Using Rendering Engines in the 3D Workflow

Using Rendering Engines in the 3D Workflow

Dorian Marchesin gave a little talk on V-Ray and rendering engines in general and lighting.

Dorian Marchesin gave a little talk on V-Ray and rendering engines in general and lighting.


My name is Dorian Marchesin, 31 years old, from Franch. I’ve been a CG artist for 10 years. First, I studied mechanics, but after discovering 3D I changed my way and went to computer graphics school in the south of France for two years.

After taking internships at TAT Productions in Toulouse and at NKI in Paris (formerly Akama Studio), I joined the young Unit Image team in 2011. Today, I’m their environment and rendering supervisor for commercials, VFX and game trailer.

At Unit Image, I worked on most of the projects, especially on the Crew, the Division, Beyond Good & Evil, plus several projects for Ubisoft games. I also had the chance to work on the Final Fantasy 15 Kingslave movie and many other projects. The commercials and trailers can be checked on my ArtStation page.

About Approach to Art in General

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In fact, I do not know how to draw. I have a Wacom on my desk but I never use it. My lack of technical 2D knowledge forced me to adapt my workflow to 3D and also focus more photography aspects (I love to take pictures).

My workflow is really simple, especially thanks to V-Ray which really simplifies the work. I try to make the images that cost me the least energy possible, especially due to the lack of time, and I do not hesitate to camouflage an object or frame it differently when I do not have the time to model it, for example.

I often compare 3D to cooking: prepare the elements in advance and do a homogeneous assembly. I love doing 3D images because I can express many things that can not be easily reproduced by photos. Also, before starting to work on the image in 3D, I never open the program before knowing exactly what exactly I want to do.


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I do my lighting and put the camera at the very start of the process since, for me, the lighting is a primary component in my compositing. I use it as often as possible as a narrative tool even if there are some losses in realism or logic and tend to avoid lighting too raw or too vertical.

I also love to play with the fog to work on the silhouettes and the colors. It is very important to break the 3D effect of a scene and diffuse the lighting in a more realistic way.

In almost all my projects I use only two lights: a luminous dome with an HDRI for the sky and the GI, and a veritable sun often low enough to achieve orange lighting. In general, with V-Ray, it is useless to cheat if you want to make realistic lighting: put lights where the bulbs are in real life with proper size and intensity. I am also inspired by the setups in some studios where they simulate lighting in the shooting area.

Rendering Engine Advantages

The advantage of working with V-Ray or a rendering engine in CGI is that we really do not have to understand how it works to get high-quality renders. There is a magic side when we just put a light in our scene and see all the elements react to it realistically: the transparency, the ray tracing for the reflection, the radiosity, etc. Basic elements in the rendering engines are pre-calculated and one simply needs to create the corresponding materials. It’s a perfect tool to simulate reality and manage photography aspects (exposure, camera opening, depth of the field, etc.) in a few clicks.

Nvidia RTX Release and Its Influence

I think the recent Nvidia RTX release and future innovations will only bring both pre-calculated and real-time techniques and tools closer, and it is a great advantage for both worlds. The release of Nvidia RTX did not change my way of working, but I am impatient to discover the progress and the speed of calculation time that we will have in the future.

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How Important Is the Choice of Software?

The quality of an environment does not really depend on a separate software solution or technique used. I focus on the composition and framing of my images and the silhouettes of my objects more than on the quality or complexity of the models or materials. I think we should keep the choice of textures and color matching simple and think about what we want to tell regardless of the technique or software.

I often see much better artwork made in real-time engines and I think that my visuals would be almost the same if I had enough experience to produce them in the real-time engines.

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Advice for Learners

The most important thing is to take time to observe the environment and understand the references we are looking at: the functionality of the objects, the way they are made or how the plants grow and so on. I had the chance to live in a very rustic area when I was young, that’s why I love nature and its processes.

If you have the chance to live in a big city like Paris, go to museums, walk to observe the architecture, draw inspiration!  I also strongly advise to invest in a camera as soon as possible if you want to be better in lighting and 3D rendering – I think it is essential!

Dorian Marchesin, 3D Artist

Interview conducted by Kirill Tokarev

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