Thought it would be good to show a little before and after. The screen above is taken from some pre-production on an upcoming short. Dave Chandler sent me the top image, which was exported direct from Cinema 4D. It was output at 1280*720, 4*4AA with ambient occlusion. It was a very quick render and only took a couple of minutes to throw together.
It’s interesting to see that, even with a very basic render, I was able to achieve quite a satisfying result. Perhaps not of a high enough standard to use in 4K live action but for something a little stylized and 720P it works fine.
First thing was to texture the environment. This was done by simply overlaying a photo (of some Dublin streets) onto the environment and masking any areas I wanted to exclude. If I spent more time I’d probably use camera projection to apply the textures. I also added some people, again just an image from the web.
Next thing was to add some light and dark. I added a glow which seems to be coming from an above light source, off screen. This was done using 2 white solids and one blue, masked, with feathering and blend mode set to screen, adjusting the opacity until the desired look is achieved.
Next I used a curves and levels to bring the overall brightness down and introduce some contrast, which started to bring out some nice textures. I also added some rain using Particular. I used a camera to orbit around the rain until it matched the perspective of the image. Then a grade was added, a bit more contrast and cooled the image a bit by introducing some blue and green.
Finally, I included some lens effects to bring the whole piece together. I added some horizontal blur, grain and chromatic aberration which combined, gave the image a nice, gritty feel, (Probably influenced by the likes of Blade Runner, Se7en).
The last touch was to add some piping in the foreground. This helped give the shot a bit more depth. It can also add a sense of claustrophobia/confinement to a piece. This was done by using a rusty textured image I grabbed online, then simply masking the shape of the piping I wanted and finally blurring it accordingly. (again, with more time this would have been a 3D scene, so camera depth of field would occur naturally).