NVIDIA's Andrew Averkin has told us about the workflow behind the My Little Fairy project, discussed the scene assembly process, and explained how NVIDIA's Omniverse Create tool was used for texturing, lighting, and rendering.
Childhood is a world where everything is simple and easy. The world of smiles and a good mood. And it seems that it will always be like that, and the fairy tale will never end. When I think of childhood, my smile grows wider. This is the most amazing and carefree time, bright memories saturated with the brightest colors. For kids, life seems somehow easy and everything that happens does not really matter. Kids are little people who give memories of the past, of childhood, and they teach us to enjoy and live another life.
I remember how my dad and I ran barefoot on the grass, walked in the rain and jumped into puddles, built castles from sand and pillows, dispersed the clouds with our hands, and we constantly played together. That time was really great, I saw happiness in every little thing. And I want this time to remain in my memory for a long time.
Keeping these thoughts, I decided to make this work called My Little Fairy and gift these colorful images, memories, emotions, and feelings to Jensen and Madison Huang and to everyone who has kids. I hope, you can feel all this again, at least for a moment...
As usual, I started this project by gathering references. The idea in my head was to build a nice and cute room for a small girl, the room under the house roof filled with many different toys, a warm and soft bed, a beautiful princess dress, flowers, and other cute things that kids love to play with.
I gathered a lot of references for different kinds of things, starting from interiors, kids' rooms, toys, furniture, kids’ clothing, and many more. And once I gathered enough references, I placed them into one sheet that guided me throughout the entire creation process. Next, I jumped to another stage – gathering 3D models.
The next step was to search for some good 3d models. In this, as in many other projects I did before, I didn't want to make every single piece from scratch, otherwise, it would have taken me months to complete it. But I wanted to concentrate on the story instead, to show the mood, the atmosphere of the girl’s room, her childhood memories, and her parents' love that you can see in her eyes.
Also, this project became another great opportunity to practice storytelling, the creation of lighting, composition, and, of course, a good way of getting more practice with Autodesk 3ds Max and NVIDIA Omniverse Create workflow. So, based on the references I had, I bought a large collection of 3D models from a variety of great 3D Artists. This allowed me to complete this project and tell the story in about a week during vacation time.
I used 3ds Max as the main software to create and assemble the 3D scene. I also used a very powerful script called Assembly Tool that I did with my friend. That tool helped me to assemble the scene in 2 days or so. More about this tool can be found here.
The best part was that while I was able to use all the tools in 3ds Max to quickly assemble the scene, I was then able to make renders super fast and easily in Omniverse Create.
NVIDIA Omniverse Create
So, what is NVIDIA Omniverse, and what is Create? In short, Omniverse is NVIDIA’s platform for simulation, rendering, robotics, and so on. One of the tools in the NVIDIA suite is Create – a tool designer for artists and creators. The best way to think of Create is like a world-building tool with many powerful features and the ability to work in Real Time mode and get stunning renders with hyper-real quality in Path Trace mode.
Create has connectors that are a kind of bridge plug-ins for different software like Autodesk 3ds Max, Autodesk Revit, Unreal Engine, or Autodesk Maya. Using connectors, you can quickly bring your 3D content directly to Create, no matter if it is 3D models or even big and complex scenes, and use real-time physics, simulation, and of course beautiful renders. The entire Omniverse suite is based on the USD file format. You can check more information about Omniverse Platform and Omniverse Create on the website.
Most of the third-party 3D models that I got had V-Ray materials. But this is not a big deal because 3ds Max Connector can easily handle such materials. When you export 3D models with V-Ray materials to Create, you get MDL materials – Materials Definition Language. It is a technology developed by NVIDIA to define physically-based materials for physically-based rendering solutions.
If you are not familiar with MDL but you still want to get whole control over your materials, you can use a variety of built-in materials in Omniverse Create with flexible and easy-to-use settings, one of which is OmniPBR which I use for almost 99% of my 3D models. You can find more info about MDL here.
I got a stunning girl 3D model from CGTrader which had all the necessary rigs to make some nice poses. It was very fun to play with poses and facial expressions to share the girl’s mood and to convey her strongest emotions.
Omniverse Create has everything you need to make stunning and realistic lighting. It has a variety of different light sources with simple and easy controls. In the girl’s room, I wanted to make nice neutral daylighting, with a warm sun that hits the floor and walls slightly. For the ambient light, I used a Dome with one of the built-in HDRI Maps that you can find in the Sky library. I also used Rectangular Light behind the window to act as a light portal to brighten the indoor part of the room and provide some nice shadows. Click here to find more info about Omniverse Create lighting.
To present the scene and tell the story, I set up around 100 different cameras and paid enough attention to staging the compositions to completely immerse the viewers into the girl’s story. Doing this, I felt as though people could now feel the atmosphere I was creating from various perspectives. You can find more about Omniverse Create cameras here.
Before rendering my final scene, I played with Post-Processing settings a little bit and added some color grading and Chromatic Aberration. For the final render, I used Path Trace mode to get the most realistic result. I didn’t tweak rendering settings too much but left them pretty much default. More about rendering in Create is here and here.
I want to say huge thanks to Gabriele Leone, John Spitzer, my team members, and of course to Jensen and Madison Huang, to whom this work was dedicated. Thanks, everyone for reading this article! I hope it gave you a basic understanding of how I created the My Little Fairy project and how easy it was to bring it to life with the help of 3ds Max and Omniverse Create.
Andrew Averkin, Senior Art Manager at NVIDIA
Inspired by Andrew’s work?
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Join the NVIDIA Omniverse User Group to see what other artists have created in Omniverse, and An Artist's Omniverse: How to Build Large-Scale, Photoreal Virtual Worlds to see Andrew Averkin’s latest work.