Making Of 'Daylight'

Modelling

The main element in the scene is the bridge, which is done using extruded objects; except the bottom ornament, which is a sweep nurbs object.

BRIDGE

First I draw all the splines in Freehand 8. (You can create splines in Cinema 4D, but it is more comfortable for me to work in a vector-drawing based program, since they have may tools geared specifically to the manipulation of vectors.)

Next, I exported ALL the splines to Illustrator, and later imported them into Cinema 4D

Important: To do this (import all "objects"), you must check "Group" and not "Join" at  "Import/export settings> Illustrator" to obtain separate objects to extrude later using different values for each one.

Using this technique all "objects" are already placed. Then, take each spline, one at a time, and drag it into the "Extruders" (extrude nurbs objects). I used "Cap and Rounding" for all extrusions to keep the edges from appearing hard.

When all splines are placed into the corresponding extruders, move objects in the Z axis to position the construction ornaments to the outsides, and the main bodies to the insides.

To create the bottom ornament I have a shape, and the bottom ornament path.  I drag them both into a "Sweep Nurbs Object".

To finish the bridge, I duplicate the objects and elements I need, and put them in position

WALL

Walls are simple cube combinations..

REAR AREA

The rear area is created using cubes, except the railing sticks; they were done using a combination of 1 cylinder and 2 spheres for each stick.

FIGURE

This person really isn't a full person! Is quite simple, really. I only modelled the visible parts (the figure is very small in the scene and seen from the back). To make the cape I created bezier-splines in Cinema4D and I dragged them into a "Loft Nurbs Object"(later, we can use a bump map to give more details to the cape). I can modify splines placed into Loft Nurbs Object, and view the results in real time.

To make the hat and the hat-feathers I used "Loft Nurbs" as well. (Really realistic feathers can be created by the use of Alpha Channels for transparency).

To make the arms/legs I used "Capsule Objects".  The feet are deformed cubes, the head is a sphere, and the sword is a modified capsule! This person doesn't have a body; I only created the parts that would be visible from my camera. This "pseudo-figure" looks ugly too, close-up but the camera is far enough away that this really isn't an issue.

Now, we have all elements to create the scene. (All modelling work was done in about 2 hours, including the first Freehand 8 drawing.)

Texturing

There are only a few textures in this scene. They are:

A. a stonework map for all walls
B. another stonework map for the floor
C. my own stone map (rouged grey) for the sculpted stone
D. plain colour textures + bump + diffusion (fractal noise) for the clothes
E. a bit of fresnel in colour texture with alpha channel activated (holes) for the feather
F. a background map

For the stonework textures I activated the diffusion channel and loaded the new plug in "DirtyNUTs" shader. This shader creates an automatic "dirt" effect where ever it is applied.

Mapping was really fast, mostly applying a cubic mapping to object groups and adjusting the number of tiles in real-time in the editor view.  I played with the tiling until I liked what I saw

Lighting

This stage of the work is the most time-consuming of the entire scene, because I had to do a lot of testing of the effects as I went along

The main light sources are the "Sun", the "Bouncing" light from Sun/sky and the "Skylight".

The "Sun" is a hard, yellow shaded parallel light. "Bouncing" is the result mainly of sunlight bouncing on the geometry but "skylight" also produces bouncing light at all directions. "Skylight" is blue light surrounding the entire scene.

All lights are added gradually. Note that between lighting stages, the increment of change is small.

Using a big number of low lights gives better results than using a few lights with high values. The idea is to create something like a "lighting grid" to fill the dark areas using colours

-Simulating light sources using spots and omni lights-

THE SUN

I used a spot placed far enough away to cover the entire scene. Light colour is warm yellow using a value of 270%, with area shadows enabled. Area shadows are more accurate than other shadows. Area shadows will show hard or soft shadows depending on the object's distance, like real shadows. This takes more render time than other shadows, but looks nice.

Using soft shadows with a big map size, "sun" shadows looks nice too, and while this will save time, the area shadows really are better.

MAIN BOUNCING

To simulate the first bouncing light from sun, I used two lines of blue omni lights (8 lights each line) placed along the "street". They are instances from a "master blue light". It's easy to adjust because you need only adjust the Master to have the change propagated to the 'cloned' lights.

The first 'light-string" is placed near the floor and second "light-string" about the middle of the maximum height of the scene. These strings of lights fill all areas softly with a uniform lighting. (Using more lights with a lower value results are nice but that takes more render time and tests.)

At this point, the top area still is too dark, but we can solve this later using only a few lights.

The Master blue light (and consequently all 16 instances) uses a 10% value, the colour is blue and soft shadow is enabled (125 kb size map); this produces soft-shadows and lighting, which emulating a radiosity effect, but isn't as render intensive.

SKY

For the main skylight I used three instances from a couple of blue spotlights targeting the walls and the floor for a total of 8 lights along the scene. The parameters used are: blue colour, soft shadows (sample size to 6 to create a more diffuse shadow) and a 20% value. -This produces more "filled scene" and visible shadows under the Bridge, on floors, and walls.

At this point, some areas are still too dark, so we need to fill them with light.

Lighting the scene using "bounce lights" and overhead "skylights":

The front view of our bridge looks unnaturally dark, and not in harmony with the walls because there aren't skylights targeting it yet (At this point, we 've only got "skylights" on right/left sides.)  This time, a simple spot is placed at a distance to fill all frontal areas. To take more control of lighting exposure, I used a lineal falloff and soft shadows using opacity only at 50%; this produced a more "filling" light.

Note that the bottom area of our bridge doesn't show enough bounced-light while sunlight looks high on the floor. To remedy this, a simple light without shadows is placed under the scene to fill bottom areas with "reflected" light. This simple light uses a 15% value.

Now is when I apply the overhead "Skylight":

In total three omni lights with falloff are placed in a medium-top area of the overall scene. Two omni lights with a 20% value are placed at front and back of the bridge, at a medium-top position.  The third light, with a 35% value, is placed at the top, higher up, but toward the front since only this area is visible to the camera.

Finally small details to improve believability:

Because the walls at the back of the bridge fade to open space, more Skylight must appear on it.  To "overexpose" the open area I used a pair of blue spots with a 30% value, targeting the walls at top, and an omni yellow at 25% value with falloff on the open space between the end and rear wall.

THE IMAGE IS FINISHED

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