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  Play by Play


This is my entry for the lighting and rendering winter challenge. I created this inspired by my last winter, during the lockdown with my fiance. We were in our apartment watching movies, TV series, drinking coffee and tea, reading and studying a lot. "What do you wanna do now?" was our most asked question.

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Update - 26 Feb 2022


After getting the lighting right, I repositioned the camera to an angle that made the images more interesting. I also added, in both images, two empty meshes where I setted the depth of field. I used this feature looking for more dynamism as well as to add complexity to the reading of the images. This ended up assisting the lighting in directing the gaze.

Then I did some rendering tests and, with the images ready, I've gone straight to Photoshop to make some retouches, just to make the images a little bit alive. In the compositing process I basically worked a little with the levels, curves, vibrance and contrasts.


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Update - 25 Feb 2022

I'm done with modeling and texturing the last decorative objects. I also positioned them in the scene as I had thought.

Once there is a gap between the mental image and the real image, some adjustments were necessary. Basically, the shiva nataraja I wanted in the scene was eliminated to make room for the candles and the incense. The process of organizing the scene thinking about storytelling is always an adventure for me. I find it very difficult to choose the correct elements for the scene and also their positions, since they will collaborate with the best reading of the image.


Most of the background stuff I did using plane images and applying the "lazy technique" from Ian Hubert to make them better. The fern was created in this way: an plane image duplicated and rotated a couple times.
The fire (in the fireplace as well as the flames of the candles) and the smoke of the incense are also plane images with an alpha channel and emissive lighting.
And for the building outside I took a picture from my window and made some extrusions to create volumes and better shadows. I've also applied some transparency in a couple of windows and setted an emissive mesh behind, for the night scene.

The book cover is the only thing I didn't create myself. This art was taken from Artstation and it was made by Osman Batuhan Ko├žak, a concept artist student from Turkey.


With all the space structured and the elements allocated, I started to dedicate myself exclusively to create the lighting. To do that I needed to go back to the concepts that I had established there in the first moodboard: a quiet and rainy morning and a cold night at the fireplace.

For both cases I sought in the lighting, contrasts between the comfort and warmth of the living room and the damp and cold space of the street.

For the first scene, the search for more natural lighting was a big challenge. Balancing the interior lighting required multiple fill lights in the scene to make the image readable with all the details. Also, I really like using lighting as a way to suggest a looking direction for certain elements in the scene, and doing that using only natural light was quite complex.

The second scene, at night, was quieter for me. I consider that I have an easier time working with stronger contrasts in the lighting and this scene allowed me to do that. Using fill lights was easier for having light sources lit in the living room.

In the following images you can see in the notes the corrections I was looking for. In the first scene I had more corrections to make until I reached the expected result, while in the second all the problems were fixed with only one adjustment. Once the contrasts of the second scene are more intense, it was easier for the problems to be solved, because they become more evident.



Ok, and you may be asking why the firepit is almost extinguished in the second image. I'll tell you! Who takes care of the fire during the entire movie?

Everything was carefully chosen for this scene, including the credits of the movie. It's easy to find what movie is without seeing any scene. Even the books in the shelves, the open book over the coffee table and the pages were chosen, but the angle of the camera do not allow to read it.

Update - 17 Feb 2022

I'm already done with all the detailing of the furniture.

In the texturing process I created everything procedurally because I tend to like the results better and they don't lose resolution. I also think it's a good exercise and I'm using this challenge more than everything as a reason to practice those skills.

Right now I'm working on detailing the decorative objects that I have in my room and that I really want in the final render because they're part of the storytelling. I've also started doing some tests on the lighting and setting some configurations. Normally I prefer to have the scene ready before start this process, but in this case, in which I already have most of the space built and filled (and considering that the challenge is about rendering, lighting and mood) I decided to start putting it in order. Then, if necessary, I'll only need to make small adjustments.

The next step is to finish the decor objects, finalize the lighting and make the adjustments in the camera settings to start testing for the final render.

Update - 9 Feb 2022

I'm currently working in detailing the furniture.

I have decided about most of the textures, so I began modeling and detailing all furniture before starting the texturing process.

Most of the furniture isn't my real furniture, but inspired by and reflecting my taste about it.

As you can see in the picture of my living room on the first moodboard, near the windows there is a sofa and there isn't a table. That's because that photo for the moodboard was taken now, and it's summer here in Brazil. So I took the table away, a little to conserve the wood and also because the heat punishes too much and becames impossible to use the table there.

Why do I think it's so important to say that? It's because this scene is being built with my winter memories and this configuration of the house is part of them. It's also important to say that this table is my favorite piece of furniture in the room and that's why I want to keep it in the scene as it is.

Next step is to start the texturing process. I'll try to do everything procedural because it works better to me. That will be done while I'll be modeling the objects for decor.

Update - 29 Jan 2022

Winter is my favorite season not only for the temperature, but also for the good food, the comfortable clothes and the pleasure of sunbathing without melting.

Although here in the south of Brazil winter is a cold and rainy season, there are beautiful days when it is possible to warm up a little in the sunshine. For me, the perfect expression of the season is being able to stay under a blanket reading, drinking coffee, drawing, marathoning a TV series or watching a movie with my partner and my cat (who, like me, loves the coziness of a fireplace! ).

With that in mind, I decided to develop this project. The idea is to create an image that represents well what my winter is like. Not only a well-balanced image with a good atmosphere, but one that brings elements that can establish an interesting storytelling, revealing my preferences in this cold period.

For this task I chose to use my living room space as a starting point. Some of my favorite elements in this space will help tell a little more about my personality and interests, others will be added as the scene sets in.