The idea for this project was to tell a story about a character without directly showing the viewer a character.
I wanted to convey the idea that you can think you know someone without ever having to see them. The objects on the characters desk give a glimpse into what he is like. From the small sticker saying "I believe", to the collected news papers reporting UFO sightings, to the mysterious glowing blue rock. One of the key goals I wanted to achieve in this project was to export a z-depth pass from Octane to use in Nuke to add depth of field.
This allowed me to render only once, but pull different focuses after using ZDefocus in Nuke and generate several different detailed close ups all with individual focuses. Additionally all the fog and smoke from the cigarette was done using VBD files in a Octane VDB object which was extremely helpful and allowed me to avoid compositing it in post. The scene was rendered on a GTX 1080 (full priority) and a GTX 1070 (low priority). The shot was rendered at 3840x2160px and took over 3 hours to render.
In 2015 I made this project and at the time it was one of the better renders I had ever made at that point. Over the next year I learned a lot revolving around 3d and wanted to revisit this project to really push it toward the vision I had when I first started on it in 2015. I'm very happy to be able to look at the past and now the present version of this project and see that time on the machine and dedication can really boost your work closer to what you had visioned it to be.
After building the scene and filling it with props, I had a great time creating some of the textures in Substance Painter for objects like the desk, lamp, and magnifying glass. For other objects like the crumpled papers and newspapers I made them in Photoshop and used Bitmap2Material to get the normals and roughness maps. When making those textures I loved adding some little details inside the textures that really only I would know were there (until this behind the scenes was made). I felt that it was a nice way to add a part of my personality into the work, even if in such a small way.