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Making Of 'Aquarian'

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Date Added: 9th December 2009
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In photoshop, open your eps template at whatever resolution you need or paste your screen grab in a new document. After my template was set up I loaded up several Total Textures images to paint my fish with. A pressure sensitive tablet is a huge help when painting textures, I can't imagine painting textures with a mouse again. Figure 31 shows the images I used in the painting of the fish skin and the finished texture map and the corresponding specular, diffuse, and transparency map which were painted after I had finished the color map. I approached every object's UV's and painting pretty much the same way, There weren't many UV challenges in these shapes. As far as painting goes... well, that would be a tutorial by itself... maybe in the future ;) In general I used several images from the 3D Total's texture collection, blended, painted, color corrected, erased etc whatever it takes to get me there.

Texture 1
Texture 2

Texture 3
Texture 4



The only model I did not UV was the creature outside in the ocean, it wasn't really necessary. I just used a spherical projection on the shape (fig 39), most of the stretching was going to be hidden by the shader's transparency ramp. I wanted to have a similar look to what the real creature looked like so I added a ramp in the luminosity channel, and I added one of the images from the Texture CD "Textures from around the world" collection to give the creature an organic pattern. I also added a diffuse ramp and a small procedural bump to the surface.

Fig. 39


As I mentioned before, lighting can make or break your image so try not to rush through the lighting process. I usually have some set up in mind when I'm creating an image. I work this out during the concept stage; that way I have a clear thought of the mood I want to achieve in the image... it may or may not work and I might change it during the process depending on how the image is looking like. I always have a key light, fill light and a rim light to start with but most often than not my scenes end up having a totally different rig at the end of the lighting session. In this scene I knew I was going to use Radiosity to get nice bounce light off the surfaces and I also knew beforehand that photorealism wasn't my goal in this scene so with this in mind I started the lighting work. I was looking for an even lighting set up in this piece and was looking for a comfortable feeling, casual almost like a gallery but not so bright. I first killed all of the ambient light in the scene, and changed the default light from a distant light to an area light, I placed this light pointing to the main subject and brought down the intensity to 45% this will be my main fill light. I added a blue spotlight with an intensity of 115%; I placed this light outside of the room pointing at the main subject of the scene, this is my key light. At this point I started to do test renderings and then add lights slowly as I went until I was happy with the look. I never add a bunch of lights at once and then fine tune, this is a practice that you see alot with newbies, what happens is that you will end up tweaking lights forever without even knowing exactly which is the light that's really causing the problem. You can also end up with an over-exposed or under-exposed image and once again you will be tweaking lights forever without really knowing which light is having what effect. In this case I'm also using F-Prime which gives me almost immediate radiosity feedback and thus making the process more enjoyable. Figure 33 shows the layout of the lights in the scene along with each light's corresponding intensities.

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