Making of 'El NiÃ±o'
Hi there again! Â Malanjo, from Portugal (TrÃ¡s-os-Montes e Alto Douro) talking to you again! Â Before I start this Making of, I want to thank Lynette again and to all the 3DTotal team for the invitation to create this Making Of for you.
So, another character, another journey...
After I saw this concept by DOC (inspired by Kroenen from the 'Hellboy' movie) (Fig01), I started to imagine something creepy, but also cool at the same time. Â The design of the character grew day by day, and into the 3D stage. Â I was constantly trying to push the levels and create the design directly in the 3D process, just to be different, to play with the imagination a little and to push my own skill levels.
I will divide this Making Of into 2 parts:
- Character Development
- Environment Development
I started with the modelling of the head, because as I mentioned in a previous Making Of: if the head is OK then the rest of the design should come out easily (Fig02)!Â I was constantly looking for a low-resolution geometry, using the poly-by-poly modelling technique.
The next step was to model the rest of the body, always changing lots of things, watching references and experimenting, etc. Â I created the character in a pose, because it was a good exercise for the mind.Â A character in a pose gives more personality and dynamism to your scene. Â Here's the wire of the character, along with some close-ups (Fig03 - 04).
Remember to always have good geometry and a low poly count.Â You can optimise your mesh using an editable poly modifier (3D Studio Max) or the 'retopologise' technique in ZBrush. Â With this piece, I used an editable poly modifier.
For the lighting, I used V-Ray (with GI) for my primary render. Â Here you can see the light rig, as well the render settings (Fig05 - 07).
For the shading and texturing, I used a V-Ray material and some blended V-Ray materials (for logos and mixed materials).Â I used normal maps, colour maps, reflection maps, bump maps, some procedural maps and cavity maps (from ZBrush and Poly Boost).
I mixed them in Photoshop using some blend modes (mostly Soft Light and Multiply). Â I also used the Nvidia plug-in, "NormalMapFilter", to generate and mix some normal maps. Â Here are some map layouts (Fig08 - 12).
So for the layout with some views of the character, I used passes such as a beauty pass, the shadow cast from the key light, an Ambient Occlusion pass (from Mental Ray), as well as some graphics, like the background and the lines and logos on the side of the layout. Â I also did some colour correction and tweaked the key light a little (duplicating the beauty pass layer in Colour Dodge blend mode at 20% opacity - just to burn it a little, like a Polaroid picture or something!). Â Here are some images (Fig13 - 14).
For the modelling, my mood was to create a dirty urban ambience, like Chernobyl, and an underground urban environment. Â So creating a half-pipe ramp was the starting point, and then the other objects came out naturally during the 3D composition process. Â Again, I was always working with low-poly geometry, so I was only using low cache. Â Here are some wire frames (Fig15 - 16).
For the lighting of the environment I used two lights: one direct light as a key light and one VRay light as a rim light. With the direct light I used a projection map with some silhouettes of trees on it, to create an optical illusion of a projected shadow cast from some pseudo-trees behind the camera. Â Here's a picture of the light rig (Fig17).
Texturing this environment was really fun! Â I mixed a lot of textures from photos and graphics; I used a displacement map on the ground, close to the camera (I mixed almost 100 maps to create the colour map); I used VRay Fur to do the grass, and on the half-pipe ramp I used some real graffiti from photos. Â Here are some of the layouts (Fig18 - 21)
Ground Colour Map:
Ground Displacement Map:
Land Colour Map:
Half-Pipe Colour Map:
Final step: compositing!Â In the compositing stage I experimented a little; my main goal was to create the mood as I wanted something visually creepy-looking - something weird on the eyes, like a gas attack or something with a science-fiction feel mixed in with an underground urban style. Â Here are some of the final passes used (Fig22)
And here is the final image (Fig23).