Mar 11, 2012


I am happy to share the Making Of Story of my scene: Time under The Trees. I decided to make this series of images When I saw some photos of Toorak Residence in a book. I thought it would be nice to make different season images of a place inside forest, under trees. I changed some of the architectural forms, colors, and materials to a large or a small extent. The whole of Time Under The Trees was done in 3dsMax9 and rendered in VRAY.

My project consisted of images with different seasons and lighting so I needed to make
- variations of some models (like trees and ground),
- variations of some materials (wet and dry materials, dry leaves etc),
- variations of lighting.

So from the beginning, I tried to keep everything organised, named everything properly and used layers to organise things and grouped layers. I believe this is very important and saved me a lot of time.

First, I modeled the base layout of the concept and adjusted my camera point of view. This is a important step because I can adjust level of detail in my models according to how close they are to the camera. So I defined zones:
1.zones with high detailed models,
2.zones with medium detailed models
3.zones with less detailed models

or in other words, Foreground,Midground and Background.

Most of the models on this project are basic and simple, rectangular building parts. I modeled everything with editable poly and the basic tools such as chamfering, connect, extrude etc.

- Rocks:

- Little Stones:
I used a composite technique for the pebbles on ground:
- Foreground: Meshes distributed with ParticleFlow with higher density
- MidGround: Meshes distributed with ParticleFlow with less density + Displacement
- Background: Normal Mapping

First, I modeled few different little stones.

I converted these meshes into VrayProxy to save RAM. VrayProxy is an excellent feature of vray. Neil Blevins has written a very good tutorial about scattering objects in After reading this tutorial, I decided to use a similar method.


Distribution with ParticleFlow:
I created a Particle Source. You can control all parameters of your ParticleFlow when you go into Particle View. I made a sphere as a helper object to scatter around the ground. This is essential to be able to use the proxy characteristic of my vraymeshes. Proxy objects loose their proxy charecteristic if they are scattered directly. I replaced this sphere meshes with proxied pebble models in the later steps.

ShapeInstance operator is to choose the particle geometry object. In my case it is the sphere. The PositionObject operator is to choose the emitter object. From birth operator, you can adjust the amount of particles. If you want to scatter different type of geometry, you can make a parent dummy object and link the child objects to this. In my case, this is not necessary.

ParticleBake Script and Baking the Particles Into Mesh: After distributing the spheres with the particle flow, I baked the particles into a mesh by using Bobo's BakePFlowToObjects script. By making this, all particles become a mesh so they can be replaced. You can find this very useful script in

Replacing The Particles With VrayMeshes (proxy objects of little stones):
For this part, I used another great script ObjectReplacer by Neil Blevins. ( I replaced all dummy spheres with the meshes. This steps were necessary to be able to retain the proxy characteristic of the scattered objects. Position, Rotation, Scale properties are adjustable.

After I made the models, I needed to make an organisation of the workflow for variations in models due to seasonal changes.
- I needed some falling leafs on the ground for autumn scene and the leaves.
- For same reason, on trees should be less compared to the summer scene.
- For the foggy scenes, I wanted to have the trees without leaves because they can have more effect in fog with a stylish silhouette.
- I wanted to put some water puddles for the "after the rain" scene.

So I started from the trees and made the variations of the same model with less leaves and with no-leafs. I saved these models to use as I progress with the project.

I used exactly the same method for the autumn scene ground. I just added a leaf mesh to the stone cluster and re-made all the steps.

Most of the other changes are in the texturing stage.

I unwrapped most of the models. This give me the chance to paint textures as I want for every different light-rig.This is the most direct and easiest way for me as I have the full control over the textures. I was able to paint all the marks of time and weather on aged materials and I could also easily handled the leakages, holes, even could even paint the leakage going inside the hole in concrete and going out again or the handprint on glass.

I used different light rigs for all the different scenes.
For the summer scene, I used a VraySun and VraySky with a VrayCamera with the exposure.

This scene is only lighted with a white environment light. There is no GI in the scene, so it is not the Vray Environment Skylight but the 3dsMax Environment Light.

I used IBL(image based lighting) for the Rain Scene. There is only one Vray Domelight mapped with a HDRI image in this scene.

Again one Vray Domelight and two sphere Vraylights for the interior and exterior lamps.

I used almost the same render settings for all of the scenes except the fog scene. There is no Global Illumination in the fog scene. Here are the settings for the scenes.

Rendering Fog Effect:
I used the VrayEnvironment Fog for this effect. I rendered it as a seperate layer with a black-matte material in override and composited it later in post-production. You can view the settings below:

I used Photoshop for the post-production. These are the very basic steps such as:
- Curves and
- Color Correction and nothing special.

Rain Drops ON Glass:
First I painted a texture of black and white raindrops in Photoshop. Then I mapped this onto glass in max and made a render mask of this texture on glass. With this mask, I applied a couple of filters on glass and made the effect.

Thank you for all your feedbacks and comments about my work. I hope this tutorial answers the questions that have been asked about my workflow.
Best Wishes For Everyone :)

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