Siamese Robots - Making of
I can't say how exactly the idea was born. I used a robot made of simple boxes because i couldn't model a human. But i could make those boxes look good and then i kept looking for alternative applications for the "cube man".
From the sketch you can see the "Magdeburger hemispheres" experiment origin that Otto von Guericke conducted in 1650. Eight horses could not separate two half spheres that contained a vacuum.
But in terms of visual appeal this didn't quite cut it, so that i decided that would keep these robots would either be glue, or their own body. One would think that robots should not be affected by birth defects, but then you wouldn't expect them to bleed either.
I used 3dsmax r3 without any plugins or third party renderer. Two screenshots of how i setup my scene:
...very simple, two lights, a camera, and a backdrop matte; a bent plane.
The geometry creation was simply, chamfer boxes and a modified one for the main body. Meshsmooth options are set higher for rendering.
Then i started with the first test renderings, i wanted them to look glassy/ metalic.
Creating the perfect Glass with your material editor, is a bit... impossible. I used my standard ray traced glass, and a reflective floor.
I always make several renders, with different material set ups and options. Renders with materials that have the desired properties in speculars, reflections (i add some objects to be reflected then), renders with a diffrent light-setup or shadow casting.
Anitaliasing is important (in Material Editor -> Supersampling (Hammerslay is my fav) and in the renderdialog -> checked (Catmull is my fav here))
Rendering alpha channels allow to combine renders in post production and apply effects locally. I always try to render higher then needed (here: 3200x2400 px), because downsizing at the end adds extra sharpness to your image, and gives you more freedom to make changes which will be less visible after downsizing.
To optimize the glass effect, i assemble all renderings in PS. I layer and adjust the blending mode of renderings the same motif but with different materials to make the favourable charactersitics of each render visible. Using levels to optimise contrasts and changing colors also goes a long way to make an image. I never delete pixel, rather i blend them out via layermasks, so that you can still change anything later on, giving maximum flexibility.
This is the PS layer palette for siamese robots. I could have spared some here and there, not as many as there are now are really neccesary, but i like to keep the file as native as possible.
below: 100% view of the feet
The 3D part is the lesser part of the image. It is not that difficult, but still not done with the push of a button, most of the work comes after rendering.
I started this image in October 2001 and worked about two week(end)s on it, discussed it with some people and left it. In January 2002 i came back and worked over it again, until i was satisfied.