Making Of 'After War'

This image was put together for the sake of this tutorial in an attempt to show how I go about creating various materials. The final image is meant to be in the evening and some of the materials are slightly adjusted for that. However in order to better see what is going on, I have rendered a more noon day lighting for each of the materials dealt with. As this is meant to showcase the Total Textures CD's (a very good collection of textures imo), I will only focus on those materials that are heavily utilizing them.

I will start with the Building Parapet material (Apartment-Parapet.jpg) as a slightly more in-depth introduction into what goes on in a material. To start off with I used a Standard Material with a Multi-Layer shader type. I use this for most all metal materials. This material has a dull Specular hit and a 50% Diffuse Level. As for the Maps, I use a lot of Mix Maps. In the Diffuse Maps, I have a Mix map (Edge Weathering) mixing with an old painted metal map (Chipped Paint - pla004.jpg) using another map (pla004b.jpg) as a Grunge Mask. If you notice, the Grunge Mask is the Bump map for the Chipped Paint map. I tend to do this often as it uses the natural color variations in the images to from a more natural look to the mixing. The Edge Weathering mix consists of the overall color (Rough Metal) using the ColorCorrect Map that is being blended with a more raw version of the Rough Metal map using the Edge Mask Mix map. The Edge Mask Mix map consists of a Noise map and the f-Edge map. The f-Edge map works on the smoothing angles of the mesh and colors all hard edges a specified color. In this case I left it the default white. This makes a procedural mask at all the parts of the mesh that would be prone to heavier weathering effects. To help break up the effect, the Noise map is placed in Color #2 slot (Color #1 slot remains its default color). The Rough Metal map is used as both a Specular Color and Bump Map. For bump maps, I often lower the Blur amount to values of .5-.75 to give a little sharper bump effect. This can cause problems if animated however, so keep that in mind. As for the plugins used here;
Color Correct is a great freebie found here http://www.cuneytozdas.com/software/3dsmax/
And f-Edge is a very useful and inexpensive plug-in found here http://www.ddag.org/

Next I want to address another map that is used extensively in my materials. The Reflection Map setup (Reflection-Maps.jpg) This is basically a way to fake an High Dynamic Range Image using Low Dynamic Range Images.

Go here for a more in depth look at the process http://www.charleycarlat.com/Tutorials/FakeHDRI.jpg.

Basically the idea is to have am Environment Map that will seamlessly join itself. For this I used two sky images for Total Textures Vol 3 and in PhotoShop created the Color image shown. Next I create an exposure map my converting to grayscale and adjusting the image to isolate the areas of most intense light from least intense light. In the Mix map in max, I combine these maps by adjusting the outputs of the Color #1 (Dark set to .2) with Color #2 (Light set to 3) to form the dynamic range (or exposure range) desired. The Exposure Map is used in the Mix Amount slot to blend the two.

Now to get back to the materials. The Aparmtent-Doors.jpg shows the one color of the typical material for the doors. For this the shader type is not set to multi-layer. I wanted the material to have a more aluminum look to it which doesn't need much if any lowering of the Diffuse Level. Also, the specularity can easily be taken care of with a single specular hit. Also, there are many of the same Mix Map setups described above. What is normally done is the Diffuse color maps are put together, and then from that I will place a copy in the Bump map slot. I replace the necessary maps with their bump counterparts and try to Instance all that can be. This map setup is generally good enough to go in the Specular Color slot and in this case an inverted (by way of Output Map) version goes into the Glossiness slot. The Reflection is a Falloff Map set to Fresnel (adjust the IOR to please) with a raytraced map type (VRayMap in this case) set to a single bounce. Then in its Environment slot is placed the Reflection Map described above.



The Metal Sheet material (Apartment-Sheet-Metal.jpg) is almost identical to the Doors material described above. A couple maps where swapped out and there you have it.

The Walls material (Apartment-Walls.jpg) is an aged concrete. For this I used much of the same techniques already described, however this one has a custom generated map. To generate this, I rendered a straight on view of the entire building wall and brought that into PhotoShop. Then using several of the Dirtmask maps from vol 2, I placed grime streaks around logical areas. This map is then used as a mask to blend more geometry specific grunge and grime into the material

The Wires material (Apartment-Wires.jpg) is a very simple material consisting of a broken up Specualar Color and Reflection map.

For the background building, much of the materials did not need to be as in depth as those in the foreground. The Factory Columns material (Factory-Columns.jpg) is again, a typical metal. It uses the Multi-Layer shader type with a Diffuse Level of 75. There are a number of maps Mixed together to get the Diffuse color and bump variations of that is used for the Bump, Specular Color and Glossiness (inverted as before). This material however makes use of a blurred reflection. This is done by simply blurring the bitmaps used in the reflection map. If this material was to be a lot closer, a Glossy Reflection mat/map would be used and this blurred Mix map placed in its Environment Slot. However there is no need of that at such a distance and it would only add render time.

The Factory Roof (Factory-Roof.jpg) is again a very simple material consisting only of a cracked concrete diffuse map with its bump counterpart.

For the Satellite Dish (only the dish portion...the base and mount are using materials form the factory building) set atop the factory building, a more complex material is needed to give better interaction with the light. This is a very good example of an aged metal material. It is using the Multi-Layer shader type with a Diffuse Level of 30. Also, both Specular Layers are used, the First Specular Layer is for a broad duller hit and the Second Specular Layer is for a sharper Anisotropic hit. Both are broken up with maps in the Specular Color slots. The Diffuse map is using the procedural Edge Mask for its Weathering Mask.

The Factory Walls (Factory-Walls.jpg) is another example of how simple a material can be at a distance. Due to the distance, the Fog, the fact that it is viewed only straight on and that it is completely in shadow, I only set the Diffuse Color. I used a high contrast map to allow more detail at that distance and under those conditions.

For the Satellite Dish (only the dish portion...the base and mount are using materials form the factory building) set atop the factory building, a more complex material is needed to give better interaction with the light. This is a very good example of an aged metal material. It is using the Multi-Layer shader type with a Diffuse Level of 30. Also, both Specular Layers are used, the First Specular Layer is for a broad duller hit and the Second Specular Layer is for a sharper Anisotropic hit. Both are broken up with maps in the Specular Color slots. The Diffuse map is using the procedural Edge Mask for its Weathering Mask.

Now for the forground objects. The Cinder Block material (Cinder-Blocks.jpg), an almost identical version of the Factor Roof material is used. The difference is that the diffuse color is 50% mixed with the map used on the ground to help age and blend the very porous concrete that supposedly has been sitting half buried for some time.

The Re-Bar material (ReBar.jpg) is a very basic metal. Its using the Multi-Layer shader with a Diffuse Level of 40. Also, very rusty maps are used in the Diffuse color. A Specular Color map breaks up the highlight and a Bump map finishes it off. Also as a note, these are using a Displacement map to help give them shape. For VRay this can be done with an additional modifier, but with some renderers this will need to be in the Material as well.

The Rusty Metal material (Rusty-Metal.jpg) is very similar to the Factory Columns material. Some basic rusty maps blended together with a Bump. This Material is using the raytraced map in the Reflection slot as it is closer to the camera.

Finally, the Shell Casing material (Shell-Casing.jpg). This is a copy of the Satellite Dish material with some altered diffuse maps for color. As with the Satellite Dish material this material is meant to play off the light

That is the extent of this tutorial. I hope you have learned something useful as you read through this. Thanks for your time.

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