I’m glad to finally share this Making-of post of my favorite hobby project. Originally I wanted to split it into more posts according to part of the process in which I currently was, but I think it will be better to have it all in one place. About one year ago, I decided to recreate a real project of some nice architecture into the 3d environment, to better understand differences between these two „worlds“, and to try to approach almost realistic result by matching the materials and lights to ones in photos. I was trying to find some project, that consists of nice architectural shapes, airy interior and rich natural exterior scene. After few days of searching, I finally found the ideal project for me – Villa Spee by Lab32 architecten.
„The villa, designed by architect Loek Stijnen from Lab32 architects, meets the residence preferences for country living. The “box” floats beautifully above the naturally undulating landscape, fitted both at the front and at the back with panoramic windows that optimize the indoor/outdoor connection.“
Final visualizations are full CGI, so I didn’t use any backplates or cut-out assets in Photoshop, but built a whole scene in 3ds Max. For rendering, I use Corona renderer for few years, and this project wasn’t an exception 🙂
I started the project by getting as many references as possible – photos, floorplans and sections. Because it is a real project, I found all of these references easily on archdaily.com. I created simple planes in 3ds max and put floorplans and sections onto it as a simple textures. Then I scaled planes into the real size according to dimensions on drawings, and distributed them so the floor on drawings was on the 0-level on the Z-axis.
After that, I started with creating walls – in the top view I drew a plane in the corner of the wall and started to extend its edges according to the floorplan. Next part was to make windows and doors. In this project, there are two types of windows – sliding and still ones. Firstly I modeled a sliding window by sweeping the spline with DWG drawing of window profile (you can get it on the website of the manufacturer). Similarly, I modeled the still one.
This is how a scene looks like with all the windows:
When a base structure is made, I continue by modeling the furniture and kitchen appliances. The furniture in this project is mostly easy-shaped so I modeled it easily from primitive objects. The interesting part of modeling was the lamp above a dining table, but after I found out geometrical principles from the photos of the lamp, it wasn’t a big deal to model it.
The living room consists of the basic coffee tables, which I made quickly by creating a box, deleting side polygons, chamfering edges and finally adding a shell modifier to add some thickness. The sofa is made of some model from my library and modifying it to catch the good result. A significant part of the living room is the fireplace, which I made in previous steps. Now I just added a gravel with Forest Pack plugin and fire. It is only a plane on which I applied Corona Light Material to emit some nice warm light.
This is how the completely modeled interior looks like. My selected parts of the interior to render is kitchen, living room, hall and part of the office caught in the hall view. The next thing was to model an exterior environment according to photos.
I started to model an exterior by the terrace, created once again by plane and applying a floor generator on it, modeling a pool and some seating nearby. The more difficult part was the vegetation. For the plants, I used a mix of models from my library. I distributed small plants (like ivy over the ground) with Corona Scatter, and most of the trees manually to match the right position according to references. I really didn’t care about parts that will be not visible to camera, so the scene looks little bit funny at this stage 🙂
Creating shaders was very useful in this project and I had fun during this process. It wasn’t hard to reach the realistic look of materials because I compared them with the real photos every time.
There were three important parts of shading, which I really cared about:
- Concrete floor, which is visible on each interior render
- Wood planks on the fireplace
- Leaves on the ivy plants in exterior
On the images below, you can see how the shaders look like in the material editor.
The goal was very simple here: a nice sunny day with soft interior lighting. I recently use HDRI maps for lighting, because it’s simplicity and various types of atmosphere. Nevertheless, I used a Corona Sky&Sun system here, because I needed to adjust a specific position of the Sun, to achieve a correct shadow. I had to change the settings a little bit, because the sky cast bluish shadows on the walls. For this reason I changed the value of Turbidity in Corona Sky settings, to approximately match the lighting on reference photos. Also, I had to play a bit with size and intensity of the sun, too.
Lighting in interior is achieved by Corona lights, mostly with IES maps.
Here is my lighting setup and render settings:
There was really quick work in the photoshop – I only adjusted a color balance and slightly increased a contrast by the S-curve. You can see the small difference between Raw Render and a corrected one.
The whole process of re-constructing the real world into three-dimensional one was a very good step for me. It helped me to better understand principals of lighting and I improved the process of creating materials as well, so I really recommend this kind of training for you, too 🙂
Hope you enjoyed this making-of article and feel free to ask questions in comments below.