Arcade Fire Wip 003.

Note: The artwork shown in this post doesn't belong to the I Like You short film.

UV Mapping finished.

Click images to enlarge.


Arcade Fire Wip 002.

Note: The artwork shown in this post doesn't belong to the I Like You short film.

Find below some wires.

Click images to enlarge.

Arcade Fire Wip 001.

Note: The artwork shown in this post doesn't belong to the I Like You short film.

I've started a new personal work, it's a small project but enough complex to understand and practice new techniques and new software which I'll use in the production of I Like You short film.
Find below my first steps in the modeling process of one of the assets.

In this modeling exercise I've been practicing with Maya and Houdini.

Critiques and comments are very welcome.

Click images to enlarge.


Inverted occlusion in Max.

People asked me for a step by step installation and usage of Binary Alchemy Color Ray Length shader in 3D Max.
Here we go.


  • Download BA Shaders for 3D Max.
  • Copy .dll files here -> "3ds Max 2010\mentalray\shaders_3rdparty\shaders"
  • Copy .mi files here -> "3ds Max 2010\mentalray\shaders_3rdparty\include"
  • Edit "3rdparty.mi" located here -> 3ds Max 2010\mentalray\shaders_3rdparty
  • Your "3rdparty.mi" must be something like this.

  • Create a matte/shadow shader and uncheck "receive shadows" and "use ambient occlusion".

  • In the "camera mapped background" input, connect a "BA_color_raylength" shader.

  • Play with the "spread" to control the behaviour of the occlusion.
  • Once rendered you'll have something similar to this.

  • Mix the "BA_color_raylength" with procedural maps o bitmaps to improve the result.

Edit: The most important parameters to play with are "spread" and "far output".


Find references with Google sets.

Some time ago I wrote a post about my workflow to find image references and general information, usefull when you are in the researching phase of your work.

I've found a nice tool of Google which helps you to find information related to one topic written by you.

For example, if you need references of american cars, but you only know the companies "Chevrolet" and "Buick", Google gives you related companies of american cars.

It's very usefull!

Google Sets.


Images for reviews.

When you are showing images in a review meeting with the director or art director, it's necessary to add some extra lines, listed below the images, to add important information about the work made by the artist.

Find below the information which we are using for this case.

- Artist name.
- Asset name.
- Department.
- Status.
- Date.
- File name.

The name of the images will be based on this template.


Find below some examples.

name: prp_arcadeMachineA_modeling_wip001_20110111.png

name: prp_stove_shading_approved_20100822.png


Black hole with FG contribution.

Black holes are a key feature in 3D lighting and compositing, but black holes with bounced information are super!

- Apply a Mental Ray Production Shader called "mip_rayswitch_advanced" to your black hole object.

- In the "eye" channel, connect a "surface shader" with the "out_matte_opacity" parameter pure black.

- In the Final Gather input, connect the original shader of your object. (a blinn shader for example)

Beauty pass.

Alpha channel.


Inverse dirtmaps.

Sometimes is very useful generate inverse occlusion bakes to reach an interesting point to start to paint our dirt maps.
Vray dirt material is perfect for this goal, but if you don't works with Vray, is very easy to do the same with Mental Ray and Binary Alchemy Shaders.

Read below.

- You need to install the Binary Alchemy Shaders. Some packages are free and you will have to pay for another ones.
- Apply a "surface shader" to the object and connect a "BA_color_raylenght" to it.
- Put this shader in "Inverted Normal" mode and play with his parameters.

- We reach an inverted "ambient occlusion".

- Use a "blend colors" , "layered shader" o similar to combine this inverted occlusion with a nice bitmap. (use this technique for that).

Sample scene for Maya.
Binary Alchemy Shaders for Maya.

Edit: The most important parameters to play with are "spread" and "far output".

Worn edges.

This technique is based on "worn edges techniques" by Neil Blevins.


- 3D Max Scanline Render.
- SoulBourn Scripts.
- Warp Texture Script.
- All the objects must be with a correct UV mapping.


- We must complete perfectly the UV mapping of the objects, without overlappings and similar common issues.

- To reach better results, we need more geometry information, especially in the corners.
- For that purpose, duplicate the objects, rename them and apply them some bevels in the corners and one or two turbosmooths if necessary. (but try first only adding bevels).

- Note: All the object mesh must be "Editable Poly".
- Select the object and execute "Corner edge to vertex map" script.

- We will have to play with the low and high angle parameters, especially decreasing the intensity of the low angle when more complex geometry has the object.
- The next step is to distort this mask created by vertex color, to give it more caotic shape and indeed, more real aspect.
- We need to download the "warp texture" plugin.

- In a standard material connect the warpt texture to diffuse channel.
- In the target input connect a vertex color. 3D Max put by default the vertex information which we have generated previously with the corner edge to vertex script.

- In the warp input connect a procedural noise, whose parameters will vary depending of scene scale and object size.

- If we hit a render we reach a pretty decent results, but we need to define better our mask.

- If we put an output in the vertex color channel, we can play with the curve for empathize the results.

- In the noise we can also play with his output.

- Finally we can play with the "warp amount" to make variations of the mask.

- To finish, we can bake this mask to paint it in a more appropriate software.

Neil Blevins sample scene.
My sample scene.
My sample scene for rendering.