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By metrocubicodigital

Making of FAUP



This personal work was created specifically for the Evermotion Competition 2011. The digital artist could choose any interior space that inspired him. The main rule was to be photo real.

I choose the Architecture University where I studied for six years. For a long time i wanted to represent the path that goes from the street till the end of the building complex, which is the library itself. For timing reasons i couldn’t model everything of course, so I focused on a short part of that same path.

Inspired by Michelangelo, Siza created a “difficult” path that goes through several ramps/stairs, sometimes almost labyrinth routes – if you use other alternatives – , in order to reach, in the end of all the complex, the library – the place of knowledge. “Tired”… once the library is reached, an uniform interior light hits the space like in no other place. It is, in my opinion, the perfect place to read mostly because the shadow is so soft, disperse and doesn’t interfere with the reading. Great geometry knowledge, fine details and remarkable human scale rule in this space.

The goal of the work was to respect Siza´s architecture concept, simplicity, materials, light, design and obviously, make it look hyper realistic.


This part covers the modelling of the “museum” space. For the floor (1st image), ramp and near wall (2nd image), first I modelled simple boxes with the desired dimensions, around 1meter by 50cm . Although its seems like the floor is one big object, it is not. It´s composed by different pieces (elements) separated by only 5mm. This is very important because in the end of all this modelling process I wanted to give to each element a different ID – using the Unique Material Plugin. Once the basic model was done, I applied a Checker Material with 2,0 tiling in order to know how well was it´s distribution afterwards using RailClone Pro Plugin. In the end, I changed the Checker mat with the Marble texture – see Texturing part below.

Next I created two splines, one for the floor and other for the ramp, that will determine their path when using RailClone Pro Plugin:

This is the final result of the model after tweaking a bit the parameters in the RailClone settings. Everything else was set as default:

Afterwards I converted the Railclone geometry into an editable poly object. Then, using the Unique Material ID free Plugin i gave the floor and ramp objects different IDs automatically – each marble unit (element) has a different ID now. That made the Marble material (Multitexture Plugin) work perfect once it was applied to the poly object.


First i wanted to talk about the vray dirt present on the edge of most of the wood materials. I will focus on the darker wood. Take a look at the detailing in the following images. As you can see, over the diffuse map, there is a darker thin edge with subtle differences. That is generated by a vray dirt with noise inside the diffuse channel. It´s a little detail that can make the difference, especially in close ups.

These are the general settings of the same wood material:

About the diffuse channel – vray dirt. Notice the small radius, so that it does not go to far over the real wood diffuse, the unoccluded color. Also by ticking “invert normal” the “parameter will change the direction of ray tracing. When it is Off the rays are being traced outside the surface, when On they are traced inside the surface”. Basically it means that the dirt areas will appear in all the edges (if bias X,Y and Z are set to zero).

1. The unoccluded color is a normal diffuse map. In my works i always use color correction and trigger the advanced settings, changing mostly the Gamma, Red, Green and Blue values and remove a bit of Saturation (in this case -30). It´s never the same twice, as the material or scene is always different. I do all sort of tests till all the materials blend together properly.

2. The noise inserted in the occluded color slot will make the edge have a more random behaviour. In this case, it was important to choose wisely the colors inside the noise so that they would blend well with the unoccluded color (diffuse map). So that the edge didn’t look too dark or too equal to the wood itself.

About the Marble material, specifically the one applied to the marble stones that touch the wood floor. In some photos of the place, I noticed that the marble gained with time a thin edge (soft green) probably due to humidity of some sort. And so I took that into count. In the image below you can see i used the famous multitexture plugin, in a subtle way:

And here are the general settings of the vray material. Nothing too fancy:

The diffuse channel is a composite with two types of maps. Layer 1 is the mentioned multitexture, and layer 2 is the dirt map set to multiply. Dirt map was painted in photoshop.


Layer 1. Multitexture settings. I used about 8 types of different marble maps for this multitexture, acquired in CG

Layer 2 maps of the composite. Dirt map and it´s mask. And also the same map observed in the viewport already with uvw map applied (rotated 90 degrees):


The light system used was basically an HDRI inside a Vray Light Dome and a Vray Sun. The big difference here, or perhaps the little secret, is the skylight glass and what happens inside that same structure. At first, I wanted to have only a vray light dome but i wasn’t having the same results as in the photographs. So I decided to boost the light inside the skylight and give the glass a special treatment as if it was being hited by bounces of light that would eventually pass to the interior, filtered by the frosted windows.

The settings of the Vray Light Dome (1), Vray Sun (2).There is also one vray (3) with skylight portal On in one of the windows, but it had zero effect on the scene and is just there for testing purposes, so don´t take that into consideration. And one Vray light (4) with 10,0 of intensity and set to visible, placed inside the skylight:

I wanted the frost glass to have that glossy look and at the same time have a nice refraction so that it would be possible to see the metal structure inside of the skylight. The glass was made using a vray blend material – a glossy glass combined with a vray light material (1) – intensity 100, color RBG (57, 95, 153) and a blend amount (2) with a grey value equal to 5:

And the frosted glass material (3) settings:


During the testing period i used universal settings (brute force method) but in the end, i decided that i wanted to creat 3500 pixels and higher images and so universal setttings weren´t a choice anymore for me. For the final images i used Irradiance map + Light Cache. I wont explain much about the settings except that i rendered first the images in a smaller resolution (4 times lower that the final output -  in my case it would be 875 x 619 pixels) and saved the irradiance map pre passes (*.vrmap) plus light cache map (*.vrlmap)  to use afterwards for the final image. By using this maps, when you render your final image, you will skip the Irradiance and Light cache process and go straight to the render itself.

Take a look at the GI settings below used for the 875 x 619 pixels resolution – exactly four times smaller than the final image resolution. In the IRR Map settings, i set the Min and Max rate to -3 and zero respectively. That means an High quality Irr Map. If i would render a final image with this settings it would be impossible, but since I am rendering at a lower resolution just to save the irr and light cache maps it wont take much more than 1 hour in a 8-core computer. After the Irr map and light cache maps are calculated and saved i go back to the render settings and set the resolution to 3500 x 2625 pixeis. Also, in the Irr map settings, in Mode part, i changed Single Frame (the one saved previously) to From File, and choose the saved *.vrmap file. I also did that for the light cache *.vrlmap* file. For a much better theory about this process, check out the Vray Complete Guide written by Franscesco Legrenzi.

Here are the GI settings used for the low resolution image:

And finally here are the Vray render and color mapping settings:


Everything was done in Photoshop, except the last part where i used After Effects – Magic Bullet Misfire Vignette.

Hope you have enjoyed reading this tutorial.

Sorry for any English problems.

Jacinto Monteiro



  1. Excellent Makinf of,very helpfull!

    Congratz Jacinto!!

  2. Ricardo Ferreira

    Muito bom Jacinto mais uma vez Parabéns estas em grande!!!!

  3. thanks for detailed ‘making of’ – that was a pleasure to read =) Wonderfull entry & Once more Congrats!


  4. Thank you very much! Any questions feel free to ask!

  5. Helder Freitas

    congrats!!! For the excellent work that you have been doing and for the prize!
    really deserved!!!!
    Thanks for the tutorial

  6. Hey Jacinto!

    First of all I’d like to congratulate you for the award . You totally nailed it!!!

    Thanks for the making of , but could you care to explain some techniques regarding post production ? Like how did you make such nice glow/bloom effect near windows. ??

    Keep it up!!

  7. I will cover the Modelling, Vray camera DOF, aswell as the PostP. I just don´t know when for sure. Keep in touch and thanks for dropping by.

    If you in a rush, I can explain that the glow/bloom effect was achieved using Viktor´s same process used in his Rotunda Making Of – Evermotion´s Tutorials.

    Thanks all once again.

    • Thanks. Btw, I totally overlooked that “Making of” still in progress!!

      Can’t wait to see the complete part!!

  8. max3dvi

    I can only say that your work is perfect not only this image but almost all your works.

    What are your settings for the render when you start the projec : that you are using in the beginning to test light , camera, material ecc. how long does it take for rendere

    you say “the GI settings below used for the 875 x 619 pixels resolution” the time render is 1 hour: that are already final setting to get the irradiance map

  9. Thanks max3dvi,

    When i started the project i used universal settings with a resolution between 640×480 and 800×600 and they took around 20 to 40minutes to render, depending on the camera. I dont use this settings allways, but the test renders were looking better and since its a competition where a WIP thread also counts…
    Link to the universal settings:

    Yes that were the final settings to creat the IRR maps,using that smaller resolution.

    Hope it helped.

  10. Hi, and thanks a lot for this great tutorial !!
    I have just one question about the shadows sample in your vray dome light. It’s a hdri from Peter Guthrie as I was able to see it and you have the sample on 8. In all my scenes if i set this default setting on 8 i have grainy shadows render (the same with high G.I setting), and normaly i have to set in on 16 or 32 to correct the grain. Why you did’nt have this problem ?
    Thanks a lot !

  11. Hi there Aurel.
    Thanks for dropping by and im very happy people are finding the tutorial useful.
    Yes, you´re right it´s one of Peter´s HDRI (1725). I´ve never had that issue you speak of, allways leave the settings in default. Maybe you should try to raise the Adaptive DMC Image Sampler to 8, 12, 16 and see if it improves? Or raise the Vray Sun subdivs too to about 16. Tell me after if it improved the shadows render. You can also send me an image test to and ill see if I can help you better.


  12. Hi Jacinto!!
    Thanks a lot for the reply !! I will test it !
    And on the same way congrats for all your works !!
    Cheers !

  13. Oh yes, i will send you a test !!
    Thanks for the very usefull help !!!

  14. ayan13


    • ayan13

      Dear Jacinto, I have a question. You said in your tut “Also in the Irr map settings i changed the Min and Max rate to -5 and -2 respectively so that the maps will scale fit to the full resolution properly. ” Can you tell me which page of the CompleteGuide is about this technique. As I notice when reuse irrmap ,the irr map calculating part is not showing in the final rendering process. THank you very much!

  15. Yes you´re very right. Lukx in Chaosgroup also mentioned me about that issue. I misunderstood Legrenzi´s words at page 240 when he writes about Min and max rate. Will edit that part of the tutorial very soon. Learning everyday.
    Thanks for helping.

    Update1: Tutorial edited.

    • ayan13

      Yes,Learning everyday. Your presentation of the Architecture is so smooth and so elegant. I wish I have the chance to travel there.Great Work and Great Tutorial!Helping and Encouraging everyone!

  16. Duarte

    Para o melhor artista digital de Portugal…. ou mesmo do mundo.

  17. Nice image. I like very much the brightness and also the color contrast. Very good post-processing job!

  18. @Duarte, muito obrigado ^^

    @Francesco. Big fan of your work here. Thanks for the kind words and congratulations for your newest “picolo” job.

  19. Some very nice clean an fresh renders you’ve got there you did a great job for sure!
    I’m curious on why you hook up a falloff-map to reflection AND gloss and do you mind showing the setting you use for the falloff?



  20. Hello Niclas,

    Other people have asked me about this and will surely add it to the Making Of, aswell as other things. Will do as soon as possible. Time is short at the moment but it´s a promise: this Making Of will be finished and completed with more info.
    About the falloff settings. In the wood material, its exactly the corresponding arroway texture (reflections map). The falloff settings are set to default (black/white).

  21. Hello,

    You work is so inspirational. I often notice beautiful masterpieces created with extremely basic lighting schemes, somtimes 1 Vray light, or a Vray Sun is used solely to illuminate an award winning scene. It seems then, that lighting isn’t the major contributing factor to realism in scenes, but textures.

    I can light my scenes very well and they look great with the default Vray gray shader : ), but the moment i start placing textures into my scene i feel like sometimes everything goes down the drain and my work steers so far from the realism i am striving for.

    The results i see in your renderings are what i would like to achieve in mine.
    Can you please dedicate more space in the tutorial explaining your texture tuning process? How do you go about achieving such realism? I often find myself tuning one or two textures for hours and it seems like i am wasting time. Is there a workflow formula i don’t know about. Please kindly elaborate on you create such realistic compositions between textures and what the main ingredient is for creating a photorealistic texture.

    This would be greatly appreciated.

    In fact, if you considered making a detailed video tutorial of FAUP, showing texturing, tweaking and post work. I will be more than happy to pay up to EUR 100 for it and i’m sure hundreds of other aspiring artists would do the same.


  22. Hi Effilang.

    Really hard question because there isnt a straight answer.
    I also stay many hours just tweaking a single material. I think in the end it all comes to picking up great quality textures, to color correction, to shaders and most importantly your experience, not only in 3D but in real life. I ve had my dose of years and years of hand sketching… e.g. sitting down for hours in front a building or naked people, observing and observing while sketching. That was the FAUP arch teaching in the first years. No computers allowed. Just hand and eye exercise and that´s so important also in the digital industry. But, for example, Peter Guthrie has a top notch photography background that I totally miss and that i should learn much more. In the end, it all comes down to the experience that you have, and once you are in front of the computer tweaking materials etc, your eye is well trained to produce output with better quality.
    About video tutorials, i never say never.
    Thank you so much for your interested.

  23. daniel chua

    Hi can you tell me the settings of your camera and how did you do the lighting here?

  24. Hi Daniel,
    About the lighning you can read a bit about it in the making of and ill try to explain more later in the post production.
    Every camera setting is different. Wisdom comes with practice.
    The setting of the camera with most dof (view closest to the table and papers) are as followed:
    film gate: 36,0
    focal lengh: 39,3
    f-number: 2,8
    focus distance: 143cm
    exposure ticked
    vignetting: 1,0
    custom balance color rgb: 235, 246, 255
    shutter speed: 35
    film speed (iso): 100
    bokeh effect
    blades: 6
    rotation: 45,0
    center bias: 1,0
    anisotropy: 1,0
    dof ticked with subdivs 10
    distorcion quadratic: 0,05


    • daniel chua

      thank you very much jacinto. can i add you to my ym accnt?

  25. Its my pleasure. Yes, you can!

  26. daniel chua

    Great! Thanks! What is your ym accnt?

  27. Can you send me architectural books models ?
    Mail :

    Thanks you

  28. Your information Helped me Thanks you Much

  29. Greeeeeeeeat Blog Love the Infomation you have provided me .

  30. Daniel, i must have misunderstood. What´s ym about?

    Nam, you can find the free books in here:
    The others are present in turbo squid made by bbb3. Those you have to buy, can´t send to you sorry.

  31. How exactly did you make AO pass?
    Did you render just white material with vray dirt on?

  32. I first tried with vray extra tex (vray dirt on) but it consumes a lot of render time, so i used the most common process i guess: lele´s AO plugin.

    Thanks for dropping by Lukx. Great white room render you made. ;)

  33. Thank you for this nice making of Jacinto, great job!

  34. Thanks for the making of mate. Beautiful images!

  35. Congrats and 5********* work! :) . Thanks for making off I will try the Dirt map on some wood! :)

  36. Hi and thanks for spending some time to describe the terminlogy towards the noobs!

  37. And where you can download the scene?
    because last year it was possible to download them at evermotion

  38. Hi there.
    No possible download. Sorry.
    I might put some things of this scene for sale in Turbo Squid soon.

    Evermotion this year made it different.

    Thkx for dropping by.

  39. quay

    thank ! great

  40. Hey,

    Love your work man ,

    Nice making of , too bad you didn’t add a bit of camera setup…
    Now Im waiting for one more thing , exterior compostimg tutorial :)

    Keep up that great work !!!

  41. This is one of the most amazing rendering works I’ve ever seen! Such intricate details and awesome architecture. Excellent work!!

    Thanks for the detailled tutorial!

  42. Thank you for a great post.

  43. Kevin

    excellent tutorial, thanks for taking the time to share. could you please explain the Composite material you used for your wood bump map. thank you. great work.

  44. Kevin

    excellent tutorial, thanks for taking the time to share. could you please explain the Composite material you used for your wood bump map. thank you. great work.

    also, why did you only apply 90% to the wood diffuse material? thanks

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    About the donate option I never though about that.
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    Best regards,

  54. Just thought i would comment and say neat design, did you code it yourself? Looks great.

  55. I like Your Article about Making of FAUP metrocubicodigital Perfect just what I was looking for! .

  56. Excelente Making Of. Gostaria de adicioná-lo em meu MSN ou, na falta deste, no facebook para uma série de perguntas sobre sua área de atuação para fins de colação de grau em minha faculdade. Fico no aguardo.

    Lee Bano
    Facebook: lee bano
    Twitter: @leebano

  57. Hi Leebano. Many thanks.
    Message sent in Facebook.


  58. Thanks a million for this, I appreciate the info

  59. Awesome blog, it’s just like a game for me! It’s so infomative and usefull, thanks a lot! If you post more of this great stuff, I’ll visit your blog again!

  60. Great post I must say. Simple but yet interesting and engaging. Keep up a good work!

  61. Ricardo Costa

    O teu trabalho é absolutamente suberbo! Quase tenho vontade de te pedir umas aulas. É que queria um dia atingir metade deste nível de qualidade e não sei se vou conseguir sem ajuda. Tenho feito boas imagens e só! E se não fosse a pós-produção em Photoshop não era possível. Já estive tentado em mudar para Maxwell (por dizerem ser melhor), mas depois vi estes teus trabalhos no Evermotion e pensei para mim mesmo que ainda percebo nada de VRay. Gostava de controlar os materiais e luz como tu. Continua o teu ótimo trabalho e parabéns pelo prémio Evermotion! Saudações Viseenses.

  62. Olá Ricardo!
    Thanks for dropping by.

    I understand exactly what you mean. I started just like you. I would say that 90% of what I learned was from the Internet.
    Anyway I might have good news for you in the next month.
    If all goes well, I will start an e-learning program focused on Vray Architectural Visualization.
    Keep in touch!

  63. Ricardo Costa

    OK! I will not forget to keep in touch with you. It could be great to learn from a master. By the way, how old are you?

  64. Thanks Costa!

    Im 32. Born in ´78 Xmas Eve! :D

  65. Robin Arnecke


    first of all exellent “making of”, thanks for sharing !
    I was wondering what kind of coat material is used for the wood and the
    marble material. As far as i can see the screenshots show a vray blend material, unfortunately you only show the base material, so i got curious about the coat material ! :)

  66. I seriously love your blog.. Pleasant colors & theme. Did you create this website yourself? Please reply back as I’m attempting to create my own personal site and would love to know where you got this from or what the theme is called. Cheers!

  67. metrocubicodigital

    Hello Mariam,
    Site and blog were created by a portuguese web design company. For the blog a theme template was used but i can´t recall the name or address but if you want more information feel free to contact the designers – follow their site
    I´m sure they will be delighted to help you out in anyway they can.

    Any further questions off-topic please send us an email instead.
    Best regards,

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  71. giovanni

    well done. great job. in the falloff map for reflection and gloss in the wood material did you placed two maps in black&white?

    thank you

  72. metrocubicodigital

    Yes exactly. Same specular map were used for both fallouts.

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