This project involved the creation of a Zen Garden 3d model, for an architectural exterior piece. The objective was to create a temple with realistic vegetation, and the features normally found in a Zen Garden. To create an atmosphere of serentity.

 zen garden 01

The piece contains, a temple building, cherry blossom trees, and a rock garden, at the front.

The challenge with this piece, was the rock graden. The original project was rendered out in mental ray, which at the time could not handle many polys. So the solution was to sculpt the rock garden in Zbrush, create displacment and bump maps with a high enough detail, to capture the rock texture/gravel and the lines.

In terms of design, there is a definite order to things. Trees are placed deliberately, temples normally face the east. And the pattern in the rock garden is usually geometric/symmetrical. This sense of order creates calm. Zen temples also home a gargoyle on the roof. This is said to ward off evil spirits. This was also placed in the model. It was sculpted with Zbrush, then decimated, in order to ensure a good number of polys. temples often have a giant bell, which is rung in the morning, and at times of meditation. This alerts monks and visitors. This was also added.

The cherry blossom trees were a challenge to create, as at the time, ready made models were not available. So the trees were created using Maya Paint fx. The paint fx trees were then decimated and optimised, and we created textures for the cherry vlossoms on the leaves. These needed to be changed multiple times in order to get the right scale vs volume in the leaves.

  1. Architectural model created in Maya, inc UV layout, prop modelling using ZBrush4
  2. Plant species created using Maya Paint fx, Speed-Tree and Onyx
  3. Textures painted in ZBrush and Photoshop.
  4. Rendering, lighting and Shaders using Mental Ray for Maya
  5. Post production - Nuke

You can view a short animation of the piece here: