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I choose this piece because I have always been interested in photography and I have a small collection of old cameras in my home town. This one was lent to me by Adam Sale, our XSI teacher. For the modeling process, I measured the camera and its details and then I translated the measurements to the software. For UVs I used UVLayout. The rule of thumb when you arrange UVs for a hero piece is to use the largest part as the guide. In this case I used the length of the back of the camera’s body. The rest of the parts have to be in scale according to that.


photo 2 - chrome ball_edit


This piece is using a VRay dome light with a texture that is a Light Probe which is an HDRi created in one of the classrooms at Think Tank Training Centre. The HDRi (High-dynamic range image) was done by taking pictures of a chrome ball, using a photographic camera that allowed creating RAW files, changing the values in the exposition (EV) and the ISO. The pictures of the chrome ball show almost the whole environment, however, things in the border of the ball will become really stretchy and that is why it was necessary to take pictures from another angle (90 degrees apart from the second one is enough). Each set of pictures were taken using EV bracketing (-2, -1, 0, 1, 2) which result in two sets of five pictures. After that I used Picturenaut for creating one image out of those five expositions. I sent both images to HDRShop and there I cropped the images, identified the corresponding points, and unwrapped it and rotated the images to match each other, merge them and that’s it! The final result is the mirror ball which I connected to the Dome light texture. After that I created two spheres in Maya, one with a VRay material and settings to simulate the chrome ball characteristics and the second one, with Lambert 50% gray that shows the way light is set in the scene.


photo 3 - breakdowncamera


Once the modeling was finished and the light was set, it was time to separate the object into materials: plastic, metal, leather and glass with shaders for each of them, in this case, VRay materials. Then I separated them according to their characteristics, for example, the camera has four kinds of leather, some are more specular, some are rougher than others. The same was true for the metal, including chrome, brass, copper and aluminum.

As the piece that I was texturing was a real object in my hands, it was easier to inspect the unique characteristics of the object; the way it was worn in some areas, the dust in the bellows and internal parts of the lid, the rust in the metal parts, and how the whole object reacts under different kinds of lights. I was able to take high resolution pictures of every single detail for reference and projection purposes. Finger prints, scratches, chips and nicks were more visible using macro lenses and scanners.

Now everything was ready to start working on in Mari. The first map to be created was the diffuse, which is the basic color of the object. Parts of the texture were done projecting the pictures taken from the real object, but some other areas were recreated using images from sources like CGTextures. When creating maps in Mari, it is better to keep the elements separated in different channels for a non-destructive workflow. Of course, I had to get rid of the channels and images that were not required anymore and try to keep my Mari file as organized as possible. Tilable textures are also very useful for scratches and dust, this way I could work with masks to reveal only the areas of the tilable texture necessary. After the map was done, I plugged it in the diffuse color of my VRay material in Maya. For the black metal of the camera I used the black paint as a mask and revealed the bare metal underneath using different brushes as the Metal Reveal brush from the Hard Surface Brushes’ Shelve in Mari. I added another channel named fingerprints and I added them using the reference from the macro pictures. I connected this map in the Roughness Amount in the Basic Parameters.

The second map was the Specular. In this one the areas that shine the most should look whiter and the rough areas that shine less should be darker. For example, dust and rust must look darker than the clean metal. This map also includes the little scratches in the metal areas. As I have some pieces in the camera that shine as brass, I created a map for the colored reflection which was a golden brown.

The next maps were displacement and bump. The displacement must be used only when the geometry needs to be deformed, although for little details it is better to use bump because it is faster to render. Therefore, the fine details in the leather of the main body (the basic shapes of the leather) were in the bump. The broad details, such as big winkles, were in the displacement. I also created another channel called chips and nicks. For this channel I hand painted little details where the camera had some dents.

At this point all the maps were finished and connected so I rendered the scene using Vray render in Maya, main scene as PNGs. For the details I used EXR (multichannel) and rendered a Zdepth pass to play with the depth of field in the next step of the process.


photo 4 - camera detail

photo 5 - camera detail


For the general view of the object it wasn’t necessary to do a lot in Nuke. I just added the real chrome ball on top of the one created in Maya to compare, as well as adding the reference pictures of the real camera to the comp. For the detail I worked with the shuffle node to bring in the information of the Zdepth pass. I used a “Grade” node to have more contrast and then a “Shuffle Copy” to bring back the information of the other channels. After having the rack focus, I added the background, blured it, and it was done!

For the final compiling I used After Effects, and exported them as a mov. File with H264 as a codec.

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