In this tutorial for 3ds Max & VRay we are going to create a 3d scene that will make you remember a background from one of my favourite games of all time: Monkey Island 2.
Check out the final result you will achieve after following the tutorial.
Framing, like in photograpy, is an art. In our case the work is already done because we are going to use a reference pic. So, the first thing to do, is to put our reference image in the background were the 3D camera will be placed. I used this fantastic background. We are going create something similar, but in 3D!
Choose the viewport your are going to work in and press "Alt+b", then select the reference picture.
Make sure to also select "Show safe frame" (right-click in the viewport), this way you will see the whole image you are going to render.
In your Render Setup, you should choose a proportion equal to the background image too. In this case 1437x764 pixels, that is the same width and height from the reference image will work well.
Then, create a camera in the viewport with the reference image and carefully, start placing some 3d primitives. The reference will help you a lot! You should arrive to something like this:
The main tip here is to correctly place the plane that is going to be the water. This will gave you the correct perspective. Be patient, it could be hard to correctly move the camera and primitives until arriving to something similar to the 2d image. And it's even harder when the reference image is a cartoon illustration like in this case, because the artist will always force a bit the perspective.
Now it's time to give more details to the primitives we have already placed.
You will have to carefully model all the elements trying to put them in the correct positions. Changing from 2d to 3d is not as easy as it sounds. Some of the element could have lot of details like this one:
But it's up to you the amount of detail you want to add. Don't worry if you are not very good modeling in 3ds Max. In the following step, if you do a correct lighting and place good materials, you will be able to mask small errors in your modeling.
Finally, you should arrive to something like this:
Almost all the modeling you can see in the image has been done by modifiers applied to primitives. The FFD box modifier will help you a lot!
Now, we are going to start my favourite part: lighting using V-Ray!
I used a night preset that you can find in 3D Bundle (including HDRI files)!
This preset has several things:
This was the result:
Here you have some settings:
Now it's time to create some cool vray materials. VRay is great for that! Because you can create any kind of material you may need.
By the way, I created my own textures. Here you have some you can use for free:
The water is a shader I mixed with a seaweed texture.
In order to give more depth to the materials I used VRayDisplacementMod in almost all surfaces. But take care with it, because it increases the render time quite a lot. Here you have an example:
Finally we will add the final details:
Here you have the config I used for VrayDirt:
The final result image has no postproduction, only a blue tint. All the details were directly rendered. If you arrived here you should be specially proud of this!
All the files and shaders used in this tutorial are included in 3D Bundle, this whole scene too! If you download 3D Bundle you will be able to see all the lighting presets, shaders, HDRIs, etc. Everything ready to hit render using VRay and 3ds Max!
Do you have any questions? You can contact me here: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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