ROAD SIDE: Breakdown
I thought I would take some time to do a small break down on my latest print project. My goal for this print was to make a vibrant colorful scene with a more illustrative feel. I used 3ds Max and Mental ray for this project and did the post work in Photoshop. The latter was used mainly to do color corrections, compositing of all the render passes and painting the background. The final output was 6400x3600, fun!

Modeling and Lighting

The modeling was pretty straight forward with sub-d models for the grenades and medium to low poly rocks that used a normal map for more detail. I used the new object paint tools in 3ds Max 2011 to scatter the main set of rocks, and used particle flow to distribute the smaller rocks to fill in the scene. And to finish it off a ground plain was displaced for the bumpy road.

The Scene was lit with an HDRI image and two mr area spot lights. One was used for the Key light to cast shadows, and one for the subtle back light to bring out some detail. The goal was to create a very moody scene that at the same time seems bright and colorful.


For the textures I decided to unwrap the UVs for the grenades so I could paint detail right where I needed it. I also used the 3ds Max tool view port canvas to paint weld joints and bumps on the metal parts of the grenades. For the rusty underlay I went out into our local alleyways near work and shot a bunch of grungy textures. This was then masked over with wall paper and design patterns I found on the web that fit the colors and textures I was looking for.
This view of the slate material editor shows my basic layout for the main rock texture. I used one shader with the multi sub-map to tint rocks using color shifted maps. There were other unique maps used, but this did the job of adding random color for a good number of rocks.

Render Layers

Here are some of the layers I used to compose the scene such as depth of field, occlusion, rock separation and some other bits. In the end I did go a bit over board on how many layers I had, but at the resolution I was working at I wanted a lot of control in post.