3D rendering of the 2017 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG cabriolet. Silver coat, red leather interiors, airplanes and torrid summer: there is a lot going on in this picture. The S63 AMG is the peak of quality and luxury, as envisioned by Mercedes. The 3D visual had to match this oh-so-high tone, with framing, color scheme and every prop to match. The most high tech, high value setting (without flying into the orbit) was clearly an airfield. In order to retain focus on the car and give it a clean, canvas-like environment, we decided to only hint at an airfield. With a 75mm lens used for the shot, the background props reasonably went slightly out of focus. This also helped to separate the foreground fence from the, otherwise too similar, hangar behind.
The final image, after retouch.
A good framing always does half the job. Start telling a story.
Details added to the foreground and the background props placed to create a nice composition.
Raw rendering, and, aside, 15 different render passes to bring out its full potential.
An intermediate retouch, mostly balancing out brightness and colors.
The airplane in the middle was a must to create true spatial presence and to tell the distance between the foreground and background. With airplane and hangar falling out of focus on a 75mm lens, you can subconsciously read the massive space spanned by the 3D environment, thus the size of the props, as well. It is, indeed, over 150 meters between the fence and the hangar. We could not find airplane models that sold for a reasonable price (for a secondary prop) and had the necessary amount of modeled detail. The most conscious solution was, then, to model the tail ourselves. The Boeing 737 is the airplane with the…most photogenic tail, out there, so this is the aircraft we got the blueprints of. To give the airplane more identity, and fit with the upper class personality of the picture, we branded it with the logo that you will effortlessly recognize from its lower part.
when to stop?
To validate the quality of the render, we periodically asked friends to guess the value of the actual car, judging from the rendering. When the guesstimate hit close, we knew our job was done and the visual was a worthy representation of the S63. Want to play the guessing game? Well, then: the airplane behind is a strong clue xD
That brake is dark!
That was a very legit remark we had for our visual. Rejoice: it is correct. The S63 AMG uses 10.000€+ Carbon-Ceramic brake disks, and those come in stylish blackness only. Carbon Ceramic disks are meant for racing, where the grip is unaffected by extreme temperature jumps and prolonged heating. In an elegant cruiser, such as the S63, however, the tangible benefit is extremely silky breaking action, with no spring and noise as side effects.
The real car
The actual S63 seems to be most popular in Anthracite, Silver and White. The choice of color is not secondary, when you go for a rendering. With storytelling being the key of our visuals, a different color would have called for a different background, mood and the final result would be dramatically different. If you go for a purely technical render, then the technique of changing body color in post production is welcome. However, if your aim is a memorable canvas of visual harmony, each element of the scene must resonate, with color and composition going tightly together.
Thin Film Interference
In this project we used, for the first time, the thin film interference effect. The headlights, windshield and tires have a subtle rainbow patina to them. Most petrol based materials and coating will have an oily shine to them, more or less pronounced. It is now summer and, wearing polarized sunglasses, I noticed how strong and ubiquitous this effect is, especially on cars.
Without polarization, the natural reflectivity of the surfaces will dilute the effect, so it is harder to acknowledge. But it is definitely there. Seeing so much of this oily patina around me, I recollected a great article about its implementation in Maxwell Renderer and I highly recommend following the link and give it a read. We are not using Maxwell, and for all practical use an oily patina applied in post production does the job.