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Making of 'Hunter'

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Date Added: 9th December 2009
Software used:
The first thing I did was put the hunter in pose. I honestly didn't make any skeleton, I just used Soft Selection and Free Form deformations to do this, and it worked pretty well. The same was done for the monster in the background. The terrain was relatively easy to mode; a grid plane sliced savagely to get some nice cracks, with some geometric rocks scattered here and there - no Subdivision was involved at all (Fig31). So when all the desired elements were textured and put into scene, it was time for the lighting and rendering...

Fig. 31

Let's say that I didn't want to achieve anything photorealistic, but rather a more painterly feeling. To achieve this, especially when dealing with 3D images, the post process done in a 2D application is crucial. So in this case, it was often a waste of time to spend a lot of time in realistic and complicated shaders, as most of their properties would be simply washed out during the post process work. It was better with plain materials and lighting. The basic light setup consisted of a main Spot light (it was better if it wasn't too coloured) and a back Omni light. A few Omni lights were also used for the glowing parts here and there. I didn't involve any Global Illumination, just a plain scan line render, because another pass of Ambient Occlusion was to be used later on (Fig32). I later made an Ambient Occlusion pass which was to be composited further down the line (Fig33).

Fig. 32

Fig. 33

To obtain this in Brazil was very simple; I used the render pass control and the white plaster materials. It was then time for the heavy post processing work to get underway... Opening Photoshop, I began by setting a mood, by choosing my colour scheme. The base render did not have a dominant colour on purpose; I prefer to have much more control with this in post work (I love flexibility). In this case I wanted to use some warm tones, so I started by painting the background clouds in with brown / red tones - not too extreme in saturation. I put the Ambient Occlusion layer in Multipy mode, with the layer opacity set to around 20%. I also put a Hue / Saturation level connected to this layer, in order to change the hue of the figures to brown and reddish tones, to match in with the lighting of the background (Fig34). As you can see, the rendered Big Ben has been put in a layer behind the main figures, and its colour was also altered. I painted some smoke in the foreground on a separate layer using a soft-edged brush with a low opacity (Fig35).

Fig. 34
Fig. 35

It was then time to add some scattered fire on a new layer... I made extensive use of some real footage pictures of fire, which I had collected on a black background some time ago when I bought a CA, called Pyromania, full of these pictures. They were pretty easy to composite in Hard Light mode, since the black goes away and only the flame remains. I also painted a yellow highlight, in Soft Light mode, over the leg of the monster, because I expected some light from the fire to reflect upon it (Fig36). I wanted the smoke to move in the direction of the composition. Painting this was rather simple: a round, hard-edged brush first, for mid-tones and shadows, then it was simply a matter of blending the "blob" together using the Smudge tool and leaving the hard edges in areas where the light source was supposed to hit. The Burn tool also helped at this point to enhance the brightest parts of the smoke. I introduced some painted sparks close to the fire, and added some debris floating around in the air too, which gave a chaotic feeling to the picture and helped it to look less static (Fig37).

Fig. 36
Fig. 37

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