Building Monkey Island Scene in Glorious 3D
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Building Monkey Island Scene in Glorious 3D
7 July, 2016

Environment artist Rafael Chies talked about the creation of his Monkey Island scene, inspired by the work of Lucas Arts. It’s a great exercise in beautiful asset production and high-quality materials. The scene is rendered with the help of Fox Render farm, which took about 30 hours!



My name is Rafael Chies, I’m from Brazil and I’ve been working as 3D artist since 2010 and I’m currently working as Lookdev\environment artist on a five-minute cinematic that should be done by the end of august. I always liked to play video games, some of them like Monkey Island marked my childhood.


Monkey Island

I was always focused on doing professional works, didn’t make any personal work since 2011. I really felt that I needed to start new personal works. Also always wanted to make my own version of some scenes from games\tv shows that I love. With this scene I wanted to show my techniques as Lookdev\Environment artist and at the same time making a tribute to the old and almost forgotten point’n click games.



I had to make some alterations. I mean, this game runs at 4:3 resolution, and have two characters interacting within the environment, so in the game everything makes sense and your eye knows exactly where to look at.  As I had no intention to make the characters I had to change the composition to build some focus area, otherwise the image would be really confusing and eye of spectator would be lost. I really wish I could work with the scene mirrored, having the main area on the left corner, but I thought that doing this would turn the image too far from the original one.



As I wanted to challenge myself, I made everything almost in an handmade way, it was lots of work but also I learned a lot! I blocked the house structure inside Maya, then went to Zbrush to detail them.  The books and the Ships\Bottles I did the modeling entirely on Maya. All the rest were made entirely from spheres\cubes and dynamesh inside Zbrush.





I made some presets for wood, gold and iron and played a lot with them to create many variations. For all of them, the secret is having a lot of different layers. In case of metal, I made layers of rust, mud, dust and three or four variations of glossiness. In case of wood,  also made layers of three colors of wood, including a brighter one to simulate scratches and broken edges.

Clothes Materials of Manny

It’s quite simple, actually! The secret here is balancing the weight of the displacement and the density of fur! For the fine details like the golden ornaments and the lace scarf, I used images to create normal, displacement, specular and opacity map.



Lighting is totally important in every scene. Doesn’t matter how great your model or textures are, if the lighting isn’t good it will destroy everything in the scene. Also lighting sets the entire mood and feel of the piece. As the original piece was really cozy and warm I wanted to keep the same feeling, but with more mood and contrast.  I created a warm HDRI and some warm rectangular lights to paint the light through some key spots.



The post processing was basically applying the AO, depth of field, color correction and some particle dust. I broke the render in some parts:  foreground, the main table, house structure,  general assets and background. Also made layers of Fur and Fog in order to have more control in post and slow down the render time.


The render was rendered on Fox Render farm, they supported me a lot, I was rendering this image in 720p at home, with their help I could render it in 2.8k. It took abut 30 hours to render all layers and passes.

Rafael Chies, 3D Generalist

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