3D World




Start by clear­ing any startup nodes and add a Range node, in­creas­ing def­i­ni­tion to 60%, this will up the de­tail a lit­tle. Leave ev­ery­thing else as de­fault. Ad­just the seed value un­til you get a re­sult you like, this im­age uses 2,420.


Next add a Cany­onizer node to cre­ate large canyons in the ter­rain, per­fect for plac­ing the river and city. Set For­ma­tion to 42% for the over­all size of the canyons, Stream­line to 37% to soften the edges, mak­ing em­bank­ments rather than deep cuts, and set Max­i­mum Depth to 44%, af­fect­ing the over­all depth. Fi­nally, set the seed to 78,290.


Now we need an Ero­sion node, set its Du­ra­tion to 13%. This sim­u­lates the length of time the ter­rain has been ex­posed to ero­sion. Set In­hi­bi­tion to 16% – this value af­fects the amount of ma­te­rial being car­ried down and main­tained from the peaks. Set the Ran­dom Sed­i­men­ta­tion value to 200%, which is used here to cre­ate more vari­a­tion in the sed­i­men­ta­tion. Leave this value lower if you want to main­tain more of the val­leys from the main ero­sion pa­ram­e­ter.


From here we are go­ing to use a se­ries of Data nodes to cre­ate masks that will be used for tex­tur­ing both in Gaea and 3ds Max. For these to work, right-click the Ero­sion node and choose ‘pin as un­der­lay’. Re­fer back to the ref­er­ence and check where the rock for­ma­tions are and aren’t cov­ered in grass. The Slope node should be used to cap­ture the steeper rock for­ma­tions, this will be used to mask out the rock from the grasses. Set the min­i­mum value quite high, above 60°. Flow can be left as de­fault.


Cre­at­ing the colour maps is very sim­ple in Gaea. First, make the dark rock ma­te­rial. Add a Satmap node, change the li­brary to ‘Rocky’ and se­lect the ‘0033’ Satmap. In the Satmap ed­i­tor, change the out point to be­low 50%. Add a sec­ond Satmap node for the grass­lands, un­der the ‘Rocky’ li­brary choose ‘0324’, leave the in and out points the same, and set the bias to 71%. In pre-pro­cess­ing check the re­verse and jit­ter check­boxes.

Next, these two Satmaps will be com­bined. Cre­ate a Mixer node, plug the grass­lands Satmap into the first in­put and the dark rock into the sec­ond in­put. Use the Slope node in the mask slot. In the Mixer node, make sure that the blend mode is set to blend and the ra­tio is at 100%. This should cre­ate the ef­fect of the grass not grow­ing on the steep rock faces.

From here on you can make any changes you like to the ter­rain and Gaea will update them. Now that the look and tex­ture is sorted, you can cre­ate the other moun­tains. From this node tree, sim­ply re­place the ini­tial Range node with a Moun­tain node. Cre­ate a few moun­tains and ranges to fill out the ter­rain and to match the block­out and con­cept.


To ex­port the Data maps, se­lect the nodes you wish to ex­port, right-click, and choose Mark for Ex­port or press F3. To ex­port the mesh sim­ply add the Mesher node to the last Ge­om­e­try node; in the Mesher prop­er­ties you can se­lect the file type and poly­gon count. For close moun­tains a de­tailed mesh is im­por­tant, but some­thing lower res­o­lu­tion can be used for dis­tant land masses as the de­tail will be lost any­way.

Un­der the build tab you can change the file type for the tex­tures and util­i­ties. This im­age uses 8K for close moun­tains and 4K for the dis­tant moun­tains. Both are 16-bit TIFF files.

Once the maps and meshes are ex­ported, you can then im­port them into 3ds Max and re­place the block­out meshes.


This por­tion of the tu­to­rial fo­cuses on the ledge the char­ac­ter stands on. Some Megas­cans as­sets are utilised here as they are close to the cam­era and are high qual­ity, which works well when un­der time pres­sure. The ledge is one of the ‘Huge Ice­landic Lava Cliff’ as­sets as it has some nice step­ping de­tail.


The moss is also from Megas­cans, but you can use your own as­sets or source them else­where. Im­port them into the scene on an ap­pro­pri­ately sized plane, cut out each piece of moss and de­tach them – there is a handy ‘De­tach El­e­ments’ script you can down­load to make that a lit­tle eas­ier. Once you have all the pieces sep­a­rated, align the piv­ots to the base of the moss stems, re­name the ob­jects to some­thing you can eas­ily pick later on (for ex­am­ple SCA_G_ MOSS_XXX) and place them on a sep­a­rate layer for scat­ter ob­jects.


This next step can be done in ei­ther Zbrush, Sub­stance Pain­ter or 3ds Max. 3ds Max was used for this project, the steps are as fol­lows. Se­lect one of the rock el­e­ments used in the ledge and ap­ply a new ma­te­rial to it, this will pre­serve the ma­te­rial sent over from Megas­cans Bridge. Choose Tools>view­port Can­vas. A di­a­log win­dow will pop up, click on the paint brush icon and choose to save the mask to the dif­fuse colour. A map size of 2,048 works well as this is just a loose mask, then save it into the folder struc­ture. Once that’s saved, 3ds Max should au­to­mat­i­cally open up the layer win­dow to start paint­ing.

First, add a new layer and set the colour to black and use the paint bucket to fill the whole mesh. This will serve as the ar­eas where no moss will grow. You will now no longer see the mesh – to fix this, just turn that layer off. Make another new layer above that, this time with a white colour, and start to paint the ar­eas the moss would grow. Us­ing scat­ter in the brush will help add some vari­a­tion to the paint. Once you’re happy, turn the black layer back on, right-click to exit the view­port can­vas mode, and choose to flat­ten the lay­ers down. This will be the mask for For­est Pack to scat­ter the moss.


Cre­ate a For­est Pack ob­ject and se­lect the ledge el­e­ment you were just mask­ing. Name it Fp_­moss_ Scat­ter_01 to keep the nam­ing tidy. Un­der the Ge­om­e­try tab, delete the de­fault plane ob­ject and choose the ‘add from list’ icon. You can search for the pre­fix of SCA to eas­ily iden­tify the moss cards. Se­lect them all and add them to the list. The size of the cards will de­ter­mine the size of the moss scat­tered cards. If they are too large or small, sim­ply change the global scale to suit. Ex­pand the Sur­faces tab and set the mode to UV. Next in the Sur­face tab, change the di­rec­tion be­tween nor­mal and up (this im­age uses 41). This ori­ents the meshes. By de­fault, For­est Pack will scat­ter the cards per­pen­dic­u­lar to the poly­gon, how­ever, this is un­re­al­is­tic as the moss should grow more ver­ti­cally.

Open up the Dis­tri­bu­tion tab and ap­ply the mask to the map slot. This should have an im­me­di­ate ef­fect on the scat­ter place­ment. Next, change the den­sity (this im­age uses a value of 0.5m). If a di­a­log win­dow pops up say­ing that you have ex­ceeded the dis­play limit, sim­ply dis­miss the win­dow. In­stead, open the Dis­play tab and in­crease the max items num­ber.


Open the Trans­form tab and turn on the trans­la­tion, ro­ta­tion and scale op­tions. These were left at de­fault, but feel free to change them if you want. The moss should look some­thing like this (see above).


As this tu­to­rial is more about the en­vi­ron­ment, and there are al­ready quite a few great tu­to­ri­als for char­ac­ter modelling out there, I will keep this sec­tion brief.

For this con­cept you only see the char­ac­ter from the back, so the char­ac­ter’s face need not be too de­tailed, and he’ll be heav­ily cov­ered in cloth­ing. This fig­ure is the Nick Hu­man Male base mesh that ships with Zbrush and a scan of some cloth­ing from Polyg­o­nal Minia­tures on Art­sta­tion.

From here, pose the char­ac­ter, and sculpt some more fa­cial de­tail. Add some fiber mesh hair, which will be ex­ported as curves for Or­na­trix.

Im­port the cloth­ing into Sub­stance Pain­ter and mask out the sep­a­rate el­e­ments of the cloth­ing to change them, for ex­am­ple to cre­ate more con­trast with the en­vi­ron­ment.


Kit­bash­ing is a fan­tas­tic way to pro­duce a high-qual­ity con­cept when un­der a time bud­get. Kit­bash3d has a great kit to match the orig­i­nal con­cept of a steam­punk city, which was used here.

Start out by think­ing with vol­umes, like in the con­cept phase. Set the view­port to Flat Colour and Per­for­mance Mode, to have a clean flat grey to work with. Start by com­bin­ing shapes to­gether and get some­thing ap­peal­ing go­ing. Don’t be locked down to the ex­ist­ing groups. Us­ing sym­me­try to mod­ify ex­ist­ing shapes can be a fast way to cre­ate some vari­a­tions.

Once you’ve got a sil­hou­ette that you like, bring it into the ter­rain and start to in­te­grate it into the moun­tain­side. Add some smaller de­tails such as ca­bles, rail lines, zi­plines and more pip­ing.

Cre­ate a wall around the city and an in­te­rior ground plane. Next make a For­est Pack ob­ject and ap­ply it to the floor. This will be used to scat­ter some smaller homes.

Se­lect all the small houses that you want to scat­ter and re­name them to have a SCA pre­fix, so you can eas­ily find and add them. With the for­est se­lected, open the Ge­om­e­try tab and add the scat­ter homes. Ad­just the scale to suit. The city is sup­posed to be huge, so keep that in mind when scal­ing the homes. Open the Dis­tri­bu­tion tab and change the Scat­ter Type to Grid 1 and ad­just the units so the homes aren’t in­ter­sect­ing with one another. Next open the Trans­form tab and turn on trans­la­tion ran­domi­sa­tion, keep­ing the set­tings low, again so the homes don’t in­ter­sect. Do the same for ro­ta­tion and scale, mak­ing sure the ro­ta­tion X and Y are set to 0 so the houses don’t tilt.

Cre­ate splines around the city build­ings, these will be used to cull any homes for that area. Open the Ar­eas tab and choose the ‘add new spline’ icon. Set it to ex­clude and add the splines you just drew. Next add a ge­om­e­try ob­ject, this can only be set to ex­clude. Choose the moun­tains or any ge­om­e­try that may be in­ter­sect­ing. Al­ter­na­tively you can add a paint layer and paint them out man­u­ally.


The light­ing is quite sim­ple in this scene, util­is­ing an HDR and a sun. Set­ting up HDR light­ing in Corona Ren­derer is very straight­for­ward. Open the Ren­der Set­tings tab (F10), click on the Scene tab and scroll to the Sin­gle Map roll­out. Load the HDR of your choice. For this im­age, Peter Guthrie Skies 2003 Dusk Blue was used.

Do a ren­der test and make any ad­just­ments that are re­quired.

In this scene the HDR was too sat­u­rated and too bright. The Out­put Amount was re­duced to 0.35 and the sat­u­ra­tion was re­duced by 50.

While the scene is ren­der­ing, ad­just the sun in the HDR to match the ex­ist­ing sun­light.


In the VFB turn on Tone Map­ping. Set the Ex­po­sure to an ap­pro­pri­ate value (this de­pends on the HDR). For this scene a value of -3.2 was used. Next is High­light Com­pres­sion, set this to 0.8. Leave the White Bal­ance at 6,500K. Set the Green-ma­genta value to 0.02; this value is very sen­si­tive, less is more. Lower the Con­trast value to 0.8. Lower the sat­u­ra­tion to -0.05. Set the Filmic High­lights to 0.5 and the Filmic Shadows to 0.3. Leave the Vignette off, this will be added in post.

Turn on the LUT roll­out. Kim_ Am­lan_pho­to­graph­ic_02 has been used in this scene, with a value of 0.5, but of course feel free to choose your own.


To cre­ate fog for the scene, draw a box that covers the en­tire area. Make sure not to cover the cam­era as Corona won’t ren­der fog with the ren­der cam­era in­side the vol­ume. Change the ob­ject prop­er­ties on the box to ‘Dis­play as box’ so it’s not cov­er­ing ev­ery­thing. Ap­ply the Coron­avol­umemtl to the box.

In the Ab­sorp­tion roll­out set the dis­tance, a lower value will make the fog denser. A value of 1,600m works well for this scene.

Set the Scat­ter­ing colour to a blue (R164, G189, B206). Change the Vol­ume Map­ping to In­side Vol­ume and in­crease the Step size to de­crease the ren­der times at a qual­ity cost. A per-scene bal­ance is needed. A set­ting of 4m worked well for this scene.

In the Ab­sorp­tion Colour roll­out add a Coronadis­tance map, this will be used to con­trol the height of the fog rel­a­tive to an ob­ject.

In the Dis­tance From box add the ground plane. Un­der Out­put Trans­form set Colour near to a grey (220, 220, 220), as pure white will clear the fog. Set the Dis­tance near to 80m (this value will be scene scale de­pen­dent).

Next, add a Noise map to the Colour near roll­out. Set the black colour to a dark grey (10,

10, 10). Change the Noise type to Tur­bu­lence. Set the Noise Thresh­old High to 0.246 and the Low to 0.2. Fi­nally, set the Lev­els to 10 and the Size to 2,500.


Im­port the passes into Pho­to­shop, then sep­a­rate the lay­ers into masks and passes. Group them in a way that keeps things or­gan­ised and tidy: it’s also help­ful to colour code the groups. A use­ful way to group lay­ers is:

• Passes: the sep­a­rate ren­der el­e­ments • FX: at­mo­spher­ics, LUTS, and ad­just­ments lay­ers • Util­i­ties: masks


On the raw ren­der layer, mak­ing sure the im­age is a smart ob­ject, use the Cam­era Raw fil­ter (Fil­ter>cam­era Raw). Us­ing this, ad­just the white bal­ance, con­trast and high­lights un­til you are sat­is­fied. Tip: if you click on the black ar­rows on the his­togram you can see a vis­ual cue if the whites are blown out or if the blacks are too black.


Set the Di­rect Light­ing pass to screen, add a mask and paint in ar­eas that have di­rect sun­light, but need a lit­tle boost. Here it was used to push the edge light­ing of the dis­tant moun­tains.

Set the Re­flec­tion pass to screen and paint in ar­eas that you feel could do with a lit­tle more re­flec­tiv­ity, for ex­am­ple the Zep­pelin and city domes. Set the Translu­cency pass to screen and paint in ar­eas of the veg­e­ta­tion you feel need to stand out a lit­tle more, but don’t go too heavy. A hue/sat­u­ra­tion ad­just­ment layer can be used to con­trol the colour of the greens, mak­ing sure they don’t get too sat­u­rated.

Next is adding in the Vol­u­met­rics and Zdepth. Set the Vol­u­met­rics pass to screen and mask in ar­eas just above the wa­ter so it em­pha­sises the look of mist over the wa­ter. Now take the Zdepth pass, set it to screen and an opac­ity of 20% and in­vert it. Ad­just the lev­els to clip the fore­ground fog whilst main­tain­ing the back­ground fog, un­til the fog in the back­ground be­comes denser. Add a photo fil­ter with a cool fil­ter (82) and Alt+click be­tween the photo fil­ter and the Zdepth layer so it only af­fects that layer. This should tint the fog blue. Ad­just the opac­ity un­til you are happy.

Next is the FX. The low-level cloud cover has been sourced from a va­ri­ety of cloud cutout el­e­ments. This is im­age spe­cific and to your own tastes. If you want the clouds to be less in­tense, low­er­ing the opac­ity doesn’t look very re­al­is­tic. In­stead, ad­just the lev­els for that cloud to de­crease the whites. This way the cloud will be­come less dense rather than glob­ally less opaque.

Pre-com­pose the layer (Ctrl+alt+shift+e) and make the layer a smart ob­ject, ap­ply­ing a fil­ter from the Nik Col­lec­tion (Fil­ter> Nik Col­lec­tion>color Efex Pro 4>Pro Con­trast). This bal­ances the colour con­trast and the dy­namic con­trast quickly. Al­ter­na­tively you can use the de­fault curves and colour tem­per­a­ture in the Cam­era Raw fil­ter.

Lastly, cre­ate a vignette by adding a curves layer, in­creas­ing the mid­tones and mask­ing the edges. Then du­pli­cate the layer, in­vert the mask and re­duce the mid­tones. This should cre­ate a more re­al­is­tic vignette than the de­fault op­tion in­side of the lens cor­rec­tion tab.

Now just save your im­age and you’re done! •

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 ??  ?? Ren­der set­tings There are a cou­ple of things to change in Corona’s ren­der set­tings. Nav­i­gate to the Scene tab, scroll to Denois­ing and set it to Corona High Qual­ity.
Click on the Ren­der El­e­ments tab, then se­lect Add. Add the CESSEN­TIAL_XX el­e­ments as they are all use­ful. Add Zdepth, Wire­colour and a se­ries of masks. Us­ing the mask el­e­ments, add the veg­e­ta­tion to one mask us­ing the dif­fer­ent RGB chan­nels. Also add the moun­tains, char­ac­ter, air­ships and any­thing in the scene that may be edited later on. If some­thing is missed, the Wire­colour El­e­ment is a use­ful backup. 24
Ren­der set­tings There are a cou­ple of things to change in Corona’s ren­der set­tings. Nav­i­gate to the Scene tab, scroll to Denois­ing and set it to Corona High Qual­ity. Click on the Ren­der El­e­ments tab, then se­lect Add. Add the CESSEN­TIAL_XX el­e­ments as they are all use­ful. Add Zdepth, Wire­colour and a se­ries of masks. Us­ing the mask el­e­ments, add the veg­e­ta­tion to one mask us­ing the dif­fer­ent RGB chan­nels. Also add the moun­tains, char­ac­ter, air­ships and any­thing in the scene that may be edited later on. If some­thing is missed, the Wire­colour El­e­ment is a use­ful backup. 24
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