Making Of 'Unplugged'
For this project I didn't make any sketches, because I already had an idea of what I wanted to make.Â Since my idea was make a scene with my bass, I simply put the actual bass by my side whilst I was working on its model.Â Having the real model is very good for making details and taking some measurements.Â For the amp, I based it on some different amps that I found on Google (Fig01).
I wanted to give a kind of sad feel to the image, by having the bass guitar connected to the amp, but with the socket unplugged, and focusing not just on the guitar but also focusing on the socket.
I modelled the bass guitar in Maya 8.5.Â As a starting point, I used the "Create Polygon Tool" (Polygon > Mesh > Create Polygon Tool) to make the shape of the body, based on a front photo Image Plane, and then I used the "Split Polygon Tool" (Polygon > Edit Mesh > Split Polygon Tool (make sure that the "Split only from edges" box is unchecked)) to make the edges, so I could convert it into Subdiv. without any errors, in order to "test" the geometry (Fig02).
I used the same technique for the pick guard (Fig03).
For most of the other objects, I used a poly cube as a start, then I extruded them, added some edge loops using the "MJ Poly Tools 1.3", and moved some vertices (Fig04 - 09).
For the rest of the scene I used the same techniques, except for the cables which I made with 3ds Max splines, since it's much faster and easier to make this type of thing.Â I jumped to Max for the rendering process (the reason why I did this you'll see in the next steps!). (Fig.10)
For the textures, I mainly used the 3DTotal Textures, except for the woods.Â I focused the texturing on the wall, because I knew that would be the place that everyone would look.
First, I got some concrete textures from the Total Textures: Vol.2 DVD and started duplicating, erasing, cloning and adjusting the colours until I got a nice, seamless and big (2K) texture.Â Then I took some dirt maps (Total Textures DVD: Volume 1), colour corrected them using the "Color Balance" tool, changed the colour blend to "Multiply", and played with the opacity (Fig11).
For the ground I took a wood texture which I already had, and started adding dirt maps to it (Fig12 and Fig13).
For the guitar, I first made the UVs in UVLayout and Maya, then I jumped into Photoshop to start cloning and erasing, until I had a big and seamless texture.Â The textures for the guitar were kept very, very simple (Fig14).
I had a little difficulty making the details of the neck, so I decided to go to ZBrush, just to have the ability of painting in 3d mode.Â Using the "Projection Master", I was able to project details onto the texture (Fig15).
For some objects I didn't make serious textures, just solid colours with the same dirt maps from 3DTotal Textures.Â I just edited them, colour-corrected them, and added solid colour layers on top.
Lighting & Shading
I wanted to make a realistic render; since my machine is quite slow I decided to render with the engine that I'm more comfortable doing realistic stuff with, so I had to jump into Max again.
After I imported into Max all of the *.obj files that I exported into Maya, I started setting the lighting up in the scene.Â I used two Vray lights: one at the top (1) and the other at one side (2).Â I also put a plane on the other side to act like a wall and bounce some light (Fig16).
This is just a basic lighting rig, because I also used a HDR image to help the lighting and reflection of the scene (Fig17).
The material settings were very simple (Fig18 and Fig19).
For the wall and ground materials, they have a little glossy reflection (especially a little on the wall), and the Color maps went in the bump slot, too (Fig20).
After I applied the materials for all the objects, I made a render of every piece to see if they looked real.Â At this point I used low quality settings (Fig21 and Fig22).
After I rendered the beauty pass, I rendered some extra passes that I could use later on in the compositing stage (Fig23).
In order to speed up things and have multiple choices, I always use different renderers in my personal projects.Â There was no reason for me to use Vray to render the Object ID and zDepth passes, since I could render them using the Scanline renderer, which is much faster for that (Fig24).
- Default lights:Â Disable this; we don't need any other light.Â
- Image Sampler:Â Choose Adaptive QMC, because it's faster than the default.
- Antialiasing Filter:Â Mitchell-Netravali: sharp and good edges.
- Min. subdivs:Â 2 will generate good results.
- Irradiance map:Â Choose Medium and HSph. Subdiv 30; if necessary you can also increase that value to 50 (more than that is rarely necessary).
- Light cache:Â Subdivs 1200, Sample size 0.001, Pre-filter at 1000 will decrease noise but will increase the render time a little; "Use light cache for glossy rays" active will speed up the render a little bit; filter: "None".
- Colour mapping: Â Exponential will avoid "burnouts".
- QMC Sampler:Â Noise threshold 0.005 and Global subdivs mult. 4,0 will reduce the overall noise, increasing the quality.
- System: Reducing the render region to 32x32 will save a little RAM (Fig25).
- Samples: The quality of the overall solution and the bigger the value, the better the result, but with a big cost on render time.
- Spread: The diffusion level: smaller values give you tighter results.
- Material Override:Â This will apply the material to all objects in the scene.
I loaded up the beauty pass and the AO pass in Photoshop, then made a copy of the beauty pass and added a Gaussian blur, with a radius of 1, changed the blending mode to "Overlay", and decreased the opacity to 35%.Â This gave a warm look to the image.Â Then I adjusted the Levels of the Ambient Occlusion pass, changed the blending mode to "Multiply" and the Opacity to around 35%.
Using the object ID pass and the "Magic Wand Tool", I selected specific areas that I wanted to colour correct and/or adjust levels.Â To finish the project, I added a slight camera de-focus and noise using the zDepth pass on the "Depth of Field Generator" plugin (Fig26).
I hope you have enjoyed this little Making Of.Â Thanks everyone for reading this and thanks to 3DTotal for the opportunity!