My name is Jan Sekuła, I’m an architect and interior designer with quite large CG background that’s why sometimes I describe myself as a CG artist. I’m based in Łódź, Poland. I started my architecture studies in 2008 and soon after I felt in love with CG. I’m freelance artist and worker in Architecture and Design company.
So, I’m proudly presenting my first tutorial based on Hill House project!
Big thanks for RenderSpirit for publication!
Firstly – the inspiration. Mine greatest inspiration was cold and heavymood in ‘Ghost Writer’. House in the movie was very unique- placed far away from civilization, luxurious, calm and surrounded by sea. Not easy to reach but also secure and filled with warm…
So let’s start!
I’ve started modeling using Autocad drawings, in result I’ve got simple model, nothing special.
Environment & Lighting
Next step was based on modeling whole environment. I’ve started with mountains using Advanced Painter tool called ‘Paint Deformation’ in editable poly rollout. It’s very simple and gives quite amazing effects. It’s like playing with ground in ‘The Sims’.
After dealing with mountain I had to decide what the lighting will be like. Firstly I’ve tried with strong noon light, but later it was exchanged with soft evening glow. Environment light in my scene is based on single Vray Dome light with little blue tint and 180 degree panorama sky as standard Environment Map. This map is an actual sky on the visualizations. At that time I wasn’t aware of linear workflow theory that’s why I just play with gamma at Reinhard Color mapping. Setting it on 1.5 gives me quite good results. I’ve also used VrayPhysicalCamera.
The most challenging aspect were grass and trees. I’ve modeled several grass straws and put it together in little clomp. Trees were downloaded from free Autodesk library. Next step was to throw this vegetation on my hill. I’ve made it with MultiScatter. On the picture below you can see the whole terrain, and border lines – red and blue are lines for different trees (I’ve used 7 different tree types), yellow and purple are lines made for different types of grass. Also I have used Vray Distance Texture as distribution mask, it prevents collisions with selected scene objects. To get the most realistic feeling I’ve used excellent plugin called Multitexture Map. It loads one or more textures and randomly changetheir brightness, hue and saturation.
Power Of Scripts
I’ve created all wooden floors and front road using greatscript called FloorGenerator –a powerful tool creating a lot of randomly shaped geometry with one click! Leafs were scattered by MultiPainter, then after collapsing to single mesh I randomize their ID’s using script called Unique Material ID’s. I need to do that, because Multitexture needs different ID’s to randomly assign textures.
For interior lighting I used sphere Vray Lights with temperature around 4000K to get the warm feeling. Exterior lighting spheres are also filled with sphere light. They are made of Vray2Sided material – the best way to get smooth looking light source. Vray dirt map was very helpful when I was creating concrete walls or old plastic chairs material. Recently I’ve noticed that huge glass surfaces are too heavy to be exactly straight, that’s why reflections are a little distorted. To get the same effect I’ve used overscaled noise map as glass bump.
Final stage – postproduction!
For postproduction, from my experience, it’s highly recommended to use Render Elements. Those maps can make real miracles. I encourage you to save VrayDiffuseFilter, VrayReflectionFilter, VrayRefractionFilter, VrayRenderID, VraySpecular and VrayZDepth, those are basic maps, but with Photoshop blending modes they really make a difference. For example ZDepth is a powerful tool when you need some fog in yourscene, there is no better way to make it.One last advice, when you are working on evening images try to boost color contrast between environment and windows or other warm light sources. You can add some yellow/orange tint to the interiors and some cold color for background.
I hope you enjoyed reading this article and learned something useful. Thanks!
My portfolio: http://be.net/aora
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