The idea of the «UNFORGOTTEN HERITAGE» project is to spotlight some existing buildings from the past that really worth to be well known due to their extraordinary architecture, but experiencing the lack of attention, being almost forgotten by the architectural community today.
The first in the series is short inspirational movie about Marcel Breuer’s Saint John’s Abbey Church - a milestone in the evolution of the Catholic Church architecture of the XX century.
First, we spent some time gathering reference all around the web. Pinterest helped us a lot both in finding and managing different sort of data.
In our practice mood-board matters really much. We find essential to constantly fill and update our “mood base” with new images to in order to make future projects artistically expressive. In this particular project, we used pretty large and diverse mood board, which is normally much smaller. Usually we use no more than 4 moody images.
The modeling process was quite simple. We generally used standard objects and Editable Poly mode. Existing drawings helped us a lot to get into exact dimensions. We started with the base model and successively added details.
While recreating the structure in 3d, we discovered lots of small details that were invisible at the beginning. It helped us to get closer to the architect’s ideas behind the form. Later on, it helped us much on the final.
After finishing with overall geometry, we began to reconstruct the interior as close to references as possible. Nothing special at this stage, the same Editable Poly.
While creating the building environment we constantly checked with existing plans, trying to recreate correctly not only roads and landscaping elements, but also place and shape of the existing trees.
We created trees with GrowFX plugin and placed them into the scene with Forest Pack.
Below you may see how the final scene looked.
The very important aspect of this particular project is the fact, that we carefully modelled whole building with just as many details as we could. Probably it is the longest and most difficult way, but we did it in order to have the maximum freedom, while working with movie plot later on.
Modelling of the Statue
The contemporary statue of John the Baptist, patron of Saint John’s is one of the most interesting and distinguishing features of the Church. We also wanted this statue to play significant role in our movie, so we carefully modeled it with ZBrush.
Materials and Textures
To achieve maximum similarity with the original building, we had to make tons of unique materials. Below you can see the material editor window of the project.
To avoid any repetitions and to be sure that concrete in the movie will look unique each different frame, we created extra-large texture in 16 384 000 x 16 384 000 px resolution with Unwrap UVW mapping. Below you can see concrete material setup.
Bronze material for the statue includes 8 sub-materials. This time we used multi-layered shaders technique, which you can find in Grant Warwick’s tutorials.
Stained glass material
Interesting fact is that, at the moment of construction, this window was one of the largest stained-glass structures in the world. So, predictably, recreating of that structure became the most complicated part of the project.
We used graphic tablets and manually redraw stained-glass pattern in vector both training our hand-drawing skills and patience.
Finally, we got the pattern with around 15k unique elements.
At the next stage, we colorized each element in Photoshop, strictly according to photo reference.
Below you can see the final texture, which was done in 30 000 x 11 740px resolution.
Stained-glass material setup:
All render settings you may see on screenshots below.
For scene lighting, we used Vray Light with HDRI map. For sun immitataion was used target direct light.
For the interior ceiling lights were used VRay light with an increased directional parameter to achieve less blurred shadows.
To bring some outdoor light to interior and make calculations more correct we used skylight portals.
Another interesting thing about the stained-glass window is that it face north. So the only way for light to pass through it is being reflected by the Bell Banner. To imitate that we used two VRay skylight portals. One in front of a Banner and another next to stained-glass window.
To produce sun animation we used target direct and animated it along the spline. While rendering this animation, we turned of all reflections/refractions, GI and all unnecessary lights as well.
Finally, we produced two sequences of renderings like that, with 240 frames each.
After that we composed sun animation in the Nuke next way. We loaded rendered sequences along with static render. After postproduction, we blended them together via “merge” node in “screen” mode. At the top we did color correction of sun animation in order to adjust it's color and intensity.
We marked different elements with colors.
Cyan – for static render;
Yellow – for sun sequence;
Blue – for sky footage;
Gray – for overall color correction.
On the image below, you can see the difference between raw rendering and post-processed one.
That’s it. The final result you may see on the project’s page here: https://www.behance.net/gallery/31411291/UNFORGOTTEN-HERITAGE-Saint-Johns-Abbey-Church
Thanks for bearing through the process with us.
Thanks for bearing through the process with us.
All best, iddqd Studio.