This is a small investigation into the relationship between foreground and background elements. I wanted to make a black coloured building in contrast to a lighter background. I also mixed a lot of different light sources. Underneath you can see an example of the lights at the bottom of the streets which I rendered out as a separate element.
I did a lot of post-production work in Photoshop and I needed a tool to manipulate the colours and brightness along the vertical axis. The Zdepth render pass is a handy mask for creating a sense of atmosphere, but there is no way to create a gradient along the vertical axis. So I decided to make something myself with the help of the Vray Distance Tex material. You can see a tutorial below.
This project is meant to be printed on a canvas that is at least 3 meters in width, so a small format like this won’t display it properly. I worked on it for a very long time, probably a couple of months. It’s also the first project I made in 3ds Max.
I rendered this illustration in a 90 mega-pixels resolution. That’s right: 90 million pixels. :-) For reference: if you have a standard high definition computer screen, this is almost 44 times bigger. Here are some details:
All the modeling was done in Sketchup. All the UV unwrapping was done with 3ds Max and all the materials were done with Vray. For the buildings I used the Vray Blend Material. This allowed me to apply a different material to the windows and the walls although they are on the same diffuse map.
I made the mountain with World Machine and I applied a very high resolution bump map to add the fine detail. In my lighting setup, I used a simple round plane with a white-grey material applied to it as a sun reflector. I did this in order to soften the contrast between the directly lit surfaces and the other surfaces. I stole this trick from photography. :-)
To make the interaction in my 3ds Max viewport faster I converted the mountain into a Vray Proxy object.