Making of ‘Memorial’ by Efim Armand

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.


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

memorial_site_04

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

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

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

memorial_site_07

Displaced Geometry

memorial_site_09

Displacement Noise Map (for irregularity)

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

memorial_reference

And my attempt at recreating this in 3d…

memorial_site_11

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

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memorial_site_13

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

memorial_site_17a

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

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

memorial_site_02

And the Forest settings…

memorial_stelae_FP_settings_01

Tiles scattering…

memorial_tiles_01

memorial_tiles_FP_settings_01

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

memorial_tile_stones_04

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

Below are basic diffuse settings

memorial_stelae_material_diffuse_01

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

memorial_stelae_material_diffuse_02_03_04

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

memorial_stelae_material_bump_01

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

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

memorial_stelae_leaks_01_02_03_04

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

Stones Material

memorial_site_18

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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

memorial_render_settings_lc_01

memorial_render_settings_re_01

memorial_render_settings_re_02

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

memorial_render_passes_02_03_04_05

berlin_Camera031.VRayExtraTex_LIGHTS.0300.jpg

berlin_Camera031.VRayExtraTex_LIGHTS.0300

berlin_Camera013.VRayExtraTex_LIGHTS.0000.jpg

berlin_Camera013.VRayExtraTex_LIGHTS.0000

memorial_render_passes_01

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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