Concepting and Story
Since I was a little kid I remember playing racing games and watching F1. A few years ago I got my first contract with Microsoft's Turn 10 working on the car's team for Forza 5 and 6. Since then I have found cars very interesting to work with. For this particular personal project I wanted to create something that looks real but at the same time has some artistic touch to it. I know most car renders have a CG car and a real photo/background but I wanted to push myself and create everything in CG. I chose the Pagani Huayra because of its very cool and unique shape.
I had a lot of fun modeling the Pagani. I wanted to create a very accurate 3d model including the interior eve tough we can't really see it in the render. I am a huge F1 fan so for the tires I decided to build the 2017 F1 Pirelli but adjusted a little bit so it can fit the car. I utilize Maya 2017 to model the car and the props. I wanted to create a full CG environment so I decided to keep it simple. I had some reference from one of the most famous race tracks Nürburgring.
Trees can sometimes be tricky to achieve desire results. Before I used Mya's paint effects which are great but I wanted more control and then I found Speed Tree. This software is a powerful toolkit used to create 3D animated plants and trees for games, animations, visual effects and more. I think is very easy to use. One of its best features is the ability to export different automatic variations of your tree. You have a lot of different attributes to create any type of tree or plants. I utilized Speed tree to create most of the trees and some bushes. I also used Maya's paint effects to add some grass and small plants and Ivy Generator to incorporate some cool ivys.
Yes, this is without a doubt on of my favorite parts of my project. And y of course I used Substance Painter and Substance Designer. Substance Painter has become my best frien d for everything I do it is very impressive the amount of power and how fast you can create realistic textures. For the Pagani I wanted to paint a race livery showing some sponsors decals and the Italian flag. Substance Painter was great to add some dirt, dust and mud particles using its some smart masks. Creating the textures for the tire was fun, I added a lot of detail but unfortunately you can't see it in the render since the tires have motion blur. As for the track's asphalt I used Substance Designer with Photoshop I ended up creating a 16k texture.
Creating the flying leaves was new to me. I utilized Maya's nCloth to give the leaves the desire movement. I played with the nCloth attributes so the leaves will fold and blend shape as they move. I did about 4 different simulations and mixed them up. Using nCloth helped me create lots of leaves and not worried about placing them one by one throughout the scene. I also wanted to add a blue flame coming from the Pgani's exhaust, for that I used a very simple 3d fluid. I started with a Maya preset fluid found in the content browser then I just change some attributes and color.
Rendering and Lighting
For rendering I used my favorite; Arnold for Maya. I wanted to create a render that looks real but also has lots of artistic touches. For the environment I used Arnold's physical sky, with some extra light rays to create a more realistic atmosphere. For the car I decided to go with two different IBL (Image Base Lighting) since they always give you very realistic results right out of the box. To add some light bounce I used 3 area lights. I wanted to give some more extra detail so I decided to turn the taillights on using Photometric lights.
I always say Materials and Lighting go together, but now I want to include Textures from Substance Painter. I knew that once I was very happy with the texturing in Substance Painter shading in Arnold was going to be much easier. I used both aiStandard and alShaders. I think the most challenging materials was the car paint. I wanted to give the look of a metallic car paint with a reflective livery covered with dust and dirt. For the metallic look I used alSurface's specular 2 with roughness of 0.32 and for the reflectivity I used Specular 1. To mask the dirt and dust from the car paint I used the F0 and Roughness texture from Substance Painter and plugged them into the weight of both specular 1 and 2.
For composting I used several AVO's including, Direct Diffuse, Indirect Diffuse, Direct Specular, Direct Specular 2 (alshaders), Indirect Specular 2 (alshaders), Z depth Pass and a custom light rays pass. I rendered the background, car and flying leaves separated so compositing is easier. I used EXR when saving my renders to preserve 32bit color data and to used Layered EXR importing into Photoshop with Exr-IO. This awesome plugin for photoshop is crucial to great all your AVO's into one EXR but when you open them in photoshop you will get all render passes separated into layers. For final Color gradient I used some 3 different 3DLuts I found for free in the web. For final touch I added some dust particles and lens flare.