Making of Restricted Area

This is a story about making of the “Restricted Area” artwork.
I won’t be speaking about modeling process or shaders settings etc. Instead of this let me tell you how the raw idea became the artwork. Sorry about a lot of text. I couldn’t do the different way.

The ideas are surrounding us everywhere. They came as they are or we can make them of things we see around. It was about two years ago when the idea of the locust-concretemixer has come to me. I liked concretemixers which went past me on the streets. The angle of the bowl with concrete reminded me the grasshopper belly. It was a moment when the idea has started. I thought how I can show the enormous heavy duty machine in shape of insect. My purpose was to force you to believe that machine is real and it able to work. I took pictures of concretemixers a lot. Analyzed these photos. Tried to understood how these machines are made and how they work. So at last there came the moment I got I must “think on paper”. So the very first sketch was created. I made it like a simple collage of concretemixer and grasshopper photos

As you can see it’s so rough then I can’t say anything about it. But after further developing this idea became more and more shaped and detailed. Not a thousand but tens of sketches were made.

I tried different variants both of technical and stylizing aspects. Attempting to moving from general to particular I’ve started to thinking over the mechanical things just after the rhythm, plastics, contour and proportions were accomplished. However all this things were changed and remade afterwards. I also made several sketches illustrating how this idea could exist if it was a different type of insect.

Little by little I fine-tuned the variants until the desired appearance had done.

Now I was faced with inventing the functionality of this machine. It means I was needed to create all the basic mechanical parts.

As usual I watched tons of reference images. It was robots, heavy duty machinery, engines pictures etc. I tried to get how such machines might look like. I was inventing and changing things during modeling. Then I was painting textures and tuning shaders. I moved to the final appearance with every new detail, every test render.

When I was completely satisfied with that model I started to think of the environment.

First the idea was to show locust-concretemixer standing on the restricted area behind the rabitz fence. We standing by this fence and looking through. But this kind of thought was changed. The sense of composition was transformed.

The fence had broken and so the restriction of the area was eliminated. Though we can see the maintenance staff there. It tells us that the machine is in functional condition and it has been used still. I’ve made a decision to add an open hangar with the elephant-excavator (my remade work of 2005). It brought much more variety and details into the composition.

During the development of the idea the geometry was being added. The shaders and the textures were being tuned constantly as well as the whole lighting of the scene until I’ve gotten desirable mood and atmosphere.

I used physical sun and sky system plus some additional light sources to lit this scene. There were a plenty of test renders being done.

Here I’d like to say that I counted much on a post-processing at very start of work. That gave me a freedom with texturing and rendering of the most complicated parts. I simply kept in my mind that I add missing parts later in photoshop.
Finally I achieved desired lighting of the scene!

I think the feeling of early morning has done well. Further I’ve decided to increase up the atmosphere by adding autumn signs. It was a time to render the scene.
The hardest task was to render out the beauty pass. Due to large size of the image it lasted about 12 hours. There were three additional passes else to render. It were Occlusion, Color ID and Z-Depth. These passes helped me to achieve needed volume and depth of the picture. They also was used as a technical layers when compose in photoshop.

Anyway, it wasn’t take much time to assemble and fine-tune the picture. And voila! It’s finished. What a glorious moment! The idea is realized as well as all technical issues solved and that day when I made first sketches is now so far away. I have new artwork and I have a lot of new ideas in my mind.

Hope you was interested to read my story. Have a happy art process and coming true of ideas!

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About The Author

Daniil Alikov My name is Daniil Alikov. I'm CG Artist originally from Russia. I love CG at all but especially I'm crazy about surfacing which is my both hobby and profession. Being mostly self-taught artist I always eager to gain new skills. Nowadays I'm going to study traditional drawing and painting to achieve strong results to further expand my current skills in texture painting. Currently I work in great Russian studio called Glukoza Production as a Senior Surfacing Artist on the "Savva" animated feature. I dream about see the world and meet plenty of interesting people working in the best CG studios! Perhaps it much closer to me than I can imagine =)