Making Of 'Guanajuato Alley'


Hi, everyone, this is my first tutorial of the creation of a 3D image, I'm a recently graduated Graphic Designer, from Monterrey, México, and its has been 2 years since I started doing 3D, when I used Lightwave to learn with. I find 3D great, because you can bring to reality anything that you can imagine.


I was visiting Guanajuato, an old Colonial city in México, truly inspiring place, with amazing architecture, cozy alleys, colourful buildings, and a lot of tunnels, a must see visiting city, which I got a lot of inspiration from. I took 5 days of to do the image, which in total was about 40 hours. The image was made up of simple primitive geometry. Texturing of the scene, I've use the3DTotal's great Total Textures Collection, for all things, including trees and the sky. For this tutorial, you need to know the basic tools of Lightwave, or any other 3d package. Also a basic knowledge of Photoshop. Oh and some patience. I consider this piece a mixture of 3d and 2d.

In this image, I tried to find a lot of references and info about the topic, photos of the architecture, colours and the mood. I've used different photos to aid me in making this scene.


For the modelling, I've create some primitives, which I did a rough sketch with, one per layer, since they will become the buildings, and the floor.

Next, I refine the buildings according to the photo references going layer by layer, using tools like: 'bandsaw', for making geometry, the 'knife tool', 'multishift', for the doors holes, 'edge bevel', 'magic bevel', all to make my model believable, in every detail.

For the lights, I've used a box model, divided, and 'magic shift' in-order to make the curved shape.

For the miner car, I've used box modelling, nothing complicated, cylinders for the wheels, and the bridge tool to make the holes. For the pots I've used cylinders with 24 faces.

The detail of the fence was made by using spline guides, I've made two and then cloned them several times

For the plants, I've used some models from a handy website called and I have also used some images from 3DTotal Textures V10.

To finish, I put small details, like the signs and some wires on to the first ones with box modelling and the wires with spline guides.

Next step was the UV maps, not the best part but the most important I think.

I first unwrapped the model, and then made a new texture maps. I create the UV map according to the surfaces, and used the grab tool to move some of the points

Before I begin to export the UV maps to eps, I must give you this little bit of advice, I always try to maintain all of the items from any scene, well organized. I make folders for every item, model, reference image, textures, uv maps, everything that I use as this gives you more efficiency.

Next I exported all of the UV maps.

Here comes one of the best steps, the Lighting.

Before I start to work on the textures, I open up all my models in LW's layout, and arrange all the stuff, I was looking for a well balanced composition

Next step was the Lighting. I did a very simple arrangement of lights, only one area light at 65% (because I use Fprime as the render engine, with .5 of the Lighting quality Montecarlo radiosity, and 2 bounces).

Here is a render:

Once I have saved the scene, it's time to work on adding the textures. So lets dress our models :D

According to my references, I started to pick out the colours for the buildings and floor with getting a good balance of cold and warm colours. Next I pick some base textures; I've used textures from 3DTotal Total Textures DVD's V1. V2. V3, V6 V10. I tweaked and mixed them in Photoshop, using the masks, colour filters, dodge and burn tools. I like to mix all in one psd file and I use masks, brushes and mix them to get my desired result. I like to work with large textures, I use 2500 x 2500 textures, because of the RAM.

Here is the info about the textures:

I did a colour map, specular and a bump map of each of the textures, then saved them in the respective folders.

Next I updated and textured my models. I don't really use many shaders, as I only work with the colour, specular and bump maps.

Because my computer has only 1gb of ram, I did the render in two passes of 2084 x 1984. Then saved them with the respective alpha maps.

Pass 1

Pass 2

The final Composition - Post processing

One of the better and relaxing parts that I've done for this image, like I said before, this image has used a lot of 2d work, and here is what I've done.

I put my two images in a new file, and take out the unnecessary material from the renders, I did some colour correction, to bring the image alive.

In this case, I wasn't happy with the render size, so I decided to make my image larger by using a vertical canvas and for compositional purposes, I drew some perspective lines, with the line tool. Because I took parts of the image to make the tops of the buildings, I put black lines at the side, to change my image boundaries. ( for composition)

We have a lot of blank space there, so next with my perspective lines, I taken parts from the image and copied them to new layers, making some adjust with ctrl+t and with the distort tool, to make them fit in the perspective, I did this with the left and the bottom building. And the same with the top doors.

Later I choose a good mountain background from a personal photo, the sky is from total textures, the trees and some plants too.

We are close to the final.

When I was happy with my composition, I've flattened the image, and saved it, to work with the flatten one, in this final step. I've add the final touches, like the leaves on the floor, yes I put them in Photoshop directly, I add more rust on the miner's cart, as well as the Hecho en Mexico Logotype, with some bevel an emboss, I put the holes in the car in Photoshop too, I enjoy this last step a lot, and I spent a lot of time seeing details, fixing things, to make it more realistic I can.

At the end, I just adjust the color balance, to give the image the right contrast of tones and the mood that I wanted and here it is

Well my friends, we have reached the end, I hope this tutorial helps you, I've enjoyed doing it, and remember, do things with patience and passion, enjoy nature, and watch every detail of it.

If you need extra help or just want to chat, feel free to email me at

Or in the MSN at

Good bye, and enjoy the day ;)

Eugenio García Villarreal CG Illustrator

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