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Ethereal Sundari

Ethereal Sundari

Hi there! We are Fernando Cárdenas [Houdini/Nuke], Rodrigo Gallego [Maya] & Alejandra Popa [Blender], students at Ligthbox Academy in Madrid. We are so excited to finally show you our "Sundari" based city.

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This project has been the hardest, the most developed and improved in which we have worked since we started studying 3D and VFX. 

Fernando had the idea two months ago, and decided to bring together Rodrigo and Alejandra to make a cool clip based in an ethereal Sundari, the Star Wars Saga's city. It's based on that, but this could really be any futuristic city into a science fiction film. Here it is the result of almost two months of work and developing.


By Fernando Cárdenas [Leading, Supervising, Houdini's Environment Creation, NukeX Compositing and Color Grading]

I was the one in charge of coordinating the project, and I think we've been the best team we could have been. The most important part of our job was to feel important in every step we made, support each other and improving our respective projects by constant feedback.

 It's been a long stage, but the beginning of my whole inspiration was this Sundari's work from Gabriel Mukobi, to whom I am so grateful (even without knowing him):

This was our reference image by Gabriel Mukobi

As you can see in the breakdown, my process consisted on four main phases: Procedural Modeling, a Building's Instance to Points' Tool, a Spaceships Instance to Points' Tool and the final Compositing.

Every step has been so important, but I would like to highlight the small spaceships phase. I developed a mechanism to randomize every texture and animation in Houdini. If you notice, there are even random ships which don't follow the main paths and enhance the final clip a great deal. The technique used includes POP and VEX, to make every spaceship look among its own normal. I love them, and they improve the dynamism that we needed in the video.

Finally, I want to take a break to talk about compositing. I enjoyed a lot integrating the big ship and above all making the color grading. It's so subtile and it was made in many nodes to guide the viewer through the clip. The contrast between background and foreground; and the central volumetric lights are examples of it.

It's been a pleasure to work with Rodrigo and Alejandra. Their respective jobs are just down here.

By Rodrigo Gallego [Maya Big Ship Modeling, Lighting and Substance Painter Texturing]

The main purpose at the beginning of this project was to elaborate a big spaceship looking like a Star Wars one. That spaceship should be very big, like a "space container vessel". We wanted to make it in some kind of cyberpunk style too! So, with that premises, I started to look for and browse through concepts arts.

Reference concept by Hideyoshi Ruwwe

I found this concept by Lorenz Hideyoshi Ruwwe, and I loved it instantly! So I started working hard! The style of modeling has been a "free patch modeling". I used the different ortographic views in the concept to make a modeling box:

However, I decided to change some little things with the goal of adjusting the 2D concept to the 3D model. Specially, I modified the rear of the ship, changing the propellants position among other things. 

The modeling phase lasted about a month. When I finished that, I organized the UV mapping in a system of 42 udims to increase the quality of textures. I tried to do the same textures as the ones in the concept art. Nevertheless, to reach a cyberpunk look, I added some dirt and scratches all over the spaceship surface.

In the end, I decided to "power on" the propellants with green volumetric lights to integrate the spaceship into our Sundari City.

By Alejandra Popa [Blender Small Spaceships Modeling, and Substance Painter Texturing]

These small spacecraft were modeled in Blender and textured in Substance over the course of approximately two weeks. The first step was to find some inspiration, so I started to look for concept arts and I loved this one:

Concept Art:

The biggest challenge was the limited time I had to finish the ships. The geometry was also a significant challenge, as many of them had to be variables in the final project and so I had to simplify some elements of the ships. This forced me to be more efficient and learn how to optimize the workflow. 

In the end, I was pleased with how the ships turned out despite having simplified parts of them.

Working in group was great, we are really delighted with the final result. We hope you love it! <3

Att. Fer, Rodri & Ale.

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