While working on the tutorials I made several models of electric locomotives. Drawings and photographs I was provided with helped me a lot. To perform the work assignment I was sent to the depot in Tver to collect some information. It was there where I saw a locomotive TEM2, and I took to it at once. It was interesting and beautiful and I was able to have a good look at it. At that moment I had an idea to make a model of it. Taking the opportunity, I began to collect the best possible information about this locomotive; I made the photos of depot, of the machine under repair and its drawings.
Since the main “character” of the future work was defined, I started to search for beautiful, atmospheric exteriors for the train to use in the future. I looked through thousands of photos and chose 4 images.
In my opinion, the most interesting angle for a locomotive is from the side and slightly from below. So that one can see as much details as possible. This was my initial idea, so I started modeling. In the process I got inspired a lot and decided to draw not external parts of the train, but also internal ones: I had a vast amount of material –it was a shame to spare it. In addition, there are plenty of good works with railways and trains, of both domestic and foreign modelers, so I wanted to create something different. Trains and everything connected with them have a romantic touch – roads, new places, traveling, – but few people think about what a large number of workers are engaged in their maintenance, repairing and so on. My desire was to show this aspect of “train life”.
And again I went to surf the internet and further to my photographs I found great photo reports from Tver depot and from Uralmash factory that I used to create environment.
All models in the scene (except for the model of the worker) were made in 3ds Max using editable poly. In my opinion, this is the best way to create objects of this kind. You can see standard primitives in almost all details that were made with the help of such tools: extrude, bevel, chamfer, as well as edge partition and turbosmooth modifier. The main drawback of this method – high amount of polygons and large number of objects. I knew this, so I divided models into separate files in order to make 3ds Max function quickly. For example, the train was divided into three files: “body”, “internal parts” and “cart”. Nevertheless, it was easy to gather them into a single model, using “import – merge”. Also, dividing model into separate files didn’t tie me to a definite computer and place. I had the files and textures which I worked with at that moment on the internet and I came back to them at every opportunity. All I needed was an access to the internet, computer and 3ds Max. As a result, the work was carried out on at least six computers in different places, depending on where I was.
Since I didn’t know at the beginning what parts I may need during the render, how elaborated the train would be and where I was going to put the camera, all details were drew separately and everything was done using geometry. Therefore I wasn’t limited in choosing angles. As a result, the model of the train contains 5083 items and more than 3 million of polygons.
It was nothing complicated with the model of depot at all. The main problem for me was to make a nice floor. There were a lot of versions. The one that suited me was performed as follows: tile was made from the box, seams between tiles from the plane and the texture of cement after broken tiles with the help of displace tool.
To keep the measures all models were made in centimeters.
Metal shavings, scattered stones and bolts on the floor were made with multiscatter plug-in.
The model of the worker was made in ZBrush. It was my first experience of sculpting people. I used a standard set of brushes, nothing unusual. There is a bunch of tutorials and articles, where this process is described very well and in detail. Since I didn’t planned to show the worker in close perspective, I didn’t work out in detail the texture of skin and other small parts.
Most of the objects in the scene have a simple texturing – this is uvw map modifier in various modes. For the locomotive I made a 3ds max layout. Materials were set in accordance with this scheme: diffuse maps, reflection and bump. For difficult materials I used V-ray Blend of several layers.
There were several variants of paints. For example, the material of black paint contains three layers: painted metal, rust and scratches.
The material of the walls contains three layers: paint, dirt and chips on the walls. To make it more realistic I used displace tool to perform these chips and other damages.
Floor material contains four layers: concrete, oil stains, dirt and marking lines near the rails.
The model of the worker was textured in ZBrush. I made diffuse and reflect maps in this software also. Then I baked normal bump maps and ambient occlusion in xNormal. Next, using Photoshop and nDo2 I created ambient occlusion and cavity maps to improve diffuse and normal bump cards.
Due to the fact that I was working on various objects of the scene separately, usually I tuned all materials in the studio. If I was satisfied with the render in the studio, it looked good in the final stage; rarely I had to make some changes.
I used the range of 2.2 in the work. The main light source is V-ray Sun together with V-ray Sky.
Two light sources were used in the lamps: sphere V-ray Light for simulating a light bulb and cone spotlight. On the bulb I used V-ray Light.
The final image resolution is 4096 × 2304 pixels. It took me about 20 hours to render the necessary angle. Post processing was performed in After Effects. Apart from the main render, ambient occlusion, V-Ray Raw Lightning, V-Ray Specular, V-Ray Reflection, V-Ray Light Select_Sun and ZDepth were additionally counted.
I made adjustment layers over the main one in screen mode with different settings of transparency.
To polish images I used Magic Bullet Looks and Optical Flares plug-ins.
Here you can see an example of adjustment layer with Magic Bullet Looks plug-in.
This is an example of adjustment layer with optical flares plug-in for lanterns glowing.
To enhance the shadows I applied ambient occlusion in Photoshop. The long shot was lightened with the help of ZDepth.
Here you can compare the render and the processed image.
In such works detailed elaboration is never enough: you can add dirt, smoke and other effects. But first of all I tried to capture the atmosphere of depot, to display in a creative way a daily workplace of many people that hardly anyone remembers looking at the train. I tried to keep to my own experience, to those scenes that I had seen myself. I hope, I done it right.
I want to express special thanks to Anton Turkin, Georgy Podshibyakin and Ivan Podzorov for their help and advice during this work.
Thank you for your attention! I wish you much luck and success.