Making Of 'Wolfsschanze'

Hello everybody, my name is Stanislav Klabík and my nickname in the world of internet is Slayer.

Idea for this project come from needing to make something really different, to make a totally different visualizations and from needing to make something with World War II as a theme. After several hours of seeking, I found the perfect photo with ''Hitler's headquarter-Wolfsschanze'' or ''Wolflair'' in east Poland, so I knew that I found what I looked for.

I used 3ds max 8, Photoshop for textures and Maxwell beta for rendering.


I started with a quick concept, really simple concept with boxes and simple primitives.

After doing the concept, I started to work with the primitives, I love paint deformation in editable poly, so I used it for high poly modeling. For example, the modeling of the big stone was the biggest challenge, I divided the areas of box, which are visible to camera using Tessellate and Meshsmooth in editable poly dialog. First Tessellate and after that, Meshsmooth. You must know where to use Tessellate, as it could make your mesh a bit messy. I modeled the moss and not taking to much care about correct topology, as I was after messy look, because moss is messy. I wanted some on the flat stone wall on the left side lying in dirt, on the damaged stairs, bumpy middle surface, the right side of the stone, and small islands with dots of moss, but modeled not on the bump map. I wanted maximum modeled detail, no fake detail. After Tessellate and Meshsmooth I used the paint deformation by simply, selecting the brush size and strength and drew on the model and on the messy area, I used a relax brush.

A friend said, "Why don't you use displace for modeling details instead, or you'll go crazy during the mapping!" My answer was simple, I wanted all details under my control and I think this technique is much faster than drawing a displace map, because with paint deformation I see all immediately.

Here you can see parts which are towards the camera.

And here you can see the part, which is hidden and does not need lots of polygons and modeling.

This stone has about 100,000 triangles, so at the end of the work, I must used the Multires modifier to reduce the poly count to about 30%, which was enough so there is no visible differences on the final image.

I used this Modeling Technique for all main objects in the scene.
Here is animated gif of the modeling process of the upper object which covers main building.

Mapping and Texturing

Mapping is the same technique for all objects.

Yeah, mapping was a really torture, but I accepted it at the beginning of this project.

First I must divided the main building into three parts, and textured them separately. The middle parts have incredible poly count, and I had alot of problems with unwrapping and moving the vertices in edit dialog, in the Unwrap modifier. Next I divided the objects into ID's and after that, I used the UVW map and mapped all ID's with only a standard planar mapping. After that I used the Unwrap modifier, for final mapping process.

First I adjusted all the ID's and then moved and relax vertices and welded the ID's together as I went. I then saved the UVW as a bitmap (you can use Texporter or something similar), I used saving through Unwrap (when is functional).

For correct mapping use checker map!

Here are some examples. You can see some stretched parts, which I repaired with the relax dialog in unwrap.

Texturing was funny, I opened the saved UVW bitmap in Photoshop, and then used several of textures and photos from, making the final textures. I used alot of layers and blending modes like a Overlay, Multiply etc. I used alot of dirt masks for making moss and dirt and similar surfaces. I wanted quality so all textures are in 3500x3500 resolution for the big objects and smaller resolution textures for the small ones.

For all the objects I used, Maxwell diffuse material with the texture in the diffuse slot and bump map all except for the leaves. For the leaves I used a plastic material with the roughness and bump, for the water drops I used dielectric material.

Bricks and Damaged Walls

I have devoted an individual chapter for making the bricks and damaged walls.

I think bump mapping is useless for making good-looking bricks and walls, so I decided to use 3d bricks together with the perfect texture and bump for details like a dirt and parquet.

My technique: I always make the bricks and damaged walls right after texturing, it maybe incredible, but I have never seen a good damaged wall with bricks before.

First, create a simple wall with only a low poly count and with the basic shape of the wall, where the bricks and all the damaged areas will be and then unwrap and make it a texture. After the texturing has started, model the small details by following the texture. When I was finished, I modeled about five low polybricks (so they didn't all look the same) only, about 200 poly. After that I implemented the bricks to the damaged areas following brick texture. I then collapsed the areas with the bricks together and mapped them with the same texture as the wall, and that's it. I used only poly modeling, mainly paint deformation, not displace.

Here is an animated gif, you can see, that the bricks on the first frame are flat and the wall looks really bad, and on the last frame is all looks ok.


I couldn't use Alpha masks in Maxwell due to it being a beta version and having the inability to manage clip mapping, so the vegetation is all modeled.

For grass I used this simple plane modeled like a blade.

and used several sizes and bent variations for building bunches of grass.

I used these bunches for building all the grass in this scene, and combined these bunches and changed colors for some variation. The flowers and nettles were simply modeled, whilst the leaves were modeled strictly following texture.

For the trees, I used the great Onyx Tree, I used only the branches with some modeled leaves and then built up several more to create the trees. For the ferns, I used palm leaves from Onyx Tree. For the leaves and stones on the ground and stairs, I used scatter and then corrected their position. Then I added some little bits detail like water drops on the leaves and the grass.

For the vegetation I used sub-surface scattering, I spent a lot of hours to setup correct SSS (Sub Surface Scattering), but I managed it.

Here are some examples of the vegetation.

The fallen tree in the left corner is made using paint deformation for modeling the bark and then textured using unwrap.

Lighting & Rendering

I spent about three days setting up the light, because I needed a specific light, I wanted a morning light casting shadows through the trees onto the main building, but only on the bottom and middle part of building. I needed small islands of sunlight on the stones at bottom part of the image. I placed the big tree behind the camera for shadows and placed several boxes around the scene for more darker atmosphere light to the forest, and I then played with longitude and latitude and with time. I used longitude and latitude which I found in atlas, which represented position of ''Wolfsschanze'' in Poland and used the morning time. I used plane with a bend modifier and texture for the sky for background instead of a sky from Maxwell.

Light Settings

Rendering was difficult, I divided the scenes into four parts, left, right, conversion from main scene and the trees because I didn't use an alpha map and the last part was the background. I divided the scene because, the amount of triangles reached 5.2 million and at 3500x3500 for the textures, 3ds max couldn't handle it with Maxwell, but with the default scanline render, everything was ok. This is a little problem that occurs between 3ds max and Maxwell, and I hope that it will be fixed soon. I then must decided which objects I could delete because every big object, could change the light conditions in Maxwell.

Every part was rendered on Athlon X2 4400+ with 2GB Ram for four nights (but for most of the scene was done on Athlon 2500+ with 512MB), and all the close up renders were rendered for two nights, so the final render time was about three weeks.

Post Production

I worked with the final image for about an hour I think, I played with contrast and brightness, with layers and blending modes, with sharpness (Maxwell tend to put a blur on the renders) and I also added decent glow (here I would like to thank my friend Peter for his help and tips with final postproduction, thanks dude).

Here is the confrontation.

Here is final image.

That's all folks! Hope you enjoyed this "making of" and found it useful for your next bit of work and learned something.

Feel free to contact me if you have some questions or if you want to say You are the Master!!! just kidding:))), no problem, here is my mail


Stanislav "Slayer" Klabík

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