It’s the small details in a scene that matter. In most cases people won’t notice them. Generally, that means we’ve done our job. When people notice details missing, that’s when we find ourselves scrambling for solutions. To avoid that, I’d like to present some examples of ways details can be applied to our scenes to better our product.
Those of us in the AEC industry often lean toward the quick and easy solution. Interiors might consist of a painting, some books, sofas, or any other item generally floating around a house. While budget might not permit it, you may wish to spend some extra time working on more personable features that add interest to a scene, such as the example shown in Figure 1.
This example took only a few minutes to create. First, I found a vector image of a palm tree and applied it to a plane in 3ds Max as a texture. I traced the tree with a spline then converted the spline to an editable poly and applied the shell modifier to give the tree thickness. After that, I simply had to construct a frame.
The Hair and Fur modifier in 3ds Max® can provide an extraordinary level of detail to an ordinary object. See Figure 2, for example. The object on the left might be appropriate for more applications, but by using the Hair and Fur modifier we are able to create a creature that viewers might find more interesting. The modifier can be used to generate grass, lint, and more in addition to having built in preset styles.
To access the preset styles provided with the Hair and Fur modifier, select the modifier and scroll down to the Preset category, then select load. You’ll find the examples in Figure 3.
I probably can’t overstate the importance of the illusion of action in a scene. There are multiple reasons for adding activity to a scene, but I’ll list a few. Take people, for example. Adding people to a scene gives viewers something to relate to. In addition, it gives them a scale to measure by, a point of reference. It helps to remember that in life, no matter where we go there is likely some sort of activity stirring around. In most cases our product should reflect that. See Figure 4 for an example of how simple action in a scene can make it appear more interesting.
In many cases we need to draw attention to the proper object in a scene. This can be accomplished by using the focus feature in the 3ds Max camera settings or by positioning objects in a way that leads the viewer’s eye to that particular object. Other ways include adjusting the perspective, altering colors and contrast, through positioning of the elements, convergence (lines or edges pointing directly to the object), and more. The image in Figure 5 demonstrates several of these features. Notice that while there are a multitude of rocks (details) in the image, our eye is still drawn the one in the center. It’s worth noting if we removed all the surrounding rocks, this one might appear out of place. Right now, the scene appears both natural and full of detail.
Making a particular object stand out is a very good way to draw viewer’s attention away from the surrounding details while we work to make the scene appear less empty. See Figure 6 for an example.