Making Of 'Spider'

Introduction

Hi, my name is Andrew Averkin and this is the making of my latest image, Spider. By reading this, you will hopefully uncover something on your own that will help you in your own 3D art creation, so I hope you'll enjoy reading about how I created this image.

I once had an idea to create a mechanical beetle, or any other insect, and then make an animation of it. I hadn't done any animation of mechanical devices before, let alone mechanical insects, but I thought it would be good training for me. So I began work not really thinking too much about which one insect I was going to build. During the process of design I saw that the insect looked a lot like a spider, and an imaginary picture came to me. It was at that point that I decided to continue work with the insect taking the form of a spider within an environment.

Reference

Clock details appeared in my mind. I needed pictures of spiders, different mechanical clocks, cogs, wheels, watch-maker's tools, and also images of an environment for a scene that would suit the image. I began searching for images on the internet, and after a few hours of research I collected all the necessary information I needed.

Modelling

I used 3ds Max to create this image. I began by taking a look at the gathered pictures and thinking about spiders in general. Spiders usually have eight legs and a body consisting of just a few parts. However, I decided to make a six-legged spider, simply because I wanted to get a more rounded form to the insect and I felt that eight legs would have been too much.

I started work by modelling one of the spider's main joints. Modelling was very simple: I used simple shapes such as lines, circles, ellipses, etc., and connected, cut and extruded them to achieve the results I was looking for (Fig.01 - 03). I built up layer after layer of small details - screws, cogs, wheels, etc. - and connected them in a general form (Fig.04 - 05).

Moving upwards I created new details for the leg, using the shapes already established and Editable Poly in some places where necessary. To make the foundation of the leg much bigger and stronger, I created some kind of armour for it Fig.06 - 07).

Details were simply repeated to build the forms of the spider, so the modelling of the leg did not take very long (Fig.8 - 12).

Fig. 08_leg_joints_mechanical

Fig. 08_leg_joints_mechanical

Fig. 09_leg_joints_mechanical

Fig. 09_leg_joints_mechanical

Fig. 10_leg_joints_asembeled

Fig. 10_leg_joints_asembeled

Fig. 11_leg_joints_mechanical_finished

Fig. 11_leg_joints_mechanical_finished

Fig. 12_leg_joints_assemberly

Fig. 12_leg_joints_assemberly

When I had one leg ready I linked the details of the leg to the basic joints so that I could move and rotate them. I then duplicated the leg to create six in total, and then started working on the foundation of the body (Fig.13 - 15).

Fig. 13_foundation_legs_finished

Fig. 13_foundation_legs_finished

Fig. 14_foundation_mechanical_joints_hip

Fig. 14_foundation_mechanical_joints_hip

Fig. 15_foundation_parts

Fig. 15_foundation_parts

For the central part I made it from a sphere which I changed using Editable Poly, cutting off parts for the legs and other mechanisms (Fig.16 - 21).

Fig. 16_central_body_part

Fig. 16_central_body_part

Fig. 17_robot_spider_assembled

Fig. 17_robot_spider_assembled

Fig. 18_robot_spider_assembled

Fig. 18_robot_spider_assembled

Fig. 19_robot_spider_assembled_front

Fig. 19_robot_spider_assembled_front

Fig. 20_robot_spider_side_view

Fig. 20_robot_spider_side_view

Fig. 21_spider_robot_top_view

Fig. 21_spider_robot_top_view

For the spider's environment I made it quite simply using primitives with Editable Poly (Fig.22 - 25). In the end I had nearly one million polygons for the spider, and about one and a half million polygons for the entire scene (Fig.26).

Fig. 22_remote_control_tool_box

Fig. 22_remote_control_tool_box

Fig. 23_spar_parts_tool_bench

Fig. 23_spar_parts_tool_bench

Fig. 24_bench_objects_drill_peices

Fig. 24_bench_objects_drill_peices

Fig. 25_spare_leg_replacement

Fig. 25_spare_leg_replacement

Fig. 26_base_mesh_robot_and_environment

Fig. 26_base_mesh_robot_and_environment

Materials & Texturing

For textures I used a collection from my library that I have gathered over time. I didn't use Unwrap UVW; I used simple planar, box and cylindrical mapping because there were no difficult objects in the scene. Some additional textures were created in Photoshop, for example the picture in the book.

For the decoration on the metal boxes, and also on the ink pen and clock, I used a displacement map. For this purpose I created a few models to make up a pattern and then rendered a ZDepth pass, which gave me maps of the heights (Fig.27 - 29).

Fig. 29_box_decorated

Fig. 29_box_decorated

I spent most of my time at this stage creating materials. The main task was to get the correct properties of materials in the scene, in particular for the metal because there was so much of it being used (Fig.30 - 35).  

Lighting & Rendering

For the lighting in the scene, I chose V-Ray. I wanted to create a feeling of presence of the spider in a small room. I used one large source V-Ray Plane, which was the basic light, something like a window (Fig.36 - 37). I also used an HDRI map for GI environment and reflection, which created nice reflections in the metallic details and also gave the image an interesting atmosphere.

Fig. 36_scene_mesh

Fig. 36_scene_mesh

Fig. 37_scene_mesh_2

Fig. 37_scene_mesh_2

I pretty much used the standard properties in V-Ray: I used Adaptive subdivision image sampler; for Primary bounces I selected Irradiance map, and Light cache was chosen for Secondary bounces (Fig.38 - 43). The picture was rendered at 3600 by 2700 pixels in size; it tools about 10 hours to render (Fig.44).

Fig. 38_vray_settings

Fig. 38_vray_settings

Fig. 39_vray_settings

Fig. 39_vray_settings

Fig. 40_vray_settings

Fig. 40_vray_settings

Fig. 41_vray_settings

Fig. 41_vray_settings

Fig. 42_vray_settings

Fig. 42_vray_settings

Fig. 43_vray_settings

Fig. 43_vray_settings

Fig. 44_final_render_mesh

Fig. 44_final_render_mesh

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Post - Production

With the final render ready, I went into Photoshop to do some post processing work on the image. I decided that I needed to somehow select the spider from the scene, and so to do this I rendered a ZDepth channel which created focus on the spider (Fig.45).

Fig. 45_occlusion_map

Fig. 45_occlusion_map

For the smoke in the scene, I created it with FumeFX and applied it above the basic layer in Multiply blending mode (Fig.46 - also see Movie.01). I also did some colour correction and used a glow effect to make the image not too bright and a little more washed out. Finally, I used a vignetting effect and chromatic aberration to make the picture look more realistic and believable (Fig.47 - 49). And there you have it, the Spider image was complete. Thanks for reading!

Movie 1








Fig. 46_smoke_details

Fig. 46_smoke_details

Fig. 47_spider_robot_render

Fig. 47_spider_robot_render

Fig. 48_spider_robot_render

Fig. 48_spider_robot_render

Fig. 49

Fig. 49

Related links

To see more by Andrew, check out Digital Art Masters: Volume 8 and Digital Art Masters: Volume 9

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