Creating Striking Graphics with Maya and Photoshop | 3 | WebReference

Creating Striking Graphics with Maya and Photoshop | 3

Creating Striking Graphics with Maya and Photoshop

Figure 1.5: The Tiki terminal model in Maya, with the original in the background as reference

Lacking the expertise in 3D modeling and rendering, I decide to call in a Maya 3D pro. As there's no category for Maya 3D pros in the Yellow Pages (just yet), I phone a few friends in the know and soon find myself in contact with real-world Maya expert, Marc-André Guindon. After exchanging a few e-mails, I send a few digital photographs of the clay mockup to Marc-André, who sets about creating a model of the Tiki terminal in Maya (as shown in Figure 1.5).

What took me days to create in actual clay, Marc-André was able to perfect with his stellar Maya skills in a few hours. Figure 1.6 shows a wireframe view of the Tiki terminal. Further, the Maya model is much easier to modify, whereas once my air-dried clay models hardened, I was out of luck. And while the plasticine model could be reworked, it only stood 6 inches high. I wasn't keen on spending a week (and a small fortune) building a lifesize replica out of plasticine, nor would I have had the time or resources to build a physical scale model of the room to fit the Tiki. The process of mocking up projects like this in real life represents not only a significant investment in time, but in physical resources as well. Faux-finishing techniques take more effort in paint than they do in pixels. Materials can be imparted more readily in the virtual world, when compared with the real world. For instance, a gold texture can be applied in an instant with a shader, rather than in ages using the arcane technique of gold leaf.

Figure 1.6: That's not a mystical tablet in the Tiki's hands; that's a flat-screen monitor!

Lighting and color are all important. Figure 1.7 shows the Tiki terminal in Maya, as Marc-André applies a screen shot to the Tiki's flat-screen monitor and begins the lighting work. As he's working on this stage, I'm rounding up a Tiki bar photograph from the kind folks at the Tiki Farm (see Figure 1.8). Although the Tiki bar photograph isn't of super-high resolution, it's close enough for us to continue with the mock-up work.

Once I have the Tiki bar photograph in hand, I send it to Marc-André, who promptly brings it into Maya to work on positioning. We decide to have two Tiki terminals to match the two barstools in the photograph. Each Tiki terminal is to be angled slightly outward, facing the barstools and following the boomerang shape of the bar. Figure 1.9 shows the scene in Maya, with the Tiki terminals perched on top of the bar. Different screen shots have been applied to each of the Tiki terminals, and the lighting is adjusted to jibe with the lighting in the Tiki bar photograph. Marc-André sends me the first test render (shown in Figure 1.10), and I'm absolutely ecstatic.

I'm blown away, seeing my crazy idea come to life in Maya. With deadlines tight, I promise not to ask for any changes other than a slight upward scaling of the Tiki terminals, to match the size of the bar and barstools. The next morning, Marc-André makes the tweaks, cranks out the final rendering, and puts it up on the FTP server.

Figure 1.7: The screen shot applied

Figure 1.8: The Tiki Farm's fabulous Tiki bar

Figure 1.9: Everything in position in Maya

Figure 1.10: The first Tiki terminal test render

Created: March 27, 2003
Revised: October 17, 2004