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Making of vacation cabin

Seiji Anderson 2013-08-20 15:32 tutorial  > Making of  > misc

Seiji Anderson is a 24 year old visualization artist living in Brooklyn, New York. He is a full-time artist at Brooklyn Digital Foundry, and runs his own freelance practice, Renderbucket.

 At first I'd like to thank the VRay Workshop team and Evermotion for their recognition of my work. It's a great opportunity and honor as a young visualization artist to be recognized among other talented individuals in the Image of the Week selection.

The image I will be sharing some information about was a quick commission done for Jacob Brillhart Architect over the course of a long weekend. The project was a part of a proposal for a series of vacation cabins located in the mountains of North Carolina. As an artist with an architectural background, I feel inclined to mention that good design will tend to yield a good image, and I think it is no different in this case.

The modeling, texturing and lighting schemes for this image are rather straightforward processes, whereas the post-production is where I feel I can get an image to really shine.

Final work:

Click on image to enlarge
Final work
 Click on image to enlarge

The modeling process was rather straightforward - I received a cleanly built and fairly detailed Sketchup model of the cabin, which only required some detailing in areas such as the standing seam roof, tweaks to the design of the stilts.

Click on image to enlarge

The environment was the biggest obstacle in creating a convincing base plate. I used a large plane and push/pull and relax deformation tools to create the general mountainside landscaping.

 Click on image to enlarge

Once modelled, I divided the mesh into two areas: a closeup patch for Multipainter, and the landscape where I could implement some non-specific vegetation scatters.

Click on image to enlarge

I didn't model vegetaion, I used ready vegetation models. After researching references of mountainside locations, it seemed only really necessary to scatter taller models, and leave the ground plane to be more or less textured with a convincing leaf texture. This kept the model and rendering relatively light and manageable with rendertimes.

 Click on image to enlarge
5_multiscatter.jpgSettings used for scattering. In general, the more unique shaped trees were used at lower probabilities. 6 different Multiscatters were set up for this scene (3 sets of 2 per model type):
  • Multipainter for trees close-up: near
  • Multiscatter for trees: far
  • Multiscatter for bushes: near and far
  • Multiscatter for grasses: near and far
 Click on image to enlarge

Large rocks were brought in from a project I completed earlier and were created using techniques outlined by an excellent tutorial by Sascha Henrichs. They were hand placed in the scene to get the desired look.

Click on image to enlarge
Texturing process for this project was very simple, maybe somewhat crude solution. Because I knew the commission called for one image, with the buildings seen from a mid-range distance, not too much effort was needed in creating detailed textures for the building model.
I've broken down a few of the key materials in this image. Here are settings for galvanized metal used on the mullions and roofing. I went with a procedural solution, which may not have been the most realistic but is time-saving.
Click on image to enlarge
Ground plane texture with a semi-hi resolution crop of the diffuse bitmap. Mapped onto the landscape geometry using a simple planar map.
Click on image to enlarge

Ground plane

 Click on image to enlarge
Timber beams used inside cabin and underbelly of the cabin structure.
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Mapped using a box map, and randomly shifted/rotated per beam to give variation to the structure.

Click on image to enlarge
Glass material
Click on image to enlarge

Lighting - Interior lights were a compination of simple Vray Plane Lights with Vray Mesh Lights at the light fixtures hanging from the ceilings.

Click on image to enlarge
Exterior lighting. Vray Sun/Sky combined with a Vray Dome Light using Peter Guthrie's 0911 Dawn HDRI map.
 Click on image to enlarge

A few camera positions were explored before settling on the final composition. During this exploration, each cabin unit was also oriented in slightly different directions to create a bit more visual interest to the image. A couple of back and forth discussions with the client resulted in the final shot. Here are some initial camera views, along with the final composition.

Click on image to enlarge
Camera 2
Click on image to enlarge
Camera 3
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There are some simple compositional guidelines that are used in this image. I tried to create visual movement through the repetition of units within the composition denoted by the red marks. As the eye is guided from the upper left to the bottom right from unit to unit, foreground to background, the visual movement in the image is capped along the right-hand side by a (somewhat flimsy) repoussoir element. The subjects of the image (the cabin, and arguably the boy) are horizontally placed roughly using the rule of thirds, denoted in the cyan.

Click on image to enlarge

Gamma settings. I do not use a 2.2 gamma correction through the 3DS Max Preferences menu, as it is a superficial gamma adjustment. Rather, I apply the gamma correction through the Vray Color Mapping menu. When done this way, the resulting rendering is more accurately calculated by Vray, particularly in low-light situations.

Click on image to enlarge
Settings for the rendering.

The Post-production process typically takes place in three stages for me: 32-bit – where I adjust specific lighting elements. I then apply a a slight Magic Bullet filter. In this case I brought the image into After Effects so I could comp in the zdepth and maintain a 32-bit format for the Magic Bullet filter. The image is then collapsed into an 8-bit format so I can composite 2d elements and color correct. Here is a video showing some of this process:

And once again - the final work:
Click on image to enlarge
Final work

I hope this tutorial was helpful, and shed some light onto a bit of the process.

Seiji Anderson.

This "Making of" was brought to You thanks to cooperation with VRay Workshop group from Facebook! We recommend joining it and sharing Your works with the community.


Author: Seiji Anderson Editor: Michal Franczak
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architect.aliqais 15:15:53  |  03-09-2013
amazing work thanks alote
glenn1979 18:08:07  |  18-09-2013
man I love this website, thx for sharing your knowledge ,awesome work ,pls share more in the future big thanks