Hi guys! My name is Krzysztof Pysz and I'm a 3d designer and co-founder of ONE2 ARCHITEKCI from Poland. I thank you in advance for spending your time on reading this article. I tried my best to make it useful and enjoyable.
My target was Lennox Residence designed by Artau Architecture (amazing work guys!) since I love its lightness and the great selection of materials which helps to enter the building in the forest environment.
The goal was to push myself a bit further in material creation techniques so I didn't focus too much on composition and for that, I've tried to follow photos I dig up on the web. So let's see what came up from all of this!
Making of articles are always a great source of both education and inspiration! Reading them we are able to learn several tips and tricks which are useful for our evolution as 3d artists. But what about an education method from scratch?
LEARN V-RAY comprises various complementary activities and possibilities to ensure continuous and satisfying training.
In all these years in the industry, I've learned that the best way for me to start the project is to create a mood board. I often start with google searching for almost random images that caught my eye so I can pick the best atmosphere for the image. This time however, I've chosen to stick to archdaily photos and only a few other images that helped me choose and create the surroundings.
The building can be described as a pretty simple set of boxes so I'll not expatiate too much on the modeling cuz there are already tons of tutorials that will help you create such structures. Nothing fancy here. The important thing was to keep eyes open and don't forget about all the smallest details, size and proportions of the building... obviously :)
The terrain model was created from a single plane with dense mesh in main places. The plane was big since there are many windows on the building that reflect the surroundings, I wanted to be sure that there is enough room to scatter grass and trees. Also, I moved few vertices to create small hills and slopes.
The ground details were needed only close to the camera so I've selected polygons that are in sight only and only these polygons were TESSELATED to optimize the scene a bit.
In this stage I usually use Edit Poly's PUSH and PULL options to create irregularity and ground like feeling but this time I wanted to test new displacement textures to add more details to the ground. More about it in TEXTURES AND MATERIALS chapter.
Vegetation in such images is very important since it holds the image together and it gives us the context. I just love scattering plants around my scenes and making best compositions out of it so this part was definitely my favorite one.
I've used some well-known grass models, few bushes and trees.
I like Corona Scatter, I really do since it's amazingly fast and stable. But sometimes I need some more control over what I scatter so Multiscatter is my usual choice in such cases. To scatter my plants around I used a mask that was painted in 3Ds MAX using Vertex Paint/Vertex Colour features.
I thought about adding some more lights for the night view so I modeled some lamps. It was important for me to keep the natural, forest mood for it so I've found these lamps and used this photo as reference.
To model the lamp I draw the spline on the pine end texture to create the outline. Then it was extruded and a bit of noise was added to enhance the natural feel.
Last step was about adding holes for the light to come out. Just simple extrude inside and putting the light inside the model was enough. Then I just made 2 different polygon material ID's for the top and sides and that was it.
Lightning is one of the most important parts of the scenes. If you master the techniques you will be able to make simple white box breathtaking. For this scene, I wanted to catch best shadows on trees and building. I needed my light to hit precise parts of the scene. I wasn't able to achieve this using HDRI, I wanted to have more control over the position of the sun. I used Corona Sun with Corona Sky in the environment slot.
For almost every material in the scene, I've used a trick that I learned by watching Grant Warwick's explanations about how the reflections are acting in real life. Main thing about this method is to remember that not only reflection strength is changing when we look at the surface in different angles. Another thing that is also changing is the glossiness level. To have much more control over it I've used falloff map.
Take a look at one of the examples, the black, metal sheet under the building (you can also spot the complex fresnel plugin that I used for a more reflective coat).
To create a bit used, aged materials I used CoronaLayeredMaterial. Two materials or more materials are controlled by Ambient Occlusion map in Mask slot.
When you are able to create proper and realistic materials, control them, master the lightning methods you will notice that in many cases your post production will need less and less photoshop layers every time and rise your skill ;)
My post production was very subtle. All I did here was rising a contrast a bit (by cloning the main layer, making it monochromatic and set the blending to Soft Light) and play with the saturation.
But since this scene was created in an older version of Corona, without newest post production features, I needed to add some bloom and vignette in Photoshop.
In last step, I added some variation to the sky, some birds and enhance the volumetrics by Corona's CESSENTIAL_Volumetrics render element.
You can take a look at my layers here:
I hope you find this tutorial useful and that you like the scenes :)
Best regards, Krzysztof!