Making Of 'Alfa Romeo 2600 Sprint'
3DTotal asked me to write a Making Of my image Alfa Romeo 2600 Sprint, so I'm going to cover modeling, texturing, shading and lighting. I don't intend to make a step-by-step tutorial, but I think the big questions of the image will be answered.
This image started when I saw a news report on a special event (anniversary or convention) for the Alfa Romeo. Some really cool, old designs of Alfa Romeo's were featured and I thought that it could be interesting to create something like this in 3D, because it was a chance to improve my hard surface modeling skills.
First of all, I Googled some Alfa Romeo images and I decided that the 2600 Sprint was what I was looking for. So I went for it. I downloaded a lot of pictures and a blueprint, which didn't turn out to be much use.
When all the research was done, it was time to start the project. For modeling, I used Edit Poly. I started with a plane (converted it to an edit poly) and then began to drag edges following the shape of the blueprint. I made sure to I fitted the piece with the other views and I tried to avoid triangles as much as possible (Fig.01).
A good trick to check if you are producing a correct piece of work is to assign a material with a high specular and low glossiness to check the behavior of the mesh. If the brightness is constant and without strange artifacts, you're doing great! It's also good to add a Symmetry modifier to your mesh. Then you can check the whole mesh (Fig.02).
Symmetry is a great modifier and it made modeling the rim a piece of cake. All I had to do was model the part in red, then apply the Symmetry modifier several times to achieve the result I wanted. It was important to put the pivot point in the centre of the rim (Fig.03).
Another important tool that I use a lot is FFD. In this case I used it to fit the glass correctly (Fig.04).
When I finished the modeling process, I started to set up the lighting. I decided to use VRaySun (Fig.05). I also added a V-Ray dome light. I turned off Affect Diffuse and Specular, and I left Reflection on. This light just gave me reflections, so the main light was going to be the sun. To achieve this I put in an HDRI of a city that I found on internet, as initially, I was planning to make a little environment of a city (Fig.06).
You can achieve the first impression of you work using V-Ray RT. Change your renderer, next to Activate Shade, to V-Ray RT. Don't forget to change the mode, from Production to Activeshade mode. A new window will appear and then in a few seconds you will get a previz, which is close to high render quality. The magic of this is that you can move your camera and the render will automatically refresh. It's a powerful tool to refine your composition, change materials or tweak the lighting. I wanted some contrast so I changed the intensity of the sun (Fig.07).
When I was happy with the camera position, I started the environment. I used these two photos from CGTextures as a reference (Fig.08 - 09). The modeling was quite easy; it was just an edit poly with some extrusions. What is important here is the texture. I added an Unwrap modifier to the geometry and fitted all the pieces to the texture. In this case I used Planar projections, which got the work done (Fig.10).
Now it was time for Photoshop. The texture is quite simple: it's just the photo with some details. I added some graffiti and some dirt. For example, the monkey is graffiti, which I put in with Darken blend mode. When making textures you need to play a lot with blending modes, the opacity of the layer, levels, etc. I followed the same process for the other building (Fig.11).
I used a different trick for the windows. I made a black and white texture, which you can see. After that, I began the setup of the shader. I find it more comfortable to use the Material Editor. In my opinion, it's easier to see and understand what you are doing. In this case, I had a base material, which had a falloff material in the reflection slot. Then I used a VRayBlendMtl, which is a material that allows you to use masks and mix two different materials. I used the texture that I made as a mask and as a material (Fig.12).
I used the same technique for the car shader; the only difference was that the base material was VRayCarPaintMtl and the coat material was a simple material with a dark color. I also added a UVW map with Planar projection to place the mask in the correct position (Fig.13).
Fig.14 shows the setup of the shader. I also added a texture in the bump map slot. With the UVW Planar projection I could place it correctly.
I was now ready to render all the elements and composite them in Photoshop. The raw render can be seen in Fig.15.
Fig.16 shows an AO, which is done using a VRayLightMtl with VRayDirt in the color slot. I was unable to put a bloom effect directly onto the raw render. I tried different things (I'm sure that I did something wrong!) and I finally decided to render the effect in another Max file. Basically, I removed all the lights and I put four new lights into the headlights. After that, I added a VRayLensEffect. Now I had a bloom effect that I could use in post-production (Fig.17).
I also had a ZDepth pass to add some depth of field.
Next I opened the RAW, and I created a new folder that I called "AOs". One of these AOs was blended as Multiply at 75% and the other one was blended as Overlay at 10%. This improved the render a bit; the environment in particular looked much better (Fig.18).
Secondly, I added levels and contrast and did some color correction. I warmed up the image a bit. Then I created a new folder called "Headlight" where I put two layers, one in Screen mode at 85% and the other one in Linear Dodge (Add) mode at 60% (Fig.19).
Finally, after some Levels, adding noise, depth of field and lens correction, I got the final composition (Fig.20). I also added a scratches layer on the top of that.
I hope you found something here helpful!