Sit comfortably back to your armchairs and have a look at this “Making of” article by Lukasz Gradzki from Renderare.com
Few shots we produced for 3LHD Architects, most of them are purely CGI apart from one photomontage.
The client provided the site photography for their chosen location.
At the beginning we used Lightroom to rectify and straighten and initially adjust the photo. This of course could have been done in Photoshop also, it was just personal preference as we very often work with whole sets of photos and Lightroom is much better tailored for handling dozens of photos simultaneously.
The 3D Model was constructed by the architects and they had very clear ideas about the viewpoints and light setups required. Our additions to the model obviously included sun/daylight system matching the situation in the photo, additional VRay lights to illuminate the facades slightly, cars, foliage and lots of people populated across the scene using MultiScatter.
We’ve also put a bit of simple geometry with VRayLight material and self illuminating texture applied – this is not visible to camera, reflections and shadows but helps to illuminate the interiors.
Nothing special here in terms of global illumination, just VRay Sun, VRay Sky with irradiance map and light cache on default settings.
Apart from the final RGB render we always calculate a few more passes, usually MaterialID and Render ID – it never hurts and often saves a lot of time while making selections in PS.
The original photo was taken during a hazy winter day in Zagreb with the sun in front of the camera – a not very favorable setup, but I believe we took a few steps in turning this to our advantage and create a moody image.
The trees in front had to be retained and masking here was achieved by a mixture of color range selection and some painting on an additional layer to get rid of the bright outlines around the small branches and leaves.
The raw render result was apparently very far from the photo, in terms of color balances, contrast etc., but after a few adjustments of both the proposed building and background, they were brought much more closer together.
Layer mask applied to the render.
Background plate was lacking some contrast and was washed out because of the sun glaring through mist so we’ve adjusted it with combination of levels adjustment, medium contrast in curves and delicate color balance towards warmth in midtones.
Car and people looked too artificial with their vibrant colors, hence the ground floor area was replaced with another quick render with darker lighting.
Increasing contrast of the building using mix of levels and curves, similarly as we did with the photo.
Decreasing saturation of the building and slight color balance correction again towards warm tones.
Left side of the building adjusted with color balance to make it a bit blueish to blend it better with the cold sky above.
At the end just a few touches like glow, lens flare from the sun and some film grain was applied to the building to blend it in. In the end we cropped the image from the bottom to give it a better composition.
That’s all – If you have any questions feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
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