Making Of 'Lost Signal'
My intention was to create a sci-fi robot scene that would challenge my knowledge of CG. As a starting point, I quickly did some small thumbnail concepts of the robot that was going to be the main focus of the piece.
The next stage was to find reference photography, either from the internet or from my personal collection. I used these for inspiration for the different parts of the robot as I was aiming for a photorealistic look (Fig.01).
The majority of the robot was poly modelled, which worked well for me as I was constantly changing and developing my design (Fig.02).
For the texturing, I UVW unwrapped an average of 90% of the image, in which I created individual maps. A combination of diffuse, bump, normal, displacement and specula maps were created to produce controllable material properties.
Here you can see I have unwrapped a piece of the robot and hand painted most of the wear and tear; the normal direction gave me an idea of what I was painting (Fig.03).
The next step was to make the bump map. This can be done by turning your image black and white and changing the appropriate areas to positive or negative depending on the look you want (Fig.04).
Here you can see the settings I used, along with the outcome (Fig.05 - 06).
For the lighting I used VRay. The first step was to set up a basic light rig in which I could develop the materials (Fig.07 - 08).
Fig.09 - 10 show an example of how I textured some of the robot.
Using Photoshop and the texture "camouflage03" from V08:R2 - Total Textures "Vehicles" I made an initial base layer. Another diffuse map with the texture "hull06b.jpeg" from V07:R2 - Total Textures "Sci-Fi" broke up the simple base layer and gave it more interest and purpose.
Total Textures Collection V1 - V19
Total Textures V1:R2 General Textures
Total Textures V7:R2 Sci-Fi Textures
With the new layer selected, I turned the opacity mode to multiply (Fig.11) Along with a few wear and tear areas, I kept adding layers to build you the texture (Fig.12).
For Fig.13 I used texture "number_16.jpeg" from the Total Textures V7 - Sci-Fi DVD. I also used texture "rocket13b.jpg", again from the Sci-Fi texture collection, as an overlay for several parts of the model (Fig.14).
Post - Production
The image was rendered out in several layers to allow more control in this stage of production. The effects of the sand were a combination of separate render passes and Photoshop custom brushes which I found worked nicely.
Here is the final image (Fig.15). Minimal colour adjustments were done to give the image the atmosphere I was after.
To see more by Tarik Ali, check out Prime - The Definitive Digital Art Collection