View Full Version : FXWars Challenge: 36 - Seven Towers - Dan Chamberlin

09 September 2012, 11:44 PM
This project sounded too fun to pass up. I've been wanting to do an environment for a while now, and two months is a good amount of time to try and get something nice looking.

I'm going to be doing a full CG icy environment, and the Boreas tower. I've spent the last few days figuring out how I'm going to make a convincing landscape with mountains and snow banks, glaciers, etc. In the end I've decided to make a basic shape in 3ds max and bring that into World Machine to play with the weathering and erosion tools. Combined with some Vray SSS to get a snow/ice look, I think I've got a reasonably realistic looking mountain. Once I've tweaked the lighting a bit it should look better.

I'm still deciding what kind of FX I'd like to do. Definitely some snow drifts and fog/clouds, plus some FX around the tower, but a snowstorm would cover up the sunset that I'd like to have, so I may have to compromise there and do one or the other, or I could do the sunset as a still image as a bonus, and do the snowstorm animation first, since this is FXWars.

As for the tower itself, I'm going to keep with the ancient Greek theme, and use Greek/Roman architectural elements. I'm thinking of making the tower and surrounding buildings completely from ice, rather than stone. Should be interesting.


10 October 2012, 09:21 AM
I've been modeling some assets and playing with the shader trying to get something I like. In the end, it'll probably matter how the final lighting looks as to how much light I have shine through with the SSS.

I think before I finish the tower model, I'll do a little layout for the shot and get the basic camera, and lighting position, and general look of the environment.

Here's a little work-in-progress:

10 October 2012, 10:38 AM
Looking well on it way.

10 October 2012, 05:14 PM
The tower is supposed to look like ice?
If so I think your really close.

10 October 2012, 10:11 AM
I've been playing around, building the environment. I think I've got the largest elements and general camera position set for the shot I want to do. There's some unnatural hard edges between ground and mountains that I'd like to fix in the next week or so. Maybe some sheer glaciers can cover some of them, that could be cool.

Lighting is temporary other than general sun direction. A lot of that will change when I get around to putting all the atmospheric FX in. As for camera motion, I'm thinking a simple forward push.

11 November 2012, 01:59 AM
Heads up

FXWars 7 Towers: One Month to GO. (
I am looking forward seeing more of your entry.


11 November 2012, 08:47 AM
Yep. Been busy finishing up the environment, camera motion, and tower. I'm going to be starting up all the snow FX in the next couple weeks.

I may add a few large, sharp rocks in the landscape around the tower, but I think the environment is pretty well done.

11 November 2012, 12:23 AM
nice, looks promising.

11 November 2012, 03:31 AM
I've been working on the final comp and FX elements. The FumeFX and particle snow stuff is rendering right now. Also working on getting rid of GI flicker in the beauty pass, hopefully get that sorted out by next weekend.

11 November 2012, 08:34 PM
really nice look

can wait to see the animation

11 November 2012, 10:22 AM
No spiffy images today, but I did figure out what was causing flickering in my renders. After changing Vray to use brute force and light cache, then changing it to totally brute force, then turning the brute force quality to some insane amount and finally turning off GI entirely and still getting flickering; I realized that it was the Vray Fast SSS2 shader that was being goofy. Upped the prepass sampling on my snow materials and BAM, no more flicker.

So everything is back on track, still doing a few more FX passes and a comp tweak here and there. It's coming together pretty nicely I think. Should all be ready in plenty time for the end of the month here.

11 November 2012, 10:38 AM
Ok, This is finished, even if there's a two week extension, I'll be out of town and on vacation in less than two weeks.

I uploaded these to both Youtube and Vimeo, but Vimeo is a bit stingy with the HD uploads, and only allows one per week so the final video is in HD, but the breakdown isn't, so I'd watch the breakdown on Youtube for the time being if you want to see anything. Of course they are both loaded on my website, if you want to see what they're intended to look like without all the lousy compression that streaming websites do.

Final Shot:


11 November 2012, 02:36 PM
Great work!
Well people have askedm me to grant me some extra time, so you got to more weeks.

So if you wish to work a bit more on you entry go ahead. (not that you need it)



11 November 2012, 09:57 AM
Nice! I really like it... :)

11 November 2012, 03:04 AM
That's really good Dan! I love the clouds/fog billowing across the ground, that's a great touch :thumbsup:

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