View Full Version : 'photo-real' Elephant, Ward (3D)

03 March 2003, 08:02 AM (


Here is my first image what I publish here and finished a couple of days ago. My goal was to make something photoreal and integrate into live environment.

The elephant was modelled in Maya 4.5, renderend in Mentalray and composited in Shake.

Hope you like it!

and of course comments and critics are welcomed.

other version with more contrast (

03 March 2003, 08:14 AM

I don't believe it is a rendering image. But if it is, that is really perfect rendering.

Hmmm... I think it should be.

03 March 2003, 08:46 AM
Looks almost too good to be cg. Remarkable job!

Wireframe perhaps?


03 March 2003, 08:53 AM
I belive its cg. But it is incredible. I just happen to know to much about animals to think thats real.

03 March 2003, 09:23 AM

It's not just that the modelling and texturing on the elephant are impressive.....they certainly are that.....bit what really impresses me is how well it's integrated into the live environment.

Great work :thumbsup:

03 March 2003, 09:28 AM
first amazing are a few points though, things that is 'wrong' with your elephant:

The trunk is too uniform the farther out you get, too many (uniform) 'rings'.
The tusks might be a tad too round at the end, and the dirt looks 'patterned'.
The folder on the back 'deosn't make sense' to me at least, looks like heavy motion but would that happen in a regular walk? Can't decide if the tail is a bit too low, or too draw towards the left compared to the pose.

Anyway great work, and my elephant knowledge might be a tad rusty so some of the crit might that case, just :thumbsup:

03 March 2003, 04:38 PM
Here is an other version, Hope you like it,

03 March 2003, 05:28 PM
:thumbsup: awesome! looks very real

03 March 2003, 08:21 PM
Absolutely fantastic work!
It can pass for a photo for sure. The only thing I think could be done better is the shader of the "horns". It's a little soft, and the shadows are a little "cg-ish".
Anyway, 5 stars from me :D

Maya Ayanami
03 March 2003, 08:40 PM
very cool.
I like the second one the most.
and the dirt on the horns totaly looks cg. but I just dont know why. it is just well.(i dont know.)
great work and I also think that the tail is in a weird position on the first pic

Frank Dodd
03 March 2003, 09:07 PM
An excelent piece of work, that gets very close to the realistic aim, it looks to me though that elephant hide has much deeper darker creases and wrinkles in it, the CG looks very flat.

A great piece of work though especially the second image :thumbsup:

03 March 2003, 09:26 PM
wow, i really like this kind of stuff, theres too much guns, aliens and swords in cg, and work like this deserves far more credit.


03 March 2003, 10:07 PM
holy crap! awesome work and i agree, its nice to see something else then the usual guns and monsters (they are cool but u know what i mean) great work!

03 March 2003, 10:08 PM
Nice image!


03 March 2003, 10:12 PM
Holy kemolie :eek:

Spank my ass and call me rupert, this isn't 3d is it? :eek:

Fantaaaaaastic:thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

E.Z. Schwartz
03 March 2003, 10:15 PM
That's awsome. You should make a picture of the elephant doing something really weird. I'm sure if you didn't tell people it was fake they wouldn't think it.

03 March 2003, 10:15 PM
Your kidding right? That kicks ass/

03 March 2003, 10:40 PM
Applaud, bravo!!!Encor!! Great work!!! Need we say more. Better than what hollywood is doing today. :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

John Lee
03 March 2003, 10:55 PM
Jesus Bal

You never showed me this! LOL this is excellent work my man! BTW thanks for helping .


03 March 2003, 11:06 PM
Woohoo! Leave the real animals in the wild! Virtual zoo here we come!:D

Excellent modeling, let alone compositing!

03 March 2003, 11:10 PM
very cooool :buttrock: :buttrock:

wireframe please


Daolohua CnC
03 March 2003, 11:31 PM
er... i don't beleive elephant calfs have tusks...

...other than that its great

03 March 2003, 11:32 PM
just awesome

03 March 2003, 12:17 AM
Just tell me those are your vacation pictures to Africa !!!

tell me ....... please???????

That is just ^#@^#@^@ awesome !!!! can't believe it's made in 3d !!

look at the realistic branches...... d*mn !!! :eek:

03 March 2003, 12:39 AM
err, I don't think the branches are cg, just the elephants!

And the elephants are superb!!!

03 March 2003, 12:44 AM

IMHO sense Shake power more than MR in that work.


03 March 2003, 01:23 AM
nothing to say about comp. or lightning....but I do not think that ,that baby elephant might have such big teeth (actually it can't have teeth at all) ,it damages the sense of its being photorealistic .


03 March 2003, 02:28 AM
its truely great but its a shame you smudge it with the ugly griany filter you put on it in photoshop.

03 March 2003, 03:12 AM
:bowdown: :bowdown: :bowdown: :bowdown: :bowdown:

03 March 2003, 03:15 AM
wowwwza! wondering how much time you put into the modeling and textures? :drool:

03 March 2003, 04:23 AM
wonderfull job!

03 March 2003, 05:42 AM
excellent job!

03 March 2003, 06:43 AM
ok... now i dont have to go to africa :D

keep em coming


teh fury
03 March 2003, 09:13 AM
Really really good.. totaly fools me.. awesome work :eek:

03 March 2003, 11:34 AM

a WIREEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

03 March 2003, 12:55 PM
Please, everyone wants to se a wireframe... :) Send us one ;)

03 March 2003, 02:00 PM
Hey man, I was on your page... You’re absolutely great artist!

Hope to see many of your works in future.

03 March 2003, 02:05 PM
one word to say:perfect

03 March 2003, 02:23 PM
Hi Guys,

Thanks for your kind words, I will answer your questions soon, but unfortunately I don't have enough time now, but here is a "not really wire" but making of pic.

Load of wire is coming soon, and some words about the making also.



03 March 2003, 03:05 PM
the mod is excellent, i enjoy it. But i think the map of the trunk is too uniform and the light is theoricaly more zenithal i think. Overall your piece of work is awesome.

03 March 2003, 03:06 PM
really, really impressive :airguitar :drool:

03 March 2003, 06:43 PM
Incredible!! :surprised

03 March 2003, 06:45 PM
Wow! Great work! :bowdown:

03 March 2003, 06:57 PM
that isssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss
completely real

no crits at all

now make some crocodiles

03 March 2003, 07:24 PM
Wow that's great modelling.

Was that converted to polys or started off in polys in the first place? It's quality stuff.

03 March 2003, 10:00 PM

First of all thanks to Tito for the front page. You are great! many thanks :)

Secondly here are couple of infos: so the elephants was modelled in maya from polygons. Each animal has two differrent 4k texture maps, because it was rendered in 1.5k resolution. Ye, I know, probably the 4k texture size a bit big :), These were painted in photoshop. I used loads of reference photos, but mainly I had to paint the textures because as you know it's almost impossible to find pictures in such a huge resolution what would have been suitable to create a 4k text maps. So I painted it.
I modelled three different elephant objects and those has different textures also, sadly it's inpossible to recognize. probably I should make a very huge render to prove :)), ok, after the render I had couple of layers, as diffuse, shadow, reflection, beauty, ground shadow, and a special layer what contained all the wrinkles. I used the bump map texture as diffuse map and made a bit differrent light setup to create this layer. It was very useful because I had full controll above the wrinkles on this way.
Some words about the composite: So the aim was to make it as photoreal as it is possible, I found some 1.5k res images about elephants, rhinos, and so on, typical african savanna environments, so I removed the animals and don't wanted elements from the images in Photoshop and used them as background. Unfortunately it would have been impossible to take proper photos here in west yorkshire :)), and mainy I wanted to spend time with the composite-rendering not the haunting for the the background.
So after that I painted foreground alpha masks, and painted some of the branches also. I rendered differrent dust layers in Max as ground dust around the trunks, and dust on the air. and
finaly composited everything in Shake and in AE also. (I used the AE's ballance filter to the final color correct)

some making of pictures and wireframe images are coming soon.


Ps: If you have any question, just feel free to ask.


03 March 2003, 10:30 PM
and the answers:

Mihao, D_Nice, Ultragames, Nightwing: Many thanks guys!

Harvester: Yep, probably you are right with the rings on the trunk,
but the tail is in the right position, I used couple of different reference images when I modelled the elephant, and I tried to make the tail's lenght sg like average. and as I saw on the pics, the fur at the end of the tail looks like a bit weird, looks like a branch, not as typical, as a dog's tail for example.

Syrogen, Slime,Maya Ayanami: Thanks so much guys, probably I should work on the trunks a little bit more next time.

Biggyninja, Xeno: Yes, I just wanted to make something different now, not the usual topic: fantasy or robots :), but I definetely know those are cool, therefore my next image will be something "traditional" :).
because I'm a big :buttrock: of fantasy.

RobertoOrtiz, KotsVolk, E.Z. Schwartz,DL Dude: what else could I say: thanks!

03 March 2003, 10:47 PM
GreaT!! veRY reaLisTiC! the perfect RenDeR!:thumbsup:

03 March 2003, 11:13 PM
Flag: Thanks a lot, than should I try to send my image to the ILM?. :rolleyes:

Daolohua CnC, tayse: The calfs also have tusks, of course it depends on the age of the calfs, but here is an image what can prove, that calfs also has tusks.

neolee40: thanks mate, it was a secret project:)), and of course my pleasure to work with you on you short :)

Chappo, Jozvex: Yes, the elephants are cg "only" and part of the environment also (dusts, some branches are painted), but the background mainly photo.

Great_vertex: yes, probably you are right, but it was AE, not PS, and Did you recognise that people usually hide their work behind huge noise filters if they want to make photoreal. You are right, I should have not followed this. the 1.5k version doesn't have as much noise.

Jammin: the modeling was about a week, not more, only a couple of hours a day, after a busy day in the game bussiness. the texturing, composite was pretty much the same .

03 March 2003, 12:11 AM
wow... when i first saw the image I thought it was anotherone of those photofakes, but after you posted the wireframe ---> :surprised: :eek: :eek: :surprised: WOW... fantastic job!!!

03 March 2003, 01:04 AM
:applause: that's all I can say ;) You've done something really great here. Nice job!

You have received the CGtalk choice award .Please feel free to display this image anywhere you like! Incredible work.

upon receiving this award, it guarantees you a spot in the cgtalk gallery hall of fame ( - which you are now placed

P.S. Please email me @ for the award .psd file


03 March 2003, 01:16 AM
Hi Lildragon,

What else I can say after that: Many thanks!! ;)



03 March 2003, 07:05 PM

here is a making of image about the modeling and texturing, a new image coming soon about the compositing, I hope you like it,

yes, yes, I know, It's small, but here is "a bit" bigger version.
5300x1300 and 2Mbyte.

big version (



03 March 2003, 05:05 AM
fantastic work! man. Love it/ Keep post the great work. :thumbsup:

03 March 2003, 01:53 PM
Szia Ward!
Gratulalok a Choice Award-hoz!!! Orulok, hogy a magyarok egyre jobb alkotasokat keszitenek. Csak igy tovabb!:applause:

04 April 2003, 10:56 AM
that's incredible,while i was trying to open your image my
father was here and he said <wow that's unbelievable send
him a reply and tell him that it's great>.:bounce:

04 April 2003, 09:38 AM
Hi Guys,

here is a making of image about the comositing also,

and the bigger version:
5300x1300 and 2Mbyte.

big version composite (



Fred Heys
05 May 2003, 06:10 PM
yes these are very cool, we really dont see enough of this kind of work well done,

06 June 2003, 04:58 AM
Beautiful images and fantastic making of , very helpful!

06 June 2003, 07:05 AM
i just saw this on 3dtotal....
very real...

i showed it to my dad and he doesnt believe that its CG.....

great job.......

06 June 2003, 10:36 AM
:eek: :eek:

06 June 2003, 05:08 AM
wow ward!
thank you very very much!

I am downloading it and your other cool works now....
Oh, though may be I will spend thirty minutes to download those great pictures:drool: ,I hope very much to enjoy it !
You are great man :beer:
by the way,I have done my work also,about a big beast and a hero,this is the link ,
I have many trouble with the textures.If you may give me any comments,I will very happy!
sorry,excuse me,my poor English ha ha :cool:
work in progress (

06 June 2003, 01:39 PM
Fred Heys,alphatron,skii : Many htnaks Guys,

Sandblaster::eek: :eek: :eek:

cgije: thanks man, there is not any problem with your texture work, looks ccol!


06 June 2003, 01:55 PM
WOW!....First time here..! AMAZING INTEGRATION! not to mention the model! The Elephant is one of the most difficult animal to model! Great job!


06 June 2003, 04:45 PM
Unbelievable integration! Integration with live-action footage is one of most challenging jobs. Mind me asking which surface type you used? (nurbs, polygon, subdivision) Keep challenging :)

06 June 2003, 10:18 AM
Hi Guys,

-OZ-: oh, many thanks. I'm a big fan of your works (I liked the LOTR challenge thread very much :bounce: ) So thanks for your comment very much.

braam: thanks to you also, I used polygons for the elephant, Here is a making of pic about the modeling:
(2Mbyte 5300x2300)

modelling making of pic (



07 July 2003, 11:50 PM
:applause: :applause: :applause:
Just great. Sell it to National geographic! lol

I wouldn't know the difference if we weren't on a cg site.

02 February 2005, 01:07 AM
An inspiring piece.

04 April 2005, 09:04 PM
Excellent Work.

06 June 2005, 06:01 PM
Really, really nice scene...

I am curious about how you did the bump mapping...I notice that your UV maps only half the Elephant. In my experience if the UVs are stacked on top of one another (Right and left side) you would get a positive / negative effect with the bump map...In other words one half would 'bump' inward and the other would 'bump' outward. And if you flip the normals on one half there would be a sharp line down the center of the model.

You mentioned a special lighting setup. is that how you control this effect? Or Is there another way that I am missing. I am really curious, cause you get so much more detail out of you textures that way.

Thanks this is an excellent work! Joel

06 June 2005, 06:09 PM
just super !!!

06 June 2005, 06:14 PM
so real...super !!

06 June 2005, 06:24 PM
O H M Y G O D, wow. Mate, are you sure is not a photograph?? :)

:thumbsup: A 5/5 :thumbsup:

07 July 2005, 01:59 PM
Really, really nice scene...

I am curious about how you did the bump mapping...I notice that your UV maps only half the Elephant. In my experience if the UVs are stacked on top of one another (Right and left side) you would get a positive / negative effect with the bump map...In other words one half would 'bump' inward and the other would 'bump' outward. And if you flip the normals on one half there would be a sharp line down the center of the model.

Thanks this is an excellent work! Joel

Hi Joel,

As far as I remember, I have duplicated the model early on the process, just before adding all the little details, wrinkles onto the geometry, and I also fixed the normals to be proper on both sides. I used more or less the same bump map on both sides, but I corrected the edges and seams in DeepPaint, so therefore I could not get any bump errors at the center of the elephant.
There is a very basic tutorial of DeepPaint texturing on the 3DLuvr website:

hope I could help, let me know if you have further questions.



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