflection mask was used under map 1 to get a slight falloff effect.

Fig. 18


For rendering I used Mental Ray. Here are the settings I used (Fig. 19) It was rendered at high resolution so I had to render in passes, and so I used diffuse, lighting, specular and shadow passes. At this stage, I also created ambient occlusion for all the models. For easier compositing and rendering, I rendered each model separately. In the end, when all models had been rendered, I composited them in Photoshop.

Fig. 19

Here is the simplified view on how the layers have been composited in Photoshop.

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