CG – 3ds max tutorial – Brandster media #1 Exterior

The tasks, which I set, were:
1. Process implementing.

2. 3D modeling skills upgrading.

3. Improving in quality of texturing and visualization.

4. Working with “fstorm render” program.


Let’s start from how the idea of creating the project appeared itself, what is the origin of the name and what sense it has. The mate, whose field is doing logos and interesting things, has designed one for an advertising agency that is actually called ‘‘Brandster media”.  He asked once if we could do a business project based on his logo together, a kind of Illuminated sing. I don’t know, what I was driven by that moment but I have agreed. Mind you, that originally things had been only about Illuminated sing. We have decided to do so that the logo (let it be called this way) would be placed on the roof of any old or industrial building. I had thought a bit and started googling pictures.

Having done not really big searching, I chose a few references which were suitable for me that moment, not doing any previous sketches because I had been obsessed with the idea to make it cool and that I would do something kind of supernatural and I would take over the Universe in a few days, I had opened the 3ds max and with words “Go ahead” started to model. That’s when, after some time passed, when I did some models, got them to the composition lets say, looked at it, and I realized, the capture of Universe had to be canceled.

That was how a demo fiasco exterior looked like, things happen; the matter is to stay positive and to keep your head up. “Don’t keep your head down, always go ahead, where you look at, there you will be” – I don’t remember where I had either saw or heard it, but there was something about it, and I programed this expression in my head, and jumping ahead, I used to repeat it to myself motivating me to achieve my goals. Okay! I am opening Google again and I’m going to search new references of different buildings, fire escapes, the nature, numerous materials, for instance, old brick or concrete wall etc. The plan “B” of capturing the Universe had started from that moment. Going the same way as previous one, without preliminary sketching, I did the performance again (the reason of doing in a such way I will try to explain sooner) it looked better than the first one, but it just didn’t cut it. I, of course, had got crazy here and didn’t almost do the whole area. 

Plan “B”

I stayed positive, failed, well things happen, lets try plan “C”. I was toying the idea and not doing any sketches all that time. I came to plane “C” “from the bright side of the Moon”. So, having a sketch in 3D format, I started thinking, what’s wrong. After what, I had taken a pencil and started doing little sketches, thinking not only with a mouse in my hands but with a pencil, because in my opinion it’s completely different thinking, I was doing it with everything that I had at my hand like pencils, pens, highlighters, and even sometimes when I was going to sleep, I was tossing and turning I couldn’t fall asleep for a long time, cos, don’t know why but my brain was turning into the idea factory horizontally, and I left some papers near the bed in a case of doing different sketches so that not to forget.

Plan “C”

So, the first thing which I faced with was the lack of thoughts and order in actions (its connected not only with exterior, I faced the same problem in the proses of creating interior further). As I did the project, I realized, how much time I had spent without previous concept, sketches, cos, that moment I realized the importance of it, but not completely, cos my eyes were lighting up about the idea of implementing this as fast as I can. But we need to take into account the thing that it was my first ambitious project, which I was literally doing on my own (designing, modeling, texturizing, working with light).

Lest go back to our project and divide it into a few work steps:

1. Sketches

Having realized my failure both “A” and “B” plans, I blew off a little steam, and started to come to my in more demanding way, namely, drawing sketches for the project. I stand for drawing сcollectively. I had done a few of such sketches and then having an overall picture, I was finalizing with the 3ds max file.

2. 3D modeling – CG

I do like modeling, so there weren’t any object creating problems in this area. I used  models, somewhere, which had been already done. I used neither scripts nor plugins or  boolean operation. I did everything by hand, and in so doing I enjoyed, except for time as I was doing grapes, used forest pack for presets planting. I didn’t do modeling of building fully, but only the pieces and elements which got on camera for time saving. Lest start from the very beginning of how I worked on scene creating.

 1. I started from big forms, modeled main buildings.

  2. After I added small forms of architect (ladders for buildings).

3. The next thing was modeling ventilation and water supply pipes also adding water towels, cause, according to the plot this building is industrial.

4. The next step was adding a few trifles in order to spice up working processes, namely, I placed air-conditioners on window-sills and two big ones on the roof.

 5. So here is the time of placing the sing. I had done the construction and sticked it to the sing which was with all wires and fastenings (remember showing the modeling scenes to my friend, he told me I was crazy, I didn’t even try to argue with him) I pretty much modeled everything, even cogs and bulbs.

  6. I hanged an antenna afterwards, ran wires on the wall, strung wires, placed curtains so as I mean I had created a kind of chaos and It started to work.

7. The next step was adding one more little broken sing for keeping composition more interesting  plus small-time (fasteners for pipes, buckles etc.) and that moment I had had the kit:

8. Already having a kind of scene, I had gone back to its general part, and came to creating grapes on the central building.
Its done really easily:

1. Draw splines and attach them

2. I had done a few presets

3. With the help of forest pack, I sprinkled them around the presets.

9. I modeled construction sidecar and bicycle  for the rest of the shots according to the plot.

3. The texture unwrap.

I started the maximizing after finishing the modeling proses of all objects. I used RizomUV VS 2018.0 + Bridge + 3ds max during working with texture strips. There are a lot of programs for maximizing models but that was my favorite one.

4. Texturing and shading. 

So, I have references, and I needed to find suitable textures for shading. Having surfed my library I found something on the internet and got into one big folder. Afterwards when everything was done, I started shading. I was doing it in fstorm render, and was interested in touching it, cause the platform is still new and it caught my attention because of the high quality of images. Each time I did shading I explored something new for me, some new tricks for myself. While I was doing a project, fstorm render was upgrading with different gizmos, which I adopted to my work. For instance, to make autumn leaves different in colour, I applied FstormRandomColor in working with grapes, and doing autumn leaves, streaks on the wall I did with mask and with the help FstormDirt. I wouldn’t say that shaders are extremely difficult, they are on average level. But in general I was enjoying the processes. Not everything worked from the beginning, I had to do a lot of testing, and sometimes remaking shaders “Don’t keep your head down ,always go ahead, where you look at, there you will be” and I had done until the result completely satisfied me. 

5. Lighting

The biggest difficulty, which I faced with, was night exterior. If there were no problems both with sunny, rainy, and foggy days, so dealing with the night ones took me a few tries. The plot is early rainy morning, the city is starting to wake up and in some flats people have already woken up and they are drinking morning coffee, but in so doing the main thing is a sing-illuminated sign. It was really difficult to catch both coloring and lightening balance and in so doing recontrasted and saved composite center in order to keep viewers eyes on ethe inscription. Being based on laws of composition if I had done one in red color it would have looked alien that’s why I decided to add a little source of light with tinge of red at the left corner plus orange and red color and the light out of the window  at the low right color which helped to implement balance into image. The illuminating of scene was with the help of HDRI.

6. Composition

I even don’t know what to say about that, and there isn’t literally anything about it. I just pulled a curves up a bit, and I worked with the intensity of light from the window at night sky, and with that, all my work there was done. After applying render images had high quality itself.

Lets sum everything up, and make conclusions:

1. You never have to be afraid of doing something, running the experiments, inventing something that has already been invented, сause we are cut out here for growing and upgrading ourselves.

2. Don’t panic and give even If your plan “A” or “B” didn’t work for you, you still have plan “C”. Well even if your plan “C” won’t work, so you have D/E\F.

3. Learn how set goals and achieve them, whatever it takes.

4. “Don’t keep your head down, always go ahead, where you look at, there you will be”.

So here is the end of the first part of Making of ” CG : Brandster media” ( Part I. Exterior).

Thank you for the watching!

 See you later!


Mikhail Sizov


My name is Mikhail Sizov. I am CG artist, and have more that 4 years expirience in 3D industry. Work as 3d modeler, architecture visualiser. I like to create photorealistic picture with different arhitecture and intresting landscape design. Also, like nature and I try to move it into my work. I am always open to cooperation and interesting projects .

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