Stumbling accross pictures of mini zen garden tool sets I quickly got attached to the idea of recreating a simple small-scale scene out of them in 3D and started to sketch in Maya.
Thinking of Japan-inspired cartoons and Japanese cinematography I decided to go for a mysterious night-time look with moonlight and hazy air. Even though the tools look quite modern and clean, a simple background of old bricks (as can be found in old Japanese temples) helped to sell the look.
My WorkI did the modeling in Maya and textured all the assets in Substance Painter. Lighting and Rendering with Arnold in Maya. Post-processing in Nuke.
After getting into look dev in Houdini for another professional project I wanted to use it more for smaller tasks and started learning some basic modeling, scattering and HDA creation, which is super fun and interesting to do procedurally. I used it to create the pebbles here. I will definetly look more into this for my future projects!
Most challenging for me was the raked sandgravel. Creating convincing sand textures to work on a simple plane turned out more difficult than I expected it to be. I ended up investing a lot of wok in the shader, playing around with the sheen and adjusting the height. For the rakes I actually took a premade substance from Substance Source and used Designer to modify the straight rake lines to form a circle, which I could use as a mask to blend over the base material in Substance Painter. I used Substance Painter for the first time to do some actual hand-painted texturing and I don't miss Mari a bit!
Shifting my focus a little more too the gardening tools themselves, I looked up typical product photography for hand tools and reintrodcued more atmospherical lighting into the scene along with shallow deph of field to put more emphasis on their mini size:
I mainly did everything from modeling to rendering in one scene (referencing workflow can get very annoying with a Maya home student license), but made sure to set up a relativeley neutral studio turntable scene to take the single assets through and to make sure they would all work in lots of different lighting situations:
I am always happy and thankful for comments and feedback on my work!
Thanks for reading :)