Create a Subway in Blender in 20 minutes

Create a Subway in Blender in 20 minutes

(Intense music ensues) Making a subway corridor (A wild Andrew appears) Very anticlimactic. (laughs) It’s just me for the rest of the video. Umm I wanna try something different in this video. Cause I’ve noticed that tutorials are usually… either like a full length scene, but long, or specific, but very short. Um. And I wanted to see if I could show like a full scene but in a short format. Cause I noticed like in a full scene video… Like the majority of it is like boring and repetitive stuff that just has to be done, but scattered throughout it there’s like little tricks, little tips… like “Use this addon” or like “Here’s how I overcame this problem.” But you have to watch the full thing to like pick it up but most people don’t. (laughs) I’ve seen the retention. Umm But I wondered what if you could compress it. Uhh Just down to the bare… Like just the tips. And show just the bits that you can actually learn from. So that’s what this video is an experiment on. And you can let me know in the comments what you think. (Story Time) So I was browsing Pinterest one day… umm Which I used to think was just for wedding cakes and dresses. uhh But it’s actually got some really good… inspiration on it. And uh, and reference photos, which are really hard to find. Uhhh. And I found this image! And I thought… “It’s kinda cool, I think I can give it a shot… give it a go.” Soooo. Loaded it into Blender. And uh. Then was immediately reminded of the most annoying part… of anytime you try to recreate a photo reference. Uhh. Getting the perspective… in your 3D scene to match the perspective in the photo. Cause anyone who’s tried this will know that you think things are going well… but then you start adding in objects and building the scene, and then you’re like “Wait a minute… This line doesn’t match up with the line.” in the photo. And then you start moving the camera around, fiddling with the focal length. And it just a pain… 🙁 And so you’re always in this back and forth trying to get stuff to match. And uhh, and I hate it. Um And then I remembered someone told me about this addon called Blam. B L A M Ummmm And I gave it a try, and it’s awesome! So, I wanted to tell you about it. Basically you – with this addon, you just draw out using the grease pencil tool um some perspective lines from the photo, and then you hit calculate, and then it will based on your… perceptive lines, it will calculate the exact focal length of the camera in the photo. and then apply that your Blender camera. um So I did that, and it figured out that is was roughly around 30. (roughly) 30 focal lengths? units? (lol) I’ve forgotten what the unit is. Anyways. And uh, and when I did that everything lined up. Soo, then I just added in a plane and you can see. You know, setting it to a basic rectangle shape. You can quickly like – it lines up with the subway corridor. And that’s like the hardest part. So now that that’s done, I can just build out the rest of the corridor. You just extrude it, pull it up… Until the lines match the lines in the photo. Really easy. um Then for the stairs, I just took one edge loop which was the width of the corridor. Um. Duplicated it, made it it’s own object, and then extruded out to created one, singular stair. And then I just used the array modifier to create the rest of the stairs. Save time whenever you can. (Andrew Price – 2018) Umm (laughs) And then for the railings, um I used a cylinder, I just extruded… Uh, a cylinder out. um Somebody asked me on Twitter if I used curves for it, and I like curves, but only for curvy things 😉 If it’s mostly straight, I find curves.. are really annoying to work with. Um, so I use a cylinder. And then in order to create that curvy smoothed uh, rounded edge. Um, I used the spin tool So you go into edit mode um, then you click the 3D cursor where you want the pivot point to be. And then you just hit spin. And then you choose the angle and the number – like the resolution and stuff. Uh, It’s really easy and it’s clean. You know exactly how many vertices are in the mesh. Um And it’s pretty easy to do. Um, and yeah. Just do that for the rest of the subway. It’s not hard, it just takes a bit of time. (jumpcut) After that, you wanna see how it’s gonna look with lighting. So, I generally just drop in some place-holder bulbs. Like some… With an Emission thing (Material) on it. Just see that it looks generally… you know, similar to the reference photo. Um. And very important to make sure that you’re using Filmic color space. If you haven’t seen my video on why that’s important… you can see that in the description. But… Seriously, this is it’s vital for a scene like this cause otherwise you’d have bulbs blowing out, and it would look horrible. Ummm. After that… It’s time to do some materials. So I started with the tiled wall. umm and originally I want online and tried to find some tiled texture, but I didn’t really like any that I found. So I actually used Substance Designer. Ummm, which… I’m not advertising or anything like that, but it is a kick-ass program. For those who don’t know what it is, it’s a procedural texture… generating program. um It’s really big in the industry right now. Um, most game companies… animation houses, whatever, they’re all using Substance (Designer). Because it allows you to create essentially any material that you want. So you never… come across a material and go like “Oh I can’t find the exact texture for that.” If you know Substance it’ll allow you to, you know, expand and do a lot more. So I’m not a pro at it, but… I was able to knock together something, which… created a nice tiled wall. Very simple that’s like easy sliders, choose the height and width of the tiles. Like it’s pretty much a tile generator out of the box. Like it’s got this nice easy node. umm So it’s really easy, umm. And the other material I created with Substance was the ceiling stucco. Again, I started with an image texture that I found online. But for something like stucco – stucco is like purely bump. And so if you use an image texture, you’re only gonna be sort of Guessing the bump or trying to extract bump off it, but it’s gonna be a little bit glitchy, and it’s not gonna look… as good as if something was created… purely digitally, using something like Substance. Um So anyways, so I used Substance for it. Um, and that’s that. Then for the floor, I just used a tiled material off of Poliigon. Wasn’t an exact fit, but, you know, it’s mostly level to the camera, so you don’t really see it much anyway. And I did a bit of tweaking and it looked ok. Then for the tactile floor… Which is like those little bumps, you get little bumps for blind people. That are sort of annoying to step on. Um That one was really easy cause that’s just a material that we already created on Poliigon, so I just downloaded that. Put it in there and it looked great. Umm, then… for… I noticed in the reference photo there like these rubber strips. that go down the corridor. Like both the bottom and the top And there’s really 2 ways that you could go about making something like that. Like one, You could, you know, add a loop cut into the wall and then like separate the material, like make this material black and this one tile. Whatever. But umm. I figured that actually, it’s actually like – in the real world it’s actually jutting out of the wall. So it’s a physically… It’s a separate object than the wall. So it’s better if it’s a separate object. So what I did was, really easy, I just selected the edge that goes all up-down the corridor. I duplicated it… made it it’s own object… and then I just extruded it up a little bit to the height of the rubber, and then I used a Solidify modifier, to, uh, push it out a little bit. And then that was the rubber strip. I did that for both the floor the ceiling, as well as the uhhh along the steps. That little, uh, there’s a little, like, rubber thing along there as well. And then for the rest of it, there’s just a bunch of other little things that need to be modeled for the scene. So there’s like this divider, in the reference photo. And that’s just, it’s like a cube. You just extrude it out, pull it down. Uh The fluorescent bulbs – like giving detail to them. Um And then the pipes – That one probably took the longest. But… It’s not hard it’s just like cylinders, and then you add cubes to make the bolts and the brackets and things. Like this stuff just takes time, so you just put on a nice podcast, listen to some music. And uh, and just get through it. um I did actually find a really cool program I want to recommend you. And that is PureRef. So PureRef is a program basically designed… for artists that have a lot of reference photos open. Soo, essentially you load this up on a spare monitor, and then as you’re working, and you find a photo online, you can just paste it onto this infinite canvas. And then as you’re working like – instead of having to like dig through a folder and trying to find a specific reference photo. Look at that, you can just zoom in and out of the canvas – pan around. um And it’s really handy. I’m surprised I didn’t know about it before. It’s a really cool program. So… Definitely do that. Like previously I used to like, mock it up in Photoshop myself and it just took forever. So… Having something like that is a big help. So the render was looking nice. But um, whenever I posted it on Twitter, everyone said that it looked too clean. umm Which I agreed with.. So uhh, so I went on Poliigon and I used some surface imperfections. Which are maps that are… basically designed to add wear and tear to materials. So for example, I got a… footprint map. And then I added that to the floor. Umm I got a grunge, like leaky sort of thing, and then I added that to the wall. And then I added fingerprints to the railings And basically, with all of those maps, you just drop that into the roughness input of your shader. And then it affects like the reflection, so it’s subtle. And it’s something that’s not like in your face. Like dirt everywhere. But it’s like when the light hits it you can see like it like reflecting off of it. So it looks, uh, it looks quite nice. And although… It wasn’t in the reference photo uhh I really wanted to add some grunge and dirt… to the divider. umm Because when I looked at the divider in the render… it looked too squeaky clean. Even though compared to the reference photo, the reference photo looks squeaky clean as well. But somehow it looked weird in the render. Sometimes that happens. So uhh, so I wanted to add some uhh, some grunge to it. Right? Umm. But I didn’t want it to be like a uniform – like tiled grunge over the whole thing. I wanted it to look real. So, to do that, you gotta do some texture painting. umm But I’ve never really found texture painting to be that… good in Blender. umm But I decided to give it another go. And I finally figured it out. I realized that the reason that texture painting usually… usually doesn’t go so well, at least when I’ve tried it, is because the default brush in Blender… like it’s really – You’re supposed to change those settings. (lol) You’re supposed to… add textures. You’re supposed to fiddle around, you’re supposed to make it look like the brush that you want it to be. So I finally figured out how to do do it. So this is what I did So I created a new brush umm And I added a new texture to it. So I got this droplet residue texture off Poliigon um. And then when you… add that in, you wanna check the box that says “Calculate”. And… To be honest I don’t know what it does. But I believe it guesses the alpha based on the values in the image. I’m guessing there, but anyways it’s important you check that box. uhh Then you set the blend type to “Multiply”, use black paint, and then when you draw over it, you’ll see the texture appear. um But if you draw, you’ll see that it’s like repeating the texture. uhhh Which isn’t good, but if you set the brush mapping and you check that little “Random” box. um Then it will rotate it every single time that you paint it, and it starts to look like a real brush. Which is really cool. I also created another brush for like a grunge leak thing. And I did the same thing, only thing I changed though was the brush mapping I changed that to anchored. Which is instead of clicking and dragging it, and it like spraying it out um You just click and drag out one single stamp. Um, so you just… Yeah! You just add a couple of those… and if you’re using a tablet, you can get some really nice results really quickly. um And that was it. So I just used that for the color and the roughness of that divided and had a cool looking asset. So Turns out, you can do some nice (noice) painting in Blender. Didn’t know you could, but there you go. So the scene was looking good. But I wanted to make it look eerie for the animation. Give it like a creepy, like off-putting uh Real (laughs) typical subway vibe. So I wanted to put a flickering light in the background. Soo, umm… The easiest way to make something flicker – Like it’s pretty simple to do in Blender. Right? You find the object Which is casting the light, which in this case was the bulb… you find the emission value of that in the material, so you mouse over it and you hit “I”. And that creates a keyframe. Then if you got to the F-curve modifier you can move it and add more keyframes around , whatever. And make it so that the values go like this, and then you get something that looks like it flickers. However… The problem with that is that I am lazy. (lol) I don’t want to hand animate anything. uhh I want the computer to do it for me. So. Here’s a little trick. If you select that one keyframe then you hit “N” on the keyboard, this is in the F-Curve modifier, you’ll find… there’s a modifier stack. That’s right, there’s a modifier stack for the animation properties in Blender. So there I found a modifier called “Noise”. And what this does is that it creates noise for your keyframes. So the lines sort of start to look like this. (Hand gestures) Well, if you increase the scale suddenly it’s going like this. (Crazy hand gestures) umm And that looks ok, but… it’s sort of like a jittery fade effect, I noticed. And When I looked at reference videos of fluorescent bulbs flickering um They’re generally like on or off. Right? It’s sort of more like a binary thing. So, AFTER the noise modifier I added in a limit function, so that it limits the amount that it can be – Like the maximum value, and then limits the minimum value. um And then basically I just set those to like, whatever the on value is, like 40. And then the bottom value, I actually found like a level of like 5. So it’s not totally off. Cause like, fluorescent bulbs always have a little bit of light in them. And then I just cranked the scale way up. So then that lines looks more like a binary, sort of thing. And that create a flickering look! Uh, you know, it’s not perfect. But uh, but it works. So, the biggest difference between the render and the reference image right now is of course, that the reference image has this Cool, bluish, aqua tinge to it. Uhhh, so. Color grading. The way you do that in Blender is you go to the compositor, and you add one node which is the color balance node. Cause that’s really all you need to do color grading in Blender. Ummmm So, you know, if you’ve never used it before… Left-hand wheel that handles the dark tones, the middle wheel, that handles the mid-tones and the right-hand wheel handles the highlights. And, generally, I usually only fiddle with the middle and the right-hand wheel. Um But here’s this interesting thing which, I just learned this recently, is that the, um, the correction formula, like the default is Lift/Gamma/Gain. And that worked fine I guess when you were using the default color space for Blender. But as I mentioned in the Filmic video you’re using the Filmic color space which you should always be using, if you’re not, make sure you watch that video. Cause it’s, you know, it’ll change your life. (laughs) Uhh When you’re using the Filmic color space, you should be using Offset/Power/Slope Now, I was informed of this by Troy Sobotka, who’s the guy who helped me make that Filmic video, and even made the Filmic color space. And he gave me a whole explanation for it, a mathematical equation to explain why Lift/Gamma/Gain like chews up color data, and will result in ugly looking grading. Whereas Offset/Power/Slope is much cleaner and it works better. I didn’t understand all the maths stuff, but… I just use the new Offset/Power/Slope, and that’s it. So, there’s nothing really that will change, except for for whatever reason – I’m sure there’s a reason for it, but I don’t know it – The middle wheel, will actually be the opposite. So if you set it to blue, then actually it will turn out yellow. So, just set it to the opposite of wherever it is that you want. um And that’s that. And then I just added in a Glare node to give a little, tiny little hint of a glow to the fluorescent bulbs. And then that was that. And there you go! We finally had a match between the render and the reference photo. Which was the whole point in all of this, which was good. ummm But I want us to do an animation. To prove that it’s a 3D scene. Right? Umm. Only problem was, that one single render took 30 minutes on my 1080 Ti which was a pretty expensive graphics card. uhh 30 minutes!? So I wanted to 250 frames, so do the math it was gonna be about 125 hours. umm I didn’t want to spend that long on it. And I tried a bunch of things – I ended up using 3000 samples. To get it, you know… Pretty clear, and then I used the Denoiser just check the box, I didn’t change any setting just left it default. umm But it was still – it was 30 minutes. Right? um And then, a guy on Twitter – Derek Barker – shout out thanks for your help. uhhm He showed me that there is this feature which I didn’t know existed And this is it. If you go into the scene panel there’s a box on the bottom that says “Simplify”, which you might have never used before. I thought it was just for dropping the master level of subdivisions down you can do that, you can do a bunch of different thigns there. But there’s a value right at the bottom there that says AO Bounces Render. umm So I set that to 2… And it cut the render time. Not in half… but down to one third of what it was originally. Went from 30 minutes, down to 10 minutes. And if you have a look at the difference between these 2 renders… You might think, “There’s not much difference, other than one of them looks darker.” And in fact, I did a difference value in Photoshop, and you can see that that’s really the case, one of then looks darker. And, I was really confused about what is actually going on like… I was thrilled, I’m happy that this was happening… But didn’t know what that value actually was doing. Turns out, most people don’t either. Cause I was asking on Twitter – not really anyone knew. There’s no documentation for it. I finally posted the question on Blender Stack Exchange and someone told me that essentially, and I still don’t really understand this, but… What that does is that it tells it that after a certain number of light bounces, I believe it treats the material that is receiving the light bounces… Um. It only… The light only hits the Diffuse Shader, and ignores, I think, the reflections. Something like – It basically simplifies a shader beyond a certain number of light bounces. Again, this is like – this is new to me. I don’t understand it myself and I’m trying to figure it out. But that’s – That’s what I think. Um Anyway, I set it to 2 It still look great, and it cut it down to 10 minutes. So it’s a really cool – If I was to do my, uhh, like… 16 tips, or whatever, for improving your render times. Which if you haven’t seen you can watch that video. I would definitely include this in there, cause I didn’t know it existed. And it’s uhh… It’s an awesome one! Um. And there you go guys! The finished animation. And that was the full process. So, what do you think of this video format? This shortened style. I personally like it, because I think it cuts out a lot of the monotonous boring, repetitive tasks. um And make it so that people actually watch to the end, I would hope. But let me know what you think in the comments, I’m always open. Also in the description, you can find links to all of the textures – anything that I’ve reference in this video you can find it there. Subscribe if you wanna see more, and give it a like if you enjoyed it! Thank you for watching, bye! Subscribe! (Intense, eerie no copyright music) (weird sounds going on)

100 thoughts on “Create a Subway in Blender in 20 minutes

  1. Would you replace a shader's glossy/roughness map (assuming it already has one) with the fingerprints or plug them into a clearcoat roughness instead? Or blend the two together into the roughness…

  2. Awesome man!. I've being there using 3d Studio (even before it turned into "max") also using Vray, Autocad, Sketchup, Lumion, photoshop, Lightroom, Magic Bullet, etc…(and now I am experimenting with Blender)… and you just summarized more than 20 years of "painful experience" in your 20 min video!. Love the format! Keep going. You have a new subscriber.
    Thank you!

  3. The biggest question I have is whether or not blender is faster at making architecture drawings like this vs Cinema 4d???

  4. The sound effects are very strange and really detract from this excellent tutorial. The is no need for the alarm and it seems to fit a military or utility facility rather than a subway. The footsteps seem to be on a wood floor and from above (muffled through the ceiling). A tile surface would sound very different – sharper. I will be doing this tutorial for sure 'cause it is really very good.

  5. tnx for inspiration!!!!! I made one little clip using blender 2.8 eevee using this vid as reference:

  6. Honestly Bangladeshi animators can't even made a perfect 2d animation properly!And you talking about realisticness and 3d?

  7. Love the format.
    In the past, I used a node that replaced the materials with a diffuse material of the same color for all bounced rays. It was fast, but the main purpose was to avoid losing light energy with caustics off.

    Caustics include all the light that glossy materials reflect. When it is off, all energy that hits a glossy shader is lost. Since PBR shaders contain a glossy component, it still make a difference. The effect was amazing. That AO bounce feature seems to use am AO shader instead of a diffuse shader, which reduces the brightness rather than increases it.

  8. Good tutorial video, currently i am trying to reproduce this entire process in Blender 2.8, however i couldn't find a way to adjust the camera frame size that fits the background image, also i am also not able to match the plane to the image in camera perspective, is there any existing tutorial on how to do that?

  9. I like the fact that Blender is litelarilly a pandora's box, full of all kinds of different features that most people can't even find, much less actually figure out what it's supposed to do and how it works.

  10. You made me want to try doing something similar in blender, I've always been interested in 3D modelling seems like your channel is a good place to start!

  11. This is amazing! I'm just an student who only used Maya por 6 months but I feel I learned stuff, or at least I understood it enough to keep watching. Thank you for this format!

  12. Brilliant built! This reminds me of the atmosphere and brilliant graphics (as I have them in my mind) from the very first Max Payne game. I am sure it looked that good and I won't check on it 😀

  13. Esto es una contradicción: título en cristiano, explicación en protestante 🙂 Muy meritorio, pero cuando veo los cablecitos y recuadros del minuto 5:44 me pongo malo. No estoy interesado en subterráneos pero sí en interiores de naves espaciales. Igual un día me animo y lo veo de nuevo con atención. Bye.

  14. another photo reference App that i like a bit more is Kuadro and what I like about it is that you can set it to always be on top.

  15. Guru forgot about us and the tutorial in blender 2.8.
    Saw him enjoying his vacation with the Corredor crew lol

  16. great video presentation. i understand all your steps, even as a beginner, and i love urban spelunking and dark creepy subways. liked and subbed.

  17. Please for future video set a HighPass effect on your mic. My woofer shaking my house every time you move the mic and pop it :/

  18. I personally think the full 40min heavy delicious tutorial is much better than this shortened version. Still amazing tho.

  19. Okay, I liked this format… but now I'd like to start doing this so Ima need a whole tutorial. This format is cool for seeing what you (yourself AND the program) can do, but not for replicating it.

  20. Amazing approach, today attention spans is really low….
    But you are analyzing and updating, it is a cool thing. And also shows the inner connectivity of yours to the viewer, much appreciate. The way you describe thought process and also give insights on how the viewer's common problem can be solved and at last you are awesome.

  21. I've had to watch this for 2 WHOLE MINUTES AND 16 SECONDS before you mentioned the first tip 😂😂

    Just kidding, love your channel man!

  22. Amazing way of record tutorial video! Cutting out the unuseful parts of a video speeds up the learning process incredibly! I discovered your channel 2 days ago and I am definitely addicted!! thank you for your work!

  23. I haven't seen a lot of animation videos, but I am interested in it and would be able to sit through more of this rather than the two hour ones.

  24. Hi there:

    1) I just started learning blender and you’re my new best friend.
    2) What you were saying about the AO render makes sense. Essentially it stops bouncing the light after the # of times you specify. This would cut down on render time and also make it darker. (This video is pretty old, so you probably figured that out by now)
    3) The format is fan-fucking-tasting. Please do another 400 of them. Thank you!

  25. Have you tried to create the same scene in game engines like Cryengine, Unreal, Unity etc along with their postprocessing capabilities for a fast realtime rendering to see how it looks? I bet you wouldn't see much of a difference yet you wouldn't have to wait 11 minutes for each frame!
    Houdini has those modular capabilities for Unreal engine

  26. Great way to structure a tutorial. Lots of excellent information, but minimal wasted time watching somebody push vertices around. Efficient and informative. Thank you!

  27. hmm im pretty sure it took him longer than 20 minutes, i'd say 40 minutes at least from the perspective of a professional 3d modeler

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