Even though I have started the new desert house project, I jumped back to the Philly Bridge project to generate this year’s winter special. This was a view that I had planned on illustrating months ago but ran out of time. Luckily, it works perfectly for creating a winter narrative of the first snow of the year with sledders racing to the top of the bridge. This image took a drastic leap from the original V-Ray rendering to the final completed scene with lots of Photoshopped textures throughout. Below is a quick break down of how the image evolved.
1. Sketchup Model / V-Ray Rendering
Above, the Sketchup Model
Above, the V-Ray base rendering. The sketchup model was minimal in detail most of the textures were reused from other views. The only thing I adjusted was the amount of reflection in the sidewalks and the softness of the sun shadow.
Next, I inserted the context by Photoshopping in facades that I cut out of online street view maps. I didn’t spend too much time here because I knew it would get washed out quite a bit by the snow.
Winter trees were added in the plaza along with shrubs and plantings up the stair wall.
4. Bridge Ceiling
I wanted to do something to draw attention to the bridge, so I dropped in some LED lights and amped up the saturation of the panels. I didn’t want the underside of the bridge to read too dark and uninviting. The LED’s also add some much needed movement to the image.
5. Wet Ground
This was an important part to the narrative of the “first snow”. The ground needed to look wet and slushy so I found several textures that I stitched and overlaid onto the street and sidewalk. I should have spent more time on this step but had to keep moving on.
6. Lights and Snow
Next I needed to show a dusting of snow starting to accumulate on the vegetation. Again, I would have preferred to spend a little more time on this step but had to keep the image moving forward. I also dropped in some lights on the trees for a holiday atmosphere.
7. Car Details
The street needed to be activated so I added tail lights and reflections on the ground. Mist from the wheels was also added to again play up the wet ground look.
A big part of the narrative of this image was the bridge turning into the perfect sledding site on top. Therefore, I inserted some sledders on and around the grand stair moving the viewers eye up to the top of the bridge. More people were added around the plaza to give the sense that the entire space was being utilized.
9. Color Adjust
Before I inserted the snow, I tweaked the tones of the images to cool things down with more blues and purples. I also drew out some more textures in the underbelly of the bridge and sidewalk.
Finally, the snow was added washing out some of the background and creating more contrast between the shadow of the bridge and everything else. You can find a tutorial on adding snow HERE.