Hi, my name is Amogh Jadhav and I am from India. I am an aspiring product designer currently studying at the National Institute of Design India. Creation has always been something of a keen interest to me. Ever since I was a kid, I would always explore new ways of expressing my creations in various ways. It would take the form of drawings and paintings initially. Along the way, I stumbled upon Blender and that started my journey in 3D modelling and rendering. As of now, I keep modelling and rendering as a free time hobby to explore new aesthetics and concepts. My main focus is learning the different aspects of product design and gaining proficiency in the field. But very often, the two worlds collide.
Steps on Artwork
My source of inspiration would be the Blade Runner aesthetic combined with the feel of certain other works. Sci-Fi and cyberpunk have always appealed to me. But, what has appealed more is the concept of sci-fi in the past. So, alternate history which has elements of sci-fi and cyberpunk. Works of Simon Stålenhag, the Alien series, the Alien: Isolation game, and the aesthetics of David Fincher’s work served as the major inspirations for this piece.
I have created pieces of work before that explore the same concept and theme—the BW-350T or the Offroad EV Bike Concept, for instance. Somehow I wasn’t able to strike the right tone in those works. They came close but the feeling of believability didn’t exist. So I decided that instead of creating a new concept, I would start with an existing one, which is very simple, devoid of a lot of geometric details and functionality. I wanted to find something that is very clean, simple, and mundane in everyday life. The thought being, that I could focus on the other aspects that I was missing but that helped with the feel, such as the lightning, camera angles, camera properties, color correction, materials, etc.
Searching through the net, I found the Watchman Voyager to be the perfect candidate. It has a simple geometric shape which is quite mundane if not composed properly. It has a good variety of different materials without being too many. And it has some eye-catching elements like the blues and reds on the display panel, which would help with the composition.
Modeling the piece was very straightforward, with little to no challenges here.
To get the textures right, I was searching to see if I could find the fonts used for ‘Watchman’ and ‘Voyager’. However, I couldn’t find them so I just Photoshopped them in from reference images. The other text is also an approximation of the actual font, which I created in Illustrator. My main focus was on creating the specked metal material which is the majority of the Watchman. I tried getting the same material on my Offroad EV Concept Bike, but there it hadn’t worked out. Not quite the effect I wanted. Not having to model and texture too much, I spent quite some time getting that material right, and I am happy to have gotten it to what I wanted. Now it will be in my material library. The next process is simply working out the lighting, composition, and colors. Here my training in product design helped a lot as we always tend to do exercises where we compose our models, photograph them with light sources, and create posters.
In these wireframe snapshots, you can see some floating planes on the surfaces. They are really the graphic texture with the logo and fonts.
Some non-rendered diffused shaded snapshots.
The material setup for the metallic body. I played around with the noise setting values to let light reflect in that speckled way. I also added a smudge texture to make it feel a little worn and non-uniform.
To figure out the lighting, I needed to find a way to differentiate the already light curves from the light-colored background. I intentionally chose to use a light background since it has more aesthetic appeal but it is harder to light the model especially if the model is also mostly light. Luckily, the material is metallic, so that allowed for some interesting creative choices.
The key for this model was the front round chamfer that exists along the edges. I positioned the lights and reflectors in such a way that the chamfer would either catch a highlight or catch some dark reflector.
Below is an example scene for one of the renders with various spot lights positioned to reduce any harsh shadows and get nice curve distinction. Also note the reflector plane on the right:
These are some iterations of my lighting setups with various colors, and materials for the back plane. I was looking for the right feel:
For post-processing, I didn’t use any Blender nodes. I simply exported the raw renders to Photoshop and worked on getting the grain and color to set the tone.
Mainly I added some grain to mimic the film camera effect. I pushed the shadows towards blue and highlights towards yellow (inspired from the Mindhunter look) which is a standard complementary color scheme. Also, in some images, I increased the contrast to really make the different colors on the front panel stand out.
Here is the raw render vs. post-processing:
About the Author