Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Underwater Concept Artwork

I had to do a concept artwork for a school project I'm working on. We are doing this 3D short film on fish and I'm in charge of the underwater environments. For this concept artwork, I had to make a scene which looks like an ocean scene from a certain lighting set-up and yet it can look like an aquarium from a different lighting set up.

I went to the library and borrowed a few books on aquariums and oceans. Using that as a reference, I went into Maya and modeled two structures that look like reef or coral structures.

I made these structures from sphere. For the first one, it was mere extrusion of faces outwards incrementally to create the step structure. For the second one, I extruded a few holes inside. After smoothing these two meshes, I converted them into a soft body and applied a turbulence field. I played through the timeline until I felt that the meshes were displaced enough.

Next, I went into Photoshop to create a seabed and coral textures, which I would be using as a bump map.

Once I had my assets and textures ready, I fired up Vue and started placing my assets in place and creating the textures. Of course I have to mention that the program crashed many times during the process of creation. The hardest part was the lighting. I made a few test renders:

This lighting set-up was to give a very ocean-like feel to the image.

This kind of lighting set-up was to give an aquarium feel to the image.

Once I was happy with the balance of two, I rendered the final image at high quality, but not a very large resolution because of the time constraint I had to deal with. This is what the final image looks like:

Hope you like it. Comments and criticism are welcome. Do visit my deviant art page if you are interested to comment on it.

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