Making Of 'Compass and Paperclip'
Hi everybody, I am Volkan Kacar. I am glad to share the development process of my latest work, 'Compass and Paperclip' - I hope you like it!
First of all, I would like to explain why I have chosen this particular scene to model, and why I have used Modo for the task. I had seen so many compasses in my life, thanks to my grandfather, and I have always thought about modelling a compass; however, because of my work I tended to forget about it, or I simply didn't have the time to do it. One day, one of my good friends, Cem Tezcan told me about Modo, with its advanced modelling tools. So I have now started studying Modo for modelling; its interface never bores the user whilst modelling, and its shortcut keys are all in fitting. I have been a 3ds Max user for 7 years now and yet decided to make this particular scene with Modo, rather than 3ds Max. My 'Compass & Paperclip' work became the first serious work that I have made with Modo. But on the other hand, I haven't abandoned the very powerful 3ds Max - I want to use both 3ds Max and Modo in my future works.
Now, you may understand why I didn't use any reference images for this piece because, as I mentioned before, I have seen so many compasses in my lifetime that I really didn't need to search for any reference photos, and I believe that was more like improvisation for me.
Right, so let's get on to the work now!
Modelling The Compass
I didn't use any reference images in my work; I simply started by adding a cylinder with a low number of segments into scene - I'll smooth the mesh later. This is the reason for using a cylinder with a low number of segments, as cylinders with a high number of segments can slow down the software unnecessarily (Fig01).
I then switched to Poly mode and modelled easily using the Bevel function (the keyboard shortcut for Bevel is "B"). The shortcuts in Modo are what make it a much stronger programme (Fig02).
Afterwards, I made my model smoother by using the Smooth tool (the shortcut for this is the Tab key). Some edges however should be sharper than others, and there are a few ways to achieve this. I sharpened the edges that I wanted to sharpen with the Edge Weight tool (Fig03).
While modelling the metal accessory in front of the camera, I switched to Poly mode, selected the front faces, then copied them onto a new layer as a different object using the Ctrl + C shortcut (Fig04).
I then bent the model using Bend Deform and finished the accessory using Bevel plus Subdivision (Fig05).
At this point, the compass object was complete, but I also needed a compass with its lid closed. To do this, I used the Duplicate Clone function and fixed it with Rotate - this way I had a compass with a closed lid (Fig06).
Modelling The Paperclip
Now it's time to explain the paperclip object. To be honest, modelling this object was quite easy. First, I started by adding a cylinder into the scene. Then, in Poly mode, I selected the face at the front and modelled my paperclip with the help of the Duplicate Curve Extrude function (Fig07).
Texturing & Rendering
To achieve a good render, I first had to create a studio environment. For the first step, I made a plane and lifted the edges with the Extend function (the shortcut key for this is Z). I then bevelled (B) the borders (Fig08).
I then added two planes, which I aimed to use as light cards. In my opinion, for this type of scene this lighting method achieves more realism than other approaches can. I then gave a material name to the light cards that I wanted to use as the light, for example "light_box". I switched to the Shader tree, enabled Luminous Intensity and set the colour of the light to Luminous Colour (Fig09).
I prepared textures of objects by giving a material name to each object, switched to the Shader tree, and prepared their textures. I used the layer system in the Shader tree. The compass object used wood and noise materials, and for the ground I used an old map texture. For me, preparing textures in Modo is always fun (Fig10 - 12).
I made the best configurations in order to achieve a good render. The Modo rendering system is really fast and high quality. For this image, the render time was 9 minutes, which is pretty short for a high quality render such as this (Fig13 - 14).
After rendering, I then added a new layer and selected Render Output, and from Effects I selected Ambient Occlusion in order to later go into Photoshop to do some retouching of the image (Fig15 - 16).
After some final tweaks in Photoshop, my work was complete (see image below).
The scene is complete, but there were some issues that I encountered on several occasions during the rendering phase. The reason is simple: when I started learning Modo, I studied modelling with it, but I didn't have the chance to look over rendering and texturing properties much. So whilst I was creating this scene I spent 3 or 4 days making test renders simultaneously. That was the real deal for me for a short time, but I believe I have created a visually good scene in the image. It is possible for me to also use these compasses in a future project, and I can already say that it will be a more complex scene.