Screenshots of the game itself, copyright to whomever owns it. It’s one of the first scenes in the game, so I doubt it’s spoiling anything for anyone.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a cyberpunk game set in the future and I was really intrigued by the industrial design which is actually very reminiscent of the exile house in Tron, which I keep bringing up. There are lots of ornate things like big Victorian arm chairs with the buttons and the wallpaper has a shimmering that isn’t obvious, but is very celtic knot in the light. I wanted to make something like that. I prefer the floral victorian wallpaper, personally. Also, I’m going to add a bump map to mine to give it some depth. If you notice, their version isn’t raised or lowered, so ignore the ‘normal’ settings for the subtle shine approach.
I also wanted it to be fast which I more or less accomplished. The material itself renders quickly, but I tacked on DoF and glares and such that brought that right back. So, as it stands, for full 1080p HD each frame renders in 33 seconds. Most of that, again, is the post-pro. I’m using Blender 2.57 here, but it’ll be very similar /identical anywhere in the 2.5x series.
I picked up the free texture here and set it up like this:
The check marks are important. The Normal defines how drastic the bump map is (note it’s “best quality” at the bottom) and the two speculars define how shiny it is (making sure there is 0% specular in the actual material panel). The cube projection just makes it wrap better around objects that aren’t flat (such as our Suzanne head).The RGB to intensity and Stencil define the shape of texture 2.
The second texture is a HDRi map that I made, but it could be from anywhere. It goes under the victorian texture and is set in the coordinates to “reflection” to make is behave like the object is reflecting it. This is how to make things shiny without using actual ray traced reflections which are slow. If it’s good enough for video games, it’s good enough for us. Not accurate, sure, but much, much quicker. Also note that in the HDRi texture you can turn on and off the specular intensity and hardness (default 1 works) for an extra shine. It creates a sharper specular, so might be useful for wet things.
And then some glare nodes for that futuristic blurry shine, lots of pentagon DoF and a slight RGB curve to crush the blacks and pop the whites a bit. You might consider mixing it with my Tron or Star Trek node setups.
Also, add lots of different coloured lights. Remember, this is the future! And as we know, the future likes coloured lights.
Cyberpunk is defined by having a predominant colour. The Matrix was green, Final Fantasy 7 was blue and Deus Ex: HR is predominantly orange. But! Use contrasts to those to break it up, it’s not monochromatic, just favours a certain way tone.
It’s not that hard to achieve, you see. It seems like everything in the game has a HDRi reflection map to it, so I do recommend stocking up or making your own. Perhaps that’d be a good topic for a further tutorial. Also, if you’re going for the more stylistic approach, try to use simple shapes in your reflection maps; most of the game’s are just random rectangles of light, which gives it that sort of screen glare they put on cell phone ads. It’s not really reflecting an environment, it’s just showing you that it’s shiny. Remember, rendering is not about making reality, it’s about faking reality. Games cheat a lot graphically, but the trick is convincing the player.