Hi everyone! My name is Ricardo Godinho and alongside being the founder of 3dartistcentral.com, I have been working as a 3D artist for architecture, product design, and advertisement for more than 20 years.
In this tutorial, I would like to share with you the steps I took to achieve the images for a project with an unusual design style combination.
The main software used was 3ds Max, and I decided to deviate from my normal workflow and give it a go with corona as a render engine. Despite being less versatile than V-ray, which can spare you a bit of time when rendering in adaptive mode, with Corona, you don´t need to mess around with complicated settings and parameters. It is a very straightforward and user-friendly software.
The project's design briefing had a few guidelines which were a bit more challenging than usual. Normally, I get a design style specification, like contemporary, eclectic, or traditional which gives me a comfortable, less restrictive range of choices to work on. But, in this case, the goal was a mixture of industrial with mid-century design.
I started by gathering images in a Mood-board so that I could identify the main characteristics of both styles.
With it, I was able to find out that the cold and raw look of the industrial style, balanced with the abundant use of craftsmanship warm wood, and soft fabrics from mid-century furniture was the way to go. I also wanted to avoid the cliché use of a brick wall, often present in the industrial style and, for the color scheme, I tried to enforce the industrial feeling by creating private/dark but welcoming areas with the use of brown, unsaturated orange, and dark reds.
Most of the modeling was spent building the spaces. I just used basic poly modeling tools like, extrude, inset, bridge, etc. I kept the entire apartment as one object and turned Backface Cull on to be able to see through the walls.
Some of the elements I spent more time working on included the blanket on the chair where I used Marvelous Designer to make the simulation and the rug in the same room with 3ds Max´s default Hair and Fur tool.
I also scattered condensation on the teapot to add a bit more interest to the scene.
I started by making a copy of the interior upper surface of the Teapot and applied a smoke map for the condensation, the lower part I used for the liquid.
Then, I used CoronaScatter to distribute the droplets all over the upper surface.
The floor tiles were made with the free version of Floor Generator.
Materials and textures
Because most of the models were downloaded, I didn’t have to spend time texturing but I adjusted a lot of materials. I color corrected, for example, the marble on the floor to achieve the desired dark reddish look.
The curtain´s material also played a very important role in filtering just the right amount of light and contributing to the overall mood.
The lighting setup was very simple, just composed of a CoronaSun with a slightly edited CoronaSky. Because I was still using version 5, I added a plane with Corona´s light portal material in every window to improve rendering efficiency. If you are using Corona 6 you don´t need to do that anymore.
Using this kind of uncomplicated setup, especially for interior scenes, and achieve high quality and photo-realistic images, is one of the advantages of working with Corona renderer. Below you can take a look at the settings.
The render setup was just Corona´s default settings with passes limited to 75 and for some of the darker images,100. It took me 3 to 4 hours to render each image at almost 4k resolution. Due to the latest travel restrictions, the machine used was a laptop with an i7-8750H CPU, 32GB RAM, and an RTX 2070.
I didn´t use any render elements, despite having rendered ambient occlusion and wire color.
I used the plug-in Batch Camera Render 1.16 to render overnight and save the files in Corona´s native .cxr format and be able to open them with the frame buffer the next day.
My goal was to try to reduce post-production to a minimum.
After many years saving .exr files with several passes and spending hours doing post-production in Photoshop, I challenged myself to get good enough images directly out of the frame buffer.
On its latest version, V-ray also includes similar post-production tools but, wanting to try Corona for a while I was surprised by the frame buffer features. Not only the useful light mix, but also several color grading and exposure settings, free and ready to use LUTs, glare and bloom effects, and sharpening/blurring filters, all very intuitive and adjustable during rendering, making me believe I didn´t need to do post-production anywhere else.
The LUT I used was "Hiddenite - log" included on the free package from lutify.me. You can take a look at all the settings on the right side of the image below.
The only reason I had to use Photoshop was to correct some small texture issues for which I didn't have the time to render again.
Final thoughts and images
I hope you found this tutorial useful and learn something from it.
Overall it was very easy to set up the scene and didn´t require spending huge amounts of time in post-production. Corona renderer is very intuitive and you don´t need to do much to get high-quality, realistic images, despite taking, in general, a bit longer to render than other more adaptive engines.
I hope you enjoy the images
I would also like to learn from you. If you have any advice or questions, or just want to say something nice or not so much, let me know in the comments! I would appreciate your feedback and would love to discuss this and other projects with you!