First, credit where credit where credit’s due. It was the work of Colorsponge that gave me the idea to embark on this project. One of his majestic car renders featured the LA River as background, using an HDRI and photo plates. This made me think about how cool it would be to have a full 3D environment of the river to play with and to wander around.
So here we are, a roughly 500-meter stretch of the LA River in all its sun-baked concrete glory, including four iconic bridges. The model is not entirely geographically accurate: I squeezed the 4th Street Bridge where it doesn’t belong because it’s so cool and I had to have it. Also, the entire surroundings: the mountains, the buildings, the pylons, the trees, the freight trains, etc. are half drawn from observation and half out of my imagination. But as long as you keep your camera down in the river and don’t start flying above the bridges, it looks pretty photoreal.
I’m particularly proud of the concrete riverbed. I’ve thrown everything I had at it–handmade scanned surfaces, blended materials, stochastic tiling, decals…–to make it look sharp and detailed in closeups and convincing from further away, with no hint of tiling.
So if that kind of stuff is your thing, if you’ve got these images tattooed on your brain from watching too much Grease, Chinatown, Driver or Terminator 2, and if you also happen to work in 3ds Max 2019+ and V-Ray, you can get it from my @Turbosquid page.
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