Lighting and rendering an interior
Patric Verstraete reveals the lighting and rendering workflow behind his modern, yet cozy Venetian interior: The Venice Loft
Hello everybody! It's a great honor to write this Making Of. I would like to say thank you to everyone that has voted for The Venice Loft in the main gallery of 3dtotal. I'd also like to thank 3dtotal for giving me the opportunity to show you a little bit more about this work. This making of is mainly going to focus on the lighting, rendering and some plug-ins that I used.
My annual trip to Venice for the State of Art Academy Day #5 in Venice was one of the reasons I started a personal project this summer. I wanted to make a Loft located in Venice, called The Venice Loft.
I was looking for a different style, not similar to our daily work with modern and minimalist design, but a cozy one, a retro rustic place with soft colors where I could stay for a long time.
It turned out to be a lot of fun as well as a bit of a technical challenge, because I wanted to model everything (almost everything!) from scratch. I used the physics-based simulations tool MassFX plugin for the pasta in the big bowls which I will explain later. Another great tool was the use of Cloth to simulate the curtains in the roof.
Basic scene setup
These are the general scene setup settings I always use.
I used the very simple and basic Poly Edit method for creating the model. Nothing new or special here: just the time-consuming process of laying splines, extruding, chamfering, and so on.
For the kitchen I used the simple bevel modifier to create the fronts, simple and fast.
If you have ever needed to fill a jar or a bowl with some objects in 3Ds Max, MassFX is the perfect tool for this!
First I prepared our MassFX Toolbar. To do this, I right-clicked in an empty space in the Main toolbar and chose the MassFX Toolbar from the menu
I then selected the bowl and added a rigid body to the selected object - selecting Static Rigid Body. The bowl was not going to move so I needed to set it to Static. I changed the Shape Type in the Physical Shapes rollout to Concave and then hit Generate in the Physical Mesh Parameters rollout.
I then turned the pasta to Dynamic Rigid Body, and was ready for a first test.
It didn't run as I was hoping! So I had to fine-tune the default parameters.
I had to adjust the settings for the rigid body of the bowl. First I set the bowl to Concave and then generated the mesh. I then had to adjust the Physical Mesh parameters and re-generate it. Doing something like 98 worked best. Then I reduced the Min. Hull Size to around 0.1 or 0.15, and finally increased the Max. Verts per Hull to 256 or 512. Clicking on Generate again recreated the mesh based on my improved settings.
I then started on the pasta. I went to the Physical Material Properties rollout and tried the next settings (each object is different so you need to play a bit with the settings). No time for playing again!
Once I was happy with the simulation, I baked the key frames in the Simulation Baking section.
Importing the pasta
I then imported the pasta in my scene. I needed to collapse the pasta to Editable Polygon. But before I did that, I needed to delete all the keynotes (2) with the little script: deleteKeys objects #allKeys. And done!
Cloth Modifier is a very powerful tool, it has endless possibilities! I wanted some shade screens in the roof to protect the space from direct sunlight. This is how i made it with the Cloth modifier.
First, I drew a line were I wanted my shade screen.
I then opened the Modifier List, and chose Garment Maker.
I then opened the Modifier again, and selected cloth, using these settings below for the curtain cloth:
I unrolled Cloth, selected Group, and some vertexes near the first ring. I then selected Make group. I then clicked on Node and selected the first ring. The first vertex was assigned to the first ring. See the steps here.
I then prepared the animation for the nodes (making the rings move). First I opened the time configuration window and set the animation time to 100. I opened Customize /Preferences /Animation and unchecked Local Center during animation.
I then went to Frame 100 and hit the Auto Key button. I selected all the rings and grouped them. I made sure the pivot center it set to Use selection center, then followed the steps below.
Finally, I unchecked Auto key, selected the Curtain and in Cloth options, hit Simulate.
For the global light in the scene, I used three light sources: V-Ray Dome Light with the HDRI map (VizPeople_non_commercial_hdr_v1_07) , a dome light filled with soft blue, and a VRaySun. You can see the parameters below.
I did this as I needed to have full control over the shadows, so I settled for a combined workflow – VRayDome Light + VRay sun for precise shadow control, and a soft blue light coming from the Dome light for a slightly warmer tone, this wasn't lighting anything but it gave the scene a warmer feeling.
I searched for a long time time to find the appropriate HDRI. I needed a HDRI with soft light - the sun may not be the in morning or noon position. Finally I found a way, I just needed to tilt the horizon to make the sun position in the late afternoon. From there, the only thing I had to do was position the VraySun to the sun in the Hdri. Simple!
Usually, I put up a bunch of different cameras based on a rough viewpoint idea to get some interesting frames. During the preparation of the project I already made some rough sketches for the images I had in mind. Below you can see the camera settings (almost default), most of them are the same - except the DoF camera.
To get a good angle, I used some photography techniques. To help me I used a script called imageCompHelper.
There should be something leading the eye to the center of the composition. It could be a line or several subjects. This "something" could just be there without leading the eyes, but it will fulfill this purpose anyway.
I used a bunch of Xref files as they are very useful to work with in a complex scene. It's easy to work on the master scene where we can choose what we need to see or not.
You can affect the display of the Xref scene, making it visible or not, or making objects in the referenced scene appear as bounding boxes. You can ignore the file's lights, cameras, shapes, helpers, or animation. You can control when the file updates, either automatically or on demand. You can have the file enabled or disabled, or you can merge in it completely, severing the XRef relationship and inserting the scene into your current file.
The Parquet material was not quite as simple as it looks. It's a blend material with a coat material, blended
with VrayDirt Map.
For the displacement for the bricks, I had to change the Edge Thresh to something like 0,001, to avoid open edges.
I usually render daytime images with an Irradiance Map and Light Cache solution with moderate settings. I worked with Gamma 2.2 color mapping as it gave me a lighter image with less contrast. It is easy to make the image darker and increase contrast during the post-production.
I didn't have to do very much post-production on any of the final renders. I used a couple of render elements such as VrayRaw Reflection, VRayRawRefraction, VRayReflection, VRayTotalLighting, VRayWireColor, VRayZDepth and VrayExtraTexture as the Ambient Occlusion pass. The post-work was completed in Photoshop and Color Effex Pro.
Finally, I hope you enjoyed reading this article and find something new or interesting to add to your workflow, thanks! If you like this scene, you can now purchase it from my website here.