Making of Contest Winner Scene

Making of Contest Winner Scene

This week, Jose Santos (Winner of our rendering contest), He presents a detailed making of of his work “The Visitor”.
I hope you enjoy it, hopefully he will teach you many things in this incredible work.


Hello everybody! First of all I would like to thank CGVRAY for running this competition and also the jury and everybody that voted for me daily, for the recognition of my image. I also want to congratulate the other winners.

This was a really fun image to work on, and it also allowed me to divert a bit from my daily Arch-Viz work.

Making of

The tools used for creating “The Visitor” were Cinema 4d, Corona Renderer and Photoshop.

The assets which I did not modeled were:

-the AXYZ kid (CBoy0003-HD2-O03P01-S_C4D)

-Evermotion Archmodels vol114_Vintage and Evermotion Vol_c4d_Cacti

-The awesome astronaut by Cornelius Dämmrich



Due to the open theme of the competition, I decided to go for an image that I had been toying in my mind for some time about the whole 50’s horror/sci-fi movie imagery.

PHOTO 1_MoodBoard

My main focus, when creating this image, was getting the atmosphere I had in mind right, so I mainly concentrated my efforts in both composition and lighting.


Regarding composition, I divided the image into three equally important parts/characters: the foreground (the kid watching TV); the eye-catchy element in the middle (the Visitor); and the subtle background element (the house itself immersed in fog).

PHOTO 2_Composition

The importance each scene had within the image, was defined through lighting and color. For example, I wanted to have a strong foreground presence, but that at the same time wasn’t picking up a lot of attention, so the kid is mainly shown as a silhouette; on the other hand the Visitor character has a very strong spotlight on top of it, fully iluminating it, in order to grab our attention; and suggesting that the whole scene continues upwards, even if we don’t see it.

PHOTO 3_Scene Evolution

Also the color palette chosen tried to support the different scenes. I chose an overall warmish yellow color for everything that has to do with the house setup, and in contrast a colder light and blue tones for the Visitor.


Modeling wise there is nothing too complex. I will not focus on the house itself, since there is nothing fancy about it’s creation, just some old and plain poly modeling with the normal Extrudes and Bevelings to create all the surfaces. Instead, I will show how I created the more dynamic elements like water and flying debris, caused by the Visitor’s arrival.

Here is where Cinema 4d really excels, due to the mograph module which makes it quite easy to create and control this kind of setups.

Pool Water:

I wanted to create the idea that the water is getting quite agitated in the imediacy of where the astronaut is floating. For that I created a low-res subdivided plane, to which I applied a Displacer deformer, based on a noise shader, allowing me to create a displacement on the mesh. Also I used the Falloff property to restrict the deformer from affecting the entire mesh. Since the mesh is very low-res, it might not seem like the effect is that great, but as soon as I place the plane inside of a Subdivision Surface object, all the detail comes alive (to get all that fine detail I also had to raise the subdivision render factor to it’s maximum number of 6, instead of the pre-defined level of 3, turning the water into a quite heavy object). I also had to place a compositing tag to the water object, in order to take it away from being seen by the GI, because it was giving me a lot of fireflies during render.

PHOTO 4_Water object

Flying Debris:

For the flying debris I just used Mograph cloner objects to spread tiny cubes to simulate the vases dirt, and some leafs as well. The first part consisted in manually moving and rotating the vases so that it looks like they are being sucked into the Visitor arrival area. When I was happy with the setup, I replicated a tiny cube and some leafs inside a Cloner object set to Grid Array mode (for the cube, 20 objects in each axis; and for the leafs, 10 in each). Finally, I just needed to spread them along an Helix curve, that has it’s starting point on the vase area and it rolls up, all around our main character. For having the debris not following the spline to close and orderly, I just used 2 Random Effectors so that I could control randomly the distance from the spline, their size and their rotation!

PHOTO 5_Debris object

PHOTO 6_Water Debris


Again, here nothing fancy in terms of material creation. It is extremely easy to have great looking materials in Corona without having to do any complicated setups. As you can see from some of the examples like my concrete material, or my metal.

PHOTO 7_Materials


The scene is lit up with the help of an HDR and some Corona Area Lights for the pool, the plants and the individual characters.

For the general night ilumination I used one of the great night skies from hdri-hub, and even though in the end it is almost not noticeable (due to the environment fog) it helped a lot setting the night mood. I also placed the .exr file inside a filter so that I could have more control over the light through the Gamma and the Saturation controls.


For the other punctual lights I used regular Corona Area Lights with yellow and white blueish tones.

PHOTO 9_Character lights

The only other light present in the scene, is the tv screen. Here I placed a Corona Material with a warmish color on the self-ilumination tab, contributing to the silhouette look on the kid.

PHOTO 10_Lights

Finally I used the environment fog on a giant cube polygon gizmo, that included the complete scene except the interior of the house, and this helped to soften all the lights and also to have an eerier look on the image.


When I started this image, I also wanted to test Corona’s Post Effects and the Light Mix, and I must admit they worked really really good!

By separating every single light in the Multipass into different light select passes, I was able to control not only the intensity but also the color of each light, after the render was done.

PHOTO 11_Light Mix


So, this way I just played with the different values, in order to emphasize specific light sources, the vignetting and the glare and bloom on the image. You can see on the next picture which values I actually changed, and also the difference between the raw render and my re-worked image on the Corona Frame Buffer.

PHOTO 12_Raw to Post on Corona

The final step on the image creation was going into photoshop to add the TV screen, chromatic aberration and extra Contrast/Highlights

PHOTO 13_Levels

PHOTO 14_TvPHOTO 15_NIK FxPHOTO 16_Levels 2

That’s it, I hope this brought a bit more of insight into how I created my image. Thanks for checking it out and if anyone still has any questions I will gladly clarify them in the comments!





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