Andre' Janse van Vuuren shares a Behind the Scenes of a recent project. What I like about his approach is that he used AI as a startingpoint to generate concept art to work from.
I was inspired the other day by scrolling through Facebook and seeing a few images generated by someone about abandoned Victorian water features.
These images/concepts inspired me to practice shaders and texturing again, trying to improve and reach photorealism.
I started by generating a bunch of Ai images using Bing image creator, till I landed on an image that looked somewhat challenging and fun:
I attempted to use Fspy to triangulate the camera, but currently Ai doesn't quite nail perspective yet, so I just gave up and tried my best to manually position the camera. Ended up moving it quite a lot.
The two biggest challenges were the floor texturing and the wall/paint shaders.
I used a bunch of procedural textures for the wall, mainly two layers of Voronoi layers (set to color output) to get that crackly appearance and a lot of vertex colors to define where the paint alpha needs to be:
For the floor, it was a nightmare, it involved 5 vertex color inputs and a bunch of materials from Poly Haven, Ambient CG, and Megascans. Here is a screenshot of the nightmare:
I originally intended to use micro displacements, but it was a slow and tedious process, so I opted to bake the shader down into multiple 4K texture maps (mainly Color, Roughness, Height, and normal map) - the height map was used with a standard displacement modifier.
The downside is I lose the ability to tweak the shader and I won't have detail closer to the camera. I did find a solution to the detail problem by subdividing the floor mesh closer to the camera. Not ideal, but it worked :)
With the two main problems out of the way, it was bog-standard PBR materials from there on out. The majority of the textures used were from Ambient CG - I find the textures there to be neatly named and nicely compressed.
I did use Eevee quite a lot, after baking probe lighting (Gi + Cubemaps) It looked eerily simular to Cycles. This sped up a lot of guessing work and shader tweaks:
In the end, the render took about 4min per frame on an RTX 3090.
For the colors to pop, I tried using the compositor and PhotoShop, but it just felt artificial. I ended up using the built-in image editor on my Samsung phone. Easy, fast, and the pre-sets are really useful!
Final render with other passes:
Hope you enjoyed a bit behind the scenes! I'm a bit spite I didn't do a timelapse :/
About me: 3D generalist in the VFX industry for roughly 5 years- I make silly games and sometimes large-scale projects in my free time.
Not much to show, but if you want to check out my socials: