Create Sci-fi Scenes
3D World UK|December 2018
Create Sci-fi Scenes

Oscar Jurez demonstrates his method for producing a futuristic scene

Many years ago creating larger images was a difficult task, mostly because we did not have the equipment and assets we have access to these days. Now it’s simpler to create our images, but it’s always important to keep in mind that it’s all a process. In this tutorial I will show you the process I follow – it’s not too complicated, but most of the time I like to have a clean workflow and a good file optimisation. Why? Having a clean workflow enables us to make changes quickly and efficiently. For example, let’s say we need to change an asset in the main model – if we have it properly named and grouped, then if we need to change anything it can be done in no time. This is the same for scattering our models, which we will do a lot in this tutorial – having each scatter named and placed with its scattering elements helps us a lot when we need to add vegetation, people or anything else we need to scatter. I will show you the process I follow to achieve the final image, from creating a concept, gathering info, using pre-made 3D assets to speed up the process, adding our lighting, composition and postproduction. Hope you all enjoy this tutorial, let’s begin.

01 BASIC IDEA

First we need an idea of what we want to do. From here we can start to focus on creating or getting the relevant assets. In this case we will do a big forest in a futuristic zone. What comes to mind? We need trees, water, birds, mountains, robots and flying ships.

02 GATHER REFERENCES

Now we have lots of ideas in mind but we need to see how they look in real life, so the next step is gathering references. Finding a real reference image will help us to see tones, patterns and many other important details. This will also enable us to get new ideas; we might see waterfalls, lakes and other elements that we can consider including in our image.

03 CREATE MOUNTAINS

The first thing we are going to do is create the mountains. Here I will use Soft Selection and the Noise modifier. In this case I set up a random size as we still don't know how much will be visible in our image, because we still have no cameras. We can also start to add features we have seen from the reference images, like hills, mountains and lakes.

04 ADD NON-FOREST DETAILS

We have a huge set of mountains with a lake in the centre. Now let’s keep in mind where we could set a nice spot to add an element of story to the scene. The centre of the lake will be the right spot for that, so we will set some bases. In my mind it will be a human base ready for combat, so I have to keep enough space to add humans, ships, mechas, warehouses and places where people can live. It’s a lot of assets to do, but in the next step we will solve that matter.

05 USE READY ASSETS

Adding a lot of life to our image could mean adding a lot of models and a large amount of time spent modelling, so in this case I decided to use some pre-made assets. I used the KitBash3d Space Colony, and a pre-made spaceship downloaded from TurboSquid made by Costinus. I also used a mech I made a long time ago and for the main towers I did a model we will see in further steps. I added the building according to the idea I had in mind, setting a place for resources, a ship dock and so on.

06 CREATE OUR FOREST

It’s now time to create the forest for the scene. In this case I used Evermotion Archmodels for Corona vol. 1, and here we have a choice to make. 1. If we have a high-performance machine we can leave the models as they are, not converting to proxies. 2. If we don’t have that much power we can make it proxy.

Once we have our trees we will use the powerful Corona Scatter in the areas we want to be filled with trees. Scattering over irregular surfaces will make the trees look weird, so we have to set the Align to Normal.

07 SET UP OUR CAMERA

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December 2018