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Making of Steampunk Loft

Robert Filipowicz 2016-03-21 11:37 tutorial  > 3ds MAX  > modeling

Making of the winning work from Evermotion Challenge 2015.

„Steampunk Loft” has won 1st place in Evermotion Challenge 2015. See other winning works.


Hello everyone! Evermotion Challenge was a great opportunity to create a different looking loft space. Overall idea of steampunk arose from inspiration of Gleb Alexandrov works. When I saw his art for the first time I thought to myself “I must create some project in similar topic!” Since then it’s been always on my mind.

I thought that the idea of a loft as a working place combined with living space of a steam machines constructor could be interesting. In the story, the old engine house was made over into a loft. My aim was to create a project that would tell a viewer a certain story.

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Inspirations for interior

Software used:

Work was made with the use of 3ds Max and V-ray. I used Photoshop for postproduction. BerconMaps plugin used for bump. I’ve been working with 3ds Max software for about 2 years now. Earlier I used Cinema 4D. Now I know that switching to a different software was a good decision (more tutorials for 3ds Max).

Modeling and composition:

First thing which I modeled was a huge machine. I was sure this is “must” in my project.

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Then I defined the arrangement of the walls. I assumed it was going to be a high, lofty room.

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First steps with form and composition

After that I created an old looking steel window. I tried to achieve a good level of detail because I wanted to place the light source in the background and as a result it was very well visible.

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Window modeling. I added a little bit of noise to window sections.

While surfing the Internet to find something that could be the focal point I came across the steampunk style monobike model created by Stefano Marchetti. At first I thought it was a 1:1 model, however after a short analysis it turned out to be a thumbnail. Mindblowingly detailed! Perfectly suited the vision which I had in mind.

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Monobike references. Real model made by Stefano Marchetti.

The composition was one of the things that took the most time. I wanted the room to be high and lofty. That’s why I decided for the vertical frame. I highly recommend the method of creating composition basing on the very simplified forms. It enables to find out quickly which idea you like the most and you don’t waste time on modeling the object that could turn out mismatched in the final phase.

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Composition steps

When I was sure the composition would finally look ok, I proceeded to monobike modeling. It was the most laborious part.

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Monobike wireframe

In the meantime I modeled the steel and wooden elements of construction

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Steel elements


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Here is tip how I created boards. I used noise modifier. I changed seed value on fifteen boards. After that I copied them.


Next, I made the toolbox and the table.

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Toolbox and table model

I decided not to assemble the modeled machine into one. I wanted to achieve unfinished look.

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Monobike parts

Then I added rails as an old residue of the factory. To get the dirty spots and stains effect I did the following:

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Creating Dirt

And this is how I made the cracks in the floor:

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Creating Cracks

Photos on the right side shows ready made 3D model from I modified this lamp a little.

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Modified lamp

The last step was to complete the composition with the other ready made 3d models.

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Ready made 3d models. and

This is how the final composition looked like. I added the metal panels with rivets on the walls. The pipes fulfill the interior’s steampunk character. I also wanted the living space to be visible in the final picture.

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Final composition

In the main frame I distinguished three plans. In the foreground are elements in the left bottom corner. I decided not to illuminate them more. In the second plan is a monobike model illuminated by sunbeams entering through the window. The third plan is the living space of the constructor. I also added a balloon which fits in the steampunk ambience.

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The overall composition was based on the rule of thirds.

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Rule of thirds

Texturing and materials:

Regarding materials, I tried to achieve possibly the most interesting textures and reflections. The most attention I paid to metals.
Here is great tutorial for realistic vray materials :
Most of metal materials I made with BerconMaps in bump slot. I decided to combine various materials together to obtain more realistic reflections. I also added vray dirt to them.

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Green metal material

In the gold material case I went a little wilder. I combined a simple gold material with a copper one. Both of them were created out of three or two materials of a different reflection level. By combining them together I achieved a very interesting texture, deep color and more realistic look of the material.

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Gold material


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Brass material


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Materials blended together


Other materials were made in a similar way. I increased bump value on boiler material.

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Boiler material


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Leather material for seat


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Test renders of created materials


The glass material was created in a very simple way, which made it possible for me to save a lot of time. Anyway, it looks quite alright.

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Glass material with dirt


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Test render


I decided to add more rust to the stairs material. I was modeling the stairs in the very beginning when I had enough time to add welds as well. I presents on a simple model how to create them.

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Test render of stairs material. Created in similar way as other metals.


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Creating welds. Step by step.













The way I illuminated the scene was quite simple. I used hdr map (dome light) with vray portals. Additionally, I placed lights on the pillars to get the warm light effect. Through the window on the left side I lightened up the monobike and the large machine. Through the windows under the ceiling there come sunbeams that illuminate the balloon.

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Arrangement of all light sources in the scene. The living space was illuminated from two sides


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Dome light settings. Free HDR from:

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V-ray portals settings

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Interior light settings


Here you can check out the test pictures with different types of lightning. The last version I liked the most and I chose it to the final render.

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Test renders with different lightning

As a camera I used v-ray physical cam which gave me full control of the frame. It’s really great.

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Vray physical camera settings


For the final image I used gamma 2.2 with Reinhard color mapping, and burn value set to 0.5

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Vray settings

The final image was rendered at 2063x3000px.


The postproduction gave me the most pleasure. The effect I got in the beginning I considered a good base. I wanted to achieve stronger contrast and light effect.



Raw render


I also used some vray render elements in postproduction.

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Vray render elements


I used z-depth to achieve aerial perspective. With this pass I wanted to enhance the size of the room.

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Inverted Z-depth pass


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Before and after. I used screen blending mode in Photoshop.


With the use of a Photoshop paintbrush I enhanced the effect of the sunbeams illuminating the large machine. I also added some radiance to the sunlight coming through the window. That created the exact ambience which I wanted to achieve in this interior.

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Adding sunshine


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Before and after



Postproduction steps

And here it is:

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Final image

Thank you for your attention! If you have any suggestions or questions feel free to comment. Or text me on:


Author: Robert Filipowicz Editor: Michał Franczak
Tags: evermotion challenge 2015 robert filipowicz 1stplace prize
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Viskadourakis 12:57:07  |  21-03-2016
Outstanding level of modeling. May I ask the number of polygons in the scene?
RobertFilip 17:44:11  |  21-03-2016
Thank you Viskadourakis! Number of polygons in the scene - 16 million. :)
dohkito 20:10:44  |  22-03-2016
excellent worthy winner!! by far. beautiful work
RobertFilip 12:33:38  |  05-04-2016
Thank you dohkito! :)