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Making of Reaching Out


Soenke Maeter takes us through the process of creating his mystical city for the Blender World Conference.

Making of Reaching Out by Soenke Maeter

When i saw that the BWC started for 2008, i couldn't resist to challenge myself by entering. The basic idea was to create a big tower with an oriental feeling to it, so after gathering lots of references about oriental buildings and towers like the famous paintings of the Tower of Babel created by Pieter Brueghel the Elder, i started modeling. After some development, i started creating prototype houses, mini towers, a palace and assembled them to a city.

Slowly my idea materialized itself, but i still lagged a concept for the front scene. I thought about an architect tearing his hair while starring at a broken miniature model of the tower or a scene on a street with lots of people and stories. But none of those felt right for a monumental tower, everything seemed too concrete.

The end of the contest was still more than a month away so i made a pause in hope of getting inspired somewhere. After two weeks of no progress whatsoever, i had the idea of a woman starring onto the scene. Encouraged by that thought, i started modelling again.

While doing so, the city grew and grew and so did the performance issues. I had to split the scene in four different parts to get rid of the lags: the city, the tower, the foreground scene and later the sea. It turned out that this wasn't bad at all. It gave me the kind of freedom over the different elements of the scene, which I needed and the wonderful side effect of reduced render times made the working on this project even more fun. While modelling here and there in hope for good ideas to get the level of detail to an interesting state, I started to arrange the different image elements in relation to each other.

After some struggling, I finally found the right format and composition for the lowest frequencies of the image. Now all the fundamentals were laid, the detail work could start. Gladly my mind came up with enough new ideas and so the rest of the process went very smooth.

The only thing that still gave me a headache was the dress, but after good advice from the community, the path for the last touches was cleared. Some sky bleeding, blooming here and there, color gradients and also little details like the moon or the whale fin and voilà the work was done.

If you would like to see more works by Soenke you can visit his site, Visual-Noise.

Update: Soenke now updated his site with the making of and a special Behind-the-Scenes section.


  1. Holy crap! You actually modeled the individual buildings in the city? In two months? ALONE?

    I think I need a teacher. I can't even imagine.

  2. Gratuliere Sönke!
    Klasse Idee mit dem Absplitten des Bildes in verschiedene Detailgrade und danach der Komposition mit den Nodes.
    Freue mich dass das Forum dir Tipps wegen dem Kleid gegeben hat - das finde ich übrigens echt Spitze bei Blender und ihren Usern. Man hilft sich, weil halt doch oft ein idealistischer Grundgedanke mitschwingt...

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