Making of the Auditorium

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- 23 Apr, 2008
  • Design Visualization
  • General
  • Modeling
  • Rendering
  • Shaders
  • 3ds Max
Skill Level
  • Intermediate

I started to build it from some initial blueprints. I couldn't find much info on it except for a very basic-stage simple plan and section. Thanks to this, I was able to add a few personal details. The whole main structure and individual elements are mirrored by a central axis, so I centered the modeling around just one of the symmetries.

Walls, floors, stair-steps and so on... they all are modelled from primitives or extruded splines. Mapping was also quite simple: all elements were mapped by a simple UVW Box. As I eventually attached all the steps into one single mesh, I had to boolean them with some cylinders in order to get the proper holes where I could introduce the actual stepping spotlights.

All of the seats come from one original model with randomized elements. Both the back and the seat itself were box modelled with an applied turbosmooth modifier while the rest of the seat elements are simple modified primitives. Once the seat was done, each group of mobile elements were attached into one and transformed into Vray proxies.
Then, I placed their own pivot point in it's logical place and grouped the seat afterwards.

Why proxies? --------> The seat itself has a lot of polys because of the seams and I had to replicate it 510 times! So the VrayProxy was the best solution...
And why did I place the pivot in the mobile axis parts? ---------> Cause we want to randomize them!

After duplicating them all by arc splines and the wonderful spacingtool, I had to add a bit of chaos using some wonderful scripts from Blur Studio. Making several random selection sets with "randomselect" script, I could do some rotation variations via the "randomtransform" script (Blur Studio too)...


The scene does not have many different materials. We have basically some timber in contrast with the white fabric seats and ceiling concrete. The original idea was to get three primary colour spread over the big surfaces.

Here are some of the materials and textures used:


This chamber auditorium has no natural light openings so the place had to be lit in a completely artificial way. I chose to ignore the typical stage spotlights since I was more interested in dividing spaces by the light areas: Upper cold fluorescent light against the warmer steps with small leading lights.

Each step spotlight has a vraylight in front of it and is invisible (affecting only in diffuse and specular terms). They're all instanced so as to allow for more easier and global control.

For the upper light panels, I also cloned an instanced planar vraylight using the spacingtool. The lights are looking down and placed inside the upper hollow pits and they have one-sided sss-plastic single face in front of them which doesn't cast shadows. The no-casting shadow point is to allow the lights to "freely" affect both diffuse and specular surfaces, but avoid the enclosure panels' direct shadow while still being back-lit to show a translucent effect.


It is important to care about balance in every composition. After deciding what was going to appear in the comp, I chose to set the shot image aspect. Afterwards, it was time to find the right balance between volumes by changing camera position, focal length, etc... All shots here are made by physical cameras because of the need of real exposure, vertical correction, etc...

Here are two good architectural photograph references. Of course all the advice won't fix things in CG, but I think it is quite good to know it anyway in general terms:

Interior Photography Tips and Tricks Architectural Photography: Examples and Tips

All images were rendered in 3ds Max and ChaosGroup Vray in a LinearWorkFlow colorspace :

Linear workflow 'reloaded'

Render parameters are quite standard:


Obviously all process steps are highly important in order to get a desired CG picture. However, I feel IMHO that postproduction work is the most personal step. In this example, I decided to go for an old-analog Lomo's Holga and Polaroid film look. All post work was done in AfterEffects.

Here are the postprocessing steps:

That's all folks! Hope this has been helpful ;)

Behind the ScreenZ with Alex Roman
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  • 3ds Max
  • General
  • Modeling
  • Rendering
  • Shaders
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Fernandez | 9 years ago
Great job. Yo tambíén soy de España, vivo en Pamplona. Pordrías decirme alguna buena página de tutoriales que no sea la de Autodesk. Gracias.
Andrei Cirdu | 9 years ago
so nice ! I love it!
Geza Kadas | 9 years ago
Cool ! BIG THANKS for share some info about this project ;)
Robby Mullins | 9 years ago
very very nice! but for the people who cant afford v-ray because we are on a school budget, do you have any tips for just normal-come with the 3ds renders(mental or scaline =} )
Matthew Morris | 9 years ago
Nicely done! The wood texture is just too convincing! :)
kevin_meo | 9 years ago
really cool,can you tell me how did you compositing the z-depth channle ,i mean what exact kind of tools you had used?thank you !
Shawn Hendriks | 9 years ago
excellent Tutorial and beautiful work. Robby Mullins, you can essentially do everything he did with max and vray with 3ds max 2009 and mentalray including the proxies. Steps will be slightly different but there is an analogue to all of it in mental ray.
Robby Mullins | 9 years ago
James Burton | 9 years ago
that was cool! nice us of materials to!
kreevo | 9 years ago
Thanks for the awesom insight into the world of materials and maps!
Hasan Dehganpour | 9 years ago
Thanks for your useful tutorial. If it is possible please learn me how you take the bump maps apart of diffuse maps.
Brydon Panozzo | 9 years ago
Amazaing stuff mate.
sonny g | 9 years ago
Thanx for this very usefull tips!!!! YOUR WORK IS AMAZING!!!
Max Boberg Turchi | 9 years ago
How do you make that Z-Depth layer?
sergeinov | 9 years ago
That's fantastic! Thank you, Alex, for inspiration...
LECLERCQ Loic | 9 years ago
Great work as usual Alex. Thanks for the tips :)
PhatBoyPro | 9 years ago
Awsome but in my opinion there's to mush blur on the lef side that's good if your trying to make us focus on something but that just my opinion
Max Boberg Turchi | 9 years ago
How do you make that awesome blur?
Gurmukh | 9 years ago
totally amazing...the best renders i have ever seen.... i use mental ray and am not sure whether its possible to get such detail and professional looking try anyway...cheers autodesk the new mentalray proxy is amazing
Ryan Johnson | 9 years ago
Vray is the top renderer now. The screenies above shows Vray guis
Ryan Johnson | 9 years ago
Where's his website address?
Pzkpfw | 9 years ago
Amazing! Completely like a photo! Could you tell me where did you get those beautiful materials?
3Seventh | 9 years ago
Hi there! :) Thank you so much people for these kind comments! I' really glad you liked it... Some answers; -You can easily extract z-depth layer from render elements and you can adjust as well both near and ranges for the greyscale. -DOF it's done by using lenscare pluging from frischluft. -Bump maps were created with crazybump ( And i am pretty sure you can obtain very similar results with MR since it's a wonderful GI render too!! Kregards, -A. ooops! here's the only URL by now :)
Jaliya | 9 years ago
nice i like it
Kshitij Mehta | 9 years ago
"mindblowing" Amazing,mat. is too good also lightning.Can u tell me what`s your pc Config., how much taken rendering time??? any rendering tricks for less time???
Kshitij Mehta | 9 years ago
beautiful!Great work !! what`s the rendering time & pc config.????
vernonindigo | 9 years ago
great,well done
Furquan | 9 years ago
It very good
Warren Mackenzie | 9 years ago
is this possible in maya
Christopher Kowal | 9 years ago
thx 4 sharing. Top Drawer! I really like the idea of post work to create the extra layer of photog. medium. nice
Furquan | 9 years ago
It is very very beautiful, one request plz can u just guide which tools u have worked with. Ali
giovanni casanovoa | 9 years ago
Alex Roman, this is really great. Just one thing: Is there any website from you or further contact details ? for the Int: Which color mapping did you use ? Exponential ? Gamma ? for your great ext renders: same, which color mapping ? Linear ? Gamma ? would be great to hear back from you, thx, brox
aladding13 | 9 years ago
Amazing!!!Thanks you for the excellent tutorial! I love it very much!
Paul.G | 9 years ago
This is one amazing image.
fazago | 9 years ago
Great work! Thanks for show the magic!
Harry Rindra | 9 years ago
this is just what i've been waiting and seeking for!! thx so much alex..i adore u..
Nez69 | 9 years ago
amazing look and feel. blown away
rocket kain | 9 years ago
amazing....can u show us the setting of the AO pass?
Doug Lucier | 9 years ago
Great stuff. Thanks
kinjal Joshi | 9 years ago
its fantastik really even i try to make it
chickensalad | 9 years ago
This is stunning. I wich i was even half as talanted as you are. You are a inspiration.
ccindigo | 8 years ago
Great piece of work
The master at work! Brilliant. thanx for sharing with us. Do you achieve the dof effect and bokeh effects through AE or do you also use the vray physical cam onboard settings?
4754simon | 8 years ago
Thanks for imparting some of your adundant knowledge. Breathtaking imagery!!! Have you considered producing some video tutorials outlining your workflow - tips and tricks. I would pay a lot of money to watch the master in action. You have the most incredible eye for detail--and an amazing control of the software. I have never been so amazed by a 3Dartist's ability. I wish i could say that you inspire me... unfortunately, your imagery makes people like me want give up :)
hemsutar hemsutar | 8 years ago
hey alex a million thanx to u ..ur the best cg artist i hv ever seen........this tutorial is definitely gonna help me a lot in my modelling as well for the presentation of my renderings.....once again thanx a lot and keep posting such gr8 works even i hv seen ur videos those are just awesome.......1000** stars from me......keep posting...
drausio | 8 years ago
Hey Alex!!! This is really amazing!! I have couple of questions for you. How did you solve the shadow flickering problem of vray on the animation, and how long did these renders take (I assume they took FOREVER!!! heheh)
dhyan chand | 7 years ago
may i call u master,,, sir please send me the 3d file my id a lot
Andrew mboyi | 7 years ago
speechless still.
Oscar Ruiz | 7 years ago
Debasish Buragohain | 7 years ago
Amazing don't have any words to express! Examplary
Thannnnkkss!! so much!!!
Han Han Xue | 7 years ago
Work of GOD.
Abdelhakim Hussein | 6 years ago
Excellent, thanks a lot
Jusseppe Ramone | 6 years ago
Thank you so much for posting a tutorial of your work (which in my opinion is the very best). It was really helpful. I would love to see more training material from you as I'm a huge fan. Congratulations on your amazing work and thanks again!
Michael Anselmi | 6 years ago
Your work must take thousands of hours of render time, You must have 100 comps with i9 intel. lol Good work man i would love to see a full step by step through modeling and the whole 9 yards. But if you dont have time because your god and have way to much on your plate i can understand lmao
Roshan Anthony | 5 years ago
nice work vray guide alex