Making of Maison Hermes

Roberto De Rose from State of Art studio posted his great ‘Maison Hermes’ image at the forum not long ago. I was very impressed with that 3d rendering of Renzo Piano’s building and asked him to share with us how he created it. I hope you’ll enjoy this article and learn from it as much as I did!

Author: Roberto De Rose (Cepp)
Roberto is a Director at State of Art Studio – An architectural visualization studio based  in Italy.
Visit their website at –


Hi everyone, welcome to the Maison Hermes Making of. It’s difficult for me writing this because I worked without saving step by step information. All that I can show here is the workflow, models and how I get from the rendering to the final image. The actual 3d rendering process is less important since it is, for the most part, a painting job and it’s all about mixing channels.

Let’s start!

Reference Material

First of all, references!

I can’t make an artwork (dedicated to our favorite architects) without photos. Famous buildings have something magical about them and I need to understand where I can play with colors and lights to recreate that magic. On the other side it’s a matter of respect for the architect, i can’t make a mistake on proportions or materials. After watching a lot of photos, from various angles and at different time of the day I had an idea for the artwork’s final mood.

Maison Hermes ReferencesModeling & Lighting

The modeling stage was the easy part, just the 12,000+ glass-blocks gave me a little problem. I made a single mesh for the structure merging the linear 42,8cm glass-block with the 21,4cm angular one. The glass is a unique spline extruded and mapped with a noise to reproduce the distortions.

There are 9-12 spot lights on each floor, no HDRI, only a VRay sky with night settings. VRay lights are used on the slabs to improve the illumination. Street lights were made with a VRay light material. In the scene there are a lot of cubes mapped with textures of building to add reflections.

Top view of glass-block element

Glass-block structure

View of glass-block facade

The building in camera viewport

Materials & Rendering

3D Studio Max (3dsmax) & VRay were used to render out an A3 300dpi image (4960×3500). Render time was around 4 hours on a Dual Xeon 5550.

Materials are very simple. I made 3 different type of glass, one for the main structure, one for other buildings and a last one for the mirror effect of the palace at left. Street and pavement mats have a falloff in reflection, no bumps except for the normal map of red bricks.

Render Elements activated are raw-reflections, raw-refraction, diffuse and z-depth. Two Ambient occlusion passes were made, one fine with 40cm and one large with 500cm diameter. Just for fun, I rendered a pass of VRay sky with clouds… this is not really needed but give you some might be used later for making a background.

VRay Raw Reflections Pass

Glass material example

Post Processing

Finally, we can start with the most fun part of the job!

The Photoshop file is 1.8 GB with dozens of post-production layers so I can’t show you every single step. Here’s the key points of the work.

Base Render :

Base render

Color Correction for Dusk Time :

Color corrections for dusk time

Starting to Paint on Render :

Starting to paint on render

Darkening the Image & Adding the Sky :

Darkening image & adding the sky

Adding Background, Shops & Car :

Adding background, shops & car

Final Result

Just adding people, more lights and vegetation is left and then we have the final result as you can see below.

Adding people, lights and vegetation

Original Finished Work Thread

You are welcome to comment on this article and ask questions using the comment box below!

9 replies
  1. wael
    wael says:

    very interesting learning material, but could you send me the .max file to get more details … i need it so much
    thanks again

    • Ronen Bekerman
      Ronen Bekerman says:

      Well, this article is a great resource as it is… and Roberto doesn’t have to share the source file if he doesn’t want too.

      • wael
        wael says:

        thank you for your interest, and about “what is missing” I wish you help me by explaining the materials used in the scene and their parameters also kind of lighting especially of the interior. finally in “post processing” steps need to be detailed.
        thanks again

  2. Dariusz
    Dariusz says:


    Nice and interesting tutorial mate! Thanx for sharing…

    For the above comments, this image is nothing else than matte paiting… the 3ds max was used only to get base shape and some reflections… no biggi!

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