When A Night Shot Isn't Exactly Night

It's actually (supposedly) dusk. This project was done quite some time back. The design had been finalized, and we needed a "hero" shot that would show the buildings uniqueness in some way. I guess the Architect knew as well that the design was not much special from any other building, except that it had these "special" windows. So to emphasize on these, was to have it rendered as a night shot. Of course, the tricky part was to show the building's form as well, and as requested by the developer.

So to create the illusion of a night shot, 3d omni lights were thrown into the interior scene, while maintaining a considerable amount of GI to light the exterior. An overall grading of bluish tone and colour adjustment was done as to get the look i perceived was nice. To further enhance the effect, I had to pick a relatively complimenting sky and background as well.

In summary, I was trying to simulate a shot taken at dusk (via color correction as to get that "night" effect without losing too much details), and at the same time creating silhouettes as to frame the building.

Tech Notes:
Modeled with 3D Max 7.0
Rendered with Vray
Post-Processed in Photoshop CS


Cut & Paste : "Toy Digirama"

It's been about a year now since I took up collecting toys & figures that interest me (and had influence my "early creative years"). With this, also came my passion of photography which I hadn't done for some time. So besides the usual 3D CG stuff, I sorta found a new area wherein I can "play" around with.
"Toy Digirama"...as what I've heard and gathered, is the digital exposition of toys via compositing the photos (of the toys) with a background (whether real or created) as to tell a story. Similar to those dioramas except everything is created with a computer with a program like Photoshop.

Lost In Akihabara

A breakdown of my process (click on image to enlarge)...

Tech Note:
Photo taken with K800i Phone Cam
Digitally enhanced and worked in Photoshop CS3


Simplified (A different approach to lighting)

Okay, so it's been ages since I've had any updates here. Lotsa..lotsa stuff "cooking."
Anyway, I'd like to present a recent work wherein I approached the lighting of the scene in a not-so-typical manner. The scene in question is an interior of some loft. The project required a draft render to be done quickly. Problem was only the architectural walls were given. In cases like these, I'd go for the "minimalist" approach. Minimalist not only in terms of the look, but also the way of setting up a "nice" scene.

First, the 3d model has to be strategically built (as only can be seen), so that a couple of camera angles can be set-up to show spaciousness. Then, it had to be furnished so that it the client would be able to relate to the scale of the space and picture composition (don't assume people can easily imagine things in an empty room even). Finally, it had to lit-up as to clearly show some mood or effect.

The first few steps are typical to most 3D artists. However, the method of using a Vray light sphere is not usual to probably most. This, as I'd think is like really having a sun (instead of the Vray Sun, or Direct-light or numerous vray light planes). The tricky part would be positioning it as if it were an huge Omni light. And this would also affect the way the shadows would turn out.

The final process, would be the enhancing of the image in Photoshop. To create different moods with different light positions and settings (although not difficult) can be simplified further by just sticking to one light position. To create the illusion of different times of the day, adjustments to colour filters would do the "trick."

Render settings, and light position / set-up are the same for the above images in different cameras. Notice that the shadows are the same, I simply "added" different colours and background to have a slightly different effect.

  • Tech Notes:
  • Modeled with 3DS Max v8.0
  • Rendered with Vray, Ambient Occlusion via Vray plugin
  • Post processed in Photoshop


Another Old School Technique For A New View

The job at hand was a "Courtyard scene" that featured a staircase and some bridge ways above. The 3D models were done earlier by my colleagues, and I only came in to do some revisions and re-light the scene.

The image that I present here is my version. The client had a different thing in mind, that of which I thought was too "cluttered" in terms of visual composition. Although, the other image was nice, I decided to keep it simple and rely more on "hard-scaping" and focus on the Architecture, rather than showcasing the usage of space this time.

Click on above image to see the Breakdown of Scene.
Another more detailed & similar technique can be found here.

Tech Notes:
Modeled with 3DS Max v8.0
Rendered with mostly Vray
Ambient Occlusion pass was rendered with Mental Ray
Post processed in Photoshop


Ingenious Arrogance You Say?!

Crazy, spectacular, ingenious, insane and daring. I'm referring to the designs some local Architects here in Singapore are coming up with nowadays. Putting aside the other high profile developments, it still amazes me that there are other developments out there (or to be launched) that just challenge the norm.

Imagine... a high-rise development where you can park your car just next to your living room. Well, I guess it's meant for those filthy rich folks who just don't only want to own a classy place and some fancy car, but who also wants to show it at the same time.

And that's where you really put into context the answer to this question ,"why?"

Their answer: "...simply because we can!"

And so as for this image, I was just messing around with a last minute job I had to work on. I came in at the "lighting stage" only. The client wanted to have some focus on the car being smacked right next to the living area (as intended as well by the Architect). My solution, was to make the lighting at the car brighter of all areas. With the limited time as well, I had to cut down the reflections and minimize glossiness levels so it would render like "now."

This is not the final image the client requested. It's just my interpretation, a quick-wit of some sort as to come up with an Ad and Tag line for a rather "incomplete" render. Not only for fun....
but simply because...I can.

Tech Notes:

With all the initial high reflections, the image took ages to render. So reflection depth was cut way too low to 3.
I would have rendered in passes, but it would take me longer than required still. The drawback was almost no reflection for the car at the ceiling which is supposed to be a mirror. Other elements get reflected sharply while the car doesn't. (I have yet figure out why). Blurring was done in Photoshop, via Radial blurred and comped with the sharp image.


Building A City In A Day

It is written that God created the world in 7 days (Okay, technically 6 days, cause he took the day-off on the 7th). And then, one fine day I get the challenge of building a city in about the same time. Good thing is just going to be complete CGI! But alas, the forces of the "time gods" were against me. It's instances like these that make me wish I had Hiro Nakamura's powers of time-space manipulation.

The challenge here was to fill in the gaps in the Architect's design. I had to basically create something "complete" based on a Master Plan, which wasn't even detailed enough. There was this freedom to make use of my Architectural knowledge, and incorporate it together in the 3D. In short, I too became some sort of the designer.

Now here's where the tricky part comes in. As the "designer," I had to come up with something that the Architects would like, or at least match their style. It would have been easier had there been a rough sketch from them. But since there wasn't any, I just had to create something, based on what I had at the moment (current books, and some rough info from the Architects). Another difficult aspect was coming up with closer views, rather than just Aerial views, which also mean higher level of details.

Do note that, I've been sort of out of touch with my Architectural designing. It was rather a fun exercise as well. It ain't finished yet. And the images herein are just drafts, and not necessarily what the Architects have in mind. So it could be totally scrapped as well in the end. Here's some of the closer views.

Forget the buildings...actually for this view, I sorta became
more engrossed with the sculpture (my own design).

A post-processed effect...based on Dennis Allain's style.


La Viva...Vivo City!

It's more than mid-way thru the Fashion Festival here in Singapore.
And it's almost half a year since I worked on something relating to this -- Vivo City (the background for the Vivo City ad posters).

For that mentioned project, we had to work closely with the ad agency who already had conceptualized the look. It was also a different kind of visualization. We were given the freedom to create an impression of the Vivo City mall -- and not to really follow the architectural detail to the dot. And the final image would be "muted" in a monochromatic tone as to help focus the view to the model in the foreground later.

This project also brought me back closer to my "Architectural" roots. I basically was given a rough sketch and plan. Then from there, I would design and "build" it in 3D.
There are about 7 posters or so that we got to work on. But, I figured I'd just show this one.

From concept to execution. It starts from the drawing by the Ad agency.

I couldn't find the actual poster for this particular shot. But if you happen to be in Vivo City, it won't be hard to miss.

Here's just the background which I worked on. Quite few more details were actually changed and added for the actual poster, besides the monochromatic adjustment.

Tech Note:
Modeled and rendered in 3Ds Max 8.0 with Vray.

Brief scene description:
One Direct light from above, thru the skylight.
A few number of customized maps (photos of shopfronts) were used as textures instead of building it in 3D.
It was also more of an "artistic" call when it came to how sharp or visible the reflections were.
Of course, the final ad print would have also been handled by another DI Artist -- as for colour and image enhancement.


Moving without walking...

...it's either you gotta be running, in a car, or flying. In this case flying. As in a "fly-thru" (or walk-thru) animation.

Initial brief of the project: The client wanted to see shots of various areas of the development. And it was suggested that we based it on the still (hi-res) images that we had given much earlier.

I came in later as to help amend part of the 3D model, light-up and do texturing...all these so that we could come up with these hi-res images. As soon as it was confirmed that an animation had to be done, it was my job to "finish" this animation within a month -- composed roughly of 10+ shots, 2 minutes length, and lotsa-lotsa render times -- almost all by myself. (Aaaaargh! Had they given me this responsibility a few years back, I would have probably fainted straight away.) Good thing, experience taught me to look-up for possible hiccups and problems that must be taken care of even before starting to work on the model, and Previz animation. Advice with the "master chief" as well was taken in consideration.

To start of with, I had to optimize the 3D scene as to come up with shorter render times. This included cutting-down on unnecessary 3d models, making use of vray proxies, and minimizing high reflection / glossiness settings. The tricky part to this was not to over-compromise on the 3d model as to gravely affect the look of the images.

I also had to set-up simple the camera paths for the shots. What I had in mind was nothing fanciful and yet it wouldn't just involve simple wipes and cross-fades from one shot to the other. I wanted it to look like there was a natural flow from one space to the other,rather than a montage of some sort.

By the time I gotten some feedback and notes on what to amend, it was rather easy (but still tedious!) for me to work on the model due to the preparation I had done earlier. And it was good that some of the elements could be rendered in a separate pass and/or added in AfterEffects later. The images are screenshots of the final animation.

Addt'l Tech note: Most of the elements are 3D created in 3dsMax. To easily render, plants were converted as well into vray proxies. The "custom" background was prepared in Photoshop and mapped onto a sphere -- rendered separately. Some foreground elements were either a separate render or simply "blurred-out" 2D images composed in AE.
Compositing: Adobe After Effects (AE)
Editing: Adobe Premier
Rendered with Vray @ 3DsMax