In the midst of longer animation projects, I had an absolute pleasure of contributing to KitBash3d’s latest release “Future Slums” by creating a cover image for this amazing kit, modeled by my good friend Mihailo Radosevic.


    Recorded at the launch of this incredible kit, I sat down with the KitBash3d crew Maxx Burman and Banks Boutte and discussed the making of this cover image. This video covers my post production workflow I used for years in my animation projects.

    Future Slums kit ships with 16 incredibly detailed building models inspired by Kowloon Walled City. The models range from densely packed building blocks to towers, accompanied by incredible small scale detail such as AC units, scaffolding, roof furniture, antennas, billboard signs, and even laundry hanging from the windows and bundles of trash on the balconies. All of the smaller detail also comes in an isolated group making it easier for kitbashing. This kit also comes fully textured with some nice variation in the textures and materials, allowing you quickly change things around to fit your needs.


    Figuring out the composition for this cover was by far the most fun aspect of the project. This is why I like using Octane render and its interactive render view, it gives you the ability to compose the shots to light and shadow and instantly see the near final result. Most render engines have this ability now, it’s just about finding which one works for your needs.
  • Given the name of the kit, Future Slums, I wanted to portray a densely packed cityscape, one where the buildings seem to tower off infinitely into the distance, with no sky in sight whatsoever. To convey this densely packed city feeling, I opted for a 200mm lens, flattening everything down and introducing a large sense of scale. To further support this sense of scale I’ve included a character as the only foreground element, in the very lower center frame, and used the existing architecture elements as framing device, drawing attention to the character.
  • While searching for the right tone and composition for the cover I’ve made a couple more images, while these aren’t necessarily showcasing the kit in the best light you can see what could be achieved with this amazing kit in just a couple of hours.

    For all my compositing needs I like using After Effects, simply due to years of working in animation. I don’t render out many different render passes, the main ones I use are Zdepth and Material ID for all of my compositing and masking needs. I did use an ambient occlusion pass here as well, just to bring out all those small scale detail a bit better.
  • The main compositing bulk of the work is getting the atmosphere to work correctly using Zdepth pass and adding smaller scale smoke detail.

  • You can see the compositing breakdown in the gifs bellow, and if you subscribe to KitBash3d newsletter you can get a PSD with separated layers.

    While setting up the materials for the cover I’ve captured some stills showcasing what kind of detail you can get out of this kit.
  • Lastly an official big thanks to Maxx Burman and KitBash3d crew for inviting me to create the cover for this kit, it was a ton of fun and I can’t wait to see what everyone makes with it!  If you’re interested you can get it at KitBash3D website.

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