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The Making of 'RIO GRANDE'

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The Making of Diet Pepsi

August 31, 2005 | Stryker

This tutorial includes the most interesting and complicated steps of making the scene. The idea to create RIO GRANDE image came up to me while I was watching small copies of locomotives and steam locomotives at a shop. So when I came home I’ve decided to make one of these machines. And now let’s talk about making of the scene. I think that the best way to explain all the details is to show the sequence of images with breif descriptions for them. So more images are included and less words.

I’m sure that methods used to create the image do not differ much from those used by the most part of the modelers. Just take a look at this wire and skylight layer pictures to understand how everything is built up.

The whole scene:

A close-up view:

A Skylight layer:

I haven’t worried about polygon count because I wanted to create a static image, not an animation. The model of a train isn’t the cleanest one so polygon count of it is quiet large.


Lighting in this scene is very simple; it consists of one direct light only. Here is a picture with different views of the scene with light source in it:

As you can see from the image above, direct light have quiet simple settings. The most important is that multiplier has been set to 1,5 to create light like in summer shiny day. Color for this light has been set as the pale yellow to simulate the sun.

Texturing was more difficult stage because scene contain many objects. Moreover all textures for the locomotive and walls are 4000×4000 pixels.

Parts of the train texture:

Texture of the walls on the left:

“RIO GRANDE” number texture:


To add some dirt for all the windows in the scene I used blend material with a mask(black color is a glass material and white color is a dirt ):

Also I have used some of 3d total textures like this one:

Then I have created bump and specular maps for all textures. You can see an example of the textured trains with different color without dirt on the following images:



Rendering of the scene was the most complex for me because of my hardware limit (Athlon XP 2400+, 1 gig of RAM). I had to render my “Masterpiece” :) by layers. So I rendered out diffuse, skylight, direct light, specular, z-depth layers, and the same layers again with an additional reflection layer for the train to composite it in separate way. I created following image for those people who wants to learn how to render by layers with Brazil :

Click to view lager image
Click to view lager image

This is my favorite part of image creation process. I shutdown Max and start Photoshop. Then I began to collect all layers together. Here they are:

(from left to the right: diffuse, skylight, direct light, specular, train reflection, train specular).

You can see here a sequence which shows how my final PSD file looks like:

  • 1 stlayer is a background with a sky(also used “hue/saturation” and “color balance” to adjust sky color)
  • 2 ndlayer are just pictures of trees masked to put them on the sky layer.
  • 3 rdis the diffuse pass with mask which hides black background of the layer.
  • 4 this the same(diffuse) pass with “screen” blend mode and mask to lighten up some parts of the layer.
  • 5 thlayer is the skylight layer switched to multiply mode.
  • 6 thlayer – direct light pass with the mask.
  • 7 thlayer – the same as 6 th but modified to grayscale (I used it to add little more light for some parts of the image).
  • 8 thlayer – simply specular pass.
  • 9 thlayer – pass with reflections of the locomotive(masked to add reflections for headlights only).
  • 10 thlayer – the same layer(masked to add reflections for headlights only).
  • 11 thlayer – the same layer to add reflections for the whole train.
  • 12 thlayer – specular pass of the train.
  • 13 thlayer – specular pass of foreground fence, wall under it and stairs.

When I finished with the gathering of the all the passes together, I always make a color correction (I used “color balance”, “hue/saturation”, “brightness/contrast” for current image), add some fog (using z-depth layer information), noise (when it’s needed), glow for the most lighted parts of the image and other final touches.





Software used: 3ds Max7, Brazil r/s 1.2.56, Photoshop CS.
Hardware: Athlon XP 2400+, 1gig of RAM.

Hope this article would be useful for you!

Author:Yamkovoy Andrey


3DM models creation
Copyright© Yamkovoy Andrey

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