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Making Of 'Dead City'

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Date Added: 9th December 2009
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"Dead City" is one of the fourteen locations which I'm preparing for my music clip. I don't want to say too much about the story, because some things can change (there's still a lot of work to do) and - what is more important - I might kill the punch line. Anyway, in this scene I wanted to show abandoned city - dirty, dusty, sun-baked - one can say: without any signs of life, but simultaneously carrying hope that life (or life forms) can exist in most adverse conditions, most unexpected place and it resurrect very quickly.

Photos and workflow

Most often the workflow looks like this: sketch, modelling, texturing, lightning, rendering, post-production. But I found out a long time ago that I'm not a painter and I'll never be able to reach the level of realism that nature presents. I could make a 100 layers in Photoshop with dirt, rust, cracks (and finally add a few for almost every texure), but nature will be better in that area. So, that's why I decided to make some real photos first and then - based on prepared textures - I started to model. I borrowed digital camera (Canon 400d), took my own, old, dusty analogue camera (Revueflex SD1) and I started looking for interesting places to take photos. With help of my sister I took about 1200 digital photos and about 360 analogue photos. Rusty cars, ruins, broken roofs and walls, old trains - I photographed everything that can be useful in making the clip.


Texture Making

There were 2 problems with photos. The first one: When people saw a man who is running across the streets and taking photos of every building they start to think, that I'm a thief or some kind of criminal - so, not every time was I able to take photo at right angle and position - because of that there was a problem with correct perspective on photos. The second: There were a lot of unwanted elements on pictures - like antennas, cars, flowers, cables, etc. So with these photos I took them into Photoshop and started doing some retouching. Below you can find example of work with one of the buildings.



When the textures were ready I started to model some buildings. Huge advantage of this style of work is that you have all dimensions, distances, etc. right on the picture. You don't need to worry if "that window" is 160 or 180 cm height, or is "this tier" has 250, 293, or 310 cm... All models (except plants) were made in XSI.


Street Car

Streetcars - like the one in my scene - have moved across my born town (they weren't so dirty and rusty of course). I thought that placing this object in my scene will increase mystery mood. Left on a crossroads, with open doors, overgrown by grass and shrubs. Strange. People have abandoned this place really quickly... When I was creating this streetcar I was using traditional workflow: first I found some reference photos then I modelled it, textured and placed it in the scene. Textures for streetcar were made without any "photo base". I mixed and painted several layers of dirt and rust and I added ambient occlusion layer (baked before).


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