The Death of the American Diner

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  02 February 2013
The Death of the American Diner

It's a very early mid 20th century morning at this New Jersey Diner. The night shift was fairly slow, but the staff are gearing up for the normal rush of morning traffic in an hour or so.
Things are going quite swell for this diner, and probably will for another 20 or 30 years. Sooner or later though, people are going to start going to big name chains instead, and the busy main road this diner is on will get cut-off when a huge highway it built nearby isolating it from most traffic.
This is when, sadly, it will close down and die like many other diners across the country just like it.


This is going to be a two-part project. First render of the diner will be in its prime, below it will be a separate render of its present day state. It will be abandoned, forgotten and just plain sad looking. Even the sky and lighting will be sad.

So far I've started on the first render:



At the moment the biggest thing left to do will be the trees, foliage, grass etc. After that will be refining, and then I can start reconstructing it and making it look abandoned. I'm quite looking forward to that part, I hope it doesn't make me sound too morbid

Created using 3ds Max and Vray. C&C welcome like always.

Last edited by BrikProductions : 02 February 2013 at 07:55 AM.
 
  02 February 2013
I love those old looking diners and truck stops. They really do have a very unique feeling to them.

Being in Architectural Illustration, one thing I cant stress enough is to not JUST focus on detailng the building. Often, adding in the detail to the road curbs amd general foreground can separate a good image from a great one!

There is an example of an exceptional image from artist Anh Thi Ly, which shows the power of a nicely detailed foreground.

http://www.evermotion.org/tutorials...udent-residence

I think focus on the 'hard' aspects of the modeling before you move onto the softscaping (treas, grass etc).

CGTextures.com has some awesome textures of curbs and roads, which can be used to create a low res cage and get some awesome detail using texture alone.

http://www.cgtextures.com/textures.php?t=browse&q=350

Also remember that, even when the diner is in its heyday, it would still show wear and tear. Dirt at the base of it, scratches on the steel work, some rust from the rains.





Another awesome place for the detail can come through in the DINER sign itself.
Neon signs have a massive amount of tubing and wiring to make sure they actually work.



Looking forward to seeing the updates!
 
  02 February 2013
Thanks for the detailed answer, Pyke! I'll be sure to get right onto the things mentioned, mostly the tubing in the sign and the road.

Btw I've been following Stasis for a while now. Good stuff
 
  02 February 2013
Thanks man! Its been a fun project to work on, and I've found lots of cool quick workarounds.

One thing I did when doing neon in the game was download a free neon font.

I use this one: http://www.dafont.com/neon.font as a base, and then detail it from there (darkening the areas of tubing that gets painted over so that only the proper portions of the letters get read, etc.

You should also think of a cool 'diner' name. Something happy, so that when its all torn down it gives a more creepy effect. Seeing 'Happy Days Diner' on a torn down dilapidated sign, for example.

Also remember that the more detail you add in the 'clean' model, the more stuff you can break down in the run down one!
 
  02 February 2013
Fairly small update; I've worked on the sign, done a little bit on the road and added some grass (using this excellent tutorial I found):

 
  02 February 2013
I don't usually update my WIP's so quickly, but I have done quite a bit of work today since my last post so I mind as well:

 
  02 February 2013
Update for today; mostly texturing and foliage work since the last update.

 
  02 February 2013
Nice work so far. I would never have thought those diners were dying off. All the times my Dad and I were in the USA in the last few years we always travelled a lot, and never had problems finding diners. We deliberately tried to avoid the chain type eating houses and went for old style diners.
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  02 February 2013
The grass is coming off WAY too acid green. Grass tends to be quite varied in colour and consistency, unless it is carefully maintained like at a golf course, or sports stadium. But in a general setting, you should add in a lot more variation in the colour.

Your tar texture is coming out rather nicely, although the bump should be tighter.

The rear trees are throwing off the scale a little. Like the leaves are too large?
 
  02 February 2013
Originally Posted by Dillster: Nice work so far. I would never have thought those diners were dying off. All the times my Dad and I were in the USA in the last few years we always travelled a lot, and never had problems finding diners. We deliberately tried to avoid the chain type eating houses and went for old style diners.


To be totally honest with you, even though I would like to consider myself well travelled, I have never actually been to America. There is a certain sadness to an abandoned diner though and it is not hard to find reference pictures of one.
The same thing happens in Australia; once prosperous diners get cut off when a brand new highway/freeway is built meaning no one drives past it any more. Plus everyone goes to McDonald, KFC etc now rather when those things didn't exist years ago.
Personally I like going to the independent places like yourself when I can find them, pretty easy to find them out in the country when you're not near any major towns. You can't beat the atmosphere, and the lack of any presence from a corporation

Originally Posted by Pyke: The grass is coming off WAY too acid green. Grass tends to be quite varied in colour and consistency, unless it is carefully maintained like at a golf course, or sports stadium. But in a general setting, you should add in a lot more variation in the colour.

Your tar texture is coming out rather nicely, although the bump should be tighter.

The rear trees are throwing off the scale a little. Like the leaves are too large?


It is kinda/sorta suppose to be well maintained grass, but I do agree the greenness is a bit over the top. Now that I realise it, its a bit cartoonish really.
And yeah I agree about the trees, although I don't what what's going on there. All the trees are just AEC Extended objects so they're all the same (although they are seeded to each be original). Come to think of it, that particular clump is about three trees all right next to each other. Maybe I should just thin the foliage out a bit?
 
  03 March 2013
I've started creating the second part of the render. This does not mean I've finished with the first part though, I just feel it is at a good point now where I can work on both at the same time.

 
  03 March 2013
Why don't you try giving the neon lights more of a glow (LightMat)-depending on your renderer-. Also, the illumination in the first image is considerably better visually than the other, in my opinion.
What i would change from that point would be, as Pyke says, the grass for example is too uniform, there should be some messiness around, as well as the road texture is too clean for me.
 
  03 March 2013
Originally Posted by Seehr: Why don't you try giving the neon lights more of a glow (LightMat)-depending on your renderer-. Also, the illumination in the first image is considerably better visually than the other, in my opinion.
What i would change from that point would be, as Pyke says, the grass for example is too uniform, there should be some messiness around, as well as the road texture is too clean for me.


Ah yeah, I shall mess around with those things in a while. In the meantime though, it's a public holiday today where I live so I had some time to work on the lighting and a few other things in the second render:

 
  03 March 2013
Originally Posted by BrikProductions: ....Personally I like going to the independent places like yourself when I can find them, pretty easy to find them out in the country when you're not near any major towns. You can't beat the atmosphere, and the lack of any presence from a corporation.


I agree. We found some pretty memorable diners over there. One in Tennessee had a full wall of photos of visitors from different states and countries, the photos going back over I think 60 years. The visitors would hold up the newspaper of the day so you can tell when the photo was taken. They didn't get many Irish visitors so our mugshots were added to the wall.
Another one in Kentucky or maybe Georgia had antique uniforms and weapons in frames on the wall. I mean muskets, real bows and arrows, grey army uniforms and caps, holsters and all kinds of interesting stuff.

There are some interesting family restaurants and cafes in Europe too. One bar in Amsterdam has a very big picture frame with paper currency from all countries going back at least 200 years. I seen a million Reichsmark there, currency from places that no longer exist (Rhodesia, Abysinnia, Austria-Hungary, Ottoman Empire and others......). A nice barmaid there used to pick me up and hug me when I was about 9 years old and too young to appreciate it. I wonder if she still works there? Might call in when I'm in Amsterdam on the 20th.
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  03 March 2013
Originally Posted by Dillster: Another one in Kentucky or maybe Georgia had antique uniforms and weapons in frames on the wall. I mean muskets, real bows and arrows, grey army uniforms and caps, holsters and all kinds of interesting stuff.


That would make an awesome render
 
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