Classic Apartment

Continuing my exploration of GPU rendering, I wanted to celebrate my modest workstation upgrade (from a one-card to a slightly less slow two-card system) with the release of a new scene, this time an interior, which is always a little more challenging in terms of render speed and optimization.

You can find the scene in the warehouse here.

Like the last one, this scene was designed for V-Ray Next GPU specifically. It’s a big scene, with such details as a fully 3D exterior environment made up of three distinctive, fully-modeled facades, high-resolution assets, and photogrammetry models and textures, but it has been optimized to fit on a at least a 1080ti (11GB) under Windows 10, with quite a few GB of VRAM to spare even without resorting to V-Ray’s on-demand texture optimization option.

The goal was to build a scene that would easily fit on the GPU, with the benefits this affords in terms of exponentially faster render times, while not making any sacrifices in quality, complexity and overall realism. The result is a scene that is as complex and as detailed as it would be if it were built for the CPU but that renders much faster (about one hour for each 2K images on two 1080ti and given a noise threshold of 0.01).

Talking about complexity and realism, just to mention a few examples, the Cesca chair has hand-modeled caning instead of an opacity texture. The wishbone chair has individually modeled paperchord strands. And the logs underneath the oven are individually scanned and retopoed real-life logs.

The scene is an environment, but it is also a model collection packed with original assets that would be difficult to find elsewhere.

Mostly, the illumination is provided by the environment, with the exception of the hallway scene, which was too far from the windows and gets a big boost of artificial lighting.

To save VRAM, the flat’s five rooms are split into separate layers that can be switched on or off as needed.

Unlike some past scenes, such as Norsouth, this is a genuinely 360-degree environment, modeled and textured to be seen from virtually all possible angles (as long as the camera stays inside the flat). This would make it an ideal candidate for a VR or a real-time project. The addition of a fully 3D exterior backdrop as opposed to a simple photographic backplate means proper perspective is preserved at all times when moving the camera around.

One last notable info is that this was my first full-scale project made while using substance painter and designer. Some textures (including the variations of Terrazzo) were made in Designer while some assets (such as the foldable chair in the living room) were textured in Painter.

The scene is available now for 3ds Max 2016 and up and V-Ray Next GPU. It will render on V-Ray Next (on CPU) but the shaders may need some adjustments, especially those that use procedural noise in the bump slot.

This is the first in a series of posts on this scene. Next will be a collection of timelapse videos that document almost the entire construction of the scene. This will come as soon as I’ve learned the basics of Da Vinci Resolve and got down to editing the hours of low-framerate footage that I’ve collected. And after that, I want to develop other versions of the scene for different renderers that will gradually be added to this archive. In between, I’ll probably show off a few recent photogrammetry models I’ve done, trying to capture relatively shiny surfaces, which are always tricky.

Hope you like the scene and enjoy the other images below.

Classic Apartment

Classic Apartment

Classic Apartment

Classic Apartment

Classic Apartment

Classic Apartment

Classic Apartment

Classic Apartment

Classic Apartment

Classic Apartment

Classic Apartment

Classic Apartment

Classic Apartment

  1. Stunning as always Bertrand!
    Did you used denoiser on the images? and how did you make tiles on the kitchen, if you can give us a hint.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Wojtek
    • September 18, 2018

    Hi Bertrand!
    Would you like to share with us how you made this stunning floor? It is made in substance ??

    • Tyron
    • September 19, 2018

    Thanks for sharing Bertrand! Great work once again.

  2. @Tyron thanks!

  3. @wojtek: the floor is a classic multitexture workflow. It is built with geometry, then every plank given a random material ID, and separate maps are used, plugged into a V-Ray multitexture map. The individual textures were made by photographing and old floor. But no scanning involved here.

  4. I used the Chaosgroup denoiser for about half the images, merged over the original image with a 50% blending. I don’t like to remove all the grain as it makes things look artificial. And by targeting a noise threshold of 0.01, things are pretty much clean anyway. Half the images use no denoiser.

    • pier giacomo
    • September 19, 2018

    Hi Bertrand!
    one thing that i notice is the exetrior enviroment reflections on the kitchen tiles are a bit darker then Windows, shouldn’t be the same?
    Amazing job as Always..

    • David Anderson
    • September 19, 2018

    Very impressive! Is this backward compatible with 3.60.04?

    • Walter leguizamon
    • September 20, 2018

    Nice work Benoit as always, one question: the white Wall how was it made? I mean a solid color o vray color, number? 190/200/220? Any refleccion? Thanks

    • Mouton
    • September 20, 2018

    hi Benoit

    NIce work one question if you blend the Denosed image over the non denosied image doe you use normal blend or screen or overlay ?how do you handle the lens flares and bloom ?

  5. @Mouton Yes, I use a Normal blending mode and dial the denoised image in by adjusting the %. All this is done in 32bit. Lens flare and bloom are handled in ArionFX.

  6. @Walter The white wall is 180/180/180. A solid color. Reflection is pure white, with a rather dark glossiness map, so very little reflection is actually visible. There is also a scanned normal map extracted from an actual plaster wall with Dabarti (though that’s pretty overkill and only visible in close-ups)

  7. @David: It should be, broadly, but some materials may need adjustments. Also, remember that this was conceived for V-Ray GPU, which is quite a different beast from V-Ray CPU even though the output is very similar.

  8. @Piergiacomo that’s actually how it should be. The tiles are not a perfect mirror by far, so the reflection is far lower in intensity than the actual opening.

    • Mouton
    • September 20, 2018

    so you dont do any lens effects in VFB ? only in ArionFX ?

  9. Amazing as always! Will grab this scene for sure if you make Corona version!
    Also, there is a small question, kind of riddle for me I can’t solve – what is your way to make walls with arch window holes ? I’ve tried a few ways (I’m pretty new to 3ds Max), but I can’t chamfer window holes properly (I believe everything has chamfers, so there is no way for me to avoid this step). I’ve spent a lot of time learning the mesh of interior walls in the Swedish Flat scene (bought it few months ago), but since the stack is collapsed – there is no way I can figure it out 🙁
    Will be very grateful for some hints.

    • Walter leguizamon
    • September 21, 2018

    Hi Benoit two things 1, cam you say the materials of the doors? I mean how Yo y made them and 2, will you make a timelapse about materials, shaders, etc thanks for Answer the questions.

  10. @Walter: The material of the door is a simple V-Ray mat that uses a scanned wood texture (diffuse and normal) captured with Dabarti Capture. I have a lot of footage I still need to go through but I’m not sure there is some stuff on materials. I’ll look into it.

  11. @Aerowalk: I’m not sure I understand your question. I normally make arched window holes by subdividing this part and using an FFD2 modifier to bend the section. After that, I only chamfer 90-degree angles.

  12. @Mouton I like the new VFB lens effects with the obstruction maps etc. Also much faster than in the past. I will be using them much more for sure. In fact, in my psychiatric hospital scene, I’m already using the built-in effects.

    • 3dwannab
    • September 24, 2018

    Amazing work as always.

    Curious to know, what max version are you using and what monitor setup you have. I’m not sure if I get a 4K 43inch panel that 3ds max 2016 will scale well so might have to upgrade both :/

    • Walter leguizamon
    • September 26, 2018

    Hi wood aftwrnoon, the ilumination is a hdri in enviroment more portals or a hdri in a vray dome? Ev’s?Thanks for answer many questions and sorry if i ask to much but your work is from another planet Benoit¡ ☺

    • Dimitri
    • October 6, 2018

    At first thnx for such a cool scene. Just purchased it. What gpu have you used for this scene?

    • Julien
    • October 15, 2018

    Amazing work as always ! I dropped Vray for Corona and unfortunately can’t maintain both in my workflow. Can’t wait to buy the Corona model if you’re planning to make it. If you’re not, I would certainly try to convert it from Vray Next, but then I’d miss the purpose to study how you did it, by looking carefully at your models, shaders and light.
    Congrats anyway !

    • Wojtek
    • October 18, 2018

    Hi Bertrand,
    I was wondering about your texture scanning workflow with Dabarti. When you try to make a tileable texture you work with normal map generated with Dabarti but also with diffuse textures made from photo itself. How to work with them simultaneously ?? I mean when I would like to start use some clone tools etc. in for normal map in photoshop it will not correspond to diffuse map anymore. Is there any way to work with both textures simultaneously ? How you deal with it ?

  13. Hi Bertrand,

    Fantastic work as always.

    I love the reflections in the kitchen tiles – the apparent random imperfection (offset ? and wave ?) – it’s touches like that which make things look less cgi and more photo-real.

    Please can you share how you got that effect in those reflections ?

    Many thanks.


  14. @jez, individual tiles have a distinct noise pattern applied to them as a very subtle displacement. In addition, they are very slightly offset and rotated on all axes. These offsets and rotations are too small to be visible in the tiles but they do affect the reflections of far-away objects. Last, the tiles also have very slight differences in colors, which affects the general feel without being immediately recognizable to the naked eye.

  15. @Wojtek very good question. I use Affinity Photo for that. Unlike Photoshop, you can use the clone tool across multiple layers. See my review of Affinity in older posts for more details.

  16. @Dimitri: I used two 1080ti

  17. @Walter. Just a dome light (in the V-Ray version). V-Ray’s sampling is so good that it doesn’t require portals any more. The FStorm version uses portals in the windows.

  18. I use Max 2019 and a 4K Display. As far as I can tell, Max doesn’t scale up at all. It’s all super tiny icons and text, which is fine by me but may be hard work for others.

    • Selamat
    • November 22, 2018

    Great scene! I use V-Ray GPU for my interior work as well, definitely will be purchasing this for my own education.

    One thing I would like to ask, how do you reconcile the bump difference between CPU and GPU? If i swap between the two i realized that their strength differs quite a bit. Since many of the interior assets are still made for CPU I would be interested to know if you ever tackle this issue while creating this scene.

    • Johann
    • January 13, 2019

    Could you please provide a psd file for us who have bought the scene? Or shed some light on the postproduction process in ArionFX? I’d love it if you provided the settings used to achieve such fabulous results.

  19. Hey @Johann. ArionFX doesn’t generate layers so a .psd file wouldn’t help in that it would only show the final image. I don’t really have a recipe in ArionFX. I just play with the dials until I like the result. The settings always vary from image to image. Which is also the reason why I don’t really like using LUTs for post-production because while a LUT may work well with one image, it may not do so with the next.

    • mandingo
    • May 17, 2019

    Hey Bertrand,
    From what I gather in ur comments, u seem to have a very powerful rig to do all ur great work with. Just curious; how often do u upgrade ur machine (or machine parts) to be on the edge with the new tech and what happens to the old rig? Do u sell it or do u give it away 4 free…..or do u smash it ? 🙂

  20. Hey @Mandigo. The rig is alright but it’s not crazy. It has a threadripper, 128GB if RAM and 2x 2080ti. I see a lot more powerful machines around. On average, I’ve been upgrading my machine every 4 or 5 years. I would love to sell the old one but never seem to get round to so they’re just piling up here.

    • mandingo
    • May 18, 2019

    Thank you for your quick reply!
    Yeah, I usually do the same. I don’t retire the old “dude” as easily unless it’s malfunctioning (and can’t be fixed) or completely broken. I have a couple of them lined up in my office as slaves for distributed rendering and for not so demanding general tasks. I don’t know what threadripper model u have, but in terms of rendering speed/performance vs cost is more efficient to have this combo: 1x AMD threadripper + 2x 2080ti, or 2x thredrippers + 1x 2080ti? Those CPU’s (the 16 core ones) are significantly cheaper tho….

  21. Hi Bertrand, what material did you use for the rug? I use vray for CPU

  22. From memory it was a V-Ray Hair Material

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