The making of 'The Gift Shoes'

Moroccan based CG artist Nabil Chequeiq shares how he made The Gift Shoes in 3ds Max

I am happy to share my workflow of my latest image The Gift Shoes. This project was based on an idea I had of a man who makes a pair of shoes from old computer bits for a birthday gift.


I started by collecting a lot of references about shoes, computer pieces and lighting ambiance. I find that having good references gives me the potential to have more ideas - about what kind of detail or objects I'm going to make for my scene and how the light will react with materials.

<h5>Reference images</h5>

Reference images

Sketch idea and Composition

Before I begin modeling I blocked out a rough scene with 3ds Max; I used simple objects like boxes and spheres as a fill in before I added detail. I used a camera angel to give a general idea about all objects and their placement that I needed to model in the scene.

<h5>Initial sketch</h5>

Initial sketch


After blocking the general forms off all objects, I started to add the details to each object one by one based on the references I had gathered together. This enabled me to have better freedom when modeling. I always begin with a lower subdivision and add more edges and vertex when I need it.

<h5>Adding the details to objects</h5>

Adding the details to objects

Texture and UVS

Once all the models and objects have the level of detail I wanted to achieve, I apply the Unwrap UVW modifier to the objects and use modifier tools to set up the mapping. I render the UV to Photoshop for the texturing process, for some objects I simply use a box or cylinder mapping with tillable texture.

<h5>The textured models</h5>

The textured models


I prefer to use VRayMtl, which results in the objects being and looking more physically correct in the illumination and with more realistic reflection and refraction parameters, of course a faster render time!

<h5>Adding realistic materials to the objects</h5>

Adding realistic materials to the objects


I considered lighting as one of the most important steps in the process, as it reflects the emotion and feeling that I want to show. I start rendering tests with a simple white V-Ray material, and have an idea about the number of lighting source that I need in the scene, also be sure that the shoes have the most important part of the lighting in the composition.

Using a simple white material to place the lights

Using a simple white material to place the lights

The main lights

The main lights

Render passes

Firstly I select all passes in render element section and do a small render with draft parameter to see which passes I need in my compositing process, I can easily verify in the frame buffer to have an idea of every pass separately then I delete the pass that I don't need for my final result.

The render passes

The render passes

<h5>Render settings</h5>

Render settings

<h5>Global illumination and frame buffer settings</h5>

Global illumination and frame buffer settings


Once the rendering is completed, I go back over to Photoshop and follow this path : files > script > load files into stack, to open all the passes into one Photoshop files with multiple layer, then I experiment with different blending modes to reach the final result.

<h5>Photoshop layers</h5>

Photoshop layers

Final Compositing

At this final stage I am happy with the result, I have got to a point where I feel the look of the composited images that I want, and I apply a few final effects like color correction, noise, saturation to enhance the feeling on the image that match the story behind. The result at least it feels more interesting.



Final image

Final image

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Have a look at Nabil's work here
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