Making Of 'Stay Awhile'
When making a realistic environment we must look at the world around us and figure out how the environment works. What are the things that make a space look unique? How does the weather affect the way the texture will be preserved? There are many ways we can make scenes look like photos, the key is to have an eye for detail. Remember, that most insignificant thing, which you may not even notice, will make or break the picture. Details are important, so take the time to make them.
Lighting is one of the things that most get wrong. I find that looking at real world photography is the best way to capture the lighting just right. Don't try to wing it or make it they way you think it should look, get it right or you might as well quit now.
In this tutorial we will learn how to texture a scene and make the lighting work. The first step is to get the scene modeled and looking just right. For times sake we will use a very simple scene of an abandoned room.
The first step is to get the basic structure of the room laid out. Then we can start fitting objects to the space to make the scene look populated.
For this I just decided to make it simple and create the structure from a couple of boxes scaled to the right measurements. Remember to make all of the walls. Just because they are not in the cameras view, does not mean that they won't affect the lighting in your scene.
Next we can start to fill the space with objects. I wanted the scene to be empty, but not too empty. I chose to make a couple buckets, boxes, and a mattress in the background.
Like I said, very basic:
Some nice boxes; don't worry about the cull of the boxes; they will not affect anything since they will be in the shadows.
I wanted to make the floor geometry so I can catch the nice shadows and highlights from the light source.
The windows will be a key feature in this scene so some care was taken when making them. They are fully functional double pane windows, and are ready to be installed in your home today. "LoL!"
So now this is what we end up with, geometry wise. I took the liberty of filling the space a bit more since I had the time to do it.
Now we can put some materials on these bare assets. All textures come from the Total Texture Collection
The plywood for the boarded window:
The various Graffiti, used on the walls:
The trim around the room and windows
The texture for the buckets
For the lighting I am going to use two lights to keep the render time down. A basic Photometric Free Point light to emit GI and Photons into the room.
As well as a mental ray Area Spot for the light coming thru the window. Make the shadows Ray Traced with no attenuation. Multiplier of 0.7 and, well the settings I used are below.
The Mental Ray Indirect Illumination settings were not messed with much. Here is what I used.
The renderer tab is where I made most of my changes. Samples per Pixel can remain Â¼ and Â¼ until the lighting is just right; there is no reason to go above 1min and 4max for very detailed scenes. The Contrast settings on the mental ray renderer tab, right below the Samples per Pixel values, determine how to "weight" the Samples per Pixel values""toward the Minimum or the Maximum values you have set. If you render and find that the small details in your scene are being fuzzed out, it may not be because the Samples per Pixels are too low, but your Contrast settings are too low. I find that anything between 0.251RGB and 0.322RGB spatial settings will do the trick. Just remember to keep it in the grey area. Here is a screen.
The Camera Setup
The initial render
And the final scene textured and lit. Now let's take it into Photoshop for some cleanup.
I used Photoshop to make the lighting more prominent throughout the scene. Added some DOF (depth of field) and made some dust particles so the room didn't seem so clean. I like to make my scenes look like art pieces. Most people want to make them look like photographs, and that's awesome, but since I am in the gaming industry, I like the feel and look of a hand crafted environment.
Special thanks to the team at 3D Total for giving me the opportunity to speak my mind and show others how to use their talents. And for the Total Textures, everyone should have these in their library. The Total Textures allow me to achieve the detail I need in every scene I make.
Tutorial Written By:
Jacob Johnson, www.ja-bob.com