Step-by-step: Ren­der­ing metal and light

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Imaginenation -

1

A quick sketch stage helps me to de­ter­mine the sub­ject mat­ter and nar­ra­tive an­gle. I like to do th­ese as line art, which gives me more con­trol over the light­ing that will match the mood and tone of the piece. The next step is to add ba­sic black and white val­ues be­neath my line art, and this en­ables me to de­ter­mine the most suit­able light sources for the fi­nal im­age.

2

I de­velop and de­sign the sub­ject; us­ing Modo en­ables me to quickly build a low-poly model, and set up ac­cu­rate light and sur­face prop­er­ties. I now have enough in­for­ma­tion to paint my im­age, and I use Pho­to­shop to edit the light­ing and ba­sic colour scheme. I al­ways keep a copy of this ‘light model’ on a sep­a­rate layer, and re­fer back to it through­out the process.

3

I use 3D- Coat to gen­er­ate sev­eral tex­ture and ma­te­rial passes, un­til I set­tle on the worn sur­face. As you work on tex­tur­ing, you’ll lose the light­ing in­for­ma­tion pre­vi­ously set up, and this is why re­fer­ring back to the light model layer you cre­ated en­sures you stay true to your in­tended com­po­si­tion. Once your tex­tures are in place, you need to reap­ply your light­ing scheme.

4

Dur­ing the fi­nal stages you’ll blend and in­te­grate all the el­e­ments. Metal­lic sur­faces will pick up light sources from across your scene: ask your­self where the light will bounce to once it’s re­flected by your metal com­po­nents. It’s easy to add too much shine every­where, which can re­sult in overly ex­posed sur­faces. Be sure to only add high­lights where they’re needed.

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