Creating a Realistic Moon Environment in 3ds Max and V-Ray
Hum3D’s Space Rover 3D Competition, sponsored by the TPN-Accredited render farm, Fox Renderfarm, attracted 98 artists to take part in the competition.
Among them, Space Walk created by Patryk Urbaniak stood out and won 1st place in the challenge because of its great composition and fantastic photo-realistic render.
Patryk Urbaniak is a Lead Lookdev Artist at Method Studios Montreal. Some of the movies he worked on include Guardians of the Galaxy 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Deadpool 2, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, and many more. Generalist background helps him to tackle 3D scenes from a simple concept to a finished product.
Here’s the interview between Patryk Urbaniak and Fox Renderfarm, in which we can find out how he created this wonderful piece.
Clay Render © Patryk Urbaniak
Space Walk © Patryk Urbaniak
Fox Renderfarm: Congratulations on winning 1st place in the Space Rover Challenge, how do you feel about it?
Patryk: Thank you so much for your kind words. It truly feels amazing. I remember waking up, going through my emails when I read what Hum3D wrote to me and I was just speechless for a good few minutes. I really couldn't believe it as there were so many good submissions.
Fox Renderfarm: What’s the idea behind your artwork 'Space Walk'?
Patryk: I had an idea to do a render of a realistic moon environment and then put it into an image, behind the camera I would render a film studio and I would place the astronaut on some wires and cover everything in green screens. After some trial and error with the frame composition I found out that the image is losing a lot of impact and I couldn't properly place it in strong composition points. This time I had to revert back to the first idea I had and that was just an image of a rover on the moon surface.
Fox Renderfarm: How long did you take to finish the work?
Patryk: It took close to a month to create my work. I was able to put around 3-4 hours each day after work and a few weekends.
Fox Renderfarm: The piece is extremely photo-realistic which received loads of praise from the jury. How did you make the render?
Patryk: Thank you. I rendered everything in V-Ray and I have to say that this renderer is super intuitive. The realism is super easy to achieve when you just use the proper ranges of a PBR workflow. Right now a modern renderer does a lot for you and you can just iterate your work with such effectiveness that you are able to compare your renders to the reference much frequently.
Fox Renderfarm: The lighting is capturing the Moon feel really well, such as the harsh sunlight and shadows. How did you make it?
Patryk: The lighting was quite challenging because you mainly have to create a very interesting piece only with one light (I used a few additional rim lights to slightly detach the objects from the ground). What I did is I animated the sun going from left to right, and from top to bottom on a 200x200 preview. I was able to judge the shadows of each render and see exactly how much we can see and how much goes away. I picked the best scenario for my idea and I just added a few small lights here and there. But again, just because it was super fast to iterate the light, I was able to hit a few different approaches. In terms of the shadows, you might think I'm crazy but I just started to decrease the diffuse bounces. The less bounces or GI I had the more realistic it was looking. While there is no atmosphere at the moon it was easier to match the references with less bounces and I guess about 0.2x the GI.
Fox Renderfarm: There are many nice details of the models and materials. Any references?
Patryk: A lot of materials are fully procedural based on seamless textures and triplanars. The ground for example is a composition of 8 noises and one footprint texture with one mud texture that I created. In terms of the references I had an opportunity to visit a Boeing Factory in Seattle in order to look at a lot of space equipment that took us to the Moon so I took some pictures but in general the Internet is full with super quality images on that topic.
Fox Renderfarm: Did you encounter any difficulties when creating the work? And how did you solve it?
Patryk: I faced many difficulties. Let me start by saying that the whole scene was rendered on V-Ray GPU and I’m working on a 2015 laptop. Like said above, the ground itself was done procedurally by using a blend of certain nodes and 2 seamless textures. The displacement being set to the satisfying quality took almost 80% of my VRAM so it was hard for me to create an illusion of the horizon being far away from us but after some optimization, I was able to free some space for the rover itself!
Fox Renderfarm: Could you briefly tell us your educational and work experience along your CG journey?
Patryk: I don't have any graphic designer education or an art degree but I was attending a film school for 2 years and it gave me a good understanding of camera work or light. As for my experience I started in a small company as a 3d artist and I had no idea what I was doing at that time. After 4 years I joined the biggest studio in Poland, Platige Image and in 2017 I moved to Canada to work on slightly bigger productions. I have to say that I was incredibly lucky with the people I have met and friends I still have today. Being an artist is like running a marathon. It takes time and perseverance but it leads you to a whole new level of understanding the world through an observation.
Fox Renderfarm: How do you enhance your professional skills?
Patryk: I think I just stay with problems longer. Whenever there is an issue I always dig for days until I figure it out. I read the documentation of the tool as well as "help". It gives me a little bit more information about the broad usage of a software. And then I just give myself a task each week and I try to complete it. I fail most of the time and then after a few more tasks I learn how to do it properly.
Fox Renderfarm: Anything else you would like to share with CG enthusiasts?
Patryk: I would like to thank you each and one of you guys! Everyday I go to your website and it motivates me so much for the day that I can't even describe it. It is a great feeling that all of us can learn from each other and be an inspiration. Thank you so much for having me and I wish you all the best.
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