WOTW #48: Downtown at night by Vinay Kumar

Two images of “Downtown at night” from our ex-student Vinay Kumar.

I hadn’t thought of a title for this image till I got an email from SOA asking for details so that they could publish it. So I guess we’ll have to go for a rather unimaginative “Downtown at Night”.

In my humble opinion, the aim of a personal project/portfolio image is to balance edgy ideas with level headed commercial relevance. It has to be an image that a potential employee can relate to and go “hmm…these are the kind of projects we do over here”.

The inspiration for the mood and colour grading came from many places, mostly movies like Miami Vice, Margin Call, TV series like Homeland, just to name a few. In fact, the last building on the right is International Finance Centre, Hong Kong, where parts of The Dark Knight were shot.

Rendering was done overnight on an eight year old first-gen i7 960 + Nvidia GTX 460 + 24 GB RAM.
The models were either bought from Evermotion, or downloaded from various groups on FB.
The metal “thing” in the centre was inspired by Hootie and the Blowfish Monument in South Carolina.
You can google it if you haven’t heard of that band.

I don’t know what to say about the techniques used, just the usual: block model-> Clay Renders->Materials->Adding and Removing geometry based on test shots->Render & Post.
The only thing that bogged me down a bit was V-Ray Light materials, and integrating them well with the HDRI [PG skies, from my SOA Stash].

It’s not rocket science, as you all know.
Arch Viz has a lot in common with cooking. First attempt will barely fit for personal consumption. Fifth attempt will be good enough to share with friends [who’ll lie to you and say “yeah! good!”]. Twentieth attempt will be good enough to sell.

Finally, I’d like to use this opportunity to give some advice to current and future masterclass’ students.
When I came back from San Donà, I made the mistake of revisiting my old work to give it the SOA polish. The scenes were aesthetically flawed and dated to begin with, I wasted too much time on them and I ended up with just marginal improvements.
Looking back, the time spent was more or less the same as building new scenes from scratch. So once you come back home, rename your portfolio folder to “Old”, bulldoze forward and start with a clean sheet. Take inspiration from the best catalogues and magazines out there. Re-visit your old scenes after 1 year, and then take a call if you want to improve them.

Thank you SOA team. You guys are the best. Forza SOA!

Software used: 3DS Max, V-Ray, Anima 2.5.

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