Art Spotlight: Mr. Robot- Elliot's Apartment

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Hello everyone!

My name is Aurélien, I’m 33, and I’m a French 3D generalist. I’ve been a frontend developer for 8 years and I got bored to death and frustrated. So I decided to step outside of my comfort zone when my son was born, nearly 3 years ago.

It was great time for me to refocus on my own aspirations and to find a job that makes me want to get up every morning.

I grew up with video games and saw the emergence of 3D. I’ve always been fascinated by the 3D graphics and was determined to try my hand at it.

After some researches, I decided to work on Blender 3D. So I bought a decent computer and watched tons of Youtube tutorials. After a two-year period of intensive learning, I set up on my own.

And, one day, Archilogic contacted me via Sketchfab…

Archilogic is a Swiss web platform that automatically converts your 2D floor plans into 3D VR scenes. You can then add furniture and decoration stuffs, change the wall textures, redesign the space.

For the promotion of their tool, they recreate famous places from movies or TV shows, based on floor plans they find on the web.

So they asked me to model, texture and lighten Elliot’s apartment from Mr Robot. As a lover of the show, I of course immediately accepted!

So where do I start?

In order to limit myself to the allotted time (6 days), and considering the size of the scene, I had to be pretty organised not to lose myself and feel overwhelmed. So I defined the steps of creation, from the biggest parts to the smallest details.

Archilogic brought me the floor plans but I had to gather good reference images of each room to get as close as possible to the original show.I quickly realised that there wasn’t one but two different Elliot’s apartments. Some slight changes in the furniture layout, stuffs replaced by others etc. It’s pretty imperceptible when you watch the show and don’t pay attention to the details, but certainly a way to emphasize the duality and schizophrenia of the main character.

Modeling with Blender

I started the modeling of the structural elements. I used the free Archimesh add-on, which is very handy to create the walls, floor, ceiling, but also to add windows and doors.

Then, I modeled everything that was directly linked to the apartment itself, such as moldings, heaters, bathtub, toilet bowl, sink, kitchen furniture.

There are “random” objects that aren’t really important to the look of the space, such as books, glasses, kitchen stuffs, laptop, lamps etc. For economic reasons, I couldn’t model everything from scratch.

I found some cool free models on CGtrader and Blendswap, and I was free to pick any model I needed in Archilogic‘s own OBJ files library. Pretty impressive by the way! Sometimes I had to make some texture adjustments or replacements but it was a huge time gain.

So I mainly focused on modeling objects that had to be accurate to the show. The old fashioned chairs and sofa, the awful kitchen, the bed on the floor etc.

Lighting

The light was a crucial point to express the bleak and depressive mood in which the main character evolves. So I spent quite a lot of time adjusting the environment lighting, the sun angle & intensity and the tone mapping by lowering the saturation to get some kind of sepia out of time render.

Texturing

The texturing was also decisive. It was essential to get as close as possible to the dated aspect of the room. This apartment is clearly in its own condition since at least 40 years and I couldn’t just put some clean CG looking materials on the walls and floors. So I combined some leaking and mouldy textures with one another. The UV unwrapping was pretty simple. Just a cube projection and some minor manual adjustments.

Baking lights

One of the longest stage of the project was the light baking (about 70). In order to get a decent quality while just using 1024px textures, I had to split the big objects into multiple medium sized ones. For instance, each wall is a separate object with its own baked texture. For a better and less noisy result, I also understood that I needed to first bake 4k textures before converting them into 1k ones in Photoshop.


On the contrary, I joined some little objects and used the texture atlas add-on, which allows to automatically unwrap your new object on a new lightmap channel, while keeping the original UV map you used for texturing. Not really easy to handle but terribly effective.


I finally exported the whole scene into an obj file, reduced drastically the baked textures weight by using optimizilla.com and I was nearly done 🙂

Thank you!

Thank you all for reading this. I hope you will find some tips for your further creations. If some points are not clear to your mind, don’t hesitate to ask me for more explanations.

Thank you so much to the Archilogic CEO for believing in me, for giving some cool projects and for allowing me to beef up my Sketchfab portfolio with them.

You can also have a look to BBC’s Sherlock apartment and soon to Adam Sackler’s apartment from Girls.

And thank you, Sketchfab!

I was surfing on an architecture website about 1 year ago when I discovered your 3D embed viewer. I found this totally crazy.

Sketchfab is really an amazing and powerful tool which offers an unrivalled online visualisation.

The post processing filters and the recent arrival of the sound feature play a huge part in the immersion. The whole team is also very caring for us and never hesitates to share useful and precious tips. Long live Sketchfab!

I’m always looking for opportunities, so people can reach me directly from my Sketchfab profile!

About the author

Aurélien Martel

I worked for 8 years as a webdesigner & front-end developer. I discovered what a passion I had for 3D world about 3 years ago and since then, I work very hard to succeed in this way. I'm open to discussion, partnerships and freelance contracts.


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  • Simon Kratz says:

    Really nice Spotlight!
    Those realistic interiors are a bit rare on Sketchfab and always impress me!
    Also a nice example of how Sketchfab can help you get connected with the rest of the industy; something I know from personal experience as well 😉

  • Akiko Yoshino says:

    I learned how wonderful you are.
    I’m a student. I have a daily class for 3DCG design. I’m gonna keep studying hard.
    Thank you.

  • twite_king says:

    Me and my Girlfriend was inspired by your scene and made the conference room from twinpeaks!! https://skfb.ly/6tZtH we modeled everything since we aint got sponsor… wish we saw your texturing trick sooner!!

  • O Grafista says:

    Hi, Nice Job.
    How many samples you used to render the texture bake?
    i try with 256 samples but my textures are so noise…

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