In Featured Work


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Modeling was done in XSI. The broken wood was sculpted in ZBrush.

UV’s were done in UV Layout and XSI. I had a total of 21 4k patches. After unwrapping everything to scale, I decided to increase the resolution of my keys since they would be the focus of the scene. The petals were brought in as a different object in MARI, so I decided to give them a whole patch and make them as high res as they could be. I organized my UV’s according to material: ivory, ebony, wood (spruce and walnut), and metal (bronze). Doing this made my workflow more efficient because I was able to paint over UV’s more quickly, do patch selections in MARI and keep my shaders organized in VRay.


Before going into MARI, I wanted to have a high res “John Broadwood and Sons” logo ready. I also wanted to have the option of having it as a mask as well. So I brought the concept to Photoshop, changed the size to 4k, and made a matte by painting over the lettering. Now to go into MARI and project this baby!

In MARI, I began with a very basic color of each material. Then I created an ambient occlusion, did a color correct and used that as my dirt base. I had to build my textures as how they would have happened in real life. Meaning, I can’t just put dirt anywhere I want, I had to think of how the dirt accumulated and paint it in that manner. The information from the concept was great for this as well.

I divided my shaders in MARI according to color, specular, bump and displacement development. In each shader lies different channels that contributed to my overall look. I like to use the masked diffuse blend shader module, just because it was so non-destructive. I used this shader module doing my dirt, grunge, soot, and dust channel. Basically, I find an appropriate texture from CG textures (medium or large size), bake it as a tileable texture in MARI, create a mask and paint over where that texture will end up in your model. I love to download different grunge textures (then do a luminosity and levels filter so it becomes quite contrasted) and use that image with the paint through tool in MARI. I then use this to paint the over mask I just created so that I get a lot of amazing details and patterns for free!

For the bump, I took a lot of the dirt and soot information from my color maps, color corrected them, and used that in my map. I also took my logo matte, isolated the lettering edges and darkened it so it would have an “implanted” feel against the wood.

For the displacement, I hand painted several of the chips found in the wood and the wrinkles in the petals. I also brought in my displacement maps created in ZBrush, but I had time-related rendering problems later on in Look Dev and ended using my level 4 models in the scene.

For the specular, I got information from my diffuse, bump and displacement channels, and did the necessary changes like luminosity, invert and color corrections. I also added a very subtle grunge map for the black and white keys, just to add a little breakup.





I got an HDRI of a room with a large window off the internet, color corrected it in Photoshop so it was more blue, and added it to a VRay dome light. I added 2 area lights (one neutral, one cool) on both sides of the asset. Lastly, I added 3 reflection planes in front of the piano because the HDRI reflections were not showing enough.

In VRay (Maya), I used the VRay material for everything except the ivory, where I used the VRay Fast Skin Shader (marble preset). This shader increased my render time, but it gave a more physically correct result as it allowed light to pass through the object. Before applying the specular maps, I played around with the shader until I got the reflection amount and glossiness values that I wanted. It was all trial and error, playing around with the shader values and plugging in my spec maps into various slots. The best thing to do was save a render setting preset for quick renders, and a preset for final renders. I used the Nederhorst Settings for my final renders, and Andrew Weidenhammer gives awesome tutorials. I rendered out a beauty pass, Zdepth, diffuse, spec and reflect pass, and mattes for each material.


Having saved my renders as an EXR multichannel, it was easy to just choose what channel I wanted to correct in Nuke. But all I ended up doing was adding ZBlur, lens distortion, film grain and a final grade so that it matched the concept more closely. And that’s it! Objective complete! I made a million mistakes and learned so much doing this piano, and it definitely helped me make my next asset look more awesome and photorealistic!


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