1. 3D & Motion Graphics
  2. 3D Studio Max

Making of the "leaKing" in 3ds Max

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Read Time: 9 min

In this intermediate level tutorial, we follow CG artist Cristian Pop through the process of creating an abstract paint leaking scene using 3Ds Max 2010 and Pwrapper, a great plug-in from 3D Aliens. After completing the 3D work, Cristian switches to 2D to perform some final color corrections in Photoshop.

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    • Step 1

      After unzipping "", open the "leaKING.max" file. To make things easier, I have already created the King's head for you.

      Step 2

      The first thing we're going to do is model the hair, so create a box in the viewport and convert it to "Editable poly". Then open the "Graphite Modeling Tools" and, in the "Freeform" section, choose "On: Surface". Click the "Pick" button and then select our head object.

      Step 3

      Set the "Offset" value to '2', and, using the "Strips Tool", start drawing the hair onto the head as shown.

      Step 4

      Once you've finished, select the original box element and delete it.

      Step 5

      We're now going to move on to the king's crown. First create a cylinder with the following parameters, then convert it to an "Editable poly" and delete the top and bottom faces.

      Step 6

      Now create a torus with the following parameters and align it to the cylinder as shown.

      Step 7

      Select the cylinder's top vertices. In the "Soft Selection" rollout, enable "Use Soft Selection" and set the "Falloff" to 20.

      Step 8

      Making sure the vertices are selected, add a "Noise" modifier. Set the "Scale" to 40, the "Z Strength" value to 20 and turn on "Fractal".

      Step 9

      Now switch to the top viewport. Select both the cylinder and the torus and scale them up on the 'Y' axis.

      Step 10

      With the main body of the crown complete, feel free to add some decorations! It's important however that you leave some space between the crown body and any decorations you create, as shown in the image below.

      Step 11

      Using Max's basic poly tools, create the following element. This will be used to create the multiple "paint splashes" that sit on top of the crown.

      Step 12

      We now need to place our splash element randomly around the top of the crown as shown.

      Step 13

      With our splashes in place, we can now group all of the objects that form the crown. Here I've added a "Taper" modifier to the group (with the "Amount" set to 0.2) to further refine the shape. When you're happy with the result, position the crown on the king's head.

      Step 14

      Select both the crown group and the head mesh. Now press the 'A' key on your keyboard to turn on “Angle Snaps", and rotate all objects 5 degrees on the 'Y' axis.

      Step 15

      Now, just as we did earlier with the "splash elements", create some "paint leaking elements" and randomly place them around the model. You can see my results in the following image.

      Step 16

      I've also added in some random drops above the crown.

      Step 17

      With that done, create a "Cylinder" with the following parameters and convert it to "Editable poly". This will be the source of the leaking paint that is going to form the king.

      Step 18

      Select the bottom vertices, enable "Use Soft Selection" and set the "Falloff" to 215.

      Step 19

      In the Front Viewport, making sure the vertices are still selected, scale down the cylinder on the 'Z' axis.

      Step 20

      Now, add a "Twist" modifier to the whole object, and set the "Angle" to 180 to achieve the following result.

      Step 21

      With our stream of paint complete, we can now place it above the king's head, as shown. Select all the objects in our scene, group them, and then change the group name to "King".

      Step 22

      We now need to create the drips that have fallen to the ground. Create a "Cylinder" with the following parameters, convert it to an "Editable poly" and then delete the bottom and the side faces.

      Step 23

      Select the edge vertices and enable "Use Soft Selection", setting the "Falloff" to 20.

      Step 24

      Making sure the vertices are still selected, add a "Noise" modifier. Set the "Scale" to 15 and both the "X Strength" and "Y Strength" to 20.

      Step 25

      With the main shape created, we can now collapse the noise modifier. Select the middle vertex and enable "Use Soft Selection", setting the "Falloff" to 25.

      Step 26

      Again, making sure the vertices are selected, add a "Ripple" modifier. Set the "Amplitude 1" and "Amplitude 2" values to 2, and the "Wave Length" to 7 to achieve the effect shown.

      Step 27

      We're now going to create a larger splash shooting up from the floor, however instead of creating it from scratch we're going to clone the crown group, scale it down and use that! So select the crown group and clone it, delete some of the unnecessary splash elements, and place the group on the drip as shown below.

      Step 28

      Using the techniques described above, continue to add some smaller drips on the ground. Once you're happy, group the newly created splash objects and rename the group to "Ground Drips".

      Step 29

      We now need to cover all of our objects with particles, as the "Pwrapper" object we'll be using needs a particle source from which to generate it's mesh. So, create a standard "Particle Flow Source" near the head and set the "Viewport Quantity Multiplier" to 100%.

      Step 30

      In the "Particle View" window, select the following operators and delete them.

      Step 31

      In the "Birth" operator rollout, set the "Emit Stop" to 0. This will ensure that all of the particles will be generated on the very first frame. Now set the "Amount" value somewhere between 20000 and 45000; higher value will increase mesh-generation time. This particle system will be used to generate the first of two "Pwrapper" objects.

      Step 32

      Add a "Position Object" operator to "Event02", and add the "King" group into the "Emitter Objects" dialog.

      Step 33

      Because the second "Pwrapper" object will be different from the first, we now need to create a second "Particle Flow" system. So, create a second "Particle Flow Source" and set the "Viewport Quantity Multiplier" to 100% as before. Now open the "Birth" operator rollout, and set the "Emit Stop" to 0 and the "Amount" to 10000. Finally add the "Ground Drips" group in the "Position Object" operator.

      Step 34

      In the "Create" panel, select "glu3D pouring system" from the drop down list and click the "Pwrapper" button to create a Pwrapper object in the viewport.

      Step 35

      In the "Modify" panel, set the "Parameters" values as shown here.

      Step 36

      Add in a "Cap holes" modifier and then add a "Relax" modifier, setting the "Iterations" value to 10 and disabling "Keep Boundary Pts Fixed".

      Step 37

      Clone the "Pwrapper" object as a copy, and set the "Drop Size" on the copy to '0.4'.

      Step 38

      It's now time to create our first mesh! Select the first "Pwrapper" object, and add the first "PF Source" as shown. As soon as it's added, the "Pwrapper" object starts generating the blobmesh that forms the king.

      Step 39

      With that done, it's time to create the second mesh. So, just as above, select the second "Pwrapper" object, add the second "PF Source" and watch as the drips are created.

      Step 40

      Create a plane underneath the drips as shown.

      Step 41

      Now on to lighting. First create an "Omni" light in the top viewport and, as this will be our master light, turn "Ray Traced Shadows" on and set the shadow density to a smaller value, as shown.

      Step 42

      Here I've created a second "Omni" light, which I'm using to further illuminate the left side of the leaKING. I've made sure to disable shadows and turn down the intensity.

      Step 43

      Now let's create the materials. Open the "Material Editor", create a "Standard" material and rename it to 'white paint'. Change the "Diffuse" color to 'white', set the "Specular Level" to approximately 138 and the "Glossiness" to approximately 71. Under the "Maps" rollout, add a "Falloff" map in the "Reflection" slot.

      Step 44

      Click on the "Falloff" map to access it's properties. In the first slot add the included 'env.hdr' file and then change the color from the second slot to 'black'. After that, change the "Falloff type" to "Towards/Away". Assign our new paint material to both of the "Pwrapper" objects.

      Step 45

      Now we need a material for the floor plane, so create a new "Standard" material, change the "Diffuse" color to 'black' and add a "Flat Mirror" map to the "Diffuse" slot. Click the "Flat Mirror" map to access it's properties, and ensure that blurry reflections are disabled.

      Step 46

      With all of the materials in place, we can now position the camera and adjust the render settings as required. For my scene I chose to render at 1000x1800px.

      Step 47

      Now that everything is setup as needed, render the scene using 3Ds max's standard renderer, and save the image as a "jpeg" file.

      Step 48

      With all of the 3D work complete, we're now going to add a few final color corrections in Photoshop. Open your render, right-click the "Background" layer and choose "Layer From Background". In the "New Layer" dialog box, enter the name "leaking" and hit "OK". Now double-click the layer to bring up the "Layer Style" dialog. Enable the "Color Overlay" effect and change the color to a light blue (in my case I've used 00d8ff,) then set the "Blend mode" to 'Overlay' and decrease the "Opacity" to 25%.

      Step 49

      Duplicate the "leaking" layer twice, using the "Ctrl+J" hotkey. Set the blending mode for the second duplicate (the very top layer) to "Color Burn".

      Step 50

      Select the two copied layers and merge them using the "Ctrl+E" hotkey. Decrease the "Opacity" of this new merged layer to 35%, and with this done, right-click either of the layers and choose "Merge Visible".

      Step 51

      We're now going to add a subtle photographic grain to the image. First create a new layer and fill it with grey as shown.

      Step 52

      With the layer selected, go to Filter > Noise > Add Noise...

      Step 53

      In the "Add Noise" dialog box, set the "Noise Amount" to 400% and change the "Noise Type" to "Monochromatic". With that done, hit "OK".

      Step 54

      Now go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur...

      Step 55

      In the "Gaussian Blur" dialog box, set the "Blur Radius" to 0.2 pixels and press "OK".

      Step 56

      Set the blending mode of our noise layer to "Overlay" and the "Opacity" to 3% - we hardly want to be able to see it at all. With that done, the intensity of our photographic grain can now be adjusted by using the opacity slider.

      Step 57

      And with that, we're done! Congratulations, you've made the king proud! My final result is shown below.

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