Creating Striking Graphics with Maya and Photoshop | 5 | WebReference

Creating Striking Graphics with Maya and Photoshop | 5

Creating Striking Graphics with Maya and Photoshop

Marc-André Guindon—Maya Expert

Marc-André Guindon ( is a Maya expert extraordinaire. Aside from knocking out Tiki Terminals in his spare time, Marc-André has lent his talents to television shows, movies, and video games, as well as writing and editing books for Alias. Marc-André's television credits include work on Xcalibur, and his movie credits include special effects for the remake of Dawn of the Dead, as well as technical character direction for Scooby Doo 2 (for Meteor Studios). He has also developed a lip-sync tool called FatLips2 for Yulsoft.

Marc-André runs his own company, Realities, in Montreal, Canada.

Creating the EleMENTAL Woodie

The hotel chain isn't stopping with the Tiki terminals and bar. The marketing executives were so revved up with the Tiki terminal designs that they're ready to take the project over the top. Not only do they want to create a cool environment within the resorts, they want to create a special vehicle to promote and commemorate the launch of the Tiki bars.

And what better vehicle to launch a Tiki bar than an old-fashioned Woodie? But this isn't your grandfather's Woodie Wagon ... it's a chopped and channeled Honda Element! A Honda Element? We want it to be modern, and we want to make an already funky vehicle even more funky.

I decide that I need to take a Honda Element, cut the top down by six inches or so, slam it, and wrap the body in a fabulous wood veneer. This is much easier to do in Maya to show as a comp to the hotel execs, rather than going to the expense of having the custom shop crew do it from scratch (before the project is approved).

With an idea in mind, I set off to do some rough cuts in Photoshop to a stock Honda Element photo, snapped right from the dealer's lot. I begin by roughly silhouetting the top of the Element and knocking out the background shown in Figure 1.16. Then, I chop the top piece by piece—cutting, pasting, and repositioning each piece. Once the top is chopped and roughly touched up, it's time to flatten the image and move on to lowering the body. I select the entire body, carefully cutting around the wheel wells. Then, I cut, paste, and reposition the body, slamming it to the ground, as shown in Figure 1.17.

The Element's looking pretty cool, with its top chopped and its body lowered. The torch was taken to the roof pillars, and the springs were replaced in record time! Although this is a quick sketch, it's enough to get the dimensional flavor. With the bodywork in rough shape, it's not an appealing comp. Photoshop offers an easy answer to the design problem— a little tweaking with plug-ins and the chopped Element takes on an appearance somewhere between photo-realistic and watercolor marker (as shown in Figure 1.18).

As I'm having so much fun, I get a little carried away and do the chop job and watercolor market treatment to an additional pair of photographs (see Figure 1.19). It's quick and dirty, sure, but it's cool.

The chopped Element rendering is looking pretty sweet. But I forgot to add the wood panels! A jump back to the rough chopped image in Photoshop allows me to experiment with wood veneers before reapplying the plug-ins to achieve the watercolor market effect, once again (as shown in Figure 1.20).

Figure 1.16: A stock Honda Element

Figure 1.17: The Honda Element—rough-chopped in Photoshop

Figure 1.18: The Honda Element— photorealistic marker effects in Photoshop

Figure 1.19: A bit less realism, a bit more watercolor

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Created: March 27 2003
Revised: October 17, 2004