If you’re new to the world of 3D art and CGI in particular, you may feel that there are far too many tools to choose from. In my articles I aim to break everything down to the very basics, so that every artist can be armed with the knowledge of which tool is best. With that in mind, let’s explore materials and shaders by looking at Normal maps.
Next time you’re in a city, examine the way that modern buildings are constructed. What do you see? Repetition, and lots of it. A huge part of the built environment is constructed using repeated modular components. This makes modern architecture an ideal candidate for 3D modelling.
Whole buildings can be created with just a few objects, and when combined with procedural modelling techniques, you can very quickly populate entire scenes in your 3D art, which are easy to update and fast to iterate.
One of the simplest ways to bring some extra life to any piece of 3D art is to add colour and texture to it. There are a variety of names given to this process, adding shaders or materials or even textures. A rule of thumb is that a 'texture' is an image that is used to drive a property of a 'material', which defines the basic properties of the surface of the object. This itself is the child of a 'shader', which is effectively a holding group for all the various elements – some software can blend materials together to give the appearance of rusting metal, for example.
Adding details to your scene is always the way to go when you want to achieve more realism in your 3D art, and thankfully there are many plugins available to help you achieve exactly what you want. In this case, imagine you have a home surrounded by a large forest.
Many tools may come to mind for building this scene, including using free textures, but the one we are going to use is 'free' as part of render engine V-Ray. This time you can add the forest using VRayInstancer, which is a tool that not many use. It has its limitations but it hasn't ever failed me. So let's learn how to use it to scatter trees for a forest scene.
From the ultramodern to the ultra-historic, the country-club clubhouse has always been a hub for fraternizing over an ice-cold drink after 18 holes or a few sets of tennis. But looks matter too. So we’ve rounded up the most beautiful clubhouse in each state, including a Frank Lloyd Wright design in Hawaii and an Illinois club modeled after a Turkish mosque. Of course, this final list reflects a range of styles, but all are distinctive—and most have features that reflect the spirit of their respective states. Since the focus here is on the facade of each clubhouse, not necessarily the interior, we have highlighted the standout settings of the buildings as well.
If there’s any destination known for midcentury-modern architecture, it’s Palm Springs. The desert town in California’s Coachella Valley first became a popular resort destination in the early 20th century, drawing Hollywood stars in the 1930s, then from the ’40s to the ’60s, when architects such as John Lautner, Richard Neutra, Albert Frey, and William F. Cody built the homes that Palm Springs is known for today. But just 15 minutes away is another midcentury oasis that blossomed in the postwar years: Rancho Mirage, the subject of Mod Mirage, a new book by Melissa Riche with photography by her husband, Jim Riche
1. Gordon Guillaumier for Roda
Standout: This daybed’s generous elliptical shape, chunky knit cover, and curved frame encourage lolling about, whether solo or à deux.
Whether your thing is graphic design, web design or 3D art, you need to protect yourself. To prevent your work from triggering legal action, artists of all types (and freelancers in particular) need to get their heads around some pretty tricky legal jargon. This can feel overwhelming, so we've broken it down into the five key terms every artist should look out for.
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