Behind Archivita

View higher res process shots at my Artstation.

Archivita is an 8′ x 30′ mural I did for a theme camp at Burning Man.  I also brought it to Youtopia, a smaller festival near San Diego.

I was going for a vibrant biomimicry-inspired city. (If you look closely, the “flower” Is made of many little “floors.”) The idea was something that different subgroups from the Burner community could resonate with. Some of them very reverent of nature/spirituality, and other ones “techno/futurists” – so some kind of fanciful, high tech city modeled after nature seemed to be a way to unite those two forces, done so in a really celebratory way (BM is kind of a big party in many ways, after all.) Also, the whole city is “gridded” out as a flower of life, with the elevated transportation also mirroring the same layout.

Funny story: the initial specs were going to be 10′ x 30′ and it got changed to 8′ at the last minute. It looked bad cropped so I decided to try to quickly extend it instead, by flipping each end and then breaking up the symmetry with floating stuff. It ended up looking a lot trippier this way.

I learned a lot from this project.

The image itself, before the side extensions.


In daytime, before all the dust. Had to brush it off with a broom daily by the end. I still haven’t gotten all the dust off this thing!

At night, illuminated by Bill Watson’s Lightseed Lamps.

Check out Bill Watson‘s art here: http://www.lighttrees.com/home.htm    http://www.essentia.com/

The lamps were programmed to do just about anything, and it was different each night.

At the Youtopia festival, suspended from the trees.

And now for a technical breakdown!

The initial render. Pretty ugly! To avoid having to manage hundreds of textures, I assigned wire colors instead (using a script that streamlined the process of custom colors). Also helped speed up the gigantic render considerably.

Wireframe pass, used to pull out little sub-object details in the 2D stage.

Zdepth pass, used to initially add atmosphere by turning it into a mask.

“Normal” render (camera space), used to pull out certain surfaces for masking via channels.

AO pass, used slightly but not much this time.

Large (Tier 1) mask pass. Did this one by automatically assigning an object ID by group via script and rendering an Object ID pass.

Small mask pass via Object ID render, broken down by wire color.

Object ID pass after running a wire color randomization script.

Shiny pass – used to pull out areas I wanted a shinier look for, without having to assign some special map in the actual scene. I did this by setting “wire color” as diffuse and using material override in Mental Ray.



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Posted: September 15, 2017


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