This was a very exciting project to work on. The client was in the seek of investors to the construction of a ski shooting arena up on Reset ski center in Volda, Norway. They only had this one “sketch” to be used during their presentations:
As you can see, even though it gives you a rough idea of the project, it is still very hard to visualize how the actual arena would look like when ready and if it would integrate properly with the bucolic scenery of the ski center. The investors would not feel confident enough to bet their resources unless they had enough hope on the project. The client was having a problem selling their vision and they came to us looking for help.
The picture that would be used for the base of our illustration was provided by the client. The perspective is good because it shows all the area that will be built but when it comes to resolution and lighting, it could be better. Unfortunately the weather was awful by the time we worked on this project and due to very short time constraints we couldn’t wait for a sunnier day to have a new photo session. The clock was ticking and the sooner the client had the final illustration on their hands, the better it was. We need to roll the project at once!
The first part of the process is looking for references. Fortunately, the client had lots of them. These images are vital since they are gonna be used during the 3D modeling stage, where the scenario is recreated into the 3D environment.
Modelling as many details as possible is the key to achieving fotorealistic results.
After the modelling part is done, it is time for the camera positioning stage. We have to position the virtual camera at the exact same position where the camera was placed when the picture was taken, in order to match the perspective of the render to the perspective of the picture. We’d normally place some markers on the picture in order to guide us during the lining up process, but since we were not involved in the shooting session, we had to do it by hand. This is the final 3D model perfectly positioned on top of the picture:
It’s “shading” time! Now we work on the textures and the lighting of the scene and models. Again, matching the light sources of the 3D environment to the ones that were captured on the picture helps a lot to integrate the 3D model to it. When everything is setup, we render out the “shooting arena”
On Photoshop, we layer the render with the picture and start adjusting, stamping, cloning, adding filters and many others techniques in order to merge both. Below is a “step-by-step” that illustrates the process: