In 2012 we created Nite Watches entire product range using CGI for the launch of their brand new website. Each watch was rendered in various positions along with different face and strap combinations, all within a day and night setting to show the benefits of GTLS technology. Now 4 years on we once again assisted Nite Watches with the launch of their new 2016 Marquess range.
Our primary software packages are still Autodesk 3ds Max and Chaos Group’s V-Ray. There have been many changes in 4 years as the software develops and as a result we have experienced improvements in 3D modelling, materials and rendering.
Simplified hard surface modelling
Back in 2012 the hard surface modelling workflow we adopted was cumbersome because of the required chamfers and edge loops that control how large or small a rounded edge should be. With the modelling process also being destructive, there was no plausible option for fine tuning and adjusting the 3D geometry later. Therefore we had to be very certain that the mesh was correct before adding further detail.
In 2016 we took a different approach to modelling and used 3ds Max’s newly introduced OpenSubdiv and CreaseSet modifier’s. We created the basic 3D geometry, then applied Crease Sets to add in further detailing. Crease Sets work in a similar way to chamfering but with one key difference, Crease Sets are non destructive.
Crease Sets do not add any further geometry unlike traditional chamfering and at any time it is possible to go back to the base mesh and adjust as required. The OpenSubdiv modifier is then applied to smooth the result based on the Crease Set values. This created a simplified and flexible modelling workflow inside 3ds Max that was not possible before.
Improved edge highlights
VRayEdgesTex was used throughout the project in 2012 to also add rounded corners along edges of the geometry. Unfortunately this effect only worked with welded surfaces and as a result we added highlight details in post production on areas that we couldn’t prior to rendering.
Since then V-Ray has added support for non welded surfaces and improved the VRayEdgesTex by including a “Consider same object only” feature which allowed separate objects to blend together. This allowed more control over the final finish of the material.
Faster render feedback in V-Ray
With the introduction of V-Ray RT on the previous project, there were significant improvements in previewing the final render result before committing to production. Unfortunately because V-Ray RT at the time was a new render engine, there were many features that were not yet supported by RT. As a result we couldn’t always see the exact render we would expect to see in final production.
More recently V-Ray released the new Progressive Image Sampler that works in a similar way to V-Ray RT by rendering progressively in passes. Because the image sampler is part of the standard renderer, all V-Ray features are supported so we could see an exact render very quickly before going to final production using the bucket sampler.