I have several large areas in Adamantus and each gets broken into several rooms or smaller areas. I usually begin by “sketching” the scene in with dummy items or primitives and then move the camera around in the scene to see what can be viewed from what angle. I particularly want to “tuck away” places that are going to change so that they can’t be seen from too many angles. (I am not always very successful at this.)
With large interior areas, I begin each single room with this large roughed-in scene, making each room a scene unto itself, refining it, and then and saving it separately. When the rooms are finished, I already have the camera placements for all of the nodes from my large roughed-in scene. This way, when it comes time to render the video for the doors into the connecting rooms, I render the door(s) opening from inside the room with an alpha map for beyond the doorway. Then, in the destination room’s file, I set up a camera that is at the door, but outside of the room, and render a background slide. (I usually hide the door and door surround when I do this.) I then assemble the background slide and the door opening video in HitFilm, saving as an image sequence. Finally, I run the image sequence through VideoMach to make the movie and convert to OGV format.
Exterior scenes are much harder for me. I begin in the same way with the large roughed in scene, which usually begins with a terrain. In Vue the terrain can be sculpted into pretty much any shape that you’d like. You can leave the terrain at a relatively low poly at first, because Vue now allows you to subdivide and refine individual areas within a terrain — so I save out the roughed-in scene and when I open up the individual smaller scenes, refine the area around the nodes. I also make use of Vue’s EcoSystems for plants, which turns distant plants into billboards until your camera gets nearer to them. I’ve had over 20 million polys in a scene with ecosystem plants. I usually populate the scene with them and then erase and paint-in specific plants in key areas to compose the scene to my liking.
Figuring out how to break up the scene is tough, though. In a large city scene, I added in detailed buildings in the foreground and used progressively less detailed buildings in the distance. Even the more detailed versions had to be relatively low poly and needed careful texturing. I basically added as much as I could, then started breaking the scene down into clusters of nodes and stripping back out the elements that could not be seen from each particular cluster of nodes.
Sometimes I have an interior scene with a view of the exterior. I set it up within the large roughed in scene as I do the other scene, but hide the terrain and ecosystem as I build and don’t make them visible except for renders or test renders. Sometimes waiting for Vue to catch up becomes tedious, and I will build to a point, then save the scene. Then I delete the terrain and other things seen outside the windows, Save As, and continue refining the interior until I’m done. Then I open up the original scene, remove the interior parts and merge the scene for rendering.
There must be easier ways to do these scenes. If you figure out some, please let me know.