Tutorial by Juan Siquier
"A little farther to the right" is a scene based on the render "Breakfast in the Eighties" which I completed in September 2013. I tried to keep the "vintage" look of the original scene, but changed the lighting and camera shot. Basically it's another scene because I used a combination of natural and artificial lighting which produces different colors; in addition, repositioning the camera results in the composition no longer being a one-point perspective (the Kubrick style), but rather it becomes a 2-point generating another style of shapes. The scene was modeled and UVmapped in 3ds Max, textured in Photoshop and 3ds Max using Viewport Canvas and finally, rendered using VRay Render. In making this tutorial, I decided to focus on UVMapping, texturing, shading, lighting and post-processing, I will talk about some of my usual procedures for tasks such as UVMapping and building textures in Photoshop. I'll also teach about baking procedural textures. I will explain how to build an organized PSD and how to paint directly on the mesh without leaving 3ds Max. However, I won't be covering modeling as the objects are quite simple to make; anyone with basic knowledge of 3D can model a scene like this without problem. I have written this tutorial assuming that those who see this know the basics of 3ds Max and Photoshop.
The first thing I do is create the project folder and subfolders. In the picture above you can see that I normally save the scene incrementally just in case. I want to go back a step for some reason, for example to retrieve a camera with "Merge" from a previous scene. You can see that from the 5th file the scene has already a name (1), you can also see that some files are specific to Baking (2), drastic changes in lighting (3) or occlusion passes (4). I usually also include a "notes.txt" file (5) to document start date, end, render time, awards, publications, etc..
It's time to find references in Google Images, Flickr or Pinterest of the objects I'm modeling. I put all of them into the "references" folder of my project.
I also collect the textures that I think are going to be needed, almost all of them come from my personal collection of textures and some belong to commercial collections although many have been painted by myself; most are square and have no less than 2K resolution.
The most used metal in this scene has been baked from the 2D application "Substance" called "Galvanized.sbsar". I needed Autodesk Maya since I have not found a way to bake these maps into Max. I created a Blinn (1) on which I have applied the Substance (2)map. I activated the specular and bump (3) channels and clicked on "Export images to disk" (4), after setting the path I make the resolution to 2K and that's it (5), you get a map of good quality and which is ready to be tiled.
After modeling the scene in proxy mode, it is time to place the camera to capture a good composition. This step took me a long time because maybe it's the most important stage; everything depends on good composition.
Have a look at the diagram of the composition. The diagonal with three colors (1) displaces the balance of the image because the table (2), so I correct it by using the bigger red disc (3). This game of imbalances and arrangements causes tension, a kind of vibration which gives the image a little life.
When I get the desired composition, I lock the camera to avoid an accidental move.
I make high resolution modeling with consideration that afterwards I have to Uvmap them, i.e. must remember to activate the "Generate mapping choords" box in "Lathes", "primitives", "Lofts" etc.. I also have to remember to make UVs of elements BEFORE duplicating them. In the picture above, we can see that there are many duplicated items.
Time to do the UVMapping, so we must consider a few rules: We have to avoid seeing the seam. To help us Max shows us where the seams are in green (1). Wooden objects in all shells must have the same rotation (2). All shells must be in the correct scale except for those invisible to the camera - they can be much smaller (3) and you can try grouping the shells by material (4). Avoid overlapping and inverted elements, fill the maximum space but leave enough space between shells to can make selections with Photoshop's "Lasso" tool.
Let's look at "Freeform Mode" (1) because we will use it a lot. It is convenient to activate the snap for angle rotations (2) which we will do by clicking on the point (3): ?• pressing (3) we rotate the Shell ?• pressing (4) we scale the Shell ?• pressing (4) + Ctrl = uniform scale ?• pressing (4) + Shift = X or Y scale ?• pressing (4) + Ctrl + Alt = Radial scale
To document the UVMapping stage, I used the example of the wooden cabinet next to the door and added an Unwrap UVW modifier, which we can see in the Editor a very chaotic and bleak picture...it is the most terrific time of 3D.
The best we can do is take a deep breath, turn on good relaxing music and go step by step, little by little and before we notice it, we'll have the job finished. What you need to do is select items (1) (2) and apply flat or cylindrical maps as appropriate, to the furniture door which is almost entirely flat. I give a "Quick Planar Map" based on the average of the selected normal (3), this will be a button that will be most pressed in the mapping process.
To finish the curved frame, we extract the largest polygon in the center by selecting it and pressing Ctrl + B (Break)
Let's activate the "Freeform Mode" (1). We'll select the central polygon of one of the curved frames (2), grow selection (3) and break with Ctrl + B, then rotate with the help of "Freeform Box" until it is vertical (5)
Select all curved frames and click on (1) or in the Menu/Tools / Relax... in the Relax Tool dialog choose "Relax By Polygon Angles" (2) and click "Start Relax"... maybe this button will also relax our brain!!
Now select one of the edges of the large rectangle and see that another side of one of the curved frames turns blue. That's because in 3D space, the object shares the same edge. Click on "Stitch" (orange arrow) and see how the curved frame goes to the selected edge and welds to it. We do the same with the other 3 edges of the large rectangle.
Go to the drawer of the cabinet. We'll select it whole and click on one of the Flatten options for use and see which works better. In this case, I choose "Flatten by Material ID".
Repeat the operation of selecting edges and sewing.
We continue selecting furniture elements and repeating the procedure until we finish, then activate "Show Edge Distortion" (1) and see our shells in different colors from red to green. If a shell is seeing red with white corners (2), it's too big and we have to rescale (3) until it looks green. If it is simply red then it is too small and we have to rescale it.
A good idea is to apply a procedural "Wood" tiled in Y (1) to check the direction of the grain wood in the picture above, so that we can see any mistakes.
To correct it, select the wrong shells and rotate them 90°.
Finally we pack up the shells. First we'll select the metal shells and any others that have to be together and we click on "Pack Together" (1). Then we press the rest of the shells and we click "Normalize Pack". After that, we can move the shells by hand if we think we can improve something and... that's it! The cabinet is Uvmapped. Stay tuned for Part 2!