Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Photoshop tips & tricks, for production (part 1)

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Importing render elements

Nowadays, using render elements have become part of the production process. As such, companies often find themselves having to come up with quick ways to help speed up the transition between 3ds max and Photoshop

The one technique that’s widely implemented by most companies to import render elements, is the “Load Files into Stack” script”.

The script essentially “does exactly what it says on the tin”, by simply collecting and stacking multiple files in one PSD document, whilst preserving each stacked file with its original name.

To use this script, simply go to the main Photoshop toolbar and click on the “File” button.
Choose the “Scripts” option from the dropdown list, followed by selecting the “Load Files into Stack” function. Its dialog should pop up. 

By default, its “Use” is set to “Files”. However, when all the relevant files are in one folder, it’s preferable to use the “Folder” option. 

To choose the “Folder”, simply click on the “Browse” button, followed by locating and selecting the relevant folder. 

If perchance the “Files” option is chosen, simply repeat the above mentioned steps, in addition to selecting all the relevant files inside its respective folder.

Creating PhotoShop Actions

During production, there are instances when users are required to apply identical image effects and/or edit transforms to multiple files. This operation can at times be tedious and time consuming.

Numerous companies tend to create Photoshop actions to help fast-track this process. For the purpose of this simple exercise, we’re emulating a basic string of actions.

To do so, simply do the following:

1- Open the relevant files in Photoshop. For this exercise, it’s also worth creating a brand new folder to save your new files into, as a precautionary measure.

Select the first file/document in Photoshop and Open the “Actions” dialog by pressing “Alt+F9” on your keyboard; or by simply clicking on the “Window” main toolbar and choosing the “Actions” function from the drop down list. 

2- Its dialog should pop up. To create a new action folder, simply click on its toggle on the top far right corner, and choose the “New Action” option from its drop down list. 

3-In the “New Action” dialog, rename it according to the actions you’re planning to execute.  The dialog also allows users to create a “Function Key” for the action/s.
The “Function Key” is an alternative shortcut to the “play selection” button.  Click “Record” to begin capturing your actions. 

4- As mentioned earlier, for this exercise we've simply recorded basic actions such as re-sizing the image/document, blurring, saving the file in a new folder, and closing it thereafter. However, feel free to record more/different actions.

Note how each action is being added orderly in the newly created “Resize, Filter & save as”” action folder. In addition, the record button is turned on/red.  

5-Once finished, simply click on the “Stop playing/recording” button to stop. 

6-To apply the previous actions to a new file/document, simply pick the relevant document, followed selecting the action folder in its dialog, and pressing the “Play selection” button.

Please note that, once a file/document is closed, Photoshop selects the next existing file/document automatically. Hence the “Close” action was also recorded in action folder. 

Photoshop actions can also be used for a variety of different purposes such as setting up PSD files/layers/adjustment layers, etc.   

I hope you've found the above tips useful.

Finally, the next article will focus in other commonly used techniques to help speed up your production workflow!  

Sunday, 2 November 2014

3ds max: VRayPattern

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Hi All,

Recently, I was involved in a project for a  3d visualisation company called The Visualiser. 

The initial brief from the client was to create an exquisite high rise building, with a specific pattern throughout its external surface.

After having exhausted all options  while trying different techniques and using alternative applications such as Zbrush, AutoCAD, etc; we've finally decided to outsource the 3d modelling to an external company renown for creating complex 3d models, very quickly!

Few days later, they've returned back to us with the disappointing news that, after having tried numerous techniques/approaches, they simply wouldn't be able to deliver on their original promise.

The shocking news left us with no option but to look for an alternative solution, immediately!
With the invaluable help of an outstanding senior artist by the name of Vempalle Sudhakar, we were able to create and visualise the building accurately, and according to the client's specific requirements.

The complex building patterns were accurately created, by using an outstanding plug-in called VRayPattern.

This easy to use plug-in allowed us to quickly create one set of pattern in 3d, to be later wrapped around the organic shaped building structure.

While the VrayPattern plug-in can be used in a variety of different ways, and for numerous purposes, we've quickly achieved our results by doing the following:

1-We've begun by first importing a specific AutoCAD pattern supplied by the client

2-This AutoCAD drawing was used as the basis to create the exquisite building patterns.

Before introducing the VrayPattern, users are required to first create the relevant pattern and the building shape, in 3d.

In addition, it's worth noting that, the 3d pattern needs to be smooth enough to fit the building structure accurately.   

a- We've started by creating a 3d plane and setting its "Length and Width segments" to about 100. 

Please note that, the value of 100 worked well for the amount of smoothness required. 
However, feel free to use different values, if necessary. 

b-Next, we've begun recreating the circled patterns using the "circle" shape.        

We've also ensured that, its default "interpolation" value  was set to 100 "Steps", to achieve a smooth and accurate surface, as described earlier.

While increasing the "steps" value improves the quality of a surface, it will not affect the display or the rendering performance.

The subsequent shapes were created by simply  unticking the “Start New Shape" function, and creating new circle shapes. 

The shape was later extruded and booleaned against the plane created earlier. 

4- Once the building pattern was created, we've used some of the drawing splines to create the organic building shape/shell.

It was achieved, by first selecting one of the drawing's splines/shapes, followed by opening the "Modify" panel.
Next, we've enabled the "Cross Section" function and selected/attached each relevant building spline in a "top to bottom" sequential order.
To exit adding/attaching splines simply right click. 

To finalize the building shape/shell, we've simply applied a surface modifier on top. 
Note how the building gradually decreases in size, from top to bottom.

5- The final stage was to create and wrap the exquisite building pattern, with the help of  "VrayPattern" plug-in.

a- In the "Geometry" command panel, we've opened its dropdown list and selected the "Vray" command from its list.

b-In the "Object Type" group, we've selected the "VrayPattern" function, followed by clicking and dragging/scaling its icon in the viewport to create it. 

c- While the "VrayPattern" was still selected, we've opened its "Modify" panel.

In the "Base parameters" group, we've enabled the “in the scene” function, followed by selecting the previously created "plane008" in the scene viewport. A gizmo should immediately appear around the "plane008" pattern/shape.

b- In the "Surface" group, we've picked the building surface/shell, previously created.  


It's worth mentioning that, the "Pattern" (i.e. plane008) works like a tiled bitmap over the "Surface" (i.e. line003). For this reason, users are required to apply a "UVW Map" modifier onto the "Surface"(i.e. line003).

For this project the mapping parameters depicted in the image below worked best. However, users are often required to tweak with its values (quick test renders) to achieve the desired results.

Furthermore, the "UVW Map" length and width values need to be entered in the "VrayPattern" crop size values.     

Note: By default, the colour/ material of the rendered building with the pattern, comes from the "VrayPattern" icon in the scene. To change this, simply apply a nice Vray material to the "VrayPattern" icon in the scene.

For this project, we've applied a nice Vray metallic finish to it. 

Moreover, it's worth noting that, the Vray pattered building cannot be converted into a mesh. Therefore, any changes/tweaks need to occur on "Surface" and/or "pattern" level.

For more information about its easy to use parameters and installation process, please visit the following page:

The circled window details (i.e. circled frames) were created by using some of the techniques covered earlier.

Finally,the remaining building details were physically modelled on top of the building itself (i.e. Line003).

Please see below the complete rendered image, with lights and other features.

I hope you like the final result: 

Checkout below my other Courses with High Resolution Videos, 3d Project files and Textures included.

Course 1: Exterior Daylight with V-Ray + 3ds Max + Photoshop  

Course 2: Exterior Night with V-Ray + 3ds Max + Photoshop

Course 3: Interior Daylight with V-Ray + 3ds Max + Photoshop

Course 4: Interior Night with V-Ray + 3ds Max + Photoshop

Also, please Join my Patreon page to download other Project files; Watch more Videos and receive Technical Support. Finally, check out my New channels below:

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New Book: 3D Photorealistic Rendering: Interiors & Exteriors with V-Ray and 3ds Max

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                                      Tips & Tricks for VRay & mental ray

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