Making of Dune House

0
January 24, 2014 |  by  |  Making-Of, Native, Tutorials

Lichtecht‘s ‘Dune House’ visuals, inspired by Matthias Arndt’s vacation to the Danish North Sea Coast and based on the Hurst House by John Pardey Architects + Ström Architects, awarded them Best Visualization of the Week NO. 17/2013, Best of April 2013 and still in the running for Best of YEAR 2013. Follow Matthias Arndt as he describes the process of creating the ‘Dune House’ visuals using 3dsmax, GrowFX, Floor Generator, V-Ray and just a bit of postwork. Enjoy!

lichtecht 3d visualisierung hamburg Making of Dune Housebest of week 80 Making of Dune House

Author: Matthias Arndt

Matthias Arndt was born in 1973. He comes from a small town in Germany near Rostock on the Baltic Sea and studied architecture in Berlin. More than 10 years ago he went to Hamburg and became co-founder of lichtecht. lichtecht is a team of architects, designers and graphic artists that work mainly on architectural visualization projects with 3ds Max, V-Ray, Photoshop and After Effects.

Back in April 2013 I have finished and posted a personal project called “The Dune House on the Danish North Sea Coast”. Last week I found out it turned out to be the best visualization of that month and Ronen Bekerman invited me to write a making of about that project, which I am very glad to share with you today. Thanks to Ronen and many thanks to all of you who have commented and liked the post.

The Dune House

My family and I spent our last vacation at the Danish North Sea coast. The scenery there impressed me a lot and inspired me to create this project. Days before that, I had seen the Hurst House by John Pardey Architects + Ström Architects on archdaily and thought this was a great house which I could imagine well here. In particular the location of the living, dining and sleeping area would allow a great view to the sea.

Photographs by Andy Matthews & Andy Stagg

The landscape at the danish north sea-coast is full of old concrete bunkers. So I changed the materials from the original a bit.

IMG 0530 728x546 Making of Dune House

Photo by Emily Mankowski

LekGodt LEGO George 94 1024x769 728x437 Making of Dune House

Photo by LEGO George / lekgodt.no

The exterior walls on the ground level are made of concrete as a reminder to the bunker.

making of dune house image 1 728x416 Making of Dune House

making of dune house image 02 728x416 Making of Dune House

making of dune house image 03 728x416 Making of Dune House

making of dune house image 04 728x416 Making of Dune House

making of dune house image 05 728x416 Making of Dune House

Lets follow through the realization of this project…

Modeling

I am a big fan of doing most of the things in 3D, particularly for projects with multiple perspectives, as it works so much easier than if I would have done things in post production. First, I created the building. CAD plans were not given and so I mapped the floor plans and elevations on planes, arranged them in correlation to each other and built the geometry on it.

making of dune house floorgenerator 728x393 Making of Dune House

making of dune house floorgenerator2 728x415 Making of Dune House

Otherwise there is nothing special to say about modeling. The only thing would be the use of the great Floor Generator by Thomas Suurland from CG-Source for the flooring and terraces. There was already a tutorial about this by Bertrand Benoit.

floor generator article Making of Dune House

Using the Floor Generator Script

In this how-to article Bertrand describes in detail the way he uses the Floor Generator Script using the GH House model as an example. Check Bertrand’s full GH House making of article for more information about his work.

Read More…

The Environment

For the background I needed a 360 panorama from the central point of the house which I recorded in one day with diffused light in the dunes on the spot. I removed the sky from the panorama so I could use an HDRI in a Dome Light for the sky later.

making of dune house panorama 728x145 Making of Dune House

making of dune house environment 728x393 Making of Dune House

I used a few reference photos from my vacation for the modeling of the dunes. It seemed to me to be the best way to use the displacement of 3ds max with a noise map. This gave me good control over the hills. Once I was satisfied I collapsed the whole thing to a mesh.

The next big issue was the surrounding plants…

The vegetation required was quite manageable and I would not use any pre-made plants and so I asked Peter Oldorf from our team to create beach grass and rose hips. Peter created various plants based on pictures with the GrowFX plugin. We created V-Ray proxies and distributed them in the scene.

A great tool for scenes with many plants is MultiScatter from iCube which I used here. The areas that should receive no beach grass I closed out by border splines.

making of dune house multiscatter 636x1000 Making of Dune House

In the same way I distributed the stones.

Texturing

Again, nothing special. Most of the materials are quite simple. I used some textures from CGTextures, which I edited a bit in Photoshop for the concrete. The PixPlant software helped me to create a normal map for bump mapping.

making of dune house material concrete 728x393 Making of Dune House

making of dune house material concrete2 728x486 Making of Dune House

The dune sand is a very simple sandy texture that is not seamless. But this is not noticeable because of the dune grass and thus saves some work. The boards in the interior are textured with the help of the MultiTexture plugin.

Lighting

The lighting of the day scene is exclusively a V-Ray Dome Light with an HDRI by Peter Guthrie. I wanted to achieve a diffuse mood lighting to enhance the photo-realistic feel.

making of dune house Domelight HDRI 728x393 Making of Dune House

In the Night scenes I used some additional V-Ray lights with a deep orange hue. The white balance in the camera must be set to a slight yellow. The shadow samples are relatively low to keep the processing time short. The exterior lights have a V-Ray IES Light with a manufacturer-supplied ies curve.

making of dune house camera and light settings dusk 468x1000 Making of Dune House

Camera Settings

What we do is in my opinion nothing more than virtual architectural photography. The goal is to stage the image and I like drama! This is usually achieved with wide-angle camera settings. One must be careful that objects do not look too distorted in the foreground. In some images, like the central perspective shots, I used a wide angle of 18mm. To boost it even further I also added a nice dramatic vignetting. Further guidelines are a beautiful foreground and background relationship and the Rule of Thirds. To comply with the latter there is a small tool, the Image Comp Helper, which I like to use.

goldenSpiral 728x459 Making of Dune House

As I wrote before I’m a fan of making as much as possible in 3D. In my opinion calculated DOF looks more realistic than DOF created in post. Day image exposure was set to f-stop : 2.8 / Shutter Speed : 1/25 / ISO : 55

Rendering

I render day time images usually with an Irradiance Map and Light Cache solution with moderate settings. With an AO pass, you can still enhance the details in post. I render the night views preferably with brute force. This usually means longer computation time, but you don’t have problems with any unwanted lighting leaks or spots. From my experience you can keep the subdiv samples in the Brute Force Dialog around 20 samples, helping with reasonable computing time. I probably should mention that I also have the advantage that I can use a nice render farm!

making of dune house brute force 714x1000 Making of Dune House

Postwork

My retouching is not really exciting. I use a couple of render elements such as VrayRaw Reflection, VRayRawRefraction, VRayReflection, VRayLighting, VRayWireColor, VRayZDepth and VrayExtraTexture as AO pass. These I multiply or negative multiply and experiment with the opacity. In each picture the settings vary. Inverted VRayZDepth is a nice way to simulate haze.

making of dune house raw render 728x415 Making of Dune House

making of dune house postwork 728x415 Making of Dune House

making of dune house photoshop layers1 728x324 Making of Dune House

Then I use some Magic Bullet PhotoLooks filter on a small scale. Finally chromatic aberration in Photoshop helps to increase the photorealism. You can see it barely, but you can feel it.

That’s it! Maybe I was able to help you with some tips. Thank you for reading. And many thanks to Karol from our team for translating the text!

All the best,

Matthias.

17 comments
KeithReid
KeithReid

Thanks for this! Can I ask are you using an opacity map with your environment cylinder as well or have you somehow managed to get vray to recognise the alpha/transparency of the png file?

mikealgu
mikealgu

Very nice images, you made a great job. I prefer even your choice of changing the material from original.

Thanks much for sharing your workflow and tips.

Alcoholic
Alcoholic

""Matthias Arndt was born in 1973. He comes from a small town in Germany near Rostock on the Baltic Sea""

Hallo Matthias, nahe Rostock trifft auch auf mich zu, wo kommst Du her? Ribnitz, Wismar?

MfG


JohnnyPope
JohnnyPope

Hey Matthias, thanks for putting together this insight into your creative process - I know the effort it takes to put these things together ;-) 


Really great images, if I was going to call anything out I might point a finger at the grass - it is perhaps the one element that looks slightly cg/hand drawn.... but other than that - top notch :-)


Keep up the great work - I look forward to seeing more!

stw
stw

Could you tell anything about those 'gravel'/'rocks' creation?

Is this scattered model?

How about the texture?

Thank you in advance.

FredDelannoy
FredDelannoy

FANTASTIC level man!!! keep up the good work & thanks for insight

MartaCh1
MartaCh1

Very good idea for make off, but it is the poorest. there is no info about glass, which is very important in this picture. the night lights could be shown in better way. Are you going to show us more details?

archijex
archijex

Thanks for sharing your sharing.

your project is amazing !

i have just on question about the hdri. did you the 1608 exr files ?

LeeBano
LeeBano

Best of this month! Now,  where I found good tutorial about normal map creation and how can I use this map with VRay in 3dsMax?

MatthiasArndt
MatthiasArndt

@stw  nothing special. just some different stones and multiscatter. a little test with the density of the distribution of stones. thats it. ;-)


MatthiasArndt
MatthiasArndt

@MartaCh1  thank you! But for the glass material I wanted to write anything. this is too trivial. i`am sorry.

Recent Posts
Winner Announced: Laubwerk Giveaway

Winner Announced: Laubwerk Giveaway

08/29/2014  |  41 Comments

The 6TH 2014 blog birthday giveaway is here! Laubwerk will give one of you lucky followers the plants kit of choice... more

Winner Announced: iToo Software Giveaway - Forest Pack and RailClone 2

Winner Announced: iToo Software Giveaway – Forest Pack and RailClone 2

08/28/2014  |  4 Comments

The 5th 2014 blog birthday giveaway is here! iToo Software will give one of you lucky followers a chance to... more

Making of Nordic House

Making of Nordic House

08/25/2014  |  13 Comments

I found the Nordic House visuals by Héctor Javier Diez Valladares during my routine browse on Behance. My eye landed... more

Winner Announced: Grant Warwick's Mastering CGi Giveaway and Discounts

Winner Announced: Grant Warwick’s Mastering CGi Giveaway and Discounts

08/25/2014  |  90 Comments

The 4th 2014 blog birthday giveaway is here! Welcoming Grant Warwick who will give one of you lucky followers full access... more

Winner Announced: model+model Giveaway

Winner Announced: model+model Giveaway

08/21/2014  |  3 Comments

The 3rd 2014 blog birthday giveaway is here! model+model will give one of you lucky followers the volume of your... more

Unreal Engine 4 + ArchVIZ by Koola

Unreal Engine 4 + ArchVIZ by Koola

08/21/2014  |  39 Comments

Today I stumbled upon these Drop Dead Gorgeous Unreal Engine 4 Architectural Visualization tests by koola which immediately reminds one... more