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pixelpusher

Great looking Cross-Section Diagrams

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I'm currently working on a project that requires a number of architectural cross sections, so I've been experimenting with the blending of realism with simplicity. I'm going for a classic magazine illustration cross-section look, an example of which can be seen at the link below (click the ship image for a detailed version). The lighting/material setup has to withstand some camera moves also - so it can't just be all geared towards a specific fixed angle.

 

http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200906/map-cruise

 

My initial instinct was to go for more of a 'white reflector plane' product-shot lighting setup but that quickly proved cumbersome. Any sort of complex lighting setup seems to introduce too much inconsistency for the 'diagram' feel. I briefly experimented with a sketch/toon approach but it felt too flat. My thinking now is to try to work with falloff shaders in the luminance channel and some AO in the diffusion channel, and only use lights for introducing some specific subtle shadows (and not for a light source itself). I've got some metal elements in the shot as well which add further trickiness since I'm struggling to make them look like metal without confusing the shot with errant reflections.

 

Any suggestions on how to approach this aesthetic without losing my sanity would be greatly appreciated!

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the lighting should be just a white sky with gi enabled. as for the metal reflections, you can try putting in hdri maps into the environment channel of the metal materials.

 

To get some more specific detail so ambient occlusion may help.

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Thanks for the suggestion! I'll give GI another go - I initially disregarded it because it was playing havoc with some transparencies I've got.

 

I found his website by the way - some amazing work on there.

 

http://www.bryanchristiedesign.com/portfolio.php?illustration=523&category=31&open=31

 

I'm not totally convinced he's using GI - I find it a little tricky to balance the shadow areas and I can't see him giving up that level of control. Is there something I'm overlooking?

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as for transparencies, you just have to disable gi on them.

 

If you want more control over shadow areas you can add ambient occlusion. That will cut into your render time though.

 

OR you could render out the gi as a separate pass and them composite it in post and balance as you see fit.

 

wow that is a very nice website.

 

Perhaps i should make some diagrams. Seems like fun.

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Thanks for the suggestions!

 

After some messing around I think the GI route is going to give me a nicer look overall.

 

Do you have any suggestions on how to bring up some of the darker areas that aren't getting lit by the GI? I want to feature some undercover areas of the product internals but introducing feature lights is coming across too severe. I'd ordinarily give the materials some base luminance to limit the shadow intensity but that ruins the rest of the effect. What do people usually do to augment big-white-sky GI?

Edited by pixelpusher

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