Below are some eye level perspectives that I created to get a sense of the pedestrian bridge design from the west side of the site. I had made some substantial changes to the form and wanted to study what the experience was like as you approach it both as a pedestrian and from the sunken highway. It’s hard to get a sense of drama and emotion through the simple graphic interface of Sketchup. These perspective illustrations early on in the project help me to see if the scale, material, contextual relationships and many other nuances are succeeding or failing.
Since I created two illustrations, I figured I would break them down side by side. While the break down itself is brief, I still think they do a good job of showing the critical point where I stopped adding detail in 3D and began adding detail in Photoshop. Every image seems to have different modeling thresholds. I usually have limited time for these side projects so every minute counts. In the case of these illustrations, I opted to model a little more than I normally do knowing that other views will benefit later on from this extra detail.
1. Sketchup Model
Like I said above, I spent more time than usual building out the context. Even though I planned on adding lots of texture via Photoshop, I still spent time modeling context buildings, curb cuts, correct street lights, bridge overpasses, etc. I wanted to make sure reflections and shadows were consistent in all parts of the images. Photoshopping in these elements often means you are stuck with the lighting and sun settings of the image that you are cloning from.
2. V-Ray Rendering
An aspect that I focused on in the base renderings were the textures. More specifically, I played up the subtle reflections in the concrete, metal paneling of the bridge, and other textures throughout the model. I knew that if I could get these close, then I could really dial them in once in Photoshop with additional texturing.
3. Early Color Adjustments
For the highway shot, I ended up really shifting the colors of the base rendering. I had been out to dinner the night that I was working on these images and saw some really beautiful warm sun highlights on nearby buildings. I then came home and began playing with the tones of this image to see if I could recreate this effect. I achieved this by pushing the shadows to a cooler blue tone and colorizing the highlights with a strong orange/red tint.
4. Photoshop Textures
One thing that is always difficult to create in 3D is imperfection. So while I tried to get the 3D textures close, I still rely on Photoshop to add the grunge, dirt, and real world flaws. This is most noticeable in the daytime road, crosswalk paint, concrete barriers.
5. Bridge Amplification
I envisioned the bridge having a vibrant metal panel and a glassy structure projecting out the bottom. I was still “designing” the glassy structure so I ended up Photoshopping quite a bit of that into both images. I then added some warm color overlays and punched up the reflections of the metallic paneling using the reflections channel from V-Ray.
Trees, shrubs, and grass were introduced at this stage though I am still working out the design and location of certain elements. My focus here was to make sure the vegetation matched the lighting of the scene. This meant in the dusky highway view, shifting the tree highlights to very warm tones.
7. People, Lights, and Details
Little details go a long way in adding emotion to the images and building narrative. Entourage, lights, and signage were all used to add points of interest and encourage the viewers eye to keep moving around the illustration.
8. Color Adjustments
I didn’t go as crazy as I normally do with color adjustments, but I used this step to add a hint of warmth to the daytime shot and pull out some more detail from the shadows in the dusk shot. I also painted in some haze in the distance to promote the feeling of depth. Finally, a radial blur (zoom) was applied to the dusk shot and then masked away towards the center of the image.
I am hoping to generate several more perspective illustrations for this project since there are lots of little moments throughout this design that I think warrant similar studies. Especially the experience of crossing the bridge that should yield some interesting viewpoints.