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Behind the Scenes: The Final Stop



Hi, my name is Denis Skiba, also known as Mapper720. I am from Nizhny Novgorod, Russia. I first became interested in 3D in 2012. At that time, I was already using Linux, so my choice of 3D software was clear. I exclusively studied from tutorials found on the internet.


The art was based on the 7 days of summer: Lost Alpha visual novel, which was the user scenario for another visual novel, Everlasting Summer. In the prologue, the bus carrying the protagonist loses control on ice and falls off a bridge into a river.


The main tool used was Blender, with Substance Painter for texturing. GIMP and Inkscape were used for post-processing.


When it came to making the bus look much older, I used Substance Painter to create dirty and old textures.

Since this software doesn't have all the necessary materials in its standard library, I also used Substance Designer to create the missing textures. Additionally, I partially tore off a poster on the window and shut down one of the ceiling lamps for this purpose.


The water flow was created with a standard Blender fluid simulator, no add-ons were used. This was my first serious experience using the Blender fluid simulation.

Initially, the fluid cache with mesh, spray, foam, and bubbles took about 400 GB on my hard drive! Then, I modified and re-baked it. Although I didn’t change the quality settings (I just added an additional inflow object), the new cache took only 100 GB.

The foam, bubbles, and spray were tiny mesh balls. I tried to make them extremely low-poly, and even change them to cubes, but the render time was still enormous: without these particles, Blender rendered the image in a couple of minutes, but with them, the render time increased to dozens of hours—for one frame only.

I was advised to use a point cloud instead of mesh balls. I followed this recommendation and it solved the issue: the render time became pretty acceptable.


The lighting was a big challenge. If the main light was enabled, the image would lose the atmosphere of fear and hopelessness. However, if I shut it down, the image became a black square.

I attempted to create light sources outside the bus, but they were not powerful enough to light the bus with frozen windows, which was drowning at night in dark waters.

Finally, I decided to make a single lamp above the door and make the gamma colder in the Composer.


The "water" outside the bus is PrincipledBSDF + VolumeAbsorption + particle bubbles.


Some small tweaks were made with GIMP and Inkscape.

You can find the timelapse of this artwork here:

I have also rendered two variants of a 360-degree panorama: one is a simple spherical panorama, and the second is for red/cyan anaglyph glasses. You can find them here on my Website and on Artstation.


Realistic renders:

Renders with toon shading:

And that's all!

Thank you for reading my article and have a nice day!

About the Artist

Denis Skiba (Mapper720), a 3D artist from Nizhny Novgoro, Russia.



About the Author

Avatar image for Alina Khan
Alina Khan

A self taught 3d artist, who seeks to excel in the computer graphics field. Currently a student, freelancer and the editor for the 'Behind the Scenes' at Blender Nation.

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