Oliver Shea (known around the forums as Olishea) is the creator of Where Are We? The Glass Forest? an imaginative 3D scene designed with SketchUp and rendered with Twilight Render. We recently had the honor of interviewing him regarding the process of creating this image. Oli had multiple winning images in the Twilight Render First Year Anniversary Celebration Top 10 People's Choice Awards. The winning images and honorable mentions may be seen in the monoslideshow album on Twilight Render Plugin for Google SketchUp's Home Page or in this gallery on our Facebook page.
1. Dreams! I had quite a vivid dream one night of walking down a path through a glass forest. It sounds quite cheesy but it was hard to forget so I immediately began modeling it within SketchUp.
Oli: Everything was completely modeled within SketchUp. I started by creating a valley-like sandbox mesh and began extruding trunk tubules so that they arched over the "path" down the middle. I individually extruded, scaled and rotated each trunk when I had some free time to kill.
I then used the Subdivide and Smooth plugin to create the smooth character of the trunks. Subdivide and Smooth is available from www.smustard.com and is vital for creating organic meshes within sketchup, its fantastically easy to use and well-priced.
Oli: For the final image I used the interior+ preset. This preset works best for scenes with lots of refraction in glass-like materials.
Oli: The model was lit using the sun and a spherical sky image. I replaced the sky image in Photoshop as post-production as it didn't look great when rendered. The spherical sky image was used to add some cloud reflections to the glass and to introduce some "global" light. It's quick and easy to replace backgrounds using the alpha mask preset as demonstrated in the Twilight User Manual.
Oli: The only material I applied was a the Realistic Glass Template: Flint. I did not change any of the settings, I just played with the green colour so it wasn't too saturated (unrealistic). At a later stage I applied a dirty concrete texture to the whole scene and used the Polished Stone template.
Oli: This is the raw render of the Glass Forest. As you can see the material looks great but the image is missing some contrast and the sky doesn't look amazing .
Firstly, I used the alpha mask preset to replace the sky in photoshop. I then did some basic levels and saturation adjustments to get better contrast. I then duplicated my render layer and desaturated it. I changed the blending mode of this layer to 'Overlay'. This adds a lot of contrast to the image while desaturating it slightly. I then used the high-pass filter overlay to sharpen the image. FInally I added a vignette to focus the view down the path. I also added a warming photofilter to introduce some reds into the composition (there was too much green and blue).
Oli: I am a 23 year-old Part II Architect from the UK and I am currently in my final 2 years of study at the Manchester School of Architecture. I have spent the past two years in full-time professional practice at a firm of Architects called Nicol Thomas Limited. I was required to create photorealistic renderings of a vast plethora of buildings from residential to commercial. I have also worked on a computer game for a company in America. When I started work I could barely use SketchUp, so my time in compulsory practice has massively improved my skills. I always had strong ideas, but could never represent them very well. SketchUp and Twilight have really improved my presentation abilities in both abstract and architectural work. I have been rendering and modeling for 2-3 years now and have loved every minute! It's a great learning process.
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