Happy New Year Dieter!


White Vicarage

This, like the images in my previous post, started as part of a broader homage to Dieter Rams, the iconic German designer of Braun fame (the shelving systems, armchair and sofa, coffee table and record player are all his).

In the course of working on this piece (as usual, over an extended period of time interspersed by long spells of inactivity), it developed into something slightly broader. Including the short video here (Music by //\\ (Discount Fireworks) / CC BY-NC-SA 3.0). I am still crap at video, so don’t expect a nice cut or even clean encoding (SD embedded video below, but head over to Vimeo for the HD version).

Old Vicarage from Bertrand Benoit on Vimeo.

Both the stills and the video were done in 3ds Max 2013 and rendered in Vray 2.3. The stills used high render settings (these are actually all brute force renders), while I had to cut corners massively for the video to reach something between 5 and 12 minutes per frame, depending on the scene, resulting in a big drop in quality.

The lighting is just one HDR map, by Peter Guthrie (this one)

The architecture is inspired by an existing conversion of an historic building in Malmö, Sweden, but the styling is a wild mixture of classic mid-century, white Scandi Gemütlichkeit and Dieter Rams plastic minimalism.

The human models are courtesy of Tristan Bethe. Make sure to visit his site, humanalloy.

I may come back to this scene to explain some of the techniques used (nothing too fancy) if there is interest. In the meantime, you can find a small selection of the images below and the full series here.

White Vicarage

White Vicarage

White Vicarage

White Vicarage

White Vicarage

46 Responses

  1. Aibek says:

    Hi BBB3Viz!!
    Very good Animation and render!
    tell me about your render machine/ about your PC? Very intresting!
    and what about sell this 3d scene?..why not) for everyone intresting your setting in 3d max

  2. thanhluong says:

    Dear Bertrand !

    I know you always use a linear colormapping multiply. However, if you are required to make, but like the above picture, but it’s lighter. You would like to change to not overexpose the picture.

    Thanks for taking time for my question.

  3. tzahi edri says:

    my friend, once again you show us that what an unbiased render do – vray can. its all about the artist.
    “I tend to use threshold values of 0,001 for glossies…” where are these value are?
    last – do you work strait on beauty render or compose element before?

    thank u!!

  4. BBB3VIZ says:

    Sorry guys for taking so long to reply.

    Jecinci: The metal has anisotropy and is often mixed with a reflective, non-anisotropic, non-glossy black fresnel coating material in a VrayBlendMat in order to give the reflections more depth.

    Shawn: I’m not a fan of posting the non-retouched finals, particularly in such a case as here, where PP was pretty heavy. But I will think about doing a PP post. I haven’t so far because I’m very unsystematic in how I do PP and never felt like I had any particular technique or insight I could share…

    Geza Kadas: I did use it in this particular instance because I was getting some burnouts and I wanted quite a lot of sun to enter the rooms. But it was the first time as I prefer to do the tweaking in PShop and I want to retain the full colour depth of my images for PP. In terms of photography books, nothing springs to mind right now but I will have a think. Perhaps the photographers among us have an suggestion, anyone?

    Mienda/Dam: From memory, the Clr. Threshold was used and left at 0.01, while my noise threshold was at 0,003. I raised the minimum number of samples quite a bit from the default value, which got rid of the DMC noise and still allowed reasonably fast render times.

    Luk: Thanks for the useful pointers!

    Dhawal: High-resolution textures are hugely important if you want to move your camera around the space and get quite close to some of the features or furniture. More generally, they will give you a lot of detail and subtlety (if you remove the filering) but will take quite long to render.

    Lukasz: In this case, I had the same problem as you and ended up completely desaturating Peter’s HDR in Photoshop. In PP I lowered the temperature of the shots a bit as the raw renders were very neutral.

    Pavel: Linear, always.

  5. Hi Bertrand,
    How do you adjust white balance that you hit gray values for your white walls etc. When I’m using Peter HDRI you used for this scene it’s casting orange color I tried to play with camera color temperature but there’s always some color on my white walls. You correct white balance in post to hit those grays and remove color cast or you do something else?

  6. Dhawal says:

    Awesome work!(Again)…….
    Well…..what is the connection between high resolution textures and realism?
    It will be great if you put some light on it.

  7. dam says:

    Hi Bertrand,well done once again,very nice work, very refined as usual…
    I have a quick question about the technical parameters of the image sampler you use in this set of images.
    Do you let the Clr.tresh at default ( 0.01) , do you set it or do you tick “use DMC sampler tresh” ( with a noise threshold about 0.003 as i understood).
    I ask you that because these parameters have a big impact on render time and noise !

  8. mienda says:

    Hi Bertrand,well done once again,very nice work, very refined as usual…
    I have a quick question about the technical parameters of the image sampler you use in this set of images.
    Do you let the Clr.tresh at default ( 0.01) , do you set it or do you tick “use DMC sampler tresh” ( with a noise threshold about 0.003 as i understood).
    I ask you that because these parameters have a big impact on render time and noise !

  9. Geza Kadas says:

    How often do you use the “color curves correction” in the vray frame buffer ?
    I found it realy handy in the case of controling the burnouts but the problem is vray won`t take this into the
    calculation process (why would of course) .
    What book would you suggest to start learning about the technical side of photography?
    Thank you for the great visuals again

  10. Incredible work once again, I always love to drop by your site and see your work (and wish I could achieve something similar myself) as always thank you for sharing

  11. shawn says:

    what would be nice is to see these images without any post processing, am usually a fan of that more than the actual end result even though the end result is much better after pp but is there any chance we will get to see some unprocessed renders? maybe even a separate post just showing non post processed results? just an idea, love love love these renders

  12. William Yan says:

    Great work as always!! So heart touching!!
    One question, can you share with us some animation settings. ’cause I always get flicking and noise in my own animation. And yours is so clean,and no flicking. Thank you!

  13. Marliina says:

    Beautiful! You will be able to buy items from the scene.? couch seating, tables black, and maybe even the entire room without, as in the case of loft.?

  14. BBB3VIZ says:

    Thanks guys and sorry for being so slow to reply.

    Marc: the flare was done in Magic Bullet Photolooks. Since that spot is very bright and the image had 32-bit depth, the glow filter in MBPL just zeroed in on it straight away with me having to do close to nothing.

    Nina: the sharp shadows were just obtained by lowering the Gamma on Peter’s HDR image. Nothing more complicated than that.

    Tedesco: no, just a simple wiggle expression in AE. It’s not super convincing though.

    Eugene: yes, LWF all the way.

    John: I never had problems with burnouts or poor light diffusion in interiors since I started using LWF so I’m not sure what to say. I get a lot of questions about these but never actually faced that dilemma myself. As for reflections, I found that if I set up my cameras and light sources with real world values, reflections behave how they should. I tend to use threshold values of 0,001 for glossies.

    Sculptera: just a dirty-ish map in the reflection and glossy slots, plus a different small-grained bump map (only visible very close, for ex on the sideboard shot).

    Emilio: the stills were rendered at 2K and downsampled by about half.

  15. Amazing stuff again! Just wondered how you got the flare on the vase that is sat on the table. Is it a post thiong as I’ve been trying to do something like this for ages!

  16. John says:


    As ever very nice and inspiring work! Have questions, how do you get a beautiful Gi everywhere? I try to illuminate scene with one hdry and i can’t get nice Gi bounce. If lowering exposure in vraycam to avoid overbrite corners near windows the room become very dark. Also if floor is not bright, room become very dark. I know, if you want to get not overbrite wiev environment thru windows you have light room additional lights to compensate exposure. I am using gamma 2.2. Maby you override flour material Gi to white? What was color mapping? Last question about reflect energy. In real world color, brightnes float have very huge ranges, reflections is nice and clear even light source is far. In 3d world its limited float 1 and it lost energy. Ofcorse can turn off clamping. You have separate difuze and reflection to two lights to have not overbrite difuze and rise energy a lot for reflections even using cut of 0,001 in materials. In your renders reflections always is nice! How you doing this?

  17. sculptera says:

    Bertrand, amazing work! Can you describe your technique for giving the subtle imperfections in the wall material? Its evident in the highlights on the ceiling, etc.
    Can you also share your animation settings? I struggle to render HD animations on my i7 920 2.7ghz.

  18. emilio says:

    great work as usual! you really know who to tell the story everytime in each frame…
    can you tell us what size the images were rendered?

  19. BBB3VIZ says:

    Nikolai: I used a mid-range AA (4-16 for most of the shots); noise threshold at 0,003; mat subdivs between 8 and 16; BF subdivs around 60; VrayDomeLight subdiv between 60 and 120 depending on the shots. Light cache pretty much at default. Nothing too out of the ordinary… Each still took between 4 and 6 hours to render. A bit longer for those where the environment is very visible (like the table and bouquet shot).

    roberto: Thanks. I think Peter is the best exterior AND interior artist.

    Tsivolas: And here I was thinking people would not notice 😉

    Matt: Thanks mate! No typical workflow as I very rarely do animations. In this case it was more of an afterthought. I really did not want to wait forever for the footage to render so I brought all the quality settings way back down, starting with storing the VrayDomeLight with the IM and going from BF to IM, with lowered AA settings, etc. It did create a lot of issues in the glass materials and some splotching, but overall it worked ok. Another thing I did was to render only half the frames I needed (about 50 for each shot) and interpolate them in After Effects using the Kronos plugin to slow-down the camera movement. That alone reduced the render time by half (although Kronos did create a few artefacts here and there). The camera jiggle, colour correction, DOF, Lens Aberration, Motion Blur, etc… were also done in After Effects.

    Aurélien: Lighting is just one Peter Guthrie HDR map. It is desaturated in Photoshop, Gamma of 0.8, slight curve adjustment in the VFB to correct a little bit of clipping in the highlights. The character comes from Humanalloy. Details on Humanalloy and the HDR used are in the post.

    Danio: Thanks. The landscape outside is 3D. But very simple. Ground is just a white diffuse material. Snow on trees is just a shader using a vertical falloff map. SnowFlow was used on some bushes but they cannot be seen directly in any of the images. I’m having trouble getting predictable results from the latest version of SnowFlow.

    Federico: Yes, considerably. I could never have done that on my old system. At least not with brute force.

    Vinicius: Thanks. I tried to include a close-up of the food in the video. But the glass was giving me trouble (the quality settings for the video are a lot lower as for the stills) and I would have had to rebuild the scene too extensively, so I dropped it. But the food appears on the final shot of the kitchen counter.

  20. Vinicius says:

    Beautiful Bertrand! You could have made a shot of the foods as well, they are brilliantly created! Loved the all the shots. Amazing work as usual.

  21. Danio says:

    Really nice! Is the snow in the outside 3d or done in post? Snowflow?

    I too would be curious about your BF settings if you didn’t mind sharing!

  22. Aurélien says:

    Love this image Bertrand !!
    You are one of the only ones who tempts me to switch on my computer and to work on views when I see your images. :)
    Can you just tell me 2 things :
    – Lighting is HDRI or vray sun+sky ?
    – How did you manage the character in front the window ?
    Thx ! See you !

  23. tsivolas says:

    I think in the dining room image the two right handles are placed in the middle of the window’s seam….Just this, after 35 minutes admiring your photographs =)

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