Making Of 'Bad Dream'

First of all I want you to know that this image was created for a competition, the goal of which was Lighting & Rendering Atmosphere.

As this is a making of article, I'm not gonna cover every step of the whole process. I assume you have some basic knowledge of 3D in general, and basic to intermediate level for all the 3ds max users.

First I created my concept sketch to focusing better on my idea for the challenge. I wanted to play most with the lightening and atmosphere so i concentrated more on that. The baby in the scene was used to give more expression to the whole situation.

For me it's better to start modelling from simple shapes, using the box modelling technique. So I started modelling the head from a simple box. It's better to study your model first and find how many divisions the box needs to get the look of the face better and faster. That's why I recommend to always start with the simplest shape, and adding details gradually.

Fig 03

Fig 03

Stage 1

Fig 04

Fig 04

Stage 2

Fig 05

Fig 05

Stage 3

Fig 06

Fig 06

Stage 4
A very important fact to consider is the modeling flow. I'm talking about the way you build the surface; edge loops/edge rings.

Ok, after dividing the box several times, I converted it to a editable poly, and started adding details. Although I was dealing with a complex organic modeling, the tools I've used were very few. 3ds max has a very robust polygon toolset. 90-95% of the work was done using 2 or 3 tools.( cut, extrude, bevel, weld). Cutting here and there, I've modeled the face of my character. I built the mask using surface patch technique. Drawing splines first, and than adding the surface modifier.

Fig 07

Fig 07

Stage 5

Fig 08

Fig 08

Stage 6

Fig 09

Fig 09

Stage 7

Fig 10

Fig 10

Stage 8

Fig 11

Fig 11

Stage 9

Fig 12

Fig 12

Stage 10


Using the method above, I started modelling the body. Starting from a simple shape/ turning to poly/ and adding detail with the tools I've mentioned before.

Now that I've finished the modeling, it's time to skin it. Doing this I can make the pose, like my concept drawing.
I built a fairly simple skeleton rig with max's standard bones and added some simple controls for the limbs.
I added the skin modifier on top of my poly surface first, and then all the bones of the skeleton rig.

As soon as the skin phase is finished, it's time to do some texturing work!... I added Unwrap UVW modifier and started pulling and pushing the UV's, trying to make them as flat as possible. It's good way to be in sub object mode, so you can see directly in the view port, all the polygons you select in the UV editor.

After I opened photo shop, I imported a screen shot of the UV's, and started painting the diffuse map. I wanted the skin to be smooth and translucent, so I don't need to create a bump map for the skin.

I've created a spot light. I added a Volume light to Atmospheres & Effects rollout.
The shaders played a very important role in what I was trying to achieve for how the skin should look. For achieving what I had in mind, I needed the light to bounce around to create that soft and warm look. I used mental ray render, because it can do Global illuminations & Final Gather calculations. Another important reason for using mental ray was the fact that it supports subsurface scattering effect; very important for creating the soft and translucent effect.

Here is a test I've done using the elements mentioned before,(volume light & translucent effect).



For achieving the translucence, I recommend everyone to play with these shaders and find your own way to do the SSS effect. You can achieve interesting looks by just playing around with the parameters.

Mental ray for max comes with different SSS shaders. I chose the SSS Fast material(mi) shader. I've started playing with the parameters of this awesome shade offer, trying to get the translucent look of the skin. One important fact is the number of samples for this shader. The higher the better, but consider this, it slows down the rendering process by doing this.

In the Overall diffuse coloration, I put the diffuse map created in photoshop before and hit render again to see what is going on.

After that I worked on the environment, adding small rocks, grass, and bush's. All was modelled using simple poly shapes, duplicating and scattering all over the scene.

I added some more spots and omni lights in the scene. With all the lights setup in the scene it was time to add the Global Illumination effect. On the rendering panel, in Indirect Illumination tab, I turned on the Final Gather, lower the samples, turned on Preview No Precalculation(for fast preview) and hit render. The rendering process became much longer.

I've played with the samples number for Final Gather trying to get the best result and optimal rendering time. For the final image I've rendered different passes and imported them in photo shop. This technique allows you to have more flexibility in compositing later.



Here are some of the main passes.

I used photoshop for doing some tiny color corrections. Here is the final image

Hope I've been as clear as possible, explaining the way for creating this image. Thank you for the care and patience.