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Making of Winter Pavilion

Alexandre Martin 2015-02-25 14:16 tutorial  > 3ds MAX  > rendering

Tutorial by Alexandre Martin.

Hi everyone!

My name is Alexandre Martin. I'm the manager of a French CGI firm in Paris and I'm really proud to be invited by Evermotion to build up the making of 'Winter Pavilion', a personal task. So here it is!

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Final image


First of all, I had to define a workflow according to the situation. I wanted the job to be completed within a short delay and I had to focus on my working with a limited memory workstation – only 4GB. The working process and the tests were really the critical point while there was no limitation on the rendering process, using a 5*i7 render farm.

I therefore decided to draw a really simple project and to break down the production into two parts: the outside scene and the inside scene. They were rendered separately and composed using photoshop.

1. The Landscape

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The main elements are:

  • subdivided plane leveled using Edit Poly soft selection, noise and smooth modifiers.
  • hemisphere with normal modifier applied receiving a VrayLight material with a free Cgskyes 360° sky bitmap (see image below).
  • vray sun excluding the hemisphere considering the shadow casting and a max direct light with the same position, used separately to deal with volume light post production.
  • some trees and bushes using Icube winter Trees collection, converted to vray
  • meshes and scattered on the plane using the free script Advanced Painter (­max/scripts/advanced­painter).

I now use Visual Dynamics MultiScatter wonderful and really complete plugin. (

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Large scene


The Winter Trees models and the advanced painter randomizer panel.

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Winter trees



The outside scene from the camera.

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View from camera


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The top view.


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The camera view.


About the materials:

  • the snow material is a VrayBlend Material combining a VrayFastSSS2 with noise as bump and a VrayCarPaint Material in order to use the flakes effects.
  • the vegetation materials are the originals from Icube winter Trees.

In the following order:

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The snow material


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The bushes


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The trees


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The firs


The render setup is the same for both parts of the process (landscape & pavilion); it'll be explained later on.

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I used a VrayZDepth render element to be added in Photoshop as environment fog.


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A layered image combining the model, the rendered model, the rendered model with environment fog added.


2. The Pavilion

The architecture is a simple square open on four sides with a centered service block which contains the kitchen, the toilet and the bathroom. I've only dealt with the kitchen for the moment. The center block is covered by wood battens. The facades are sequenced by large wood shutters. A heating grid goes along the four facades.

Everything except the flooring and the furniture is modeled in AutoCad using a single layer for each material and imported using the file link manager.

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The main modeling details concern the windows woodwork, the heating grid, the shutters' railing system and the kitchen.


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Modeling details


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Modeling details


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Modeling details


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The wood flooring is done using CGsource free plugin Floor Generator combined with CGsource multi-textures wood boards which are payable but excellent ones (20000 x 1500 pixels). I'll talk later about the texturing.


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All the furniture except the chairs are stock models.


  • Jalis armchair by Marcus Jehs & Jürgen Laub
  • Grand Prix 3130 chairs by Arne Jacobsen
  • Less Table and desk by Jean Nouvel
  • Lean floor lamp by Jenny Bäck
  • A56 chairs by Jean Pauchard
  • Plastic Armchair DAW by Charles Eames and Ray Eames

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View of the full pavilion


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View of the full pavilion


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Large scene


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Large scene



The wood floor: this is a combination of floor generator which attributes random id's to the boards and multi-textures which distributes random textures to id's. The reflection map and the reflection glossiness map are copies of the multi-textures diffuse one, adjusting the overall gamma and the overall saturation to obtain the correct effect.

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Real size CG source texture


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Material settings


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Material settings



The shutters and the battens: I used the same map as diffuse, reflexion glossiness and bump but they were each adjusted using color correction.

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The map is a collection of several different boards on a same image and unwrapped on the model using max unwrap UVW modifier.


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Boards material


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The concrete material


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The stainless steel kitchen metal



The dirty glass: I used typical glass material with refraction to 1.6 and a falloff reflection map.

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The dirt part is in fact a simple plane in front of the glass with a handmade dirt map used in opacity slot. It’s also visible when rendering the VrayRawRefraction render element used for photoshop compositing.


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Here are the rendering settings and the render elements



Camera settings


3. Compositing

Here is the photoshop compositing from bottom to top:

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A bitmap as background


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The outside render layer


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The VrayRawRefraction pass used as an inverted mask selection on a white layer to produce the glass effect


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The VrayRawRefraction pass used as an inverted mask selection on a white layer to produce the glass effect


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The pavilion render pass with alpha selection


I also used the VraySpecular render element with 40% opacity in screen blending mode to enhance the strong reflexions and the VrayExtraTexture map render element with a VrayDirt as texture with 10% opacity to bring up some more global light. Finally, I added a volume light using a direct light and some environment fog in screen mode with 35% opacity. Here are the texture and the final result:

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VrayExtraTexture including VrayDirt


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Volume light


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The final image adjusted with levels, brightness and contrast


And here are some other views rendered from the scene

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Final scene


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Final scene


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Final scene


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Final scene


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Final scene


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Large scene


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Final scene


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Final scene


Thank you for reading this 'making of'. I hope you enjoyed it! You can find some other works on my web site, so feel free to visit

Best regards, Alexandre Martin


Author: Alexandre Martin Editor: Michał Franczak
Tags: makingof winterpavilon AlexandreMartin
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chrisc0le 10:18:02  |  26-02-2015
Hi Alexandre Nice work, well done. I have a few questions. You have only used a vray sun for lighting, but did you use a vray sky in the environment or leave empty and use the vray light dome? Which brings me to question 2. Once you've rendered out the exterior pass. Did you hide the exterior for the interior pass? If so the same question as 1) did you use anything in the environment slot or hide everything except the vray light dome?
digitalclouds 13:04:10  |  26-02-2015
Hi Chris, Thanks for reading. Yes, i only used the vraySun & the dome with a vrayLightMaterial for lighting. The environment slot was left empty. According to the interior pass, the outside scene was invisible to camera with alpha contribution set to -1. Once again, the environment slot was empty. Hope it can help ! Best regards. Alexandre Martin.
uki1 00:06:38  |  27-02-2015
great work ! can you upload camera settings ? BR
chrisc0le 10:14:42  |  27-02-2015
Thanks Alexandre very interesting. I'll give that a try soon, and see what my results are.
digitalclouds 22:13:33  |  27-02-2015
Hi uki1 ! I should have shared those settings ! what a mistake. Is there a way to add them here ?
martta 08:26:58  |  03-03-2015
Hi Digitalclouds, you can send me the camera settings ( and I will add them to the tutorial.
digitalclouds 15:43:33  |  10-03-2015
Hi uki1, the camera settings have been added !
nnikolov 20:01:42  |  19-03-2015
Dear Alexander - I have been admiring your final renderings for a long time! Amazing! I am a beginner in Vray and have been trying to follow your settings but to sub-par results... the files you've posted are very helpful but is there a chance you would share with me your max file? I simply want to compare and learn. I am especially off with the various passes. Nothing unkosher on my end, I understand if you are hesitant. We can do a NDA if you like. Thanks anyway. Love this project!
sergey salikov 19:54:36  |  18-10-2015
Hello, Alexander ! My name is Sergey, I'm from Russia. I really like your work! I want examine your job. Can I ask you to send me your scene for personal use or send material settings tree and Vray Sun? I would be very grateful to you! Thank you!
sergey salikov 20:02:31  |  18-10-2015
Alexander sorry, that's my e-mail Thank you!