Merry Christmas from all at Wonder Vision! 2018 has been another fantastic year for Wonder Vision and we would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone we've had the pleasure of working with. Bring on 2019!
In the spirit of the festive season we've crafted this digital ice sculpture to form our Christmas card this year!
Inspiration The concept of the project was to create the Wonder Vision "W" in ice sculpture form. We started by gathering reference images of ice sculptures, looking at the structure of chiseled ice and studying these images closely to further understand how we would create photorealistic ice textures further down the pipeline.
Digital Ice Carving The 3D model was then exported from 3ds Max into Pixelogic's ZBrush. Using the industry standard software for sculpting, we were able to get to the result we had in mind. Looking and studying the references we gathered of ice sculptures and their structures. We started by blocking out and increasing the volume of the ice block, for a more organic and smoother transition between the un-chiseled ice block and the "W" shape. We wanted the top of the "W" to be more polished, gradually rougher going down the model with the ice being roughly removed by ice sculpting tools. The roughness then returns to a smoother finish once reaching the main ice block. This was achieved by gradually adding layers of details onto the sculpt, and using an alpha brush created from rock texture to get a rough and chiseled look around the middle region.
Scene Detailing To add extra elements and narrative to the scene, we modelled ice carving tools in 3dsMax which were then textured and fine tuned to ensure they're as photorealistic as possible. For the final iteration of the scene, we positioned the ice carving tools to strike for visual balance, as well as scattering smaller ice blocks and shavings on the ground. That added more detail to the scene, also creating interesting refraction of the elements in the scene.
Material Tree Creation The ice CG material was created while closely studying the details of real ice. We picked high resolution images to create elements such as the frosting on the ice, rougher chiseled areas, condensation on the ice and water droplets melting off the ice block.
Post Production Breakdown We went through several iterations to make improvements to the model and textures after each test render. For the final production render, we ensured we had the right render passes set up to make post processing in Photoshop more efficient and to achieve the best result. Please see this post production breakdown.