Making of 'Rising'
When the humans finish their work and leave their offices, these isomorphic special characters rise from the 2D paper world to live in the 3D world, where they try to build their own world and generate new people to live amongst them. I was inspired by my childhood when I was at school and I used to cut characters from paper.
I searched a lot for reference images on the web before starting this project. There are many good sites for this - the best one I have ever seen is www.flickr.com, which is a really excellent resource for millions of images!
The models in this image are not special and not too complicated, just simple polygonal geometry. Here are some of the wireframes (Fig.01).
Characters & Poses
The most special thing in modelling is the characters. I modelled this image without any references; I simply drew some polygons and moved some vertices. With regards to the poses, these were achieved by attaching a biped to every character (Fig.02).
Make your models with as few polygons as you can to conserve the memory and the scene file (Fig.03).
When you intend to model things, always try to collect plenty of images to reach a perfect level of similarity - if that's what you're looking for, of course.
Try to learn different skills, such as rigging, particles, scripting, and any others that will help you in the modelling process.
If you don't have reference images or blueprints for any of the objects you're modelling, try to draw them by yourself with splines or drawing software, such as AutoCAD.
I tend to un-wrap the models, especially complicated ones. I then go into Photoshop to draw them by applying an unwrap modifier, which I find to be a good solution for me for simple models. When the models are more complicated I use UVW unwrapping software like Unfold3D, which is quick and easy (Fig.04).
For the characters I used an opacity map that I painted in Photoshop to give random effects to the edges.
Apply unwrap modifier on deformable objects before deforming them to keep the right UVW coordinates after deforming.
Using the "Composite" map is very useful in separating colours and blending layers by masks.
I used Mental Ray for rendering which really is a very good render engine and has some helpful materials and shaders (Fig.05 - 06).
Arch+design material is an excellent material which I used a lot in this work, as well as pro-material - a new material category in Max 2009.
I used 3 area lights, one of which was a spherical lamp and the others were rectangular. You can see more in Fig.07. Note that the intensity of light is dependent on the values of the exposure controller. I used mr photographic controller which is really very good and suitable for Mental Ray scenes.
Mental Ray is a very good engine for rendering; I used simple render settings with final gather and GI for this particular work (Fig.08).
After rendering the final image I extracted the passes (Z-depth and Ambient Occlusion). You can extract the Z-depth with render elements in the render options; you just add it and then change the min and max values to achieve a suitable pass.
Mental Ray contains a specific shader for generating an Ambient Occlusion pass; you should assign it to the surface map of a new Mental Ray material and then assign this material to all objects in the scene.
After extracting the passes I took them into Photoshop to composite them (Fig.09 - 11).
You can assign Ambient Occlusion by putting it in a new layer above the original image layer and then change the blending mode to multiply.
You can assign Z-depth to a new channel in Photoshop and apply a lens blur filter and play with the values. Finally, you can add some colour correction and adjust the Levels and add some effects (such as a glow) if you want to.
- Ambient Occlusion Pass - used to enhance the shadows of objects and to give good depth to them. You can read more via this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ambient_occlusion
- Z-Depth Pass - used to give a DOF (depth of field) effect. You can read more via this link:
And here are the final images (Fig.12 - 13). I hope this article has been helpful, thanks for reading.