Interview: Renan Longatti

Hi everyone!

This time Renan Longatti (first place winner of challenge 110) from Brazil will answer some questions and give us a look behind the scenes of his winning entry.

Renan Longatti
from São Paulo, Brazil

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Winning entry of Weekly CG Challenge 110 “On the Movie Set” by Renan Longatti


1. Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you, what do you do, and where are you located?

Hi! My name is Renan Longatti, and I’m from São Paulo, Brazil. I work as a graphic designer and I’m currently trying to make 3d modeling my full time career. I’ve always had great interest in architecture and sci-fi concept design, so that’s what has led to my first attempts at modeling!

2. Where did you find the inspiration for your latest entry?

Movies have been part of my life since the beginning, so when I saw the theme I had to come up with something. I initially thought about creating a scene happening on the set while other important production stages were also taking place. But everything would be too crammed in just one building, so I decided to make a miniature studio where I could represent each production area surrounding the movie set, presenting a basic notion of the whole process.
Because of the two week deadline, a minimalist rendition was the only way to get it done in time. Isometric dioramas are a great way to tell stories through simple sets, so I was very satisfied with this approach!

3. What software and plug-ins did you use to create this image?

For modeling, Maya is my standard tool. Since modeling took up most of my time, Keyshot was the best choice for applying materials and rendering within two days. I also used Illustrator to create a few decals, like the studio logo on the water tower. At the end I made simple adjustments to the image with Photoshop.


4. Can you give us a short breakdown of your entry?

01 – Getting the scene ready

With a clear idea of what I was going for, I started blocking the scene. To get a sense of how the smallest details would appear in the complete scene, I decided to start with the smallest room:

fig 1. – Block built for scale

To use the largest available area in the image, I had to strike a balance between the overall scale of the model and the best camera angle:

fig 3. – Final framing

With this basis of scale, I could have a better idea of the space available for the other blocks. Then I blocked a draft of the whole studio area:

fig 2. – Whole studio blocked

02 – Modeling

With the framing defined, the modeling process was very simple. Trying to buy some time, I created common objects that could serve as details throughout the entire scene. For each section of the studio I created a reference folder to serve as a visual guide. From realistic images to isometric vectors, depending on the need of the object being modeled.
A widely used tool was Bevel Edges, an easy way to create rounding illusion in low-poly. Since I would use Keyshot materials in the end, I had no worries about UVs. Over the course of days, I’ve been adding as much detail as time has allowed me. This
was the result:

fig 4. – Modeling done

03 – Texturing

The next step was creating materials within Maya and assigning them throughout the scene. The colors did not need to look perfect, as they served more as ID for Keyshot:

fig 5. – Materials assigned

With the materials assigned, I exported the scene to Keyshot and replaced each one of them. I used both standard and some downloaded materials from Keyshot Cloud, which is a great library with a considerable amount of pre-defined materials. With slight adjustments on each material, I got to the final colors:

fig 6. – Final colors

04 – Final Adjustments

To finish the project, I rendered only the Ambient Occlusion for some adjustments in Photoshop (keeping the lighting inside the scene so as not to create shadows where they would not exist):

fig 7. – AO render

Then it was done! Here’s the timelapse of the work in progress:

fig 9. – WIP

In photoshop, I merged the two images with Multiply, adding an AO complement that contributes a lot to the final result:

fig 8. – Adding the AO

5. Who are your favorite artists, traditional or digital, and can you explain why?

I can not fail to mention the colorful, trippy worlds of Moebius, the distinctive vehicles and environments of Ralph Mcquarrie and the devotion to detail in Hayao Miyazaki’s visual stories. These three artists are definitely an inspiration and show how a single image can suggest a whole fascinating universe that exists beyond it!
Other artists that I admire:
Theo Prins
Guzz Soares
Giorgio Baroni
Darren Bartley
Janice Chu
Ashley Wood
Justine Cunha


Thanks for the interview Renan!