Working on Stylized Scenes
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Working on Stylized Scenes
17 May, 2018
CGI/Static Rendering
Environment Art
Environment Design
Interview

Check out Rafael Chies talk about the way he created his amazing stylized project.

The Burrow

Thank you! This project started when Wacom approached me and asked if I was willing to make a tutorial from my previous project, that house from Beauty and the Beast, as I wanted to make a new project I said that I would love to create a tutorial but from a brand new piece. We made a poll with some themes for the new project and “The Burrow” ended up winning (Luckily that was my favorite theme). I really enjoyed to work with Wacom and I hope to make more projects with them in the future.

Modeling

As I didn’t have a concept art to follow, I mean, I had the house from the movie and some other references, but I wanted to create something new instead of a reproduction. So I started to make the basic blocking in Maya basically to understand and define what I was looking for as my own concept. I’ve worked only with simple shapes and when I was finally happy with the result of the house’s idea and structure, I started to model everything in Maya, especially nonorganic shapes. It was only after that step that I went to ZBrush.

Inside ZBrush, I sculpted details on shapes that already were more defined and basically changed everything on other shapes that I wasn’t happy with. For those that I just detailed was easy to export only the maps from ZBrush, for those that I had to change a lot the silhouette, I had to make the retopo before exporting the maps.

Vegetation

Well, I’ve modeled in Maya the plants, rocks and all the flowers, either the red ones that appear on the bottom of the scene or the white ones. Then I put them in Substance Painter and created all the materials in a procedural way. For the trees and bushes, I used the Speed Tree. To spread all these elements on the scene I used an old plugin for Maya called SpPaint, which I like so much even if it’s old because it works very well. The mushrooms are from Megascans.

Materials

Basically, for all the scene materials I used Substance Painter. In this scene, I used photoshop mainly to make the final composition and some minor adjustments to the textures. For the ground, I created a Redshift Material Blender (and displacement blender) and masked the areas where I wanted to have dirt, small rocks, dirt, and grass. 

Boards

I’ve made them directly in Substance Painter. To add realism to the materials, I always like to imagine a story behind every object. In this case, I thought that it could be about a wood that was repainted at least twice, perhaps in very different times, and certainly a long time ago, and it was also for this reason that I decide to put on some colors instead of leaving the woods in the natural color, as the original one is. The colors emphasize the idea that the house has suffered the time effects, the lack of maintenance, a natural wearing. To give this desired effect, I’ve created a wood base in Substance Painter, raw, not so saturated to seem a natural lost of saturation over the time, then I’ve created a fill layer with more thickness, to seem really peeled off, and it’s important to change the roughness because it is a different material, in this case, it’s paint and not  wood. Then I’ve duplicated the Paint layer and changed a little bit the color, roughness, height and overall attributes to transmit the idea that this paint layer is newer than the old one. After all, I added layers of dust, moss, dirt, and damage to it.

Render

Redshift always helps me because I can make a lot of details and, still, it’s a fast renderer, so it makes my work so much easier and this way I can focus so much more in my creative process, in the visual, without the need to make huge technical optimizations. The lighting is very simple, it’s an HDRi and a sunlight. Using HDRi is crucial, it makes the reflections and overall appearance of the surfaces much more complex and realistic if you use only the sky as an environment, your objects lose their equilibrium and fascination. For the overall materials I’ve only put the textures from substance painter in Redshift Materials, I’ve only made some custom shader for those with translucency or subsurface scattering.

Rafael Chies, Lookdev and Environment/Prop Artist

Interview conducted by Kirill Tokarev
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Love the level of detail.

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