The visualizations were made in november 2012 with Johnny Biernawski collaboration. Before the work started we collected large photoshoot database of the street as a reference.
Programs we used:
- Sketch UP
One of the biggest challenges was modelling the project. For rendering we planned using 2GB graphic card – because of this we were forced to have had create geometry and textures which engaged less memory. Świętokrzyska street is quite large street – designed area was about 2,5 kilometres long. In addition the final shoots had various locations on the street so we had to model all buildings on this street, including skyscrapers nearby.
To summarize – only three words: optimisation, optimisation, optimisation.
Our employer provided us 3d model of partial Warsaw downtown but because of model’s poor quality we used it only as reference of buildings height. Only one of the buildings – The Palace of Culture and Science was adopted to project after some minor tweaking.
Big part of modelling process associated with buildings was made by Johnny in Sketchup, but after importing it into Blender we had to tweak it here and there and again – to optimised it. Converting windows to instances and so on. In sketchup we modelled pavements and street, and after that in Blender we tweaked model again.
We made our decision about modeling in Sketchup because our employer wanted to have whole model in Sketchup format. We decided this was better way than modelling everything in Blender and then exporting it to Sketchup. Finally employer didn’t expected the model so we were able to do everything in Blender, which was far easier.
Some of skyscrapers and all small architectural forms such as benches, trash cans also were modelled in Blender from start to finish. Array and mirror modifier was used quite often. But after that we changed final geometry into instances.
All render was made in Blender Cycles. In my opinion Cycles is one of the best things happened to Blender! Cycles have a lot from unbiased but is very flexible. We can fake a lot and our render still looks brilliant. Here is shader for one of pavements:
Trees caused a real pain! Mainly because of our employers – which are landscape architects (we are landscape architects too 😉 ) He wanted exactly Tillia tomentosa `Varsaviensis` species – nothing instead of it! We used sampling tree generator to build main structure of tree and after that paint weight on branches and populate leaves with particle system. We made 4 versions of this species.
3D Render and post-production
Cycles as I wrote before is unbiased, so It doesn’t have many switches to tweak, but there are some options to speed up render time. We switched off calculation of caustics effect, because it produce noise, and set clump value to 0.95 to avoid fireflies and lower dawn bounces.
We turned on rendering of some useful passes to use them as Gimp and Photoshop layers to add some final touch to the images. For example we used Z-depth pass to add air perspective in some shoots or glossy pass to add wet-effects on sidewalks in several shoots. Because of this trick we had absolute control over this effect (we colud turn it off in “one-clik”) while post-producing.
During post-production process we used mainly PS but final light effects we achieved in Gimp.
And here is a little gif from post proces:
That`s all folks!
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