In this intermediate level tutorial, we follow CG artist Cristian Pop through the process of creating an abstract paint leaking scene using 3Ds Max 2010 and Pwrapper, a great plug-in from 3D Aliens. After completing the 3D work, Cristian switches to 2D to perform some final color corrections in Photoshop.
Additional Files/ Plugins:
- Download the Reference Materials for this tutorial
After unzipping “RefFiles.zip”, open the “leaKING.max” file. To make things easier, I have already created the King’s head for you.
The first thing we’re going to do is model the hair, so create a box in the viewport and convert it to “Editable poly”. Then open the “Graphite Modeling Tools” and, in the “Freeform” section, choose “On: Surface”. Click the “Pick” button and then select our head object.
Set the “Offset” value to ’2′, and, using the “Strips Tool”, start drawing the hair onto the head as shown.
Once you’ve finished, select the original box element and delete it.
We’re now going to move on to the king’s crown. First create a cylinder with the following parameters, then convert it to an “Editable poly” and delete the top and bottom faces.
Now create a torus with the following parameters and align it to the cylinder as shown.
Select the cylinder’s top vertices. In the “Soft Selection” rollout, enable “Use Soft Selection” and set the “Falloff” to 20.
Making sure the vertices are selected, add a “Noise” modifier. Set the “Scale” to 40, the “Z Strength” value to 20 and turn on “Fractal”.
Now switch to the top viewport. Select both the cylinder and the torus and scale them up on the ‘Y’ axis.
With the main body of the crown complete, feel free to add some decorations! It’s important however that you leave some space between the crown body and any decorations you create, as shown in the image below.
Using Max’s basic poly tools, create the following element. This will be used to create the multiple “paint splashes” that sit on top of the crown.
We now need to place our splash element randomly around the top of the crown as shown.
With our splashes in place, we can now group all of the objects that form the crown. Here I’ve added a “Taper” modifier to the group (with the “Amount” set to 0.2) to further refine the shape. When you’re happy with the result, position the crown on the king’s head.
Select both the crown group and the head mesh. Now press the ‘A’ key on your keyboard to turn on “Angle Snaps”, and rotate all objects 5 degrees on the ‘Y’ axis.
Now, just as we did earlier with the “splash elements”, create some “paint leaking elements” and randomly place them around the model. You can see my results in the following image.
I’ve also added in some random drops above the crown.
With that done, create a “Cylinder” with the following parameters and convert it to “Editable poly”. This will be the source of the leaking paint that is going to form the king.
Select the bottom vertices, enable “Use Soft Selection” and set the “Falloff” to 215.
In the Front Viewport, making sure the vertices are still selected, scale down the cylinder on the ‘Z’ axis.
Now, add a “Twist” modifier to the whole object, and set the “Angle” to 180 to achieve the following result.
With our stream of paint complete, we can now place it above the king’s head, as shown. Select all the objects in our scene, group them, and then change the group name to “King”.
We now need to create the drips that have fallen to the ground. Create a “Cylinder” with the following parameters, convert it to an “Editable poly” and then delete the bottom and the side faces.
Select the edge vertices and enable “Use Soft Selection”, setting the “Falloff” to 20.
Making sure the vertices are still selected, add a “Noise” modifier. Set the “Scale” to 15 and both the “X Strength” and “Y Strength” to 20.
With the main shape created, we can now collapse the noise modifier. Select the middle vertex and enable “Use Soft Selection”, setting the “Falloff” to 25.
Again, making sure the vertices are selected, add a “Ripple” modifier. Set the “Amplitude 1″ and “Amplitude 2″ values to 2, and the “Wave Length” to 7 to achieve the effect shown.
We’re now going to create a larger splash shooting up from the floor, however instead of creating it from scratch we’re going to clone the crown group, scale it down and use that! So select the crown group and clone it, delete some of the unnecessary splash elements, and place the group on the drip as shown below.
Using the techniques described above, continue to add some smaller drips on the ground. Once you’re happy, group the newly created splash objects and rename the group to “Ground Drips”.
We now need to cover all of our objects with particles, as the “Pwrapper” object we’ll be using needs a particle source from which to generate it’s mesh. So, create a standard “Particle Flow Source” near the head and set the “Viewport Quantity Multiplier” to 100%.
In the “Particle View” window, select the following operators and delete them.
In the “Birth” operator rollout, set the “Emit Stop” to 0. This will ensure that all of the particles will be generated on the very first frame. Now set the “Amount” value somewhere between 20000 and 45000; higher value will increase mesh-generation time. This particle system will be used to generate the first of two “Pwrapper” objects.
Add a “Position Object” operator to “Event02″, and add the “King” group into the “Emitter Objects” dialog.
Because the second “Pwrapper” object will be different from the first, we now need to create a second “Particle Flow” system. So, create a second “Particle Flow Source” and set the “Viewport Quantity Multiplier” to 100% as before. Now open the “Birth” operator rollout, and set the “Emit Stop” to 0 and the “Amount” to 10000. Finally add the “Ground Drips” group in the “Position Object” operator.
In the “Create” panel, select “glu3D pouring system” from the drop down list and click the “Pwrapper” button to create a Pwrapper object in the viewport.
In the “Modify” panel, set the “Parameters” values as shown here.
Add in a “Cap holes” modifier and then add a “Relax” modifier, setting the “Iterations” value to 10 and disabling “Keep Boundary Pts Fixed”.
Clone the “Pwrapper” object as a copy, and set the “Drop Size” on the copy to ’0.4′.
It’s now time to create our first mesh! Select the first “Pwrapper” object, and add the first “PF Source” as shown. As soon as it’s added, the “Pwrapper” object starts generating the blobmesh that forms the king.
With that done, it’s time to create the second mesh. So, just as above, select the second “Pwrapper” object, add the second “PF Source” and watch as the drips are created.
Create a plane underneath the drips as shown.
Now on to lighting. First create an “Omni” light in the top viewport and, as this will be our master light, turn “Ray Traced Shadows” on and set the shadow density to a smaller value, as shown.
Here I’ve created a second “Omni” light, which I’m using to further illuminate the left side of the leaKING. I’ve made sure to disable shadows and turn down the intensity.
Now let’s create the materials. Open the “Material Editor”, create a “Standard” material and rename it to ‘white paint’. Change the “Diffuse” color to ‘white’, set the “Specular Level” to approximately 138 and the “Glossiness” to approximately 71. Under the “Maps” rollout, add a “Falloff” map in the “Reflection” slot.
Click on the “Falloff” map to access it’s properties. In the first slot add the included ‘env.hdr’ file and then change the color from the second slot to ‘black’. After that, change the “Falloff type” to “Towards/Away”. Assign our new paint material to both of the “Pwrapper” objects.
Now we need a material for the floor plane, so create a new “Standard” material, change the “Diffuse” color to ‘black’ and add a “Flat Mirror” map to the “Diffuse” slot. Click the “Flat Mirror” map to access it’s properties, and ensure that blurry reflections are disabled.
With all of the materials in place, we can now position the camera and adjust the render settings as required. For my scene I chose to render at 1000x1800px.
Now that everything is setup as needed, render the scene using 3Ds max’s standard renderer, and save the image as a “jpeg” file.
With all of the 3D work complete, we’re now going to add a few final color corrections in Photoshop. Open your render, right-click the “Background” layer and choose “Layer From Background”. In the “New Layer” dialog box, enter the name “leaking” and hit “OK”. Now double-click the layer to bring up the “Layer Style” dialog. Enable the “Color Overlay” effect and change the color to a light blue (in my case I’ve used 00d8ff,) then set the “Blend mode” to ‘Overlay’ and decrease the “Opacity” to 25%.
Duplicate the “leaking” layer twice, using the “Ctrl+J” hotkey. Set the blending mode for the second duplicate (the very top layer) to “Color Burn”.
Select the two copied layers and merge them using the “Ctrl+E” hotkey. Decrease the “Opacity” of this new merged layer to 35%, and with this done, right-click either of the layers and choose “Merge Visible”.
We’re now going to add a subtle photographic grain to the image. First create a new layer and fill it with grey as shown.
With the layer selected, go to Filter > Noise > Add Noise…
In the “Add Noise” dialog box, set the “Noise Amount” to 400% and change the “Noise Type” to “Monochromatic”. With that done, hit “OK”.
Now go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur…
In the “Gaussian Blur” dialog box, set the “Blur Radius” to 0.2 pixels and press “OK”.
Set the blending mode of our noise layer to “Overlay” and the “Opacity” to 3% – we hardly want to be able to see it at all. With that done, the intensity of our photographic grain can now be adjusted by using the opacity slider.
And with that, we’re done! Congratulations, you’ve made the king proud! My final result is shown below.