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Making A Realistic Rendering With 3D Coat and V-Ray | Vitalii Tukvadze's Workflow

[ #zbrush #Vray #3DCoat #3dsMax #Rendering #Modeling #Tutorial ] Two months ago we featured the incredible artwork: "Soviet-Er...

[ #zbrush #Vray #3DCoat #3dsMax #Rendering #Modeling #Tutorial ]
Two months ago we featured the incredible artwork: "Soviet-Era" Monster Truck by Vitalii Tukvadze and today, he was kind enough to share his exclusive process of how he made the scene.

>> See Also: Exclusive Making of CGI Female versions of Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and Carlos Slim by Marcos Sampaio

Hello everyone! My name is Vitalii Tukvadze, and I'm a Senior 3D Artist with about 10 years of experience in game development. In this article, I'd like to describe the pipeline I used while working on my “AT-T Heavy Artillery Tractor”. I’ll also show the sequence of my operations, and provide descriptions of the software packages and instruments I employed.
This article would probably be interesting for the beginners, who are just starting their journey into the exciting world of 3D art. You will be able to gauge the extent of resources required for creating similar works. And for your information, I made this project leisurely, in my free time.

Goal: improve texturing skills using 3D Coat.
A little about the object itself: I encountered this Soviet era monster when I was a kid, and the machine with its sheer scale and visible power made a lasting impression on me. I vividly remember this vehicle plowing through the terrain leaving deep tracks in the ground.

AT-T is a heavy artillery tractor with improved off-road mobility. It was mainly used for transportation in the less accessible regions of the USSR and Antarctic. The tractor, introduced in late 1947, was designed marrying elements of Т-54 tank chassis with the elements of ZIL-164 truck cabin.

It has that Frankenstein monster vibe, but it still looks cool. Having assembled enough reference material and deriving inspiration from similar works, I set about this project.
Creation of the HiPoly model is, in my opinion, one of the most interesting stages of the work. I started with the chassis, which seemed to be the most complex element of the vehicle, and followed closely by the roadwheel.
It's quite hard to imagine how the designers and engineers of that era, without the aid of computers and 3D modeling softwares, using just paper and drafting boards, were able to build such amazing things. It took me quite a while to understand the shape of the thing. The other elements were easy in comparison.
With the chassis gradually gaining more and more elements, the shape of vehicle itself became visible. The model is symmetrical save for a few places. I made half of it, mirrored it and added some non-symmetrical objects, like the cabin hatch.
Initially, I was going to make the open platform variant of the vehicle but then I decided to make the model more intricate by adding a canopy. The canopy was done in Marvelous Designer. First, I had to create the frame which the fabric was later “drawn” onto.
The pattern is rather simple, though it is important to set up the material properties correctly and mark the sutures. The program does the rest all by itself, producing a rather realistic result.
The next step was to export the model from Marvelous Designer into Zbrush. Using the Zremesher, I obtained a topologically correct mesh. Having added a Divide, I went over the folds, making them more pronounced. The minor details (fabric texture, sutures, etc.) were added in 3D-Coat.
The other elements were also processed in Zbrush. I used it to add dents, deformations, soften the straight corners. I mostly used the standard brushes (Standard, Clay Buildup and Flatten).
It is generally a good practice to avoid sharp angles – they are rather boring, and you won't really encounter perfect angles in the real word. Even the sharp angles should have a small bevel or be rounded somewhat, making the object look natural, interesting, creating pretty reflections off the angles.
Next stage is creation of the LowPoly model and UV mapping. This is a routine task, which does not require deep involvement, so that's the point where I usually open some science documentary in the background and watch it while working on the object. I did the UV mapping using 3D Coat, exporting the model from 3DMax into 3DCoat and back with the help of 3D-Coat AppLink.
When UV-mapping solids of revolution like this road wheel, I use the radial symmetry tool. It is extremely useful, since after setting up the number of symmetry planes relative to the revolution axis (5 in this case), it is enough to mark a surface feature on only one of the resulting sectors to have it automatically copied into the others. This makes the process much simpler and swifter.
To avoid tiling in the tread, I created several unique tread links, manually placing them in random order along the tread path, taking sagging and tension of the tread into account. This didn't take much time.
Then I split the model into IDs and packed it into UV-tiles, resulting in 4x8k tiles (I didn't define any polygon count or texture number/resolution constraints, I have enough of those at work).
I used Marmoset Toolbag 3 for baking the maps (AO, Curvature, Normal map). This convenient application allows for intensive work with a group of objects, introducing changes on the fly, and quickly calculates the maps, producing good results.
I used 3dCoat to draw the textures. After loading the normal map into the program, I started with drawing the details, adding dents, scratches and sutures taking the imported map into account. Giving such detail some extra attention always pays off. Using this source, 3dCoat creates a Curvature map, which is one of the main maps used to apply Smart materials.
The Smart material editor allow for intuitive and swift creation of simple and complex PBR materials. It is enough to create a small base of standard materials and use it for the rest of the object's parts, changing the settings subtly and applying them in layers. First, you apply the base metal, then the paint, rust, scratches, dirt, dust, etc.
Pay attention to the world around you. Study the objects and their properties, how they change with the passage of time. Study the tiniest details; it is an incredibly engaging and fulfilling occupation. Knowing, that I'd have to work with dirty windows for the project, I used to stop at dusty cars often to study on a real-life example the details of how the dust and dirt spreads over glass, interacts with drops of water, leaves marks on the windshield wipers, etc. Working on windows, I drew several masks which I used o apply dirt. Using the Spline Image Tool in 3dCoat, I bent the mask with horizontal smudges along the path of the windshield wiper, projecting it onto the object.
The final stage of texturing is exporting the textures for latter usage in a rendering package. 3DCoat has presets for exporting the textures into different environments. I personally use V-Ray.
From 3DCoat, I obtained 5 maps for each of the UV-sets: diffuse, glossiness, reflection, normal map and fresnel_ior. These maps are without any changes assigned to the corresponding properties of VrayMtl nodes.
I used a different method to create the normal map for the headlight lens. Using Adobe Photoshop, I drew a black-and-white pattern of the lens, using gradients where the heights range gradually, and opening it in Quixel SUITE, where I created the normal map.
To ensure the desired light reflection and refraction effect, I split the lens geometry into the front and back parts, applying the glass material with the normal map to the back, and glass with no map to the front.
I also created an oil slick under the tractor, to serve as a bridge, connecting the object to the environment. The slick consists of two masks, through which a variable roughness surface material is applied, imitating liquid and damp surface.
Lightning: The studio was a cylindrical prism with smoothed corners. A few of the light sources were directed at the wall, while the others, with varying intensity and tint, were directed at the object itself.
Since I left the rendering job running at night and, as such, was not concerned with time constraints, I didn't sweat over the rendering settings, simply choosing the best quality available, without looking for optimal time/quality balance. My GTX970/ Intel Core i7-4790k 4,0Ghz/32GB RAM computer took 6 hours on average to render a 12000х7500 image. I rendered most of the angles several times, since such a huge resolution provides ample detail, making minor deficiencies overlooked before extremely apparent.

All the post processing was done in Adobe Photoshop, limiting it to the following:

The closer to the goal, the faster I worked, eager to see the final result as soon as possible and get feedback. At this stage, it was just some mere minutes between me and the goal.

Final result:
Outcome: I am quite happy with the result, even though a little bit sad since the project is finished. After finishing the work, I took a little rest and went defining the next goal, and ways of achieving it. Thank you all for your feedback and comments. It was a sizable piece of work, and quite engaging, with so many things to consider all within one object.
I would advise everyone to choose complex goals and work to achieve them just for the fun of it, enjoying the freedom of thought without any extraneous limiting factors or hassle. Even if you are overloaded with work, try to find time, this will provide a huge boost to your skills, also leaving you with an immense sense of completion after a job well done.

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  1. Wow, thank you for the tutorial! I'm impressed and will check the workflow as soon I have enough time.

  2. Virtual world .... the best firmeza na base... gostei muito ... I am Basil....


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CG TUTORIAL : Making A Realistic Rendering With 3D Coat and V-Ray | Vitalii Tukvadze's Workflow
Making A Realistic Rendering With 3D Coat and V-Ray | Vitalii Tukvadze's Workflow
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