Monday, 5 December 2016

Vehicle Visualisation: PT1: Modelling

I'm delighted to share with you all the first update of my latest personal project; creating a vehicle visualization based from orthographic sketches. This first post covers a step by step of the modelling construction process of the vehicle and some little hints and tips for people who may find this a daunting task or are simply interested in how I tackle modelling procedures inside 3DS Max

Tip 01: It's really quite handy to arrange your view ports/ screen space in such a way which is comfortable  and coherent for the user. I personally quite like to use my second screen to cycle through reference images, which gives me a better idea of the shape and contours of my model WIP and an easy way to compare differences. 

Fig.1 Screen Layout 

My second tip is to utilize your modifier stack so that you can always move down onto the 'fundamental levels' (if you will) to edit the shape and curvature of the model at hand. Creating a mesh should be tackled in the same way as laying the foundations for a home. (If the foundations are incorrect you can guarantee the bricks which come later will not hold). My typical stack could contain a modifier selection something like this... 

Edit Poly

...theres no wrong or right way to model.But I would strongly encourage a modifier stack somewhat similar  to the above as you can quickly move up and down the stack, and vehicles are generally pretty symmetric (so you're cutting your work flow in half by moving back and forth between the symmetry modifier). 

My third tip is to use the see-through and clay modes to help visualize your model WIP. This tip is more a personal choice. See-through mode (Fig.2) can be accessed by RMB and clicking on the object properties tab, allows you to model your mesh and display a reference/orthographic scale drawing to model against. Obviously very handy. 
Secondly I like to use clay modelling a lot because I find that various textures and colours inside the viewport can become distracting and hinder the objective of working out the shape of the model. 3DS Max will by default assign different colours to different layers, so if you're solely focusing on modelling and not texturing at the same time, it's pretty easy to end up with a multi coloured viewport.

Fig.2 Car Elements in Progress

Fig.3 Clay Mode Modelling 

My fourth and final quick tip for modelling is... do not be afraid to model separate elements inside separate scenes before merging them into a master file. This was particularly helpful for challenging geometry like the wheels, which I just find easier to start from scratch in a separate file to edit it in.

Fig.4 Wheel WIP.

Without further ado, here are some very quick renders for my work in progress. I hope these quick tips help some of you out there, even though I can appreciate a lot of this is basic or common knowledge. Thanks!

Fig.5 Wheel Mesh

Fig.6: Wheel Mesh Wireframe 

Fig.7: AC Cobra Front Cam

Fig.8: AC Cobra Rear Cam

Fig.9: AC Cobra Front Cam Wireframe

Fig.10: AC Cobra Rear Cam Wireframe

Fig.11: Beauty Shot

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Legacy Work: Uni Outcomes

This post features some of my legacy pieces of work from my university days. I felt that these videos were particularly important to my progress throughout CG art and animation.
The topmost two videos display my Minor and Major project outcomes, whereby I had to devise game assets and an environment using Autodesk Maya and the Adobe Suite (2015).
It was my task to develop a concept from scratch, develop the concept in 2D before creating the assets in 3D. I stumbled across the idea for the Aqua Marines because I was particularly concerned with the contemporary environmental issue of trash vortexs inside the Pacific Ocean. I therefore decided to make a game designed to educate young children of the environmental disaster. The game concept featured a series of animals from the Pacific Ocean who used the various personal attributes to overcome missions to save the environment. (Think ThunderBirds but with live creatures instead of an assortment of machines).

The final video was a small project I undertook to produce some assets based on historic evidence. I chose to design assets from the battle of Arnhem WW2. This was an excellent project which introduced me to the notion of LODs and correct UV texturing processes for games. It was also really nice to learn about the sacrifices of the soldiers and to build something important and meaningful to our history.

I hope you enjoy these legacy videos, it's a pleasure to share some of my professional past with you all.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Render Update

It's been quite a while since I last managed to post some personal work online, this being said this post is an opportunity to share some of my latest little renders with you all. 
The images below are by no means my best works, but they have definitely helped me to learn some new techniques in both materials and modelling with 3DS Max and VRay. 
In particular I've been getting creative around procedural maps within composites, as well as exploring translucency and caustic refraction. 
Modelling has just been about getting more precision in my models and working to a higher functionality, maintaining a nice and easy geometric flow in models whilst adding more technical details. the boombox for example has lots of intersecting faces and holes to model around. 

Fig.1 Beer Glass 01

Fig.2 Beer Glass 02

Fig.3 Boombox 01

Fig.4 Boombox 02

Fig.5 Boombox 03

Fig.6 Boombox 04

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Product Visualisation: Rendering a Wedding Band

In this post I'm just going to take you through a few advanced modelling techniques I used to create this wedding ring/band, and again highlight some of the processes I used to generate a render for this product visualisation. 

Fig.1 The Final Render.

Before rushing into modelling it's good to look at reference images to work out how you can minimise your workflow and start to think about what techniques you will deploy throughout the creation of the object to ensure you are working in an optimal workflow. 

Fig.2 Creating a Repeating Segment.

One of the first features I noticed in rings/wedding bands were repeating sections. An easy way to minmise and enhance control over your workflow is to build repeating sections of the band and then deform them into the specific shapes. 
In my case I used the a square socket shape for the diamond sections of the rings to create a repeating shape from.
This involved me creating reference objects and then deforming them along a spline path using the 'Path Deform' modifier. Reference objects allowed me to control the entirety of the diamond repeat sections by modifier just one portion. I.e you can then apply UV mapping or any modifier to the original to effect the references.

Fig.3 Setting up splines as deformation pathways for repeating references.

The next step of the process was creating a diamond that actually looked realistic. To do this I had to look at how jewelers cut diamonds in reality and then attempt to make a similar geometric structure. Ironically I found this easiest to start with a six sided cube and then to use the 'Cut' modelling tool in the appropriate places.

Fig.4 Sculpting the Geometry of the Diamond (Side).

Fig.5 Sculpting the Geometry of the Diamond (Top).

In order to create a sharp edge on the diamond geometry I simply used the auto smooth function at a degree of 1 over the entire object in the edit poly modifier settings. See Fig.6

Fig.6 Creating Hard edges on the Diamond. 

As described above the next step was then to add the diamond to the repeating socket section, simply by attaching it via an edit poly on the original repeating socket section and then to UV the original, diamond and socket together. The result was that every section was updated simultaneously across each specified curve of the ring.

Fig.7 Repeating Diamond socket with UVs 

Here are the results before the final texturing and lighting... 

Fig.8 Ring GreyScale

Fig.9 Rings UVs

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Product Rendering: The Watch

Just a quick one, I thought I would share this nice watch I designed and made inside 3DS Max. The larger learning curve for this mini project was working with advanced shaders to produce realistic rendering results. I took my light rig from the previous post (Automotive Design project) and altered some values. Leave any comments, questions or suggestions below. Ta.

Fig.1 Model Untextured

Fig.2: Advanced Metal shader 

Fig.3 Advanced Leather Shader

Fig.4 Final Outcome

Fig.5 Final Outcome Wireframe

Automotive Concept PT 3: The Outcome

So here she is, she's been sitting in my drafts for a while waiting to be posted. I didn't do anything spectacular with render layers for the final (although if I did have the time I would like to go back and revisit it; perhaps for another day), there was merely an alpha channel, beauty and AO pass, with a little bit of touching up inside of photo shop. All in all I'm really happy with this project, I got to learn a few new modelling tricks, I think the design of the car sits cohesively. Many thanks for all of your input. 

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Automotive Design: PT Two. Texturing and Rendering

Okay, so now the vehicle was more or less modelled all that remained was to set up render passes, light the scene and texture the vehicle. 
I'm not going to go into too much detail, but I used a very basic HDRI of a studio set up, added some reflective objects and set physical camera exposure accordingly. There are three lights, one above (the key light, and two aimed towards a separate tyre from the side cam view. 
Texturing is all pretty straight forward. I used a Falloff map to create a subtle blue/green pearlescent effect on a VRay Car Paint Material. 
Finally I've only set up three render passes, AO, Beauty and ZDepth. I will add a few more between this stage and compositing and will most probably tweak the light set up. 
But for now, check out the final image to see how one of these shots is currently compositing. The car really seems to be coming on! 

Fig.1 Frontal Skew Cam

Fig.2 Rear Skew Cam 

Fig.3 Side Cam 

Fig.4 Front Cam

Fig.5 Elements Composited. 

Automotive Design: PT 1. Modelling.

In my latest project I've decided to model a car from scratch, inside 3DS Max. 
In the initial stages I studied a lot of reference images of cars to make sure I got my design right. To create a realistic sports car design the car needed to follow certain patterns and an overall design language so all elements could exist cohesively. (If the rear looked a completely different design from the front of the car I would fail to create a sense of realism in the model). 
The two images below show my drawing designs I used as image planes inside of Max. Normally I would tidy these images up, make sure all edges are perfectly aligned and use a block black brush to make the lines stand out; but since this was my personal project and I was still undecided on certain parts of the car, I used this these images as a mere guide to figure it out in Max. 

Fig.1 Aerial Orthographic 

Fig.2 Front Orhtographic

The next step was to start blocking in the shapes and model the car. I started with the side panels and worked outwards. I also made the tyres inside a separate file and imported them in. This helped to keep the viewport clean. 
The general rule of thumb here is to create utilise a non destructive workflow, using an edit poly modifier for your Low Res, a turbosmooth to round the mesh and a symmetry modifier down the middle to speed the process. (A lot like a the modelling process for a character). 

Fig.3 Car Model Mirrored

Fig.4 Car Model (Half)

Fig.5 Car Model Rear

To finish up modelling I posed the car, with a light set up and cameras, ready for the texturing and rendering processes to follow... By rendering I was also able to pick out certain parts of geometry and improve my mesh, by adding division lines in the panelling for example or sharpening edges so I could meet that design language I had spent a long time thinking about at the drawing stage. 

Fig.6 Camera/ Light SetUp

Fig.7 Modelling Improvements

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

VRay Toon Render

After looking at various stylised finishes across the web I was eager to use the VRay Toon Render Effect to create my own. I decided to work with my interior bedroom scene for this task.

 a) I deactivated the GI and created a 3DS Max standard ink and paint shader inside the override MTL check box.
b) I adjusted the values of the ink and paint texture as I saw fit.
c) I created a the VRay Toon Effect and included all the layers necessary and adjusted the parameters.

Then all I had to do was render and composite the image inside photo shop. Bish, bash bosh.

I think this style helps present the work in a clear and interesting manner.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Rendering RealisticFruit.

As part of practise I'm frequently required to create small objects like pieces of fruit. This requires me to model a basic object and UV map it. I then move into photo shop whereby I will build a repeating texture. See the below example whereby I've used these techniques to create a realistic SSS2 shader for an orange, apple and watermelon.
I've also added a quick render of plant leaves so you can visualise how the 2 sided VRay Material can be used to create transparency for petals.

Fig.1: The orange 

Fig.2: The orange shader network.

Fig.3 Two sided Vray material used for transparency on petals

Fig,4: The Apple 

Fig.5 The watermelon

Fig,6 Mirroring a cut with the watermelon UVs to create a mirrored seamless texture