Making Of 'Cais das Artes (Quay of Arts)'
Hello everyone! My name is Ricardo Canton; I live in SÃ£o Paulo and graduated in architecture in 2004. Since then, I have been collaborating with several architecture studios in the 3D visualization of their projects. I received an invitation from 3DTotal to share a bit of my 3D techniques and skills with the community, through the Making Of my image of the Cais das Artes (Quay of Arts).
This image was produced a little bit before construction began on the Cais das Artes museum and served as an illustrative support during the presentation of the project in lectures and publications in architecture magazines.
Before starting the tutorial, I will briefly explain what the Cais das Artes project was. The building was designed by Paulo Mendes da Rocha and Metro Arquitetos Associados, and comprised of a museum and a theater equipped to host large scale art events. Located on the SuÃ¡ Bay, near the island of VitÃ³ria in Brazil, the main brief behind the project was that it should reflect the value of the landscape and historical surroundings of the city, and complement it. The design included platforms that allowed people to appreciate the beauty of their natural surroundings and the new square was intended to become a cultural attraction for the city.
In this project I used the following tools: AutoCAD for modeling, 3ds Max and V-Ray for texturing and illumination and Photoshop for post-production of the image.
Given that AutoCAD is still the most common architectural software used by my clients, and because it contains all the design models and perfectly fits my needs, I still consider AutoCAD the main tool for modeling. Only when projects are more complex, will I combine the AutoCAD process with 3ds Max. In this specific project simple commands were used, such as Extrude, Polyline, Box, Union, Subtract and Slice. Fig.01 - 03 show the main stages and construction components of the building.
After finishing the modeling phase, the DWG archive was imported into 3ds Max. After that I adjusted the internal units of the 3ds Max to meters.
Lighting and Camera Setup
The next step was to configure the lighting of the scene. To simulate the skylight, a hemisphere was used in which a VRaylight material, with a JPEG texture of a sky, was applied (Fig.04).
In the internal lightning of the museum several V-Ray planes were used, which received orange tone variations (Fig.05 - 07).
The application of materials in this scene was quite simple, taking into account the fact that I did not intend to spend much time on tests and configurations (the color corrections and contrast were left to a later stage in the Photoshop phase). Among the few materials I used are: a V-Ray default material with white diffuse and a little bit of reflex in the beams, frames and cladding sheets, transparent glass, water, asphalt for the streets, and some variations of concrete textures for the slabs, pillars, pre-fabricated panels for the faÃ§ade and the great gable of the museum. Several textures were found in internet databases, like CGtextures (Fig.08 - 09).
The rendering configuration has no special features and the parameters adopted were basic with low values. I have used the classic method: irradiance map and light cache, adaptative dmc and exponential for color mapping. In this project, I have not used the LWF (Linear Work Flow), thus I have not changed the gamma settings in the 3ds Max preferences, even though I have been using this technique in my recent work. Here are the render presets (Fig.10).
As you can see from the raw render, the image passed through a great transformation in Photoshop until it reached its final result. To facilitate the editing process and work more efficiently, several folders were created to maintain the layers organized. The use of adjustment layers and layer masks also allowed a non-destructive editing of the pixels. These tools are extremely important if you intend to easily recover any of the commands in future manipulations of the image.
The raw render can be seen in Fig.11.
The background was inserted (with some adjustments related to the lightning and saturation) below the folder (3D Base), containing the duplicated raw render (Fig.12).
In this phase, the idea was to reinforce the lights of the scene - mainly the artificial lights emanating from the museum. In order to do this, the layers of the render and the sky were duplicated, flattened and adjusted to linear dodge mode. After, with an inverted mask and a soft white brush, the effect was cautiously been revealed. (Fig.13)
In a new layer with the Screen blending mode, a white brush was used to highlight the lights of the annex (Fig.14).
The use of orange filters served to accentuate the bluish tone of the original image and reach a hotter atmosphere (Fig.15).
Adjustment layers (Curves, Levels) were used to reinforce the shaded areas and highlight the lights (Fig.16).
Below the adjustments group a new layer was created with the Color Burn blending mode (Fig.17).
The application of new concrete textures (Overlay mode, with low opacity) added tone variations and a little dirt to the original textures (Fig.18 - 19).
To give life to the scene, I inserted some people and trees, adjusting their contrast and color (Fig.20).
To reach a more dramatic result, vibrating and with more color effect, I repeated the process in Fig.17 using the following blending modes: Linear Burn and Overlay (Fig.21).
I have removed a little bit of the general saturation (Fig.22).
I made a new copy (blending all the layers below) and added a mask. After that, I accessed Filter > Blur> Lens Blur to apply a very smooth blurring effect in the volume of the annex (center) and in the borders of the image (Fig.23).
A vignetting effect was applied through manual exposures. In order to do that, I used the Alt command and created a new layer. In the dialog box (New Layer) I adjusted the mode to Overlay (50%). The effect was applied with a smooth black brush (10%). A smooth white brush had the opposite effect, highlighting the areas of light (Fig.24).
The final image can be seen in Fig.25.
That's all. I would like to thank 3DTotal for the opportunity to publicize my work and I hope that everyone that reads the tutorial likes the methodology I have used in it.