How To Create A Realistic Doomsday in 3ds Max
Have you ever imagined what the world will be like if there are endless pandemics in the future?
As the 2nd place winner of Evermotion Challenge 2020, Neil Cross, a 3D Artist from London, hopes to warn us about the future world challenges by his artwork “Final Stand”. As he mentioned, ”We need to accept these challenges and learn from our mistakes before it's too late.”
Final Stand © Neil Cross
Using 3ds Max, Corona Render, Quixel Megascans and Photoshop, Neil took 2 months to finish this powerful and thought-provoking artwork,
In the interview with Fox Renderfarm, Neil introduced in detail how he created the award-winning artwork.
- Neil Cross
- CGI Artist
- Senior 3D Artist at The Boundary Architectural Visualisation
- London, United Kingdom
Fox Renderfarm: Hi Neil, thank you so much for accepting our interview! Could you give us a brief introduction about yourself?
Neil: Hi Fox Renderfarm. I just want to thank you guys for giving me this opportunity. I also want to thank you guys for the service you offer. Cloud rendering plays a huge role in our community.
My name is Neil Cross. I'm originally from South Africa where I started my career as an Architectural Draughtsman working in the construction industry focussed on delivering projects around Africa.
After a few years starting off as a draughtsman I found draughting wasn't for me and wanted to be more creative, so I started to get into 3D. There wasn’t a lot of opportunity for 3D artists in South Africa so at that moment I decided it was time to pack my bags and move to London. I knew this city was filled with talents and moving here would only help me progress as a 3D artist. I'm currently working full time as a senior 3D artist at The Boundary. I also spend a lot of my free time working on my personal images allowing me to express my creative side.
Fox Renderfarm: How do you feel about winning second place in Evermotion Challenge 2020?
Neil: After seeing all the entries, I'm very proud to have made second place. To be honest, I was just hoping for a special mention, so to make the top 3 means a lot to me. I also have a lot of respect for Evermotion. Their articles have helped me grow my skills, so to come second in an Evermotion Challenge makes it more special.
Fox Renderfarm: As this year’s theme was "My own 2020", what inspired you to create the work Final Stand?
Neil: 2020 has been a tough year for most of us. There's a good chance future pandemics will happen more often where more people will get ill which will wreak even worse damages to the global economy than Covid-19.
This challenge inspired me to share my vision towards the future because If there's no fundamental shift in how humans treat nature, these are the things (my render) we could face. I might be over exaggerating but I wanted to send a message.
Fox Renderfarm: How long did you take to finish the work?
Neil: I spent around 30 mins to an hour a day which took around 2 months in total. I was aiming for 2 days but that didn't exactly work out! haha!
Fox Renderfarm: We’re all impressed by the strong lighting and composition of the work, could you introduce how you set up the lighting and composition?
Neil: Thank you! Unlike modeling and texturing, I find lighting and composition less forgiving. It can either make or break your image. I have little experience when it comes to photography so I generally keep things as simple as possible to avoid destroying an image!
I'm using Corona Sky (fully desaturated) with no Sun. I've also placed a plane light at the window to help light the interior. In addition, I'm using volumetrics. Regarding the composition I wanted to go with something simple but powerful. Getting the light set up correctly and having my camera focus on the girl was key.
Fox Renderfarm: There are so many details in the image, which make the scene more realistic and attractive, could you show us how you make them?
Neil: I'm always referring back to reference images to help achieve realism. I generally add chamfers and imperfections to everything.
The biggest stand out for me was the floor. There’s no better way achieving this than using Real Displacement Textures. They are by far my favorite textures. I also push my displacement settings to the limit. I tend to drop my displacement screen size (px) as low as possible for the best results.
Fox Renderfarm: Did you meet any challenges, and how did you solve them?
Neil: My biggest challenge was having patience. When I first started working on Final Stand I realised I was in it for the long run. I didn't want to spend hours on the image and come back the next day tired. I ended up cutting my time down to an hour a day which actually helped.
Fox Renderfarm: You work as a CGI artist for more than 10 years, could you briefly share with us your work experience along your CG journey?
Neil: I started my CGI career at a construction company where I initially started as an Architectural Draughtsman. The company entered numerous tenders to try to win new projects. During that period I started to get more involved with 3D to try to impress our clients.
5 years later I decided to join my first studio. I knew I had made the right move knowing I'd be working alongside other artists. It was crazy how quick my skills improved.
I wanted to take my career further so I decided to move to London. I first started my career in London with a well known architecture firm. Working alongside different architects was a good experience. During my time there I spent a lot of my time attending events such as 3ds London which helped me grow even further.
After some time there I realised that I was best suited to work in a studio so a year later I joined The Boundary where I have grown to become a Senior 3D Artist. Whilst working for The Boundary, I've had the opportunity to go to both State of Art and D2 which were both amazing events to attend.
Night Time © Neil Cross
Fox Renderfarm: Do you have any suggestions for CG artists to improve their CG skills?
Neil: Choose a niche you enjoy and master it! Whether you enjoy using ZBrush sculpting characters, 3ds Max visualising architecture, or unreal creating blueprints. Don't try to learn everything unless you are a complete genius.
Fox Renderfarm: Any other things you want to share with the CG enthusiasts?
Neil: Just enjoy what you do.
If you like my Final Stand Image please follow me on ArtStation for future images.
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