HOW TO IMPROVE THE WORKFLOW IN MAXWELL STUDIO

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HOW TO IMPROVE THE WORKFLOW IN MAXWELL STUDIO

April 28, 2016 TechnologyTips 0 Comments 

Hello everyone,

FernandoTellaWe are back with an insider tip from our very own Product Specialist, Fernando Tella. Fer is long-time user of Maxwell Render, ever since the alpha version in 2005! Ten years later he joined the Maxwell team. Now he is the one helping customers with technical issues on how to improve the workflow in Maxwell Render, and he is also doing product demos, trainings and helps with product development. In this week’s blog post he will bring the Asset Reference workflow to your attention. Enjoy and ask any questions you might have in the comments below! Thanks, Fer!

WHAT IS AN ASSET REFERENCE EXTENSION OBJECT?

The Asset Reference Extension Object is a very useful tool available in Maxwell Studio. It provides a different workflow using Maxwell, especially if there is no plug-in available for your platform (for example, Rhinoceros for Mac). You can find it by right clicking in the object list and going to Create Extension Object > Asset Reference.

It gives you an interesting alternative to importing files. With this method, you will be syncing a geometry file like .objor .dae into Studio. Every time you update the file, it will be updated in Studio, but all the work you do with materials will be kept.

Basically, it allows you to do your modeling and texturing work in your platform while, at the same time, finishing the scene in Studio using Maxwell materials, lights and cameras.

The synchronization between both applications is done by the asset reference extension object, and it gets especially interesting if the file loaded has material information (like .obj, .dae, .fbx…), because Studio will create a simple version of each material that is included in the file, preserving all textures in use.

Every time you overwrite the linked file, it updates in Studio automatically. If the file includes new materials, new Maxwell materials are created in Studio including any texture you have used, so you only have to drag and drop textures and tune it up a bit to make it look the way you want.

Capture

WORKFLOW

A possible workflow would go like this:

  1. Let’s say you start modeling in Rhino
  2. After your first sketches you add a couple of Rhino materials, set the UV mapping of the textures and export to .obj
  3. Your colleague, who is in charge of finishing the image, adds an Asset Reference Extension Object and loads that file into it. He can now start tuning the materials, setting up the lights and cameras, etc.
  4. At the same time you can keep working on the model in your 3D app and add more materials to it. You can move parts, relocate the geometry, change the mapping,… 
  5. At some point you just re-export everything to the same file, overwriting it. Your colleague will see the changes updated immediately in Studio and will have more materials in the list; existing materials won’t be altered and your colleague’s work won’t be lost.

This way you can work in parallel inside your 3D application and Studio while keeping the .mxs file size small.

The link between materials in the modeling platform and Studio is based on the name. The material names in Studio are made up like this file_name.material_name, so you can change the material assignments just by changing the name of the materials.

LIMITATIONS

  • Each asset reference is one object, so you cannot move its parts separately. You will have to make all this in your modeling application or include more than one asset reference object in the scene.
  • You cannot assign emitter materials to the asset reference object, as Maxwell doesn’t allow emitter materials at sub-object level. Therefore the lighting job normally has to be handled inside Studio. There’s one exception for this rule: the asset reference object can emit light if it has only one material (an emitter material) and the same material is applied to the asset reference object itself. So you could have one asset reference per light type and this way you would be able to control the lights separately in Multilight. The drawback is having to handle more exports.

I hope you find this tool useful! :)

Fer

Troy Design Media

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Troy Design MediaScreenshot 2016-05-25 16.07.49

 

Troy Design Media is an experienced 3D Visualisation company using formZ 3D modeller as well as Maxwell Render to produce the following great images. Troy has 15 + years of experience in architectural 3D visualisation with companies as large as Meriton Properties in Sydney, Brisbane and the Gold Coast to smaller bespoke design/visualisation projects.

After spending 4 years at the University of Canberra studying Industrial Design full-time, Troy Bray his began working career as a technical illustrator with the NSW Fire Brigades for the Training Manual Project Team. Drawing became his unique passion and then his aspirations evolved which secured him a role with Meriton Apartments as a Graphic Designer. His duties included designing marketing collateral, in-house presentations and DA submission boards for all of their building projects.

After 2 years with Meriton he then travelled abroad and supervised a team of ten architectural illustrators in China. As a team they secured international work supplied by developers for Commercial and Residential Building Developments. As Creative Director he instructed the team to produce world class illustration and marketing collateral for their clients across the globe. His time in China was productive and cemented his position in the architectural industry.

After returning to Australia, Troy grew a Freelance business over the next ten years securing work all over Sydney. As a part – time endeavour Troy taught his design expertise at Enmore Design College to the Design and Entertainment students using packages in Adobe Creative Suite and Form Z – 3D. During his time as a freelancer he has designed a number of retail outlets including a Dessert Shop, Beauty Salons and a number of office fit outs.

His latest interest which spans outside of the architectural industry includes Game Design for mobile and tablet devices. He continues his pursuit in the architectural design industry offering first class solutions to complex problems and is always available for suitable positions that are of significant interest.

 

Troy Bray

t: 0411 377 048

e: troybray@bigpond.com

 

Here are just a couple of examples using formZ 8.5 and Maxwell Render 3.2.

Troy Bray Design 2 office

dacode imaging with Maxwell Render

dacode imaging with Maxwell Render 4
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dacode – a Melbourne based 3D specialist company: dacode imaging with Maxwell Render has excelled in producing some of the best 3D images for architects Internationally and Australia wide.
The following images are some recent examples that have all been created for clients using formZ 8.5 for 3D modelling and then using Maxwell Render v3.2 either via the formZ /Maxwell plugin or via Maxwell Render Studio, where there, in some cases has been some additional modelling imported in other formats for enhancing reality. Maxwell Render offer unbiased realistic rendering that is fast to set up and produces arguable the best 3D rendering results available – no compromises.

da code design pty ltd

44 Little George Street , Fitzroy , Melbourne VIC 3065

Email: dacode@netspace.net.au
contact Phillip Hyams – Director
telephone 03 9415 1311
mobile 0400 577 613

johnston st external dusk
d a c o d e-5

Digital Art Rave

ReaFlow with Maxwell Render
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ReaFlow with Maxwell Render

Trojan Horse was a Unicorn

Juice.pl

Emanuele Niri describes how the amazing opening and closing titles for ‘Trojan horse was a Unicorn’ were made using RealFlow. THU is a unique four-day Digital Art Rave.

About the company

The fluid job was carried out on behalf of Juice.pl based in Warsaw, Poland. It is a visual creative studio with four branches worldwide specializing in CG, VFX Post production, animation, rendering, compositing and sound design.

The Problem

The main goal of the simulation part was focused on the creation of a dynamic energy fluid in order to convey a sense of sparkling light upon darkness. Therefore making it flow across the various elements in the scene to give the impression of bringing the apparent state of death back to life once again. A short timing production of eight weeks overall out of which only four were spent on the fluid side alone presented a hard task due to the number of shots.  The team was composed of Juice.pl’s in house artists. The producer Natalia Lasota was in charge, alongside a network of external freelance artists under the brilliant art direction of Michał Misiński. A pressure we were up against was a tight deadline which sometimes forced me to compromise aspects of the simulations.

The Solution

RealFlow was used to meet our requirements in various ways. The new Spline tools available in RF2015 were of great help and extensively used alongside the new VDB meshing which helped me a lot when it came to blending more emitters into one.

I generally drew lots of curves and constrained them to geometry within Maya then exported them to RF2015 to create Spline driven forces, which in turn enabled me to keep the streams flowing seamlessly across the surfaces.

The hardest part was to keep the fluid attached to the surface of the animated characters while retaining a natural flowing feel and the required speed of the streams and in this respect the new Spline tool inside RF2015 was really spot-on.

Rendering was carried out by Juice.pl using V-Ray and of course the Maxwell preview within RF2015 was used to visualize most RnD stuff that preceded the work.

I have used RealFlow for the past seven years on almost every work that is particles or instance related. I mostly use RealFlow for liquids and viscous fluids of any kind, though I also like it to sketch out quick ideas that could be further developed for different purposes and in most cases it always turns out to be the right choice.

I guess nowadays RealFlow is fully adaptable to almost any pipeline and it is like one of those ingredients you can’t miss in a good kitchen. I will most certainly use RealFlow again, and I wish a bright future for it to be as great as its present and past time and time again.

The 3D platforms we used were Maya and Houdini. I operate with Windows 7 64-bit. The hardware at my disposal is: 2x Xeon x5650 @2.67ghz, 48gb ram.

The greatest benefit of RealFlow is that it is simple and intuitive at first sight and a truly responsive group of developers and friends are always there to help you.

Special thanks to the whole team at Juice for the opportunity they gave me to be part of it and particularly Michał Misiński, Łukasz Dziedziński and Jakub Knapik for coordinating the huge amount of work smoothly and patiently.

Thanks also to Igor Žanić and his alchemies whose help on one shot came from outside as an unexpected one off magical touch.

www.juice.pl

Maxwell V3.2 released

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Maxwell V3.2 released.

Maxwell Render v3.2 lense_virtual_mw32

Hi Everyone!

Maxwell V3.2 released!

Maxwell V3.2 released October 5, 2015 is another update packed with new features and workflow improvements so check out the new features below and make sure you have the latest version

If not look here for upgrades.

Did you know? That’s 32 brand new features added since V3!

If you want a list of your customers who still haven’t upgraded to V3, please just ask me for it.

If you haven’t already seen the V3.2 new features webpage, here are just some of the highlights…..

Maxwell Render V3.2 features

What’s new in Maxwell Render 3.2

Maxwell Render v3.2
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v32

WHAT’S NEW IN MAXWELL V3.2? – JUAN CAÑADA, HEAD OF MAXWELL RENDER TECHNOLOGIES

August 26, 2015 NewsTechnology 7 Comments 

10482046_10152590930208905_2182023593998390635_o
Hello everyone!

I’m very happy to announce What’s new in Maxwell Render 3.2 with the imminent arrival of yet another feature-filled, update for Maxwell V3! and everyone who has their v3 from Smart Technology they will get v3.2 free.

V3.2 has just been uploaded to our Early Builds Area, so licensed users can go ahead and try the beta version. In this post I’m going to run through some of the main new features and improvements, so that you know what you should be looking out for! So, let’s take a look…

MORE SPEED – SUBSURFACE SCATTERING

Improvements here are remarkable! This scene was rendered with V3.1.0 on the left, and the new V3.2 on the right. Both were rendered for the same time, up to sampling level 12. Check out the difference in noise clean up (click on the images and look at the ear).

Subsurface Scattering_1

Subsurface Scattering_2

 

 

 

 

 

 

NESTED DIELECTRICS

This is a major improvement, especially for anyone rendering fluids – dielectrics inside dielectrics render much better now in Maxwell V3.2, as you can see clearly in the example below: Before (on the left) and after with V3.2 (on the right):

dielectrics_1

dielectrics_2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just to explain briefly how this is done – there is a new material parameter called “Nested Priority”. By default all materials will have the same priority (0, which is the maximum), but when adjusted, Maxwell will prioritize the one with the lower number over the rest – useful when you have an overlapping of dielectrics/SSS materials. With this method it is possible to render complex water/glass/ice surface without numerical issues, by simply adding a small overlap between geometries. In the liquid inside a glass example, the liquid is modeled slightly larger, invading the glass body. The priority is then set to 0 for the glass, and 1 for the liquid (or any value higher than that used for the glass). This way, the overlapping volume with be filled with just glass, the liquid wall will be removed, and the remaining walls will then render appropriately as either glass or liquid, depending on the ray direction.

This improvement will be especially useful to Maxwell and RealFlow combined workflow users and anyone rendering fluids.

Here’s another example below, and you can read more about this new feature in our Support Center here:

nested dialectrics_ bottle1

HERE COMES VIRTUAL REALITY: STEREO LENSES

Lat-Long Stereo left-right loop

We have implemented two new lens types in V3.2: Lat/Long (image above) and Stereo Fish Lens (image below). These lenses are stereo lenses, which means that the user can choose if they render the left or the right eye and can set the intraocular distance. They are geared up for camera travelling in virtual reality (VR) systems such as Oculus. We hope that our archviz users affected by the VR revolution will find these new lenses useful and exciting!

Fish Stereo left-right loop

DEVELOPERS BEWARE: API EXTENSION

It is now possible for third party developers to develop their own procedural geometries, geometry modifiers, procedural textures, camera lens, etc. Many of the latest improvements in Maxwell (volumetrics, hair, grass, particle rendering, etc) use this API internally. The possibilities are endless! This API extension is included with the main package and is free for both personal and commercial use.

PSD OUTPUT SUPPORT

PSD_Export

Maxwell V3.2 can now save the render in PSD format in 8, 16 and 32 bits. It supports multi-layered PSD’s, so channels and light buffers (when Multilight is enabled) can be embedded as separated passes. Simple!

PROCEDURAL EMITTERS

Glowing_Rat

As you probably know, the way Maxwell that produces light involves an emitting material being applied to an actual triangle mesh. Now it’s possible to apply emitter materials to entities that are not triangle meshes – such as hair and fur, particles, grass.

SEPARATED REFLECTION & REFRACTION CHANNELS

In V3.2 we have made it possible to render many more channel combinations – such as “Diffuse”, “Reflections”, “Diffuse + Reflections”, “Refractions”, “Reflections+Refractions”. These 6 available options make it possible to apply denoisier algorithms to specific passes. Rendering the diffuse and reflective components separately allows for greater flexibility when compositing.

We hope that you will find this helpful when rendering glass for example. Less noise in glass buildings for our architect users! :)

Lampara cuenco_ Render passes_ TODAS LAS IMAGENES apaisado

MAXWELL SCATTER: IMPROVED

We have added a new “remove overlapped” option to avoid collisions between instances generated by the scatter algorithm. In your scene you might want to distribute trees over your garden randomly, but you do not want these to intersect in a way that would not happen in real life. Now you can automatically avoid this!

There is also a new “uniform scaling” option to avoid undesired deforming when scaling scattered instances.

overlapped scattering

NEW “REFLECTANCE” CHANNEL

This new channel shows plain colors without the influence of global illumination. It is very useful for achieving “self illuminated textures” when used in combination with custom alpha channels.

Render on the left and Reflectance channel on the right – notice there aren’t any shadows or highlights!Tazas Reflectance Channel montada

MAXWELL GRASS – WORLD-Y GROWTH

Grass grow 002 ed

This new percentage allows you to define the overall growth direction of your grass blades towards the world-Y axis (sky direction). This follows the natural phototropism in plants, where no matter the ground surface angle, they will grow towards the direction of the World-Y. The rest of the angle parameters can be applied after this main growing parameter; so the Initial Angle will mean a deviation from this main growing direction, as well as the Initial Angle Variation.

Capture_Grass

IMPROVEMENTS IN MULTILIGHT EDITOR

In V3.2 it is now is possible to select and edit multiple emitters at the same time and there is a new “Sort by name/type/intensity” function.

NEW “ASSET REFERENCE” EXTENSION

This new extension allows you to work with references of many different file formats, in the same way Maxwell works with referenced MXS’s – so these geometries are not pre-converted to MXS files but Maxwell now works with them directly, and they are loaded in render time.

Some of the supported formats include OBJ, FBX, Blender, Alembic, DAE, STL, LXO, 3DS, LWO, 3D, etc.

Maxwell Render V3.2 will be a free update for all V3 users, we hope you enjoy the new features and improvements. I’ll leave you with a list of additional bug fixes!

Thanks to all Maxwell users for your feedback and for making Maxwell what it is.

Juan

BUGS FIXED

The new “nested dielectrics” feature also fixes artifacts with dielectrics/SSS objects that intersect.
Fixed artifacts rendering intersecting volumetrics
Error messaging improved, specially with licensing errors.
Fixed issues in opaque material type when using textures
Color space management of input textures improved
Fixed “hidden from reflections and refractions” was not working properly with coatings.
Fixed instances of hidden reference were not visible unless they were translated
Fixed issue with scaled instances of procedural geometries not showing up in the render
Extra Sampling:
Fixed Extra Sampling with render region was not stopping at the desired sampling level
Better support for missing paths for bitmap masks
Fixed custom alpha channels in referenced MXS
Fixed other minor bugs
Fixed potential crash in procedural displacement
Fix potential crash when using EXR in OSX
Fixed hang when using deep channel at very high resolutions
Fixed crash when opening/resuming corrupted MXI files
Fixed issue in texture interpolation
On the fly displacement improved.

NETWORK

The new network system (tp_network) is much more stable now. Many features of the old network system have been added.
Better support for Extra Sampling in cooperative renders

Stay tuned for more: Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn

FUN WITH MAXWELL RENDER & Cinema4D

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FUN WITH MAXWELL RENDER & Cinema4D

Reprint from Maxwell Blog
June 11, 2015 

This year’s FMX event in Stuttgart was a great opportunity to meet up with many of our partners and friends in the CG industry.  We had the chance to catch up with the guys at MAXONHDR Light Studio and Laubwerk, as well as some “out of office” time with our very own RealFlow team!  Good news – HDR Light Studio and Laubwerk both have new versions which are compatible with Maxwell.  HDRLS 5 plugins for Maya, 3ds Max and Cinema 4D all support Maxwell already, and Maxwell Studio compatibility will be out very shortly.  Laubwerk actually announced their new Plants Kits 1.0.15 release at FMX, and this new version comes with support for Maxwell (free trial here) in both Cinema 4D and 3ds Max!

This added Maxwell support was first tested by Rob Redman, Creative Director at Pariah Studios, who used Maxwell and Cinema 4D for the testing.  Rob was also our speaker at FMX this year! In this recording of the presentation, Rob talks about his pipeline and workflow, and also gives some practical tips on using Maxwell. Rob is a Maxwell Render Xpert Trainer – so listen up for insights into creating animated Multilight videos from one render, lighting & environment tips, cameras, materials, the importance of real world settings and more from this experienced professional and trainer.

Thanks, Rob! We hope you enjoy the presenation: Rob Redman´s Efficient and Fun Pipeline with Maxwell Render:)

RENDERING FROSTED GLASS

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RENDERING FROSTED GLASS

May 28, 2015 

AN EFFICIENT METHOD FOR RENDERING FROSTED GLASS in Maxwell Render

tomHi Dear Friends!

It’s Tom here again. :) First of all, thank you so much for showing such an interest in my previous articles, I’m really happy to hear you’ve found them useful. Today, we’re going to look at an efficient method for rendering frosted glass. Ever since the introduction of single-sided SSS, it’s been widely used for rendering vegetation, lamp shades, cloth and paper… And maybe some of you have already used it for rendering frosted glass. In this article, I want to share some tips how to do it… I promise it won’t be too long. So, let’s go!

WHAT IS FROSTED GLASS?

Frosted glass is produced by sandblasting or acid etching a clear sheet of glass. This treatment effectively renders the glass surface translucent by scattering light during transmission, thus blurring images while still transmitting light.

Frosted glass has a wide range of uses for interior renders such as bathroom panels, cupboard panels, tables etc. but the problem is that can take a long time to clean up compared to the rest of scene elements. Glass as a refractive material is always costly in computation, and the increased roughness of frosted glass naturally makes it less efficient, due to increased complexity of the maths for simulating the diffusion of rays on the surface. Combine this with heavy indirect lighting and multiple frosted glass panels, and you push it over the edge!

DOES IT REALLY HAVE TO BE MADE OF GLASS?

If you’re after frosted glass panels rather than a vase, a statuette or something which has a thick refracting volume, this method can save you time. So how does it work? Let’s go step by step…

Acrylic panels are often used to replace frosted glass successfully, so what about using tracing paper? It doesn’t look any less like frosted glass, and we can mimmick it easily with single-sided SSS.

 

tests

The key here is that we are replacing thick geometry with single-sided geometry. Therefore, you can replace a typical glass panel (a box) with a simple plane. In order to simulate rough reflections and refractions, we are going to use the scattering feature.

A MORE IN-DEPTH LOOK AT THE MATERIAL COMPOSITION

Asymmetry is the key for adjusting the amount of frosting you want. In this case, we need negative asymmetry which is -0,850 as in the given example. ReflectanceTransmittanceNd and Roughness can be the same as we would set in a typical rough glass, because single-sided SSS will only replace the effect behind the glass surface. If you would like it to be more diffuse, increase the asymmetry or if you like it less diffuse, simply decrease it. Anything else can stay intact, unless you don’t like the surface reflections to be polished. This is what we see in the image on the left below.

layer1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you see, I’m using 2 layers in this composition. The second layer (on the right-hand image above) is an extra touch to get the imitation closer to a real look. If you disable the bottom BSDF and render this layer alone, you will see a black and white velvet look.

WHAT IS THE MAGIC OF THE SECOND LAYER?

The second layer quite essential because, in real frosted glass with physical thickness, the light bounces numerous times before it leaves the object. This is known as TIR (Total Internal Reflection) and it gives a velvet glow on the grazing angles of frosted glass. Without it, the emulated panels will look dull and dark from certain angles. So, let’s take a look at the difference on this drapery preview scene:

preview0

preview

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the left, it looks more like tracing paper than a frosted glass because it feels really thin due to insufficient internal reflections. With the help of a second layer (on the right), you see the grazing angles come to life which gives it a more glassy feel.

SO IS IT REALLY FASTER THAN FROSTED GLASS?

When comparing single panel scenarios, you may find the results are not remarkably faster than frosted glass. However, for rendering many panels together it’s seriously faster than doing the same using the traditional method. Clearly the look won’t be exactly the same as a thick frosted glass panel, but I think you’ll agree that this alternative method provides a pretty decent look for general usage. The images below are comparisons rendered for exactly the same amount of time.

glassB1Fast Method glassB2Normal Method
glassA1Fast Method glassA2Normal Method

 

USE YOUR ILLUSION…

Is it rendering quickly enough? Why not put some textures into action and create limitless possibilities? You can do it in color, multiple colors, bumpy, cut-out and so on, while still rendering at full speed ;) I hope you like it. See you in another article…

dl_mxm
<  CLICK ICON TO DOWNLOAD
FAST FROSTED GLASS MATERIAL

 

VIRTUALLY BUILD T2 OF HEATHROW AIRPORT

Heathrow T2
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Heathrow T2

VIRTUALLY BUILD T2 OF HEATHROW AIRPORT

May 21, 2015 ( Reprinted from Maxwell Blog )

11.04.19-17.46.10

THE ARTIST

My name is Richard Green and my main work involves high end CGI and retouching for advertising and graphic design although I have also worked on film and TV productions when asked. My company is called Loop Corporation Ltd.  I generally work alone but have a few people I can trust to call on when I need help due to deadlines etc.  I often (as in this case) work with photographers mixing and matching elements as needed.  I know a lot of CGI artists take great pride in creating absolutely everything but I love photography and I never see the point of rendering something you could easily shoot.  I have also worked on quite a few animation and video post projects which I enjoy but the challenges of high resolution work are my main interest.

MAXWELL IN THE PIPELINE

In terms of pipeline I’m somewhat application agnostic for the most part.  When I started in 3D there wasn’t really one application on the Mac that excelled end to end so I would build in FormZ and render in Electric Image.  Consequently I’m happy to use whichever application gives me the results I want.  As the saying goes: when your only tool is a hammer, all your problems start to look like nails.  These days I like to build in Modo with trips to Moi3D or ZBrush for their specialities.  I prefer the scene building and animation layout of Cinema 4D which is definitely the hub for me. From there I will almost always render out to Maxwell which I have used since the pre-release of V1.

I understand photography so I found Maxwell very easy to learn and I like that I don’t need to switch on features like depth of field or caustics, they’re just on and not created as “tricks”.

Even when you go high on the f-stop to keep everything in sharp focus, there’s still a very pleasing falloff from your focal point that’s so much better than the razor sharp edges of many other engines.  It’s the only renderer I have used which surprises me in a good way.  I think we’re all used to waiting for a render to finish only to be a bit underwhelmed, I have had many occasions where I’ve been amazed by some lovely unexpected light detail from a Maxwell render.  For my final high res render I will usually render overnight on my own Mac, time permitting, possibly networked to a couple of others but I have also had good experiences with Rebus and Ranch renderfarms when in a crunch.

BLOG_3

WORK PROCESS

If possible, I like to be involved as early as possible in the creative process with my clients.  It’s best to plan an image with everybody involved so we can all discuss what the client wants to achieve, what we need in order to get there and any problems that we can foresee along the way.  Sometimes the photography leads and I’m supporting that, other times the CGI is the main element and I’ll often work with the photographer to previsualize the scene so we can work out where the camera needs to be to make everything sit together properly.  I will also gather HDR imagery on set if necessary and take any measurements needed to recreate any real world elements that I may need in my scene.

People_Int

 

HEATHROW T2 PROJECT

For this job, the creatives came with a very highly-finished visual and the stated intention to show a full size airport terminal on the button of a stopwatch.  They really liked Johanna Parkin’s photography and were keen to have her shoot the stopwatch and set the mood of the image, leaving me to create a representation of Heathrow Terminal 2 which was still under construction.

 

It wasn’t a standard architectural visualisation in that we didn’t have access to the building plans and actually the creatives didn’t want a slavish recreation of the building.

We looked through a lot of reference shots of the building under construction and publicly available visualisations of it and they cherry picked the elements they saw as making it distinctive.  Mainly the 3 humped roofline and the glass wall which is actually from another face of the building.  I started roughing out these shapes in Cinema 4D until we had a silhouette that they felt worked for our visual, then started to refine it and incorporate more of the real world details.

I purchased a generic airport model on Turbosquid that I could easily cannibalise for escalators and furniture to populate the interior and, although they would be barely visible, I really wanted to fill it with people.  Simple silhouettes would have probably sufficed but Dosch have a nice collection of very low res scans of real people so I used those.  Although they were low res, they did tax the system quite a bit by the time I placed them all and just converting all the materials to Maxwell format was a major task but it’s a nice subtle addition to the image.  The closeup interior image reveals their reckless behaviour on the balconies though!

BLOG

 

I also had to replace the stopwatch’s central button with a plinth to stand on the terminal which I built in Moi3d and imported to Cinema 4D for texturing and rendering via Maxwell.  I took the actual stopwatch from the shoot and created a simple model of it in Cinema 4D purely to experiment with how the light from the terminal might affect it and reflect into it.  Ultimately a lot of that was felt to be distracting so it went unused.  Then it was a matter of adding the hundreds of light fittings to pillars, ceilings, recesses etc. that would be the main visual element.  I also created several 32bit exr’s for the screen graphics so that they would hopefully contribute to the general glow.

 

BLOG_2

This was an unusual project in that it wasn’t so much about rendering surfaces, it was all about the combination of lighting visible through the glass frontage. In that respect, Maxwell was ideal as its Multilight feature meant that one render gave me 6 different layers of lights.

Multilight_SmallerI imported these to After Effects as 32bit images and composited, adding more layers of glow and other effects to create the desired image.  I prefer to work with After Effects for the 32bit composite as it still works much better than Photoshop at this depth (why can we still not use curves in 32bit Photoshop files?).

I rendered out this result from After Effects at 16bit for further compositing to Johanna’s watch photography in Photoshop.  The final image was approximately 13000pixels square and you can get a good idea of the build progress from the animation.  It was around 80 hours of work spread over 2 months.  There are always lots of amendments and tweaks on a job like this but thanks to the creative team having a really tight brief and clear vision of what they wanted, it went very smoothly.

It was one of those jobs where I knew it would be taxing and I honestly wouldn’t have wanted to do it in any package other than Maxwell.

 

 

VIDEO BREAKDOWN

CREDITS

Star Alliance Heathrow T2
CGI and Retouching: Richard Green
Photographer: Johanna Parkin
Art Director: Dave Tokley
Copywriter: Matt Gilbert
Executive Creative Director: Guy Bradbury
Designer: Pete Mould
Agency: Atomic

Maxwell Render Team: Thank you, Richard, for sharing your story with us and congrats on a great project! :)

If you also want to share your work done in Maxwell, get in touch here.

Understanding Maxwell’s unique approach to rendering

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Understanding Maxwell’s unique approach to rendering

Watch and share this NEW, video series!  With each video lasting about 2 minutes, you can get up to speed on Maxwell in about 10 minutes.
This blog entry is informational and provides a true insight into the real advantages of using Maxwell Render in your 3D imaging.

BEFORE YOU BEGIN

WORKFLOW

MATERIALS

LIGHTING

CAMERAS

You can find the full public playlists in Vimeo and YouTube (perfect for sharing!)
We hope you find this educational and useful!
Speaking of education, don’t miss today’s blog post about the University of Westminster going to Burning Man with the projects they won using Maxwell Render.