Making Of 'King Kittan The Great'

Introduction

Hi, my name is Teoh Wei Liat and I am a 3D artist working in Malaysia. I always wanted to create a Sci-fi robot scene and I've had an idea in my mind for some time now. After I watched the Japan anime Gurren lagan, I became interested in the robot design. Therefore I chose one of my favorite characters in the anime called King Kittan.

In addition, I wished to redesign the scene and hoped to create a great environment that would make the robot look great. I spent about one week researching the character and environment online and drawing a sketch of my image.

Refrences & Concept

I tried to find some reference online for the front, side, back and perspective views of the robot. I also took some time to study the gadget and its parts (Fig.01).

Fig. 01_character_refrence

Fig. 01_character_refrence

Afterwards, I drew some color, mood and design sketches in Photoshop. The purpose of was to let me have a clear picture of roughly what I was going to achieve in the final image. Before I started the modeling, I did a proxy modeling in Maya. All of this modeling was very low-poly and was just created to match with the concept image and check the perspective and camera angle (Fig.02).

Fig. 02_low_poly_model

Fig. 02_low_poly_model

Modeling

I started by modeling King Kittan because he was going to be the main subject of my image. I used simple Maya box modeling, tweaked the face, extruded and finally beveled the hard edge. I only modeled half of him and then mirrored this to the other side. Next I decided to add some scratches to some parts because King Kittan has been in a war and so shouldn't be so perfect and clean (Fig.03).

Fig. 03_front_perspective

Fig. 03_front_perspective

After the robot, I went back to Photoshop and tried to draw some perspective guidelines and study the composition. Because I wanted people's attention to be on King Kittan, the perspective arrows I planned were actually all pointing out from him. For a better composition, the foreground (blue arrows) guides were all perpendicular with him. I also tweaked the focal length of my camera to 20 (by default it is 35) to achieve a more dynamic perspective, as King Kittan is a giant robot in a big garage (Fig.04).

Fig. 04_placing_character_in_scene

Fig. 04_placing_character_in_scene

Now it was time to model the environment. Parts by part, piece by piece, I modeled the structure and machine with simple box modeling and tweaking. I added in new ideas during the modeling progress to make the scene more interesting. I used a lot of repeat objects in the scene, such as the ladders, nuts and wires. Doing this saved me a lot of time.

Finally I took care of the beveled edges of the polygons because this is important for casting highlights in the lighting steps later on (Fig.05 - 06).

Fig. 05_character_details

Fig. 05_character_details

Fig. 06_character_details_02

Fig. 06_character_details_02

UVs & Texturing

I opened the UVs of the objects in the scene and fitted them into five UV sets of 4096x4096. I used a tile UV template and checked all of the objects by using a surface shader. This helped me to make sure there was no image stretching and that all the UV space was evenly distributed (Fig.07).

Fig. 07_uvmap_export

Fig. 07_uvmap_export

In Photoshop, I used a lot of textures I'd found on the CG Textures site (www.cgtextures.com) and fitted them into my objects. CG Textures is a great site that provides a lot of free textures and it really helped me a lot in this project. I wanted the textures of the scene and robot to be dirty and rusty. In order to add realism, I actually lowered the saturation of my textures, except for the ones used on King Kittan. This is because I wanted to keep the attention on him for better viewing. I really enjoy the progress of texturing and I secretly put the anime logo on the wall behind King Kittan. I think it is kind of fun to add in something special that you don't initially plan (Fig.08).

Fig. 08_texture_uv_maps

Fig. 08_texture_uv_maps

I used some mix and match textures for the dirt and scratches. I applied a layer mode of Soft light or Overlay on top of the base color to achieve more natural textures. For the specular and bump map of the textures, I converted the color image into grayscale. Then I reduced or added more black and white tone for the textures (Fig.09).

Fig. 09_texture_techniques

Fig. 09_texture_techniques

For shaders, I only used a basic blinn shader. I mapped in the color, bump mapping and specular color channels for the shaders. I used mental ray mia materials for some of the chrome and metal parts (Fig.10).

Fig. 10_applying_textures

Fig. 10_applying_textures

Lighting

For the lighting, I used mainly spotlights and area lights in the scene. Area lights are better used for the main light source, to achieve more natural raytrace shadows. I used spotlights to add fill lights into the scenes, part by part. The reason I used a lot of lights in the scene is because I didn't want to use Final Gather or Global Illumination. To add realism, I used a decay rate of quadratic in all my lights to achieve soft and fall off lighting in the dark. I also used light linking to help me more easily control the objects I wanted to light or exclude (Fig.11).

Fig. 11_lighting_effects

Fig. 11_lighting_effects

At first, I just cast the top main light on the main character. I wanted to show the contrast between the light and shadow in my image more. But without the bounce and fill lights, the scene appeared too dark. So I gradually added in more diffuse light around the scene. Finally I added a fog light in the top right corner to show some air volume when light traveled passed (Fig.12).

Fig. 12_light_renders

Fig. 12_light_renders

Compositing

I separated the image into three passes only, which were Beauty, Occlusion and Reflection (Fig.13):

  • Beauty pass (Fig.14)
  • Beauty and Occlusion passes (Fig.15)
  • Beauty, Occlusion and Reflection passes (Fig.16)

Fig. 13_render_passes

Fig. 13_render_passes

Fig. 14_test_render

Fig. 14_test_render

 

Fig. 15_adding_shadows

Fig. 15_adding_shadows

Fig. 16_render

Fig. 16_render

The final image can be seen in Fig.17. I had to do some color correction and paint some light rays in Photoshop. Since this was a still image, I prefer to paint it for a faster and better result.

That's all for the Making Of King Kittan The Great. I really enjoyed doing this image during my free time. Hopefully you will find this Making Of helpful. Thank you very much.

Fig: 17
 

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