Making Of 'Spider'
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.
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.
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).
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).
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).
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).
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).
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.
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).' '
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).
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!
To see more by Andrew, check out Digital Art Masters: Volume 8 and Digital Art Masters: Volume 9