Making Of 'Orange Bridge'

Introduction

In this Making Of I would like to mention the reason why this image came to exist, my inspiration behind it and some further information about the scene as whole. Then I would like to present the models themselves, which occupy scene. I'm not going to focus too much on the modelling itself, but I will mention any interesting settings, or problems I had etc. In terms of the materials, the whole scene was built from V-Ray materials along with using the V-Ray displacement modifier. I would like to pause for a minute here, because this scene just served as a test for the V-Ray displacement settings and I will also be writing about creating textures, lighting and the final rendering.

Inspiration

The scene with the orange bridge, which I have situated in Venice, is absolutely fictitious. You won't find it anywhere in the world; you can't take a photo; you can't visit it. It's completely unique.  But while the scene as a whole is fictitious, I found inspiration for the bridge sometime ago on www.3dtotal.com by one of my favourite artists. I decided to create a scene, but as different as possible from the image that inspired me and mainly base it on my own ideas and feelings from current scenes of Venice. If you have time, I'd advise you to look at some of the images in the scene part of 3DTotal's gallery. You'll surely find an image there to inspire you (Fig.01 & Fig.02)!

Fig. 01

Fig. 01

Fig. 02

Fig. 02

Of course, the inspiration for this image was on a purely conceptual level and all of the objects found in the scene were carefully chosen from different parts of Venice and remade by me.

Modelling

The majority of the models were modelled from a box (box modelling), by using some photo references, and were afterwards adjusted for insertion into the scene. Models like the bridge, walls and houses along the edge of the canal were relatively low poly (Fig.03).

Fig. 03

Fig. 03

I will be covering the V-Ray displacement modifier later. It was difficult to model some of the things in the scene, like the railings. I created these with lines and then converted them into editable poly's and applied Meshsmooth for a better model resolution. I tried to evoke the feeling of something old, so some of supports in the railings are missing and some are curved while others are narrower (Fig.04).

Fig. 04

Fig. 04

I then created the lamp and the paper ship, which I made first from paper so that I had a better reference for modelling, by a similar process, combined with the V-Ray displacement modifier (Fig.05 & Fig.06).

Fig. 05

Fig. 05

Fig. 06

Fig. 06

At this point, the scene had been fully modelled, but again there was a need to show that old-fashioned feeling. To create this, I added some detail to the bridge stonework, some bricks, some grass in the cracks and under the bridge as well as some ivy. I created the grass very easily with V-Ray Fur and used Ivy Generator for the ivy and then imported them into the scene (Fig.07).

Materials & Texturing

I used the V-Ray displacement modifier for the majority of my models - this meant that even using a low poly model, I could show a lot more detail in things like the embossed plaster on the walls.
Some of the scarring and cracks in the supporting stones have become smooth over time due to weathering, just as in real life.
I took photos of textured stone with plenty of cracks and holes to create a base for my displacement maps. I then modelled some of the larger cracks using a standard brush and during the mapping I took advantage of the Unwrap and Render to Texture functions to precisely place my texture on the mesh with correctly aligned details. I then applied a Vray material using the stones diffuse map and set some reflection according to the material type.
The plaster on the houses, bridge and the bricks was mainly done in the same way. An advantage of this technique is that it's relatively speedy, it's easy to control and it produces a nice result; the big disadvantage is the large amount of memory it uses and the fact that it takes longer to calculate. I mainly used 2D displacement settings and a 1024 resolution map. For the windows and pipes under the bridge, I used a 3D displacement mod (Fig.08).

Fig. 08

Fig. 08

I adjusted all of the textures in Photoshop to suit my idea about the colours. Below the water level, I also simulated some rising moisture and added some dirt to the walls etc.

Lighting & Rendering

This image was rendered in V-Ray, using GI with an irradiance map and QMC, and a skylight with an HDRI map. In the scene there's one straight light and one light shining into space from a part of the subway (Fig.09).

Fig. 09

Fig. 09

I used a weakly set depth of field to suggest the effect of the sun's rays reverberating from the water level. I also used a caustic effect which incorporates a water level model over two levels.
Here is the final scene (Fig.10 & Fig.11).

Fig. 010

Fig. 010

Fig. 011

Fig. 011

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