Our very talented 3D Asset Supervisor David Weaver has been working on his Iron Man project for a few years now and we’re really impressed with what he has done, so wanted to share it with you.
Here is a little of what David had to say about his mammoth project…
Around 2009 I wanted to push my 3d knowledge, so I set out to create a film quality Iron Man model. I did the usual and got lots of references and started modelling. As time went on I’d look at it and think that I could do better, so I’d tweak certain parts and completely redo others from scratch, all the while still gathering more and more references.
I’d leave it alone for several months at a time and do other projects. Using the new techniques I’d learned, I’d go back to the Iron Man model and redo parts . This cycle repeated itself for about 4 years when I was finally happy that I’d got it as close to the movie as I’d ever get it.
Then came creating the shaders in VRay which went exactly the same way. I’d do some test renders and think it looks great, but when I’d go back to it a few weeks later I’d say to myself “What were you thinking? This is nowhere near close enough” so I’d tweak them some more…for 2 years. The shaders were always improving with each iteration and as I hadn’t set myself a deadline, I was always keen to see how far I could push the realism. I had an idea of the standard I wanted to reach and I was prepared to work on it until I’d learned enough to reach that standard.
Initially I set up a 2 layer system for the paint, a base layer and a clearcoat. Then I learned about a blending technique from Grant Warwick where several shaders are blended together in order to achieve a more realistic reflection, so I remade all of my shaders. The results were a lot better, but then I had to manage 6 layers instead of 2; 3 for the base and 3 for the clearcoat. This meant a lot more work when it came to fine tuning the reflections and glossiness amounts. Thankfully, Chaos Group implemented the GGX BRDF in VRay 3.1 which meant I could keep the more realistic look of the multi layer blended method, but I was back to only having to change 2 layers again, so again I remade all of my shaders.
It’s at the stage now though where I’m almost ready to put it down for good and call it ‘done’. I don’t think anything created in this industry is ever finished, only abandoned. I’ll always be looking at it and seeing areas for improvement but I think working on it on and off for 6 years is more than enough time for one character!