Thanks to Ronen Bekerman for posting The Boundary SoA interview from last year's academy day. Great weekend, looking forward to next years State of Art Academy
Thanks to Ronen Bekerman for posting The Boundary SoA interview from last year's academy day. Great weekend, looking forward to next years State of Art Academy
Seasons greetings to everyone from The Boundary
Join us at The Boundary!
We are looking for talented, creative and motivated 3d artists to join our expanding team.
Applicants from a 3d viz background should have a strong interest in architecture and photography and be keen to develop new skills in line with the ever evolving requirements of the industry.
Applicants from an architecture background should be familiar with 3ds Max and rendering and be keen to work on projects with the world's most celebrated architects.
Full time position. No freelancers or agencies. Applicants must be legally employable in the UK and be available to work with the team at our North London studio.
Please send a CV and portfolio to email@example.com
We are offering a huge 50% everything in The Boundary Store for Black Friday all the way through to end of day on Cyber Monday with the code BLACK50 , enjoy!
The above image was rendered in Corona (which handles god rays beautifully). A reminder that when we make Corona versions of the scenes, people who have already purchased will get the corona version as a free update.
For anyone who missed us talk at the State of Art Academy Day 6 in Venice in October, we are doing a slightly compressed version of the presentation at 3ds London on Wednesday along with a few other things that we are up to. Hope to see you all there for a beer or two.
Here is the second scene to be made available on the Boundary Store. This one includes several detailed furniture models including Hans Wegner's CH24 Y-Chair and Mendes da Rocha's Paulistano armchair. Check the Boundary Blog for up coming tutorials on the making of this scene including the spherical panoramic view above. For the first week we are offering a 20% discount on this scene:
Discount code: STAITHE END
Expires Friday 30th Oct 2015
Here's a little project which we have been working on for the past six months. It's a luxury concept house aimed at the super rich as the perfect accompaniment to a Super Yacht! We've had lots of fun and games with this one as our close relationship with Strom Architects gave us the freedom to create our own Mediterranean paradise. The aim was to produce a complete 3d environment free from any compositing with minimal post providing a platform for testing 360's, animation and varying moods. Hope you enjoy the result and if anyone has the odd £30m or so going spare give Strom Architects a call.
Just received these pics from Gianpiero of our talk at the State of Art Academy Day 06. Phil here suggested that with our matching Boundary attire we look like a beach volleyball team in a post match press conference.
In this, the final part of the making of the Carey House tutorial series, we are taking a brief look at post production. This is an aspect of our workflow which varies from project to project but is always something we try to keep to a minimum preferring to rely as much as possible on getting the image correct in the 3d environment rather than using render elements and painting in detail in Photoshop.
Although this is the base render we generally apply some curves in the vray frame buffer prior to saving out. This is just a preference and can all be done in Photoshop if preferred.
There are two basic elements to our post workflow; Camera Raw Filter and a few adjustment layers. Sometimes we have more adjustment layers including saturation and colour balance, we have found recently however that much of this can be done in the Camera Raw Filter.
As the Camera Raw Filter can currently not be used as an adjustment layer we start by converting the base render to a smart object so the adjustments are not destructive. In this case under the Basic tab a little clarity has been given and a small amount of highlight compression to bring out some of the details in the bright sky. A few other tweaks have been made to the shadows and whites to balance the image.
Under the Effects tab a small amount of Post Crop Vignetting is given set to Highlight Priority style. This is useful as it prevents bright areas of the sky usually in the top corners of the image from becoming overly dark and muddy looking.
Following the overall Camera Raw adjustments a few basic curves have been used to highlight certain areas of the image. The first one darkens the sky slightly, the second brightens the foreground vegetation and the third increases the contrast of the building itself.
If anyone thinks that having a closer look at this Photoshop file would be useful, let us know and we will make it available as a free download on The Boundary Store.
We are still preparing The Boundary Scene No.2 but we thought we'd share this rather cool 360 degree panorama with you in the meantime.
If you missed the announcement, head over to The Boundary Store and check out scene number 1 - The Carey House by Henry Goss Architects.
It's finally here! The Boundary Store.
The Carey House Scene, which has been the subject of a series of tutorials over the past 6 months is our first product. We plan to add more complete 3d scenes and hopefully individual 3d models and textures as well.
Let us know what you think and also what you'd like to see for sale in the comments.
In this tutorial we will look at the finishing touches to the scene prior to final render. VRayEnvironmentFog is used in all of our scenes to some extent even if only very subtly. The atmosphere in reality is not pure and perfect so there is always a certain amount of dust or fog in the air reducing visibility at a distance. Even if apparently imperceptible, these effects give depth and realism to all scenes. At the other end of the spectrum, fog can be used to create some dramatic effects when used in conjunction with lighting and lens effects which were previously only achievable in post production.
VrayEnvironmentFog settings are found under the Environment tab of the Environment and Effects window (8 - keyboard shortcut). We started in this scene by adding a general fog set to 30m height which extends just above the tops of the trees. This is set to 100m fog distance which just gives a subtle depth to the image without making it too foggy as it were.
The fog colour in this case is completely white rather than the 217 default. GI Scattering is turned off. Sometimes this can produce a nice effect and is of course more physically accurate but it increases render times massively and can certainly be done without for most scenes. The default subdivs are set to 8 but having played around with these values I usually set them to 300 as it seems to be the optimum value for general fog in an external scene combining detail with speed of rendering. Some tweaking of this for different scenes may be necessary but 300 seems to be the sweet spot. In theory this parameter determines the number of points inside the fog at which volumetric light is evaluated meaning lower subdivs should be noisier but quicker to render. From extensive testing we have found that this is not always the case and that sometimes higher subdivs can actually speed up the render. Bear in mind that we use the universal method for our render settings so this may be different with different render settings.
In Ray Filter settings the affect shadows and affect GI are both unchecked. This allows for a greater amount of fog without having to alter your camera settings too much to compensate from the lower light levels as a consequence of the fog. There appears to be little difference to the overall appearance of the fog in the scene.
The second and third fog effects are used to produce additional fog in specific areas, in this case, more in the trees behind the building and some low fog in the foreground. A simple box is used as a gizmo in the VrayEnvironmentFog nodes section. This means that this fog will be confined to the gizmo area. If using a box as a gizmo make sure it is un-renderable in object properties.
When distributing local areas of fog in a gizmo we quite often add a basic noise map in the density slot to create some unevenness in the fog distribution. This is particularly effective amongst trees or ground cover giving the impression light air movement blowing the fog around. Step size is important when using maps for colour density of emission. The sampler used in this instance is known as a raymarching sampler which steps through the volume evaluating volumetric textures and lighting. Generally step size should be two to three times smaller than fog distance to work well. We typically use half the size a rule of thumb.
Make sure that if you have multiple gizmos that the gizmo merge mode is set to blend otherwise you can get unwanted interactions and noise between them. Sometimes if the gizmo is complex geometry rather than a simple box you can get these unwanted effects as well.
you can of course also have the VrayEnvironmentFog as a render element under VrayAtmosphere in render elements in case your computer is not powerful enough to render it into the scene or you would rather have a quicker result and comp it in post.
As mentioned previously lots of different effects can be created using VrayEnvironmentFog. In the example below of the original Carey House scene a fog gizmo was placed in front of the car head lamps which were made in the same way as the courtyard tree light illustrated in the last tutorial on internal lighting. Add lens effects of course and there you go, straight out of the frame buffer with no post.
The next tutorial will be the final one in the Carey House series where we look at render settings and basic post production techniques to produce the final images.
Following on from Guthers' resoundingly successful lighting masterclass at the State of Art Academy last month I thought I'd have a quick round-up of my favourite images from each artist from an architectural perspective. One of the joys of 3d viz is having the ability to recreate reality rapidly and in a consequence free environment in any direction that your imagination takes you. Phil Hunter once summed it up by saying, "you wouldn't set a dog on fire cos it's not a nice thing to do, but in 3d you can"... It's always interesting to see people's take on famous works of architecture placing well know buildings in different environments or applying different materials, structure etc. It's all the more interesting to see a building which you have designed be put in the hands of 12 highly creative people and given free rein for a week.
Here is a list of my favourite examples and treatments from both a viz and architectural perspective.
There's a beautiful clarity to Alessandro's aproach which essentially uses many of the original materials but remade to create a slicker cleaner aesthetic. The portrait aspect ratio of the image is also highly appropriate to illustrate the only vertical space in a scheme which is otherwise dominated by the horizontal.
Great use of Forest Pack Pro in this one to create the rough desert environment. There's also an interesting vertical rhythm of the cacti mirroring the rhythm of the building facade. Following Alessandro's completion of this image Guthers commented on how the landscape was reminiscent of Rick Joy's houses in the deserts of Arizona...
...The next thing you know...
Some architect friends of mine would doubtless deride this approach as fatuous, derivative plagiarism devoid of rigor, process and architectural interrogation. I however think that this is a really interesting example of how with the use of 3d viz, ideas can be tested rapidly and to a certain natural conclusion allowing for a potentially greater degree of architectural design development within the same time frame.
The architecture is largely untouched in this example but the landscape is stunning and the composition is great. Lovely colour balance too. In some ways I feel this landscape is almost more appropriate for the architecture than the original.
I love George's work in general and this is no exception. Great atmosphere and very skillful use of Forest Pack Pro This is one of the few examples where the landscape has been altered to express the solid concrete base of the building. George has really managed to capture the essence of the architecture with the lightweight timber 'roofwork' floating atop the solid 'earthwork' base.
This approach to built form is born out of an architectural tectonic described by the great 19th Century German architect and art critic, Gottfried Semper in his seminal book The Four Elements of Architecture which inspired me as a student.
A very interesting ethereal world created by Giuliano strips the building and landscape almost bare of materiality and leaves only the pure architectural form to be read.
I love the scale of this one. All modeled I'm lead to believe. Distant mountains really pushing the spacial limits of the 3ds max environment.
This is a particularly interesting example by Matthias who has expressed the horizontal structural slabs and infilled between in contrast to the original timber veil sailing over the floor slabs creating a solar shading screen across the entire elevation. Below is an early massing study which was developed during the design development of the Carey House project where this approach was tested. Looks like Matthias has refined it somewhat.
Two things I like about this one. Firstly the idea of opening the architecture up to an infinite landscape, namely the sea, and secondly using an actual HDRi moon from PG SKies HDRi 2118 Sky combined with a Phoenix FD sea by Chaos Group. Apparently a little colour correction had to be done within the HDRi to knock out the warm tones in the moon and prevent it from looking like a dull sun.
I had to include both of these images by Paolo as I couldn't decide. Both lovely and both express the architecture perfectly. The second image is especially interesting in the way that the light draws your eye around the the image in a subtle spiral as PG observed. Very cool.
Architecturally this is my favorite. Essentially substituting an expensive timber facade which serves little purposes other than solar shading over the glazed areas and replacing it with off the shelf industrial sheet material. A really imaginative way of value engineering the scheme perhaps whilst maintaining the essence of the architecture. Love it!
Beautiful, minimal, clean. Pawsonesque.
Lovely atmosphere, simple composition and viewed from a position which I hadn't explored before.
For a full gallery of the images created during the Lighting Masterclass see Guthers Blog
If anyone is interested in having a go at recreating the Carey House project we are thinking of running a small competition following the release of the full max scene on The Boundary Store in the next few weeks. The prize will be The Boundary Scene No.2 and perhaps a cheeky HDRi sky or two.
Having looked previously at the basic environmental lighting set up with HDRi sky domes we are now going to look at some of the internal lighting set up.
Our general approach to all aspects of 3d visualisation is to attempt to recreate natural conditions as closely as possible and internal lighting is no exception i.e light sources are set up as they would be in reality from lamps, spots, pendants etc rather than faking the lighting with fill lights and invisible sources. That said it is never a good idea to be too slavish with this general philosophy if it is reducing the quality of the image. After all, photographers often set up specific lighting to create certain atmospheric effects in their images which may belie the reality of a space.
In this scene we have used Vray plane lights, sphere lights and ies lights sometimes alone and sometimes in combination to create specific effects.
The general plane light set up is pretty simple. In this case we used Luminous power for the intensity units but we tend to use Radiant Power more these days which is measured in Watts. It makes no difference to the light output but can make a big difference to the unit values making it slightly easier to manage e.g 350000 lm = 500 w (approx).
It's usually easier to use temperature for general internal lighting rather than colour unless you are aiming for some specific coloured lighting effects. The internal lighting in this scene ranges from 3000 kelvin to 4500. It's always worth adding a bit of variation to internal light temperature depending on the type of light source. A kitchen pendant light is likely to be significantly warmer than a fluorescent strip light under the cupboards. The plane lights are generally only made visible if a lens effect is required produced from the intensity of the source, see below. Subdivs are left at the default 32. Shadow bias and Cutoff are also left at the default values in this case. Sometimes these values can be very important to speed up render times if there are hundreds of lights in a scene and many of them, particularly in the distance, need only affect their immediate surroundings rather then the entire scene.
Lens effects were introduced in VRay 3.0 and we tend to use them in most of our scenes. A lot of people still prefer to add lens effects in post but in our quest to reduce post to minimum this provides a really simple and effective alternative. The Vray lens effects control glare bloom and diffraction of light sources. The general rule of thumb is that the greater the intensity of light source the greater the lens effect as in reality.
Bloom and glare work independently although I often use glare alone as bloom can soften an image too much. Depending on the intensity of your light source you may need to play around with the Weight and Size sliders. I generally find that glare works best with these two parameters set at a fairly similar value or if anything the size slightly greater than the weight. Increasing the weight above the size can result in a slightly strange cut off effect but each light source requires tweaking differently.
Bloom is controlled with weight, size and shape but in my experience needs to be used with great subtlety as the glare effects, if used correctly, can do much of the work which the bloom is doing.
Diffraction in Vray lens effects can produce some nice chromatic aberration effects but can easily be turned off interactively without the need to re-render. All these examples are of course exaggerated for clarity.
The lighting of the tree in the court yard was created using a combination of a sphere light and an ies spotlight. The sphere light is used to create a general glow around the light source and the is spot is used to create a more directional flood light up the tree.
Make sure if using two light sources in conjunction like this that they are not intersecting. The sphere light is set to visible so as to create the lens effects therefore the ies (which has an invisible source) must be positioned just in front of the sphere so as not to be obscured by the sphere.
lens effects not only work for internal lighting of course and sometimes they can really add a nice finishing touch to an HDRI. Below is an example of HDRI 1853 shining straight into the camera through the trees with glare set to fairly low values.
In the next tutorial we will have a look at how VrayEnvironmentFog is used in the scene to create depth and atmosphere.
Now we come to the fun bit, lighting and rendering. HDRi lighting forms the basic environmental lighting setup for all of our scenes. Many of you will already use Peter Guthrie's excellent HDRi skies, available here, which are in my opinion the best skies available (but then I would say that) and no doubt you have followed Peter's instructions regarding their use for best results. I think, however, it is worth going over again here to illustrate some of the project specific settings and some of the immense variation we were able to achieve with only a single sky!
We start by loading a sky into a Vray HDRI map and renaming the map to correspond to the number of the sky. Make sure the mapping type is set to spherical. PG Skies, which we use exclusively, usually work with processing multipliers set to 1.0. Sometimes it can be useful to set the Overall multiplier to 0.1 and the Render multiplier to 10 giving exactly the same output but allowing the HDRI map to be visible in the material editor. You can of course adjust these values to increase or reduce the intensity of the sky. I usually use the Vray physical camera parameters to adjust light levels but adjusting the HDRI can be useful if for example you have a scene set up with lots of artificial interior lighting and you change the HDRI sky with a different light intensity, it is often quicker and easier to adjust the HDRI rather than all of the internal lights.
Set the Colour space Type to Inverse Gamma. The default value is 1.0. Lower values give greater contrast and higher values give a more washed out result. Most PG Skies work best with gamma set between 0.7 - 0.85 with the sweet spot often being around 0.75. More on Gamma settings below.
Next set up a Vray Dome Light and give it a name corresponding to the the HDRI. Set the intensity units to Image which is the default and make sure the multiplier is set to 1.0. The Multiplier can be used to adjust the intensity of the HDRI map but if using a Vray physical camera it is generally more accurate to leave this at 1.0.
Finally instance the HDRI map into the texture slot of the Dome light and lock to dome orientation.
Horizontal rotation of the sky i.e. where the sun is coming from is controlled in two ways; either in the horizontal rotation dialogue in the mapping section of the HDRI map which works in degrees or by rotating the dome light itself. I usually rotate the map rather than the dome light through habit. 0.0 rotation equates to East in the HDRI map as in the sun position is due East at 0.0 rotation rather than North as you may expect. Therefore when thinking of the rotation as points on a compass I usually think of a compass rotated by 90 degs clockwise. If using the rotate Dome Light method, remember to check 'lock to dome orientation' in the texture section of the dome light. In the example below we have drawn a simple triangle linked to the dome light pointing in the direction in which the sun is shining so as you rotate the dome light you have a quick visual reference. Apparently this is something which may be added to Vray dome lights in future releases.
PG Skies are of a sufficient resolution (particularly the new super hi-res releases such as the excellent new 1714) that we almost always keep the rendered sky in the final image. If however you wish to replace the sky with a back plate for crazy resolution images (10k plus) you will need an alpha chanel. Using an HDRI mapped onto a dome light will give you an alpha channel, provided you untick 'affect alpha' in the Dome Light options.
I tend to start by loading in several HDRI skies and assigning them to different dome lights each named occording to the sky number. I can then easily switch between skies using the Vray Light Lister and test multiple lighting setups quickly and easily.
Once all of the dome lights are set I like to start by isolating the building and the ground plane so that I can test different lighting setups quickly without having to wait for any complex geometry to upload or light cache to build. You can also do this with Vray RT if you have a decent graphics card although I generally prefer to do simple 1200px renders using the progressive image sampler and save them out in the frame buffer history.
In the example above a simple grey override material with a VrayEdgesTex is used to increase the speed of the render further as it is the sky and general lighting which is being tested. These are 1200 x 800px renders, progressive 50 passes approx which took about 30 seconds each.
As previously mentioned the gamma settings in the HDRI map can be adjusted to achieve differing results. Below are some examples of a moody sky 1853 which is one of my favorites on account of the broad range of results which can be obtained with different horizontal rotations.
Lower gamma values not only produce more contrast but also appear brighter which may require camera exposure adjustments. There also seems to be a correlation between lower gamma valuse and increased noise resulting in longer render times. I'm not sure what the technical reason is for this but I often find that if a scene is rendeing slowly at Gamma 0.7, increasing it to 0.75 can make a big difference in speeding it up.
If a higher gamma value is used but more contrast is required we often use a simple 'S curve' in the Vray Frame buffer. This is particularly necessary when using our standard colour mapping settings of gamma 2.2 with a burn value of 0.05.
It's always worth testing each sky you load in to a scene with different rotations and different gamma settings as you often find drastically different moods can be created with a single sky.
In the next tutorial we'll have a look at some of the artificial internal light settings and the excellent Vray lens effects.
Water is always a tricky thing to get right but also enjoyable to develop as it can really bring a scene to life. In the Carey House there is only one small area of water, visible in only one or two views but I think it's worth dedicating a tutorial to as it may provide useful tips for many situations.
There are three basic steps to create this shallow reflecting pond.
1. The water texture
2. The wet edge
3. The pebbles
There are many way to produce water in 3d. And different techniques suite different environments. We have used bump, displacement, 3d vector based displacement (Chaosgroup's Phoenix and similar), simulation, particles etc...for different applications. In this instance however we have simply used bump to reduce render times and simplify geometry. It also means that when we make this scene available for purchase, no additional plugins will be required for the water.
The basic material is similar to glass but with a reflection glossiness of 0.8 and a Fresnel IOR of 1.6 rather than 1.8. The refractive IOR is 1.33 for water generally giving the impression of the pool becoming shallower as the angle of incidence of the camera increases. Two noise maps of differing sizes are comped together with a large noise map masking between them. Note that in this case we wanted the ripples to look like they were slightly running across the pool as if a gentle breeze may be blowing from one end. This is achieved by adjusting the x and y tiling coordinates in the noise map parameters effectively stretching map. 'y' is approximately five times 'x' in this example.
The wet edge of the concrete pool was made with a blend material to give the impression of water having splashed up out of the pool. The basic dry concrete material was copied and made almost entirely reflective by deleting the reflection and reflection glossiness maps and simply applying a light colour to the reflection channel (approx 210). A painted black and white bitmap is used to blend the two materials. The stepping stones along side the pool are textured in the same way but with a noise map used to blend the two materials.
To add another level of detail the bottom of the pool is filled with pebbles. Firstly a gravel base was created with a VrayDisplacementMod as in the driveway tutorial. The large pebbles which were scattered with Forest Pack Pro amongst the grass in the first Carey House tutorial are used to full the pool.
The Forest Pack settings are similar to those previously described for the gravel drive. Two points to mention are boundary checking which is set to size to prevent scattered objects from extending past the surface upon which they are scattered and collisions. In this case collisions are not enabled as it was not necessary due to the fact that the pebbles are obscured by reflection and refraction beneath the water and it was easier to achieve the desired density without enabling collisions.
The final scene was a dusk shot with a strip light illuminating the pebbles which is why we went for scattered geometry rather than displaced. Quite a nice but relatively simple effect.
In the next tutorial we will have a closer look at HDRI lighting of the scene and see what can be achieved with the peerless PG Skies.
As promised, in this tutorial we are going to have a look at the texturing of the Carey House building itself. There are several basic techniques involved with texturing a building such as this in our workflow which we use for almost all architectural projects involving a few scripts and modifiers which we will run through.
The timber cladding is one of the main materials in this scene. The basic geometry is split into several meshes corresponding to the constructional element so that each may be textured using different bitmaps and orientated seperately using UVW modifiers. i.e. Mesh 01 = long horizontal plate, mesh 02 = cross horizontal plate, mesh 03 = vertical fins, mesh 04 = vertical cladding.
Each mesh was then given a UVW Map which is rotated and scaled to fit a single element in the mesh. Box mapping is usually best for this.
The timber material was made using a series of 21 bitmaps each approximately dimensioned to fit a full board. We modified the bitmaps in photoshop depending on their position in the building to add some weathering effects. In this instance the vertical cladding is protected at the top by a top plate overhanging 150mm resulting in differential weathering of the material. The timber used is a type of fir which, unweathed, is fairly orange but weathers down to a silvery grey. To create this effect we desaturated the timber bitmap in Photoshop leaving only a protected area at the top with increased saturation. The transition was graded with a few overlays to produce a semi weathered effect.
CG Source's Multi Texture Multi Texture plug in was used to create the material in 3ds max. The 21 premade timber textures were loaded into a Multitexture material and plugged into a standard vray material. Colour Correction can be used to create maps for additional channels of required such as bump, reflection and reflection glossiness. Highlight gloss was also used in this example to cheat an effect in a specific lighting set up but this is pretty old-school now and not something which we would typically use. Make sure the Multitexture material is set to Material ID and the blur value isn't too high. 0.2 seems to work well for most applications. The great thing about Multitexture is the colour adjustments. I usually mess around with the gamma settings to create subtle or sometimes not so subtle variations in the materials. this pretty much guarantees that even with fewer than 21 bitmaps it is very unlikely that you will get any perceivable tilling or repetition in your texture.
Before assigning the material to the geometry, all the elements in the mesh (i.e. each timber board) must be given a unique material ID. Again CG Source have an excellent free script called unique mateial ID which generates unique ID's for geometry. If all your objects are attached as a single mesh as in this case, select the mesh and click Unique Mat ID's per object.
The material can then be applied to the geometry which is already UVW mapped. Sometimes a bit of reshuffling of the UVW map is necessary.
Moving on to the glazing. We use a slightly different technique to achieve a similar result. The basic architectural glass material is fairly simple. We tend to increase max depth in the reflection channel to 10 (5 is default). This is important if you are looking through several pieces of glass particularly if they are double glazed units and you also have reflect on back side checked meaning you get 4 reflections from each window. Sometimes this can be visually confusing having four reflections and unchecking reflect on backside can result in nicer double glazed reflection.
We also used a subtle very light green fog in this glass which is sometimes gives a nice effect in architectural glass. Be very warey of both the colour and multiplier however as refractive fog can have very strong and undesirable effects.
We add two types of bump to the basic glazing to create imperfections in the glass and more realistic reflections, noise and edge falloff. The noise provides a subtle wavy reflection to the glass whilst the edge falloff bitmap creates a buldge effect giving the impression of the two pains of glass having been clamped at the edges. (In reality generally the lower quality the glass the greater the buldge and wavyness)
These are comped together using a VrayCompTex with the Operator set to Multiply. The noise is procedural and the edge fall off or 'buldge' is a bitmap. A UVW modifier is applied and set to face, this sets 'buldge' bitmap to fit the glassing elements and the noise can be adjusted independently in the size parameters of the map. This is unit specific so be careful to check your unit setup. 400-500 seems to work well when working in cm.
The final stage in basic architectural glazing is to prevent the noise map in the bump form crossing from one pane across to an immediately adjacent one. There are two stages to this. Firstly the material must be copied several times (4 in this case) to enable randomisation. The four glass materials can then be added to a Multi/SubObject with 4 ID's. Make sure the phase of the noise is different in each glass material which has the effect of shifting the noise around.
Secondly add a MaterialByElement modifer to the glass mesh, increase the ID count to 4 to match the Multi/SubObject and change the value to 25.0 for each which will provide an equal distribution of material ID's across elements in the mesh. If it's not looking right, the seed value can be rolled up and down until you achieve the desired result. A dummy material can be useful when adjusting the seed value for some real-time feedback.
A similar technique can be used for kitchen cupboard fronts to vary the bump.
Another important aspect of architectural glazing is the frames. I think detail in glazing frames is one of the key areas of detail in a model which can lift the whole scene. Even if barely perceptible in the render it is always worth doing in my opinion. In this case we used a pretty standard narrow site line double glazed triple track sliding system with silver spacer bars.
The material for the spacer is a simple brushed stainless steel with a bump map for the dimples UVW mapped onto it.
As a round up, a material technique which we use on almost all materials is the VrayEdgesTex. This is a type of bump procedure which simulates the sharp arrases having been rounded off the material. As there is no displacement involved so it doesn't add render time and allows much of your geometry to have a much lower polycount on account of not having to round off the geometry with quad champher or round corners in Sketchup! When using VrayEdgesTex in conjunction with other bump maps on a material a composite map can be used. VrayEdgesTex seem to work best however with bump set to 30 in the maps rollup of the vray material. If a lower value is required for any other procedural bump maps this is best adjusted in the Output Amount of the map.
(Incidentally for any of you using Corona Renderer this is a built in parameter in the render settings avoiding any comping. Very handy!)
We will continue with some final texturing of water and other elements in the courtyard in tutorial Number 5!
In this, the third in the making of Carey House tutorial series, we'll have a look at the wider landscape. All fairly similar Forest Pack techniques to the previous tutorials with a few key differences to create various effects.
There are essentially three different types of plant in the wider landscape discounting the grass, ferns, spider plants etc which form the base ground cover for the whole landscape; Fir trees, Aspen and a simple low level perimeter bush.
The underlying ground geometry is split into two meshes; the close up mesh which surrounds the building and the wide landscape mesh. The mesh immediately adjacent to the building will obviously be viewed at closer range and as such required more detail including displacement whilst the wider mesh simply serves as a surface to scanter trees and bushes on and requires much less detail. As can be seen from the viewport view below the trees are scatted on both the detailed and less detailed meshes. This can be achieved by simply adding each mesh to the Surface rollup in Forest Pack.
I tend to scatter each tree type using a separate forest object thus allowing greater control for density and distribution. This also makes it simple to isolate each forest object and tweak as required. In this Scene there are two main forest objects; the fir tress being the primary one with the aspen scatted more sparely in between. The low level bushes in this instance are used as a distant screening device preventing any glimpses of distant light being visible through the trees.
The trees are scattered across the surfaces and the clearing within which the building sits is created with a spline as an exclude area. Another exclude spline is used to limit the area of trees so as not to have too much unnecessary geometry
One of the key differences with distributing the trees compared to the ground cover vegetation is that you want the trees to cast shadows and be visible in reflections. With the ground cover we typically enable Limit to visibility in the Area section of the Camera rollup in Forest Pack which saves RAM and increases viewport speed. With the trees it is often preferable to disable this option so that they remain visible behind the camera.
Often, particularly when using a low sun, it may be preferable to enable limit to visibility in order to allow the sun to penetrate the scene. The trouble with this is that you then lose your tree reflections. In this instance we used a single spline and added it as an exclude area in the fir tree Forest Pack object with a thickness of 800cm allowing the sun to penetrate the clearing. This spline can the be moved if a different sky orientation is required or disabled if no sun is required.
The trees in the foreground framing the view were placed manually. This is often the easiest way to maintain compositional control when fine tuning a specific view rather than relying on Forest Pack random distribution.
In the next tutorial we will move on to the modelling & texturing of the house itself.
Following on from the previous tutorial detailing how the basic rough grass was made using Forest Pack Pro this tutorial aims to interrogate in more detail the Carey House scene and look at how the rough grass was layered up with other Forest Pack objects and blended with other surfaces such as the gravel drive. The complete scene is now available on The Boundary Store
To create the basic surfaces for the gravel drive and the grassy verge two separate planes were created and intersected at slightly opposing angles and overlapped by about 1m.
The rough earth plane on the left is the one previously described in the first Carey House tutorial. The gravel drive plane is generated in much the same way using a high contrast version of the texture's bump map instanced into a VRayDisplacementMod.
The two different types of displacement intersecting one another gives a nice rough join to the geometry as a base and the overlapping also allows any scattered objects on either plane to bleed into one another quite effectively. The material is a simple gravel material downloaded from CG textures with a procedural noise map in the roughness slot to give some additional texture variation.
Forest Pack was then used to scatter gravel across the drive. As with the plants there are many places to buy ready made gravel and in fact Forest Pack now has some presets for just this thing which can be a useful starting point. In this case we used gravel objects which we had modeled for previous projects. We used about 10 pebble objects for this scene but you can get away with considerably fewer particularly if you create greater variation in the transform rollup.
A few more Forest Pack techniques were utilised in the scattering of the driveway gravel than in the rough grass example including custom distribution maps, exclusion splines and density and scale falloff.
Once the basic gravel objects had been scatted on the surface a noise map was used as a distribution map rather than one of the standard presets so that we could gain a bit more control over the patchyness of the gravel. to create the tyre tracks several splines were created and attached to create one object. This was then added as an exclusion area. This spline must be set to exclude in the Areas rollup and given a thickness to control the tyre track width. To prevent the gravel simply stopping at the edge of the tyre track, a 10cm fall off curve was enabled for both scale and density in the Falloff (global properties) section of the Areas rollup. This creates the feeling that the gravel at the edges of the tracks is partially crushed. Unlike in the grass example Translation is enabled in the transform rollup to lower the gravel slightly and embed it into into the surface a little bit blending the displaced surface with the scattered geometry. This can also be useful if you have a displaced surface which isn't shifted back in the VRayDisplacementMod so ends up in a slightly different position on the Z axis when rendered.
Falloff curves in this case are linear but with the scale falloff only dropping to about 80% so as not to end up with any really tiny pebbles which would be swallowed by the displacement.
Next we take the rough grass that we made in the previous tutorial and apply it to the rough earth plane forming the verge.
As before you can play around with area falloff for each Forest Object to create the best transition from one surface to another. Again exclusion splines have been used to control and vary the edge condition.
It is then a simple a case of layering up the scene as much as you like to create greater and greater complexity to produce a more natural feel. In this example we added ferns and spider plants to the main body of the landscape, dead leaves to the edges of the drive and grass clumps to the centre of the drive.
A few further features of Forest Pack Pro were used for the finishing touches of the scene which are just worth mentioning. For the grass clumps in the centre of the drive an inclusion spline was used rather that the previously adopted exclusion spline. The thing which is different about using a spline as an include area rather than an exclude one is that the surface area must be turned off, otherwise the inclusion will only include what is already visible. Slightly strange but once you get your head round the idea it's fairly intuitive. It's also worth remembering that when using Include Areas only use the Include Parameters in the Falloff (global properties) section not the Exclude ones.
There are many other features in Forest Pack Pro which can be used to add greater complexity including paint Areas which can be used to add more leaves for example, perhaps in a tight corner having been blown there by the wind! We will cover this and other aspects in future tutorials.