I recently had the pleasure of completing a virtual lecture and demo at Escena, school for an animation and concept design school in Mexico City. The students were wonderful and engaging. Here is the environment demonstration I created for them showing a little bit of my process.
For this Demo, I utilized the following software: Photoshop, Maya, Clarisse and Gaea.
I’ve been wrapped up in all things Tolkien of late and I remembered some concept sketches from Jeremy Bennett that I loved from the Peter Jackson Lord of the Rings movies and some stills from the new Amazon show, The Rings of Power.
To make things move quicker I utilized assets I have from Kitbash 3d, The Ancients.
I use Maya as my go to place to do Layout and Preliminary lighting. I created some simple hills and mountains using Maya’s sclupting tools. Bringing in some of the Ancient models. I used Arnold lights and shaders since I can replicate the same look in Clarisse afterwards.
Now, I want to swap out my rough hills with some better geometry. You can use do this multiple ways, import into Zbrush and high res my hills or use heightfield terrains. I went with the Heightfield route and used Gaea.
I made about four different landscape elements and then did a texture pass on them inside of Gaea.
I brought in these assets into Maya and matched them to my Layout and adjusted the lighting a little.
Instead of rocky terrain look I wanted to have some vegetation so I exported out my files into Clarisse. I moved the light around and added a simple water shader.
I brought in some grass elements and scattered them on the landscapes.
While in Clarisse I figured I’d bring in some VDBs for volumes of mist and clouds.
For the finishing touches I rendered out passes and painted the remaining details in Photoshop. I can do more nuances very quickly here. This is the final image.
Hope you enjoyed my little breakdown of my workflow on this piece.