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  • Writer's pictureIgnatius Jonathan S.

Lemon to Lemonade | SCAD x The Mill

This post is dedicated for my progress in creating this project. Scroll down for each update.


This is a team project that collaborates and will be mentored by TheMill. I work with 3 talented teammates: Adesh Kumar, Ryan Harper and Yuzhuo Xiao.


Although the Volkswagen Bus is a classic, the new ID Buzz is sure to be an electric icon. Without a conventional engine, the ID Buzz has zero emissions and has the potential to transform our environment.


Our latest renders:


Compositing Breakdown Video:



Week 10 Progress

May 25, 2021

In this final week, based on the feedback that we got, I focused on fixing and adding some extra little details. I added a reflection into the side window to really brings out additional detail.

I also tried reducing the specularity on the wheels just to match other highlights, so it would integrate better in the scene.

Week 9 Progress

May 17, 2021

This past week, we finalize our video and just fixing based on the feedback that we got. I adjusted the matte painting for shot02 because we changed the camera movement to make it more smooth. I also fixed the atmosphere in shot 02 using the depth channel.

Week 8 Progress

May 10, 2021

I continued on working the comp for shot01. For shot02, we decided to extend change the camera a little bit. So I have to create a simple matte painting to cover up the sky.

Here is the breakdown for shot02 that I made:


May 5, 2021

After we got the feedback on the lens flare, I went to fix it for the T1 bus. Rather than adjusting the old flare, I decided to recreate a new lens flare in Nuke.

I adjust the parameters to create lens flares that doesn't look to bright and yet looks believable. I also created exponential glow for the new flares and still add some lens dirt.


Week 7 Progress

May 4, 2021

Based on the feedback that we got last week, I tweaked some things to the scene.

For the clear sky, I give it more saturation so that it really shows the contrast between the overcast scene and the blue sky. I also tweaked the color of the yellow a little bit so that it pops more.


I also changed the pace of the effect for the mountains so the transition covers up the terrain much faster. We agreed that the mountains should be green to really show that the environment changes along the transition.

For the headlights, while Ryan created the base lens flare, I decided to add little things to level up the lens flare. I added some exponential glow so that it would look more realistic with an outer glow

Here's the screenshot of the node graph for the exponential glow:

I'm using two glow nodes to create the glow effect.

For the first one, it is for the outer glow. I crank up the size of the glow but reduce the tolerance and the saturation.

For the second glow, I added a inner glow that creates a more intense light inside the headlights.

Last, I combine the glows and the footage using merge node with screen operation.


I also decided to add lens dirt. I found a quite high resolution image for a lens dirt. I used the base lens flare footage to multiply the lens dirt.

The node graph for the lens dirt:

As you can see on the node graph above, I changed the color space from RGB to HSV before I use the grade node. It's because I want to only modify the value of the lens flare without changing the saturation. After that, I changed it back to RGB and then multiply it with the lens dirt image.

Here is the result after adding the glow and lens flare:


Week 6 Progress

April 26, 2021

This week, I continued working on the matte painting for the T1 and ID Buzz environment. I did some research for images that we will use in our matte painting and tried to find mountains that fit our environment.

After that, I used photoshop to match the color and cut out the skies. I tried to do layering so that it creates a sense of atmosphere in the scene. For the overcast environment, I created these 4 cutout of the mountains, I matched the color balance for all the images so that it could be combined seamlessly. I rendered out a sequence for the overcast sky for this particular scene.

I project those mountains into cards and add some DisplaceGeo to give it a sense of 3D mountains. Currently, I'm using 5 different camera projections to create the matte painting. Here's the matte painting result with only the ground plane:

Below is the current node graph for the overcast scene:

For the clear sky environment, I searched for a mountain that has a tint of green so that we could add an effect that transitions from black to green.

Then, I imported all these cut outs into Nuke. I created a sky replacement for the clear sky. I combined 4 different skies that has a similar lighting situation and make it seamless in photoshop.

I also project the cut outs mountain into the scene.

Below is the current node graph for the clear sky scene:

I used multiple camera projections because the render camera is rotating the vehicle and I need to cover up most of the background. I also experimented about a transition effect on the background mountain when the grass starts growing. I animated a simple roto shape so it could transition to more greener color mountain.

I combined all of these elements that I created with our latest render sequence. Here is the result:

I will definitely keep refining our matte painting. I will be fixing the camera shake on the projection so it matches the renders and hopefully it resolves before my next blog update!


Week 5 Progress

April 19, 2021

This week, I started on the matte painting pipeline. We encountered a problem where we weren't able to baked the animation into the camera because there are a bunch of parenting connection.

I asked my friend about this and we troubleshooted it together. Usually, by selecting the camera and bake the simulation, it would work, but we tried duplicating the camera and parent it to the one inside the parent connection

We import the camera into Nuke and started setting up for the matte painting. I rendered out only the HDRI so that I can use that as the sky projection.

We decided that we need more than one camera for the projection because the render cam for shot 01 is rotating the car, so we need to add a bunch of mountains.

Despite the render farm was having a problem this past weekend, I was able to render some low resolution frames locally to see the result of the matte painting.

I created a simple terrain using Vue. I used the same overcast sky to lit up the terrain. After that, I used photoshop to delete the sky and the ground plane so that I could export it into Nuke.

Here's a little breakdown for the matte painting test:

Still frames without the mountain: Still frames with the mountain:

For next week, I will definitely work more on the matte painting. I will combine both low poly assets and an image for the terrain. This just a test of the basic set up that we are going to utilize.


Week 4 Progress

April 12, 2021

This week, I worked on the HDRIs that we're going to use in the scene using e-on Vue. I created multiple version of each HDRI, the overcast and the clear sky.

For the overcast HDRI, I desaturated the sky and give it a dense clouds which makes the object has a low contrast level. I experimented using different kind of clouds to test which one gives the best result:

For the clear blue sky, I tried different types of blue for the sky. We discussed about which blue that we are going to use for the final one. Here are multiple test renders for the clear blue sky:

I did some adjustment to both HDRIs to create the sky and lighting that fit in properly in our scene. Here is the final version for both HDRIs:

I used these HDRIs to create the turntable, overcast for the T1 Bus and blue sky for ID Buzz

T1 Bus in a overcast HDRI:

IDBuzz in clear sky:


Week 3 Progress

April 4, 2021

This week we discussed about the Look Dev aspect and also how the FX would look. We started on the look development for assets that we are going to use in this project. I created a Look Dev Rig template for my teammates to use

I did Look Dev for the Volkswagen T1 bus. Here is the turntable video of the bus and also the material:

We are planning to use some grass on our environment so I did some searching and found this great wild grass assets from Quixel:


Week 2 Progress

March 27, 2021

This week we discussed on our initial idea and did some previs of it. We gathered a bunch of reference that we will use during our production. Our video is consists of 4 different shots which will interpret how Volkswagen ID Buzz affects the environment.


Previs animation done by Ryan Harper


We will use two different types of car, the old Volkswagen T1 bus and also the new Volkswagen ID Buzz. We already found both 3D models that we can use in our production.

We searched a bunch of references for both the old bus and also the new ID Buzz. For the old one, we focused more on images that have a rusty look so that we can get the sense of an old Volkswagen bus.

On the other hand, for the new Volkswagen ID Buzz, we looked for references of the car in different lighting situation so that we can get the best result.

We also created a mood board and color reference for each car so that we could see the difference of the color palette. We discussed more about how each shot would look using this mood board.

We also made a basic pipeline for our project so that we could understand our next steps until this project finishes.

We hope that we finish our project on time and able to create such an amazing visual for the viewers.

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