Instilling Life Into Archviz Scenes With Mateusz Adamski
Today we introduce Mateusz Adamski. Some of you might know him already, as despite being aged 25, he already won some major awards, including the CGarchitect Architectural 3Dawards 2016 for best student film and this year’s the Rookie of the Year award in architecture.
Read on to learn more about this student in 3D graphics and how he makes some stunning archviz scenes.
Hi Mateusz, thanks for taking your time for this interview. Could you tell us more about yourself?
I thank you for letting me write a few words about my work and myself :)
My name is Mateusz Adamski and I'm 25. Originally, I am from Poland, but 9 years ago, I moved to Denmark where I’m studying at 3D College Grenaa. Currently, I am almost finished with my apprenticeship at a great company, Cadesign in Aarhus. At the end of this year, I have my final exam and I will finally be educated as a multimedia animator and hopefully, continue working at my current “workplace”.
What are your main sources of inspiration?
Well, the main concept for a project is born in my head, and when I have some idea of what I want to do, I go to Google, of course :) However, lately I started using Pinterest and as I didn’t like it in the beginning for some reason, now it’s the first place that I go to if I need some inspiration.
Also, great places are websites that are selling apartments, where you can find a lot of images of real apartments and sometimes even floor plans to help you start building your flat!
How did you discover Substance and why did you start using it on your projects?
Honestly, I don’t remember where and when I discovered Substance Painter, I think it was somewhere at the early stage of HER, probably on one of the CG pages on Facebook. Painting the textures by hand is not really my thing, so I really needed some easier way to create those nice small details in textures and Substance Painter seemed perfect for this job. I was amazed how easy it is to use it and now I use it pretty much in all my projects!
Tell us more about “Her”, the Scandinavian apartment archviz project.
Everything started when I finished my previous animation “Home”, which by the way won the CGarchitect Architectural 3Dawards 2016 for the best student film. Everyone who knows me knows that I can’t spend a day without working, so I quickly started looking for inspiration for a new project.
I just love Scandinavian interiors and Scandinavian style, so obviously this had to be a “theme” for my next project. However, this time I also wanted to bring a story into it, to make it something more than “just” another fly-through archviz animation of an apartment. I dedicated this project to my girlfriend (Ania) for being the best girlfriend in the world. I wanted to thank her for that and for all the years, we spent together and more to come!
I really like visualizations which look like someone is actually living in that place, that’s why I’m trying to do the same thing in my projects. Although this time, I also wanted to make an apartment that people can relate to, by using furniture that most of the people (like myself) can actually afford. That is why I used IKEA as my main reference for styling it. It fitted perfectly because their furniture is good looking and affordable!
The story is something that I spent most of the time on, that’s one reason why the project took that long. I wasn’t really sure how it would look like in the end, it kept changing and developing in the process.
Another reason why the animation took a whole year to finish is modeling and texturing. One thing that I knew from the beginning was that I wanted to make all the objects myself, so no pre-made models were used in this project. Substance Painter was a huge help with the texturing part, it's perfect to create scratches or dirt exactly where I wanted them to be! About 95% of the scene objects have some amount of imperfections, fingerprints and things like that because we all know that nothing in the real world is totally clean and perfect. I didn’t really make the whole materials in Substance Painter, but only black and white masks which I later used as a blend mask for V-Ray blend material and that was enough to get the result that I wanted.
Animation was the first part of the project. From the very beginning, I knew that when the animation is done, I want to render some nice angles, put them together into a book and print it out at some point. There are still some things I need to do, but the layout is pretty much finished.
Here is a link to the digital version of the book: https://issuu.com/ineray/docs/her_the_book
Could you make a breakdown of one asset in which your use of Substance was particularly helpful?
Of course :) As I mentioned before, most of the objects in the scene have some amount of dirt and scratches. That is why, when I discovered Substance Painter I wanted to try it and use it in my project. Let’s take the Polaroid Camera under the magnifying glass.
The first step was obviously unwrapping different parts of the camera. One thing I forgot (and did not really think about) to do was merging all those pieces into one object. Now I know that it would be way easier to work with it in Substance Painter and I would end up having fewer texture files… Mistakes happen, oh well.
Anyways, once unwrapping was finished, each piece was imported into Substance Painter and I think this is where I can say that I really wish there was a backface-culling option (maybe there is, but I couldn’t really find anything about that), because I think it's way better to see the whole model, not just outside of it, but enough of complaints – time for baking the textures; besides changing the resolution to 4096x4096, I didn’t do anything with the rest of the settings.
First, I wanted to create some small scratches on the edges, so the “Stain Scratches” smart mask seemed to be perfect for it. After playing with settings for few minutes, I came back to almost default settings and reduced the contrast and balance just a little bit, to reduce the amount of scratches.
The second thing was the reflection map, for which I thought “Surface Rust” was the best choice. This time, totally default settings, as I liked the way it looked without changing anything.
After exporting the textures, I took them into Photoshop, adjusted contrast and added fingerprints here and there for the reflection.
Next step was to use those maps in 3ds Max. The material is very simple, base and coat material, the only difference between them is the reflection amount; the coat is a bit shinier and reflective.
I used those textures in a very small amount, just to get a little bit of those scratches and unevenness in reflection.
That’s pretty much it! I did only that for the rest of the camera parts, so I don’t think there is a point of showing more than that.
Tell us more about “Minimalism”. What was the idea behind the project and which were the challenges you encountered?
The Minimalism project is something I started after being done with HER. Small scenes, with very simple geometric shapes, nothing really too complicated. I was planning to make around 50 images of that kind and then make an animation out of it (something like Alex Roman style) or put it together into a book again and print it out, but things have changed a bit lately and the project is currently in “pause” mode. I think the main challenge was to make the light behave the way I want it to, but eventually, I got what I wanted and I think it doesn’t look too bad :)
Could you make a breakdown of the scene?
Of course :) The whole scene is actually one object so we can call it one asset.
Anyways, the first step was obviously unwrapping. As mentioned, the floor, walls, and stairs are one object, as I wanted to get smooth transition on the edges.
Next stop – Substance Painter. First, I used one of the smart masks to create scratches on the surface and bumps/small imperfections on the edges which later was used as a bump map. For the dirt areas near the ground, I blended together a few smart masks to get more random results and then I created 2 different masks out of it.
The next step was to use those textures in 3ds Max as blend mask for V-Ray blend material.
That’s pretty much it! As you can see, you don’t need to do a lot of work in order to get pretty nice results. I think it didn’t take much longer to make those textures than it took to export them from Substance Painter!
What are your favorite features in Substance and which ones would you like to see in the future?
Definitely smart masks, you can get awesome results in just a few clicks! In addition, I really like that its “layer based” (if you can say that), so you can blend masks together just like in for example Photoshop, that’s very useful in creating even better textures.
Are you working on any new projects?
Unfortunately, no. I have a small break from making any free time projects. Honestly, I’m a little worn out after finishing HER, as it was the most complicated and time-consuming project I’ve ever done. And after all the latest projects, like Minimalism or the Lego Podracer, somehow I have no motivation to do anything right now. Not to worry though, in a few weeks I will not be able to spend a day without doing 3D again :)
What do you do besides making great Archviz projects?
Well, I’m trying to spend time with Ania, as the most of the last year I basically spent in front of computer working on HER, I need to make it up for her :) Besides that I recently bought a DSLR camera and I'm trying to take some nice pictures, mostly with Ania as my model. Understanding how the real camera works later helps a lot while using vray camera, so it’s win and win :)
Could you send us a picture of you and one of your workspace?
Sure, I’m using Lenovo ThinkPad W530 with one extra Samsung monitor. You don’t really need a super workstation to create pretty things :) I think it’s quite similar to photography, it’s not about how an expensive camera you have, it’s all about you and your idea for an image. Of course in both cases, having a better/more expensive equipment helps a lot, but it doesn’t mean you can’t do the same with the worse one.
As something extra, you can see on the image one of my biggest fans :P
Something we forgot to ask?
Follow me on one of my pages to stay up to date with my work!
In the end, I would like to thank again the Allegorithmic team for this highlight and of course, my lovely girlfriend, if it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be here.
Thank you for attention!