Alright then… This week I will be presenting an old piece (I know it’s a bit of a cheat but I have been really busy). And I really gotta present this as a weekly scene cause it’s an important project for me, because I learned so much while working on this piece from lighting setup to composition, color and texturing and I feel it like a nice turning point for me.
Started with a sketch I did, then decided to color it a bit just to put down the colors that I had in mind for this piece. I know it looks like a kid’s drawing but it’s enough for planning purposes. One thing I learned is: whenever you are planning your project, be it web design, animation 3d scene or any design or idea it doesn’t matter how detailed the sketch is, it’s a sketch… it does what it suppose to do, and that is to use it as a guide.
After I did the initial sketch and figured out the scene, I started sketching the playground rides or toys. I wanted those to have a natural feeling and believable. I ended up changing them a bit cause the sketches seemed a bit like rides you find in a fairy-tale playground, maybe I’ll do that one day, who knows! And, by the way, the playground appear as a cameo in an Animated show for Kids, WOOOHOOOOOO!!! A dream come true for me. You can’t imagine how happy I was when they asked me if I can integrate this playground into their show. I will be adding screenshots from that show as soon as I have the approval from the studio!
I started blocking the scene in Maya with simple cylinders cubes and sphere, just to have a starting point, also did some grass tests. I used Maya’s Fur for the grass which is just awesome. Here you can see the settings I used for the Grass Fur:
I modeled the tree in Maya, I actually used only one tree, rotated and scaled the tree just to get the feeling that those are different. I duplicated lots of leaves and changed the hue and colors so the leaves on all the trees wouldn’t look exactly the same. For the trees I used procedural texturing for the tree trunks and photo for the leaves.
I wanted the building to look and feel like old New York houses, searched Flickr for lots of houses and old building in New York, just to get the style that I was looking for. So again, planning is crucial. I modeled these buildings very low poly cause they will be in the background and will not see them up-close. For the buildings textures I used both procedural texturing and some photos I found, great brick textures on a great website that I always use at least for the starting point of some of my textures. CG Textures is a great website which you have to try!
For lighting, I used Mental Ray’s Sun and Sky which I absolutely love cause it gives such a nice result, it does need a lot of tweaking to get the atmosphere just right. The scene was rendered with Mental Ray with Final Gathering turned on. Below you can find some settings I used for the Sun and Sky.
I rendered this scene with a couple of passes cause I really wanted to do some tweaks in Photoshop. So here are the render passes that I have used for this scene:
After some great feedback from my friend Guillaume Le Tual and Jeremy Vickery I re-visited the scene and did some crucial changes which made this scene so much more awesome, especially in terms of composition and light.
I really hope you enjoy this scene cause it really really means a lot to me! And don’t forget to check out past weekly scenes.