Bonneville in Isolation

This is a breakdown of my winning entry in The Pixel Lab’s Texturing Contest during April of 2020. It seemed fitting, that in our current global situation of lock-downs and forced isolation, I give the motorcycle a similar isolated and worn look and feel to the texturing and environment.

I’m proud of the finished piece, and was happy to be one of the winning entries out of over 60!  (There was no actual designation other than “top 10” during the results.) There were some great entries, and all of the results can be viewed here:

Now onto the breakdown: the first step was to bring the Triumph Bonneville Cafe Racer model into Houdini, and setup groups for the various textures I was intending to add to the model. This process also entailed adding UVs, and laying them out in UDIMs for texture painting in Substance or Mari, and to create vertex colors to be used for baked Material ID map during texturing.  This makes it easier to select all of the surfaces that will share a common texture.


Surfaces grouped by shared materials and textures.
UV layout for use in a UDIM workflow.

The base materials I used came from The Pixel Lab’s Redshift Material Packs 1-3, which I’d converted into Houdini last year after purchasing. Once I was happy with the base appearance, keeping with an older surface style, I exported the texture-ready model into Substance to add the weathering. All of the textures I created were hand-painted, and did not rely on any Smart Materials. I wanted to take the opportunity of the texturing challenge to push myself to get back into more traditional painting, using brushes and masks for the final dirt and weathering for the model.

Studio lighting with some custom light rigs added to accentuate the curves.

After the texturing was done, I imported the textures into Houdini, and added Material Blends to mix the various painted weathering maps onto the existing material networks I had previously set up.  This helped greatly to reduce the usual picture-perfect look of a CG render, and added to the overall realism of the image.

Some additional touches I added to push the realism was to pose the motorcycle by creating a kickstand model and leaning it away from camera.  Then rotating the handbars to balance the bike and the composition.  Finally, I deflated the tires slightly to get away from the perfect circular geometry that I started with.  These were small touches, but I feel, they helped overall.

Posing finished, deflated tires slightly. Next step is balancing the dirt and weathering.

Lighting for the final render was pretty simple: and HDRI and some light painting with custom light rigs I set up for Redshift. A Redshift ShadowCatcher material was used for the ground contact and cast shadows, and composited together with a flattened image from the HDRI latlong map I used for the background.

I have been working in the ACES colorspace for a number of years now, both in my freelance work, and at large studios. My workflow for this project involved texture conversion into the ACES colorspace, and render conversion from ACEScg into an output display colorspace of sRGB (for web viewing).

I really enjoyed putting this piece together, and adding the extra elements and touches to push the piece, and myself, further.

The model was courtesy for The Pixel Labs and Maciej Ptaszynski. HDRI courtesy of HdriHaven.

Final composited image.

Posted: 05/2020