Hello everyone! My name is Bryn Morrison-Elliott and I am an artist working at Coatsink Software based in Sunderland, Newcastle Upon Tyne. I started working in the games industry around 7 years ago and have had the joy of working on some amazing titles like Shu, They Suspect Nothing and Gang Beasts.
The Grammi’s Berry Juice scene I created was part of an entirely optional initiative set up by the art director at Coatsink as a way of getting the artists developing their skills. We work projects that can last upwards of three years, so when you have been working in one particular art style and pipe line for that amount of time you can potentially become rusty at other areas of 3D design.
All the artists wrote a theme on a piece of paper, the themes all went into a pot and once a month the art director picks out one of the pieces of paper for the theme and then we have a month to complete the challenge. The theme that was selected that inspired this scene was ‘Plant Life’.
Grammi’s Berry Juice
I had a month to complete the challenge but realistically had about three or fours hours a week to put time into it around other hobbies and personal work. I start out most projects by gathering a ton of reference from sites like Pinterest and collating them onto a PureRef board. I had an idea of creating a classical still life scene in 3D. I was especially fascinated by the work of Johan Wilhelm Preyer.
While looking at Preyer’s work on Pinterest I came across Grammi’s Berry Juice by the wonderfully talented Alexandra Neonakis. As soon as I saw the image I knew it would look great in a 3D scene.
Building the scene (composition)
For 3D modelling I used 3DS Max. I started out by making the trunk first. To do this I used splines to create the shape of the top of the trunk, then used a Face Extrude to extrude the shape out and then I finally added two edge loops in the middle so that I could taper the trunk in the middle giving it a slightly stylised shape.
I find what works best for me when creating a scene is to get the biggest shapes down first. Next up was the books, then the bowls, then the bottles and jars. This approach is so I can get an idea for the scale of everything early and make sure the composition feels good in 3D before I get bogged down with the small details.
Once I had the composition down I started working through the small details. I added corks to the bottles and a lid to the jar and then started out making the fruit.
To make the berries in the wooden and ceramic bowls I used the MassFX Toolbar in 3ds Max. I added a static rigid body modifier to the bowls and set the shape type to ‘original’, then I added a Dynamic Rigid Body to the berries with the preset set to ‘steel’. It seems like an odd choice but it doesn’t matter so much for a result that is going to be a static scene, and I didn’t want the berries bouncing all over the place. I hit play on the toolbar to run the simulation and then tidied up. It’s one of the quickest ways of filling up a vessel with objects and saves the hassle of manually placing them.
Next up, the glass bottles. I added a shell modifier to the glass jar and bottles to give them a thickness, modelled in the juice shapes and then modelled the bubbles to go inside the juice. The settings I used in Sketchfab are in the image below. I mostly just used mixed values of refraction with slight colour tints.
I really liked the sparkling bits in the original concept and want to push the idea further into the plants. I used an emissive map to brighten some of the leaves on some of the plants and the tips of some of the grass. To create the sparkles I made some simple star shapes in 3D, gave them a slightly yellow material colour and bumped its emission setting up to 10. Finally I tweaked the Bloom in the post processing options to give all the emissives a magical glow.
All the meshes were hand-painted. Due to limited time on this scene I didn’t want to spend time making any high poly meshes and baking any maps. I just unwrapped them and painted the textures using Photoshop. I got my colour pallette from the image using an old trick in Photoshop where you reduce the number of colours in a image by using Mode > Indexed Colours (settings below) and then selecting Mode > Colour Table; you can then select to use these colours for your pallette. I just used a simple hard brush to paint the textures.
For my scene set up in Sketchfab I used the PBR renderer with simple material setups using mostly a mix of matte, glossy and refraction. To get the stylised look I wanted, the post-processing filters in Sketchfab did a huge amount of the legwork in actually making the scene look nice! I added SSAO to get that nice sense of weight and realism from the objects. A subtle bit of Depth Of Field to give the sparkles in the distance that extra bit of glow. A Vignette to frame the composition nicely and give it some ambience. Some Bloom to make all the emissive glow. Finally, I tweaked the colour balance; I really wanted to push the reds in the scene a little further.
I had a lot of fun creating this scene and taking full advantage of the powerful post-processing effects on offer in Sketchfab. I hope that you have all found it useful, and have learned something that you can utilise in your next project. Thank you to Sketchfab for giving me this opportunity to share my process with the Sketchfab community.