This tutorial covers lighting in Vray using an HDRI Sky only. The following steps will be shown: Creation of the Vray dome light and loading the HDR/EXR image file, reducing the HDRI gamma to introduce sharp defined shadows, overriding the environment background and reflection with a second unmodified HDRI, and finally generating a render with an alpha channel for use in post production.

Please note that the scene is lit with one of Peter Guthrie’s HDR images. The settings I have used in the tutorial suit his HDRIs well but the results may vary a little with other HDRIs. Don’t be afraid to adjust the setting and experiment! The principles shown in this tutorial are applicable should be perfectly suited to a variety of HDR imagery.

Gamma/LUT settings for your info: http://postimage.org/image/sssolbt75/

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The above images were produced for a private developer client & friend of mine. The building site is not far from Clapham Junction (not far from where I currently work and in a part of London that I know reasonably well: I’m going to have to stop doing everything in 3D and start taking more photographs for these projects at some point I think!) I really enjoyed the fast turn around on this job. In addition it represented a culmination of a lot of learning on previous jobs. The job is ongoing as there are several phases to the actual building project. More images will follow from the project in time. I generated these images with all the typical tools: 3DS Max 2011, Vray, Photoshop and possibly one of my more valuable tools: Google Street View!
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Scary Monsters & Nice Sprites
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The above images represent my not so recent foray into zbrush, character rigging as well as some extensive Onyx Tree and trusted Peter Guthrie grass tutorials. The purpose of these images (apart from the obvious learning benefit to myself) was to produce a humorous yet slightly disturbing birthday card for a close friend. I’m pleased to say she was suitably amused and disturbed. All in all I used 3DSMax, vray, Onyx Tree, Zbrush, Photoshop, After Effects and Magic Bullet Photolooks (I think!) I have learned a tremendous amount about both zbrush and onyx tree and would love to produce a few tutorials soon the things I’ve found useful.

The image below is a screen grab of me trying to get my head around painting the influence weights of bones on a character mesh… I’d recommend modelling it correctly first!
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For a while I have wanted to put together a short film that briefly looks at the very enjoyable, but occasionally stressful process that is post production of still CG images: a process of working up a raw render to the point where it can reasonably be considered a complete, final image. Compared to working in 3d, it feels like a far more tactile aspect of still architectural CG: equally as enjoyable but for completely different reasons.

Having worked in both environments I am now strongly against the split skills production line approach to architectural visualisation. I believe to be a good CG artist you need to attempt to master all the skills required to complete a job, not merely one specialism.

 I really enjoyed putting this video together. Learned a couple little new things about premiere and what a cracking piece of software it is. I can’t wait for the next time I need to do some video editing!

All of the work shown in the video is studio-based work I have done over the last eight months to a year.

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