I have started work on a new project. In this project I wanted to get some practice with ZBrush. Initial impressions of the application are good and I can straight away see how powerful it is and how easy it is to create some detailed models.

It definitely is a very different way of working in comparison to 3DS Max, the controls are quite different so its taking a while to adapt moving from one application to the next.

It has also opened up so many questions for me about an integrated work flow between applications. Zbrush seems to have powerful material and poly painting functionality, but can these transfer on the exported models to 3DS max? Time for some forum posting and research.

So onto some WIP images of my latest project. Lots of new techniques and ideas coming through.

Clay render of 'Brain and Spine' modelled in ZBrush

Test render in 3DS Max of my scene

I have been using trial products of Autodesk to do most of my work and until recently I had not looked into the pricing of the products I was using.

I could not believe that the Autodesk 3DS Max 2013 product is over 3K USD!

I understand it is a professional package used by large companies but sure Autodesk can come up with a better price for private users.

I do not profit from any of my work it is purely a hobby interest for me and this price is just way above what I am prepared to pay at this stage. Crazy!
I have completed the 'Scary Fairytale' scene and overall I'm pretty happy with the result. I learnt so much on this project, in particular a lot about rendering and lighting systems. My final render was done with mental ray. 2200 x 1700 resolution with very high final gather and 64/64 sampling. It took approx 5 hours on my laptop to output :)

Here are some render process shots.

Here is a clay render done using the Quicksilver renderer.

And lastly, the final render :)

I went searching for some tips and techniques for creating clouds. There are a few tutorials out there on the web for clouds in 3ds Max, some using atmospheric effects like 'volume fog' and others using particle systems and materials. I originally was planning to have some clouds in my 'creepy fairytale' scene but decided against it because I didn't get the look I was after. However here is the best tutorial I found.

I have spent a couple of sessions setting up materials for the 'Creepy Fairytale' scene. I did a few tutorials on materials and textures which definitely helped. But the process of adding materials is difficult and one that I still need a lot of practice doing!
I also learnt that I need to plan better during the modelling stage so I can separate geometry easily to make adding materials easier.
So below is a higher quality render. 16/16 sampling, high level final gather and 1024x768 size.
I think this project is nearing a close for me and I have got a lot out of it. I may just re-texture the tree and maybe had some clouds and tweak the lighting some more, but for now, this is what I have.

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