The Making Of 'CGRecord CH1'
Leandro Silva describes the techniques he used for his popular entry to the CG Record Rendering Competition.
Hi everyone! First of all, I would like to thank 3dtotal for the opportunity to write this making of article, and provide some insights about one of my latest projects for the CG Record Rendering Competition.
For this contest, participants were invited to recreate the entire environment of the Crescent House designed by Saota & Antoni Associates, with the only restriction keeping the basic house geometry as it was.
Concept & references
The inspiration for this work emerged when I tried to imagine what this house and its surroundings could look like. I wanted to create a simple, quiet natural atmosphere that, most importantly, expressed a natural extension of the house into the landscape.
As a first step, I collected several references about the building, landscape, materials, mood and lighting that expressed the concept I was after.
Once I gathered the references for the project, I started by configuring the units setup and the gamma. I always work with Gamma 2.2 and Linear Workflow. Here are the general scene setup settings.
The main 3D model of the house was provided to the participants of the competition by CG Record. I began work on this by making some adjustments/improvements to the shape, mostly chamfering the edges and fixing some modeling issues, so then I could focus on the atmosphere and the environment of the building straight away.
After the exterior was complete, I then added the interior furnishing such as chairs, tables, lights and curtains to fill up the kitchen, the bedrooms and the living areas. You can see how the basic model looked here.
Environment & vegetation
The terrain model was created with a simple plane which I converted to an Editable Poly, added a noise modifier and deformed with a few push/pull tools to enhance the effect of terrain imperfections.
To scatter the vegetation, I used the Forest Pack Pro plug-in to achieve a more random result with different types of models, mostly from R&D; iCube and Evermotion. I began by spreading the grass with different types and sizes, and then added some flowers and leaves, the bushes and finally the trees.
I adjusted the camera placement throughout the process, exploring the various options for positioning the cameras. I think the most important thing is to always try and capture the best lighting and composition of the scene – showing the building, the environment or simple details in the best, most appealing and realistic way.
In my opinion, lighting is one of the most significant elements in 3D visualization, as it emphasizes the mood and the atmosphere of an image.
For this project, I used a HDRI Map inside a V-Ray Dome Light (default), using Peter Guthrie's HDRI 1224 Clear Sky and 2028 Dusk, combined with a V-Ray Sun to get strong shadows and warm highlights. In the night shoot, I also placed some additional V-Ray Lights that throw warm light from the interior.
Materials & texturing
In this step of the process, it's important to collect real material references to have a good base and understanding for texturing the materials in the scene. Most of the textures are self-made, based on those available at Arroway and CGTextures, with specific adjustments in Photoshop (contrast, color, dirt) to get a better result.
I rendered this scene with V-Ray and aimed to keep render times acceptable with an Irradiance Map and Light Cache solution. Also, I enabled some render elements to use later in the post-production stage.
For the post-production phase, I generally focused on making little tweaks and adding some artistic retouching with the main objective of enhancing the atmosphere and ‘beauty' of the raw images.
In the images here, I added some Photoshop corrections as follows:
1. Raw render
6. Color balance
7. V-Ray Reflection
8. V-Ray Refraction
9. V-Ray extra texture
10. Light and shadow
11. V-Ray Zdepth
That's all! Thank you for reading it. I hope you enjoyed this article and feel free to ask anything in the comment section below.