Exterior lighting // Mohammad Qtaishat, Jordan

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Lessons recorded with V-Ray for 3ds Max / SketchUp / Rhino

1) The profile – Tell us more about you
I’m Mohammad Qtaishat, 22 years old from Jordan and I’m studying architecture at the University of Jordan.
Currently, in the beginning of my fourth year, my passion for CGI started 4 years ago when I was a first-year student.

2) How long are you working in CGI?
I’ve been in CGI for almost 2 years now. Just last year I found the 5SRW method for V-Ray and I have to say that it helped me a lot to structure my workflow. The powerful system I learned helped me also in focusing more on the Artistic and Photographic side, using this knowledge to master the software part.

3) How did you model this building? It is very organic!
The roof of the model was originally created in Autodesk Revit conceptual massing environment, through lofting between different 3d splines which was based on 2D sketches. I learned Revit by myself, and with a good model, the ‘photography’ with V-Ray become very realistic.


Then the 3d model was exported to 3ds Max, where it was converted to an editable poly for more details:


4) Your mood is outstanding. What kind of lighting are you using here?
At the light balance stage, the light system I used was pretty simple. I used the V-Ray Sun + Sky with the default values, but most important I followed the lighting techniques. I studied the illumination, looking for the best angle camera/sun in order to get the best ‘Chiaroscuro‘ possible, as I learned during the Course. In this case, an angle between 80 and 90 degrees was the best option for this exterior lighting. I just changed the Size Multiplier to 3 to get smoother shadows:


Here the result with a V-Ray default material
After completed the step-2 of the method (lighting exteriors/interiors) I was sure to be on the right track


5) How did you manage the vegetation part?
The vegetation was handled through using Forest Pack Pro and the scale of the rendering helped in separating the vegetation to 3 different layers

First layer – the grass. Two different models, a dense one and light one to create variety and empty spots in the grass through using the distribution map in Forest pack pro. It was then textured using ForestColor with a texture on a surface

Second layer – the shrubs. Three different shrubs were distributed on the surface to add another level of detail

Third layer – the trees. 15 different types of trees were used and distributed on specific surfaces and splines to create the forest and to fill the background


6) What’s CGI and what’s real in your render?
It was inconvenient to model the whole haze part and so I had an image in mind that I wanted to composite and merge it with the original rendering. I  tried to match the perspective in 3ds Max of this image:

with the original rendering:

And then in Photoshop with layer masks, and some tips and tricks from the 5SRW Course I was able to merge them together
Following the course, I learned how important is the consistency in lighting: this makes real and credible our images. So it was important finding a background image with the same light direction of my render. This allowed me to match the two images in a perfect way!


Finally, I matched the colors in Photoshop, just playing a bit with curves & levels.
It was a very quick process. The composition improved a lot and this was the final result:


A couple of extra shots, created working on the typical light hierarchy for night renders:


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: Mohammad Qtaishat
Render Engine: V-Ray for 3ds Max
Method & Techniques: 5SRW


Lessons recorded with V-Ray for 3ds Max / SketchUp / Rhino