Client: Personal Project
Date: January 2019
Software: Cinema 4D, Redshift, x-Particles
"Watercolored" Quick Look
For this project, I wanted to go a little bit more in-depth about how I approach one of my 'dailies'.
Working on stills as opposed to animation has a set of unique perks when it comes to its creation. For 'Watercolored' the approach was just one frontal camera angle. This gives me a lot of freedom in terms of manipulating the different elements: with a camera lens of 85mm, I am allowed to manipulate the objects along the depth axis, effectively changing where they stand within the focus, without altering their shape in a major way.
I usually divide my pieces in my head as either 'clusters" -those that float in the air- and 'sculptures' -those that stand sat on the backdrop, more affected by gravity. I approach those two differently. For sculptures like watercolored I start placing the main shapes from bottom to top, as if each had its weight and mass in the frame. In this case they are the three semi-sphere-like structures. Once those are places, I begin decorating around with other elements until I've found a composition I'm happy with, and then add some details (in this case the rocks on the ground and the floating water bubbles .
I very rarely start shading a piece until I'm almost done with it compositionally. I prefer it when I see a piece and can immediately identify the points where the key color should go, objects that can act as accents, and other textures I could implement.
Here is the wireframe version of this same sculpture:
When dealing with animation, I have to be very careful with the polygon count, so as to not exponentially increase simulation times when working with dynamics and collisions.. For stills, however, it's usually fair game.
That disc shape in the bottom is a hidden disc on which I later distributed the rock clones.
For the backdrop, I often use curved walls so that they naturally disappear in the background. This works well when the whole background including floor is matte, but when introducing reflections, it will start conflicting with the light setup. There are workarounds for this, but usually creating a surface exclusively for the reflective floor works best.
For this piece, I also introduced something I've been including in some of my latest pieces: an area light that acts as a backlight, whether it is by directly shining a light from behind or it's pointed at the background. This helps emphasize the piece and brings more of a 'heroic' quality to it.
The last part of this piece was the cloth in the background, almost taking over the whole. For the sake of simplicity, I enjoy making the cloth simulation separately and merging it with the piece afterwards. One other advantage of keeping just one angle of the piece is that some geometry can intersect, as long as it's not visible in the final render.
For the texture, something I've been doing for cloth is compositing a fresnel node into the diffuse color of the cloth. This gives the cloth very nice reflections on the folds and almost a silky, smooth-like quality. The rest is just picking a color and a weave pattern that I can use as a texture for the displacement and/or bump
Thank you very much!