Patrice Louise talked about the production of a very detailed model of the motorcycle, with awesome materials and great modeling.
DUCATI MONSTER 1200S STRIP
My objective was to join a production team specialized in VFX. For this I needed to showcase a bigger and more ambitious project than what I do usually. Dorian Marchesin (lead environment artist at Unit Image) advised me to do a bike.
I first did a very rough blocking of the bike and then started to model the engine. I started with the engine because it was the most important piece on this bike series, it shoulders the whole of the bike. Gradually I went more and more into detail, going from the bigger pieces to the smaller ones.
I tried to not stray away from my reference, and stay as true as I could to the original model. When I started doing some complex piece, I went searching to know what function it had, and why it was shaped as it was.
For the materials, I proceeded as I did with the modeling phase. I start by doing the principal materials without any texture map by category (metal, paint, plastic, rubber etc…), and slowly go into the details of a particular piece. Every piece has its own particularity. For example, the metal of the handlebar will be different from the metal of a screw. I spent a lot of time adjusting the reflexion and color of a material.
For the material of the brake disc, I did two materials, the basic metal, very shiny, reflective and uniform, and the wear of the disc, black, almost not reflective, with irregular dirt. Then I blended the two materials with an alpha mask in a V-Ray blend.
The tire was made of two parts, the principal one and the one with the writing on it. I did the principal part using Solidworks and imported the piece in 3ds Max without retopology, and unwrapped the UV. Then I did the texturing including the alpha of the tire in photoshop. The material is composed of two parts, the worn one and the clean one. I then used an alpha mask in a V-Ray blend to assemble the two. For the part with the writings on it, I did a circle on its own, and applied the writing with a map in opacity.
To have all these different materials working together, I start by doing the basic shaders, and see if the whole isn’t disparate. Then, depending on the elements, I duplicated the materials and diversify them.
I had a lot of issues for a while with the headlight because it didn’t look real. For the reflector, I had to destroy my topology with a pro optimizer to create some dents. The realism also depends on the IOR (Index Of Refraction) of the glass.
If someone want to start this kind of project, he’ll first need to define what the end-goal will be. For example, I decided from the beginning that my bike would not be animated, so I didn’t spend much time thinking about poly optimization.
Otherwise, I would have three principal advices to give :
- Be patient : do not fear going back to some part which doesn’t work well or which could be better. Sometime it could seem like a waste of time but this special attention to details will make the difference between some cool project, and a project that really stands out. On the 7 months I spent on this project, I spent 2 doing only retakes.
- Be aware of what you model : It’s very important to take the time to know what you model, what is its function. It permit to understand the form better, and avoid doing stupid mistakes that would discredit the project.
- Ask for external opinions : during the length of the project, I was supervised by Dorian Marchesin who could give feedbacks on a regular basis. When you work on a project for a long period a time, in the end you don’t have enough perspective to know what works and what doesn’t. Even people that know nothing to 3D whatsoever can point on some element that doesn’t work and that you would have overvise overlook.