Playing with Isometric Styles

That bear caught a nice salmon. (rendering by me!)

While away in Washington, DC this past weekend, seeking a new home due to my wife’s promotion (yay!), I took some time to explore a bit of 3D creativity.  A few friends on facebook posted some work by Tim Reynolds, a 3D artist, that was new and refreshing in an old-school way.  While looking for some styles to achieve for my thesis, I decided to look into Tim’s designs as a possible style choice.

Some really awesome lighting and styling by Tim Reynolds!

That old-school way is simply low-poly, isometric renders.  But what makes it amazing is the technology we have now using realistic lighting techniques with a twist.  The rendering above is something I pumped out in about 12 hours of time.  Below are some tests and then the passes that lead up to the final bear at the top.

To start out with the design, I decided to make a grid of 15 x 15 to make terrains easier to design, especially in a short period of creative and discovery time.  I aimed to understand the style as well as the lighting and effects that could help.  Water is an interesting thing to tackle… especially with the paper thin concept – though in my final, I went with a different technique.

Test output one…

A little difference with textures and colors…

After these tests, you can see the landscape I was creating. I decided at his point to put in a cliff an a couple other things to make the scenery more interesting… To create a small story of sorts.  The other thing I wanted to play with was more color diversity and play with lighting.  Essentially, this entire exercise is a lighting exercise of course.  Below are the steps/breakdown leading up to the final.

Terrain, lights and water.

Shadows have been added.

Caustics have been chosen to help enhance the shore and lighting in the water.

Final Gather adds that diffusion phenomenon that happens in life with colors bouncing and blending everywhere.

Added Ambient Occlusion to help with the crevices and add to the texture of the piece. A big need for the dimensionality of the landscape.

Just a small technique – a touch of light bloom to give it a dream like feel.

Would be cool to somehow 3D print this out in isometric view, but the colors would be the most difficult to reproduce.  If I have a chance, I’ll probably create a couple more of these, but it was simply nice to play for a bit with lighting, color and styles.  More of Tim Reynolds works, however, can be discovered and drooled over here:

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