Making the Cheddar Warrior — the foreground leaves

I wanted to give the impression that you were catching a glimpse of the scene through a foreground of gum leaves. To get the right effect the gum leaves needed to be out of focus, just like they would in a photograph, and the sunlight would be shining through them, making them look like they were softly glowing.

stage 1 stage 1

1 - Modeling the branch

The branch was made in Cinema 4D. The resulting object can be rotated to any angle inside in the computer

stage 2

2 - Sprouting leaves

Gum leaves tend to curve down to make a distinctive shape. Here I’ve modelled a leaf, and then duplicated it a few times

stage 3

3 - Rendering the leaves

Here’s the branch with the leaves after the computer has rendered it. It’s starting to look realistic now but they still don’t look the way I want them

stage 4

4 - SSS

SSS stands for sub-surface scattering. That term refers to light hitting an object from behind and scattering through the object beneath its surface. Sub-surface scattering is what gives things like human skin and many other things their ‘inner glow’.

To make it look like the light is illuminating these leaves I’ve enhanced the colours in Photoshop

stage 5

5 - Degrading the image

It seems strange, to go to all the effort of creating a nice 3D picture of some leaves, and then blur it so much you have trouble recognising it. But that’s what I’ve done here. This branch is now ready to add to the scene




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