Making of ‘Memorial’ by Efim Armand

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August 1, 2012 |  by  |  Making-Of, Native, Tutorials

As promised, Efim Armand follows up on showcasing his latest work… ‘Memorial’, with a making-of article. What started as a testing ground for iToo’s Forest Pack plugin became a full-fledged project inspired by Efim’s visit to Berlin this Spring. Follow him as he describes the process that started from a simple Google Maps image all the way to the final animation.

efim armand avatar Making of Memorial by Efim Armandnyc taxi avatar Making of Memorial by Efim Armand
Author: Efim Armand

Efim Armand is a 3d artist based in Russia, specializing in Architectural Visualization and the use of Nuke for advanced post production.

Introduction

Hello blog followers, I would like to describe to you the process of creating the ‘Memorial’ scene and animation. This project became a spontaneous extension of my tests with iToo’s Forest Pro plugin and inspired by a visit to Berlin this spring.

Modeling

First of all I got a Google map texture to have a general idea of the site borders, size and grid of slabs (stelae). The scene units were in meters; according to measurements I calculated the approximate width and length of the stelae as well as the distance between them.

memorial site 01 thumb Making of Memorial by Efim Armand

memorial site 04 thumb Making of Memorial by Efim Armand

The base plane was created and sliced properly, so that the stelae length was equal to 2.5 of its width. It was necessary for further scattering of ground tiles – 8 tiles between stelae and 20 tiles along the stelae length, all according to photo references.

memorial tiles 01 thumb Making of Memorial by Efim Armand

The relief of the memorial site decreases in its center. To make a height map for displacement modifier I used a script by Jon Seagull, which allows conversion of soft selections to paint grayscale vertex colors on Mesh or Poly objects. Generated vertex color was used later for all Select modifiers.

memorial site 08 thumb Making of Memorial by Efim Armand

Vertex Color map (white to black color from site border to its center)

memorial site 07 thumb Making of Memorial by Efim Armand

Displaced Geometry

memorial site 09 thumb Making of Memorial by Efim Armand

Displacement Noise Map (for irregularity)

memorial site 10 thumb Making of Memorial by Efim Armand

Noise modifier based on Vertex Color Selection to produce ‘waves’ ground effect. Reference photo below…

memorial reference thumb Making of Memorial by Efim Armand

And my attempt at recreating this in 3d…

memorial site 11 thumb Making of Memorial by Efim Armand

To flatten the ground around the stairs border vertices were selected using Mesh Select modifier and then scaled by Z axes

memorial site 12 thumb Making of Memorial by Efim Armand

memorial site 13 thumb Making of Memorial by Efim Armand

As the ground object is covered by tiles I applied VRay Displacement Modifier to make it look like a gravel surface. In combination with some actual scattered stones it produced a desirable effect.

memorial site 14 15 16 thumb Making of Memorial by Efim Armand

memorial site 17a thumb Making of Memorial by Efim Armand

Stelae Scattering

Area

The ground object was used as main scatter surface, a simple rectangle spline – to exclude scattering of stelae over the ground (it is just a tip which worked for me) and the Stelae include spline for putting stelae to the right places on the ground.

Distribution

Density parameters are the result of tests, it is hard to remember how did I calculate the unit values, but I must say that calculation was based on the ‘crossroad’ dimensions.

Surface

As mentioned above I used the base ground object as scatter surface. The important parameter was Direction value 100 (to make all the stelae point upwards).

Transform

Small Z translation, X and Y rotations and more complicated map-based Z scale were used to make the stelae higher in the center of the site and lower on its borders.

memorial stelae 04 05 thumb Making of Memorial by Efim Armand

Main exclude spline (was used by all Forest objects in scene)

memorial site 02 thumb Making of Memorial by Efim Armand

And the Forest settings…

memorial stelae FP settings 01 thumb Making of Memorial by Efim Armand

Tiles scattering…

memorial tiles 01 thumb1 Making of Memorial by Efim Armand

memorial tiles FP settings 01 thumb Making of Memorial by Efim Armand

Stones Scattering

There were two Forest objects…

First I scattered stones between the tiles, then… on the base ground surface with upwards offset. The settings for both were very similar and simple (stelae exclude spline, Forest plugin basic distribution maps, camera visibility limit, far clipping and Density falloff).

BerconTiles map was used as distribution map for the first Forest object.

memorial tile stones 03 thumb Making of Memorial by Efim Armand

memorial tile stones 04 thumb Making of Memorial by Efim Armand

That’s all with the scattering.

Texturing

Texturing has been the real challenge of this project, I would like to share some of my most important materials of the scene, such us concrete and ground tiles.

Concrete Material

For all kinds of concrete objects in the scene I used a world-mapping based technique. the idea is that the texture is applied to the objects (stelae and concrete stair elements) depending on their position in the scene.

memorial stelae material 01 thumb Making of Memorial by Efim Armand

Below are basic diffuse settings

memorial stelae material diffuse 01 thumb Making of Memorial by Efim Armand

‘Sides’, ‘Top’ and ‘Sides/Top mask’ maps

memorial stelae material diffuse 02 03 04 thumb Making of Memorial by Efim Armand

This Composite map was used for reflection/glossiness/bump (with some color adjustments).

memorial stelae material bump 01 thumb Making of Memorial by Efim Armand

To make the concrete material looks rough around the edges and to add leaks the material was converted into VRayBlend. Dirty concrete material is a copy of base material, but with no reflection on it, diffuse is darker; with VRayDirt maps as Blend masks.

memorial stelae material 02 thumb Making of Memorial by Efim Armand

Leaks mask (base VRayDirt map, Radius Noise map, small leaks, big leaks):

memorial stelae leaks 01 02 03 04 thumb Making of Memorial by Efim Armand

Tiles Material

To randomize the tile colors and tiling I used Forest Color / Bercon Mapping maps. All the other settings were pretty simple and usual.

memorial tiles diffuse 01 02 thumb Making of Memorial by Efim Armand

Stones Material

memorial site 18 thumb Making of Memorial by Efim Armand

memorial site 21 thumb Making of Memorial by Efim Armand

Render Settings

Rendering process had two stages for each animated camera in scene

  1. Irradiance + Light cache maps calculation; active range, every 25 frame.
  2. Final render; based on pre-rendered Irradiance and Light cache maps.

memorial render settings im 01 thumb Making of Memorial by Efim Armand

memorial render settings lc 01 thumb Making of Memorial by Efim Armand

memorial render settings re 01 thumb Making of Memorial by Efim Armand

memorial render settings re 02 thumb Making of Memorial by Efim Armand

Compositing

Besides the standard V-Ray passes (such as ZDepth, Reflection, Specular, Lighting and all kinds of ID passes) I added two VRayExtraTex-based passes for Ambient Occlusion (VRaytDirt map) and Lights mask (VRayDistanceTex map):

berlin_Camera031.VRayExtraTex_AO.0300.jpg

berlin Camera031.VRayExtraTex AO.0300 thumb Making of Memorial by Efim Armand

memorial render passes 02 03 04 05 thumb Making of Memorial by Efim Armand

berlin_Camera031.VRayExtraTex_LIGHTS.0300.jpg

berlin Camera031.VRayExtraTex LIGHTS.0300 thumb Making of Memorial by Efim Armand

berlin_Camera013.VRayExtraTex_LIGHTS.0000.jpg

berlin Camera013.VRayExtraTex LIGHTS.0000 thumb Making of Memorial by Efim Armand

memorial render passes 01 thumb Making of Memorial by Efim Armand

Sample compositing process is shown in a short breakdown below…

I hope you’ve enjoyed this making of, thanks for checking this out… and ask anything you like in the comment section below!

Regards, Efim.

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