Making Of 'King Kittan The Great'
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).
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).
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).
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).
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).
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).
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).
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).
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).
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).
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).
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)
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.