Thursday, 21 January 2010

My Final Tableau Vivant Style Scene and a bit more

So here is my final scene... but how did I get here?

I started in Maya by creating some of the individual objects that I knew would be in my scene as I at that time I hadn't come up with the exact look of the street. The first item was the lamp post.

I gathered quite a few reference images. I knew sort of what I wanted it to look like. I wanted it to be concrete with a long orange light on top. All lamp posts have lights on top, I know, but I specifically said long and orange.

When I realised I was running out of time (and hadn't done any proper concept art) I decided on blocking out the scene in Maya based on my sketches reference images and a top view of the layout that I also drew out.

I went into greater detail, starting with the shops using more front and side view images which I drew straight in Photoshop.

Tidied up my scene, added the shop fronts and some more other objects.
After modeling the pavement/kerb I realised that it was just too uniform as it was all one piece of geometry, so i decided to split the kerb from the pavement and then divided the pavement into individual tiles. this allowed me to roughen up the pavement just by rotating the individual pieces.

It was then time to texture everything. Luckily I UV mapped while I modeled everything although texturing still took ages.

...and here are all the textures.

So after one and a half hours of rendering i finally got my colour pass. Final Gather was a BIG MISTAKE and the scene probably didn't really need it... oh well... at least its done.

ambient occlusion pass.
This was much quicker and only took a few minutes... not even that.

The depth pass took seconds.
I actually had to do a bit of fiddling with this image as the SALE sign on the window didn't render, so I cleverly added it in with the dark grey colour.

This is my digitally painted backdrop, they're supposed to be clouds.

A few of my favourite parts of my scene would have to be these cobbles.
The cobbles were the most tricky to get right. I realised that I couldn't just get a decent texture and use a bump map because the angle of the camera was so low down and the cobbles would just look flat. So it meant that I had to use a displacement map which actually deforms the geometry as opposed to bending the normals. (that sounds technical)

I only wished you could see all the detail I put into the pavement in the final image.

I was pleased the bucket and spade...

I tried to make the windows dirty. I just made a transparency map with dirt around the edges. for some reason no matter how clear I made it, the marks barely showed. They are there, just not noticeable unless you study the image.

It would have been nice to have the shop (that the camera is in) caked in dust, but it proved to be too complicated to get right in the time left. I experimented with fur but it looked like a grey carpet. I did ask Alan for advice and by the sounds of it, I would either have to just use a texture (although admitting that it might look fake) but would probably be better to use particles (oh no, not more technical stuff) I myself have experimented with particles in the past although have never tried creating dust. If I had an extra week, it may have been possible. Who knows...

I only wish I had some sort of proper digital concept painting, but I was struggling to get my scene onto paper (or should I say Photoshop) because of changing my idea half way through the project, I could see that I was running out of time.


  1. Looking good, Ethan - you did it! See you bright and early in the morning...

  2. never the less it still looks great! the pebbles are amazing! see you tomorrow! Good Luck!

  3. Nice job done :)The technical side looks resolved. And as I mentioned, I like the colours of the scene :)

  4. Hi Ethan,

    Ok, it seems like you enjoyed and learnt a lot during the project. You took onboard some new skills and used them effectively. Well done.

    My only criticism at this stage is in your observation of the world your trying to re-create. Whilst your scene succeeds in a number of areas it falls down slightly in its 'rigid geometric form' and its 'cleanliness'. In essence your world needed dirt (In textures - Particularly on the glass) and distortion of surfaces (In geometry - Window frame for example) to make it less perfect. This is particularly necessary in your case because of the close camera position to objects.

    No fur tutorials? Give them a go.