Master and Servant 3D Entry: Fernando Aracena


Unlike most people around here, my workflow is not very methodic. I like to keep all options open till the very end. So I don’t finish one part of the work (for example texturing) before getting to the next.

Once I have a pretty good idea of where I want to go, I set up a basic atmosphere (lights, sky, etc.) and begin modelling and texturing inside this setting. When an object (or some important part of it) is modelled, I try some textures before starting to model a new one.

So I figured, that in the spirit of this challenge, I can post the evolution of the work before getting to a final milestone.

Fist the sketch:

The first drawing I posted at the beginning of this contest showed several weaknesses, especially color related. It was very important to have warm colors in the characters so that they could stand up from the background (which would inevitably be blue, green, and gray). At that point, the flowers drew all the attention. This was unwanted.

Next, I rotated the characters mainly because the right arm was hiding the child’s face.

Finally, I placed the characters assimetrically on the right top of the scene to give them some “space to fall”. Hard to explain… To underline the fact that they are indeed flying high and there is the risk of falling down, and is therefore a dangerous situation.

The wasp changed from yellow (a bad choice of color considering the background), to red (not a very natural color), to black (my idea of a mean wasp).

The flowers were put in the lower left side to kind of give some balance to the composition.

There were other reasons involved in these decisions, but it would be long to explain them now.



My very personal challenge was to find out how realistic a human being I could model at this point of my learning of 3d. Based on some anatomy papers, I came up with this very rough sketch of the proportions.

With the tools I have (and my limited knowledge) the best way I can model a human is by doing one edgeloop at a time, and then pulling points as long as it takes to get an acceptable result.

I marked in the rough sketch the areas where the bulges are supposed to be (muscles, etc.), in order that the poligons left around those areas make it easy to model the bulge.

Up until the very last moment, I found points in the face that were not in the right places. Each time I looked at the mesh of the child, I found something that was terribly wrong, and needed to be fixed. I still do, but I am afraid that time is up.



This is the model in my front view port. The mesh in the left is hard to see (sorry).

I should point out that the clothing has an extra heavy mesh because this allows the cloths to conform better and more naturally to the body when using Clothilde, a cloth tool from Cinema 4d.

The wasp was very easy to model and has few poligons (except for the hair which is all poligonal). It is a combination of two wasps I caught, some ideas I got by watchin close-ups of wasps in several sites of the internet, and (in order to make it mean looking) my personal interpretation of how alien (the eight passenger) would look like if it bursted out of a wasp taking some of its form.

I never tried to make the wasp anatomically acurate.



And this is a side view (the “other” side). Again, apologies for the poor detail in the poligons, but the resolution we can use here is limited.

The position of the bones in the child mesh is shown in a previous post.



I don’t know if this belongs in this milestone, but I though it would be interesting to show the props of the child. Some details aren’t really shown in the scene, but I cannot mess up the comp just in order to show the props.

A last minute addition was the sort of footholder that resembles the contraption surfers use not to lose their board when riding waves. I figured a similar thing could be used in order that the wasp doesn’t loose its child :). I guess that without such a safety devise, the kid would fall in a couple of seconds.



This is a very reduced view of the 70 MG single texture I use in the entire body. Completly handdrawn (except for the hands, which are based on a scan of my own right hand). I just used color and bump channels. There is an empty space at the bottom left just in case I decided to add feet.

I was afraid that the humongous textures would crank up my computer, but the software handled them just fine. It was just like handling 5 MG textures.



This texture is based on a piece of denim I scanned. It was tiled and manipulated in Photoshop using several layers of rendered clouds, etc. and resized in order to fit the map. The bump map is based on the same map without the saturation, and with some handdrawn dark and light areas to simulate the bumps on the pockets and other areas.

The alpha channel that was used to make the “ripped hole” of the jean transparent is pretty obvious, so I am not showing it here.



This is the (much reduced) texture I used for the wool sweater. I scanned a piece of a white woven cloth (so I could use the same map in the alpha and bump channels), colored, tiled, resized, and manipulated it in Photohop, and came out with these 3 channels. I believe that in this case, it is important to show how the alpha channel looks like. This texture is actually pretty large also.



This are the three renders I actually did. The screen capture shows the channels I had available for postproduction. I was particularly concerned about the wing reflections and transparency. I rendered the wings using a 3d motion blur, but it was insuficient for this still image, so I had to give it some extra motion blur in Photoshop.

As said, the foot thing was modelled and rendered at the very last minute, so it became my 3rd postprod element.



There are only 2 sources of light in the scene.

The first one is an HDRI image that I found at

which had to be manipulated because it was too green and too saturated for the purposes of this image. Later, however, I regreted some of this manipulation, because I ended up increasing the greens in post, as the rendered image turned too red. I lowered the intensity of the radiosity effect by half in order to have some shadows in the scene.

The second lightsource is a large parallel spot light, which had to be pretty bright (150% in Cinema 4d scale) casting soft shadows. This had a slight reddish-yellow tone that was supposed to emulate the color of the sun. The red effect looked too fake and almost killed me in post. I’ll never make this mistake againg.

At the left, the scene with only the hdri turned on.

At the right, the scen with only the light turned on.



I divided the postproduction work in two parts:

The first (left image) was devoted to correcting the light and fix some dozens of large and small details ranging from making the nose smaller, to moving the left hand thumb a little closer to the antena, to adding some green veins to hands and legs, to add a small scar to the kid’s knee, to lower the saturation on the fingernails and so on. Lots and lots of things.

I also added the foreground blurred flowers here (just some 2d flowers with a lot of motion blurr).

All in all, I ended with about 45 layers in Photoshop only for this first part of post prod.

It was also an opportunity to correct some crazy ideas that turned out to be bad ideas.

The second part of the postwork (right side), was totally devoted to adding “imperfections” to the scene.

IMHO, 3d renders tend to be too perfect for their own good. They are too sharp, too mathematically accurate, and therefore, too unreallistic (at least mine are).

So I added dirt and imperfection here. I blurred some parts, added a lot of mud to make the scene look like one of these motocross pictures, messed up things here and there… And ended up with other forty something layers of Photoshop. The mud I was placing reacted differently on different colors. In some cases it had to be a multiply layer, in ohers, the oposite. In some, just a normal layer was enough, and so on.

I show here only the layers that fitted in the screen capture.



Fernando Aracena has entered the Master and Servant 3D.

Challenge Page

Latest Update: Final Image: Final image


Ever since the Science teacher had explained wasps to his class, Marco had been secretly fascinated by them. They were flying killers, fierce and dangerous. For them, one sting was enough to paralize a tarantula much larger than they were.

Marco, the dreamer, would get his own wasp. One day, he would find the monster trapped in the web of its worst enemy: The spider. It would be tired of fighting to free itself, and resigned to die.

The boy would carefully approach the prisoner, cut the spiderweb with his knife, and free the tired animal. Then, he would jump to the back of the wasp, and both would fly away together.

And the kid would speak to the monster: “I saved your life. Now you have to do what I say.”

The wasp would bow its head.

They would become friends for life. They would cross the sky defying the dangers of the gigantic woods, where all living beings are brothers and sisters. Master and servant would eventually become pals. And every afternoon after school, Marco the dreamer, would turn his MP3 player on, ride his wasp, and fly as free as a bird.


Awesome looking ant. That must have taken some time to render.
Great image


Wow man you are progressing great. i like the difused background, and the dirty on the boy, and the blur of the wings…good luck:thumbsup:


Thank you Aliska and Carlos Eduardo!

In fact, it took some time to render, especially the wings. In order to calculate the motion blur, the wings were rendered 9 times in slightly different positions. Transparent objetcts tend to take some extra-long time and fortunatelly I was able to finish on time.

Best of luck to you, Carlos Eduardo. I hope we keep in touch.

Suerte, compañero!



Good Work Fernando.

Congratulations and Good Luck :thumbsup:


Really nice final! Congrats and good luck! :thumbsup:


Top work fernando. Best of luck.


congratulations & good luck!!


Hi, Joao Roberto, Gunilla, Nicola and Orville:

Thank you, you are very kind. This was an incredible learning experience for me.

I hope we keep in touch!