[ #MakingOf #Environment ] Sebastian Zapata - CG Artist with huge experience in video production, assets creation for video g...
Sebastian has collaborated on podcasts, interviews, articles and tutorials for 3D Artist Magazine, Blender Nation, Blender News among others. He's currently CG Supervisor at Black Note Inc. and part time texture artist for his new texture site FriendlyShade.com.
From the artist: "The main reason of this project was to stress test the wonders of my new rig: 128gb of ram along 4x 1080ti and 2x Titan XP. The results were amazing: this scene have roughly 220 million polygons and lots of 16 and 32k textures at 16bit.. The trees and plants are all 3d models, the only backdrop is the mountain at the end of the road which is a photograph I took during one of my trips last year. The viewport was so smooth..
In the other hand I wanted to challenge and improve myself at nature which to me, is one of the most intimidating subjects when it comes to CG."
>> See Also: Making of 'Bottles of life' by Farid GhanbariVegetation
In order to achieve a realistic look for a natural environment it's necessary to look and understand some real-life forests. You'll notice several levels of vegetation, he has broken them down here :
Ground and grass:
Big plants, bushes and mid level trees:
High pine trees:
To add color variation on the vegetation, the hue, saturation, and value of the leaves were manipulated using vertex color data.
For a realistic blend between the road and grass he used a leaking decal on top of the road from Textures.com to make it look mossy and simulate all the water residue that has been accumulated from the surrounding trees and leaves, lots of dead grass blades on the sides of the road, followed by dry grass just before the actual green/wet grass.
One of the biggest challenges was to brake the repetition along the long road and even using a huge 32k map, it would be easy to spot the tiling on such big area without mentioning it would increase the memory usage through the roof, so to solve this issue he used one of the FriendlyShade.com roads as a base material (photoscaned) which already had the yellow and white stripes and he added decals for color variation by slightly multiplying and overlaying (mostly plaster textures) to both diffuse and glossy layers of the material mapped in different ways in order to break the tiling.
Road base material:
White stripe decal :
Yellow stripe decal :
Since the stripes were only 1k wide he was able to make them 32k long without using too much memory and every map from these stripes were 8-bit except for the displacement which was 16-bit. These seamless 3d scans were provided by Friendly Shade.
In the other hand he painted an 8k map in Photoshop for the wet tires glossiness as well as a way to add worn out parts to the color of the road
Breakdown of the final material set-up in Blender:
Road with only an HDRi Sky:
Road + Dead Leaf Blades + Dry Grass
For the guard rail I used a similar method of blending maps :
Some things to consider:
• Blend different maps whenver you want to brake tiling on textures, the more layers, the better.
• Always use photo-references and do understand the nature of the scene you are trying to replicate.
• There's nothing wrong on using photoshop in post-production but remember, if your render doesn't look good already before going into post-production, you should consider going back to production and avoid being a lazy artist.
• Always work drinking a soda or coffee for more joy.
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