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© Seonghyeon Park
© Seonghyeon Park

Crafting feathers and fur for this student rendering challenge-winning image

Come fly with squee: Seonghyeon Park’s unique image scooped the public vote in our student rendering contest. He tells us about its inspiration and creation. 

Chaos’ student rendering challenge always attracts some amazing entries — and last year, we got some of the best. Working around the theme of Create a Better World, we saw everything from science-fiction futurescapes to urban utopias and cozy rooms. But one entry particularly stood out: Seonghyeon Park’s expertly composed image of a chipmunk hitching a lift on a sparrow. 

Chaos’ social media followers also gravitated towards this cute pic, and it won the student rendering contest’s public vote. We caught up with Seonghyeon to discuss how he used V-Ray for Maya and other tools to create these flying furry friends.


About Seonghyeon Park

Science Fiction Film School student Seonghyeon Park has been fascinated with history from a young age, traveling to countries and exploring ancient places. After seeing the fantastical-historical setting of The Lord of the Rings series, Seonghyeon was inspired to pursue a career in the VFX industry.

Seonghyeon Park on ArtStation >


What drew you to the Chaos student rendering challenge?

While learning at the academy, I heard that students were participating in the Chaos rendering challenge. It was a chance for me to show my work to many people alongside the other wonderful entries.

© Seonghyeon Park

What inspired your winning entry?

While watching various videos to create a personal portfolio, I realized many were large-scale, grandiose projects. Instead of going down this route, I wanted to express a small story in nature, so I chose chipmunk and sparrow. As I created the two animals, making realistic fur and feathers was important, which got me interested in grooming.

I also sought to express the eye-catching appearance of two small animals in the forest and the theme of friendship. There are so many things in the world that you cannot solve alone. Through these two little friends, I wanted to convey the message that working together makes the impossible possible.

© Seonghyeon Park

Could you tell us about the modeling?

I think modeling is the most important basic task. When making animals, their appearance with and without fur is quite different. I learned that it is essential to have a solid pose and shape.

© Seonghyeon Park

How did you create the fur and feathers?

Because I wanted to understand how to make them more diverse, I used two different pieces of software for the animals: XGen for the chipmunk and Yeti for the sparrow. The most challenging part of making the sparrow was folding its wings. I rigged it using Advanced Skeleton5 and folded the wings using the Pose Driving System function.

© Seonghyeon Park

The image looks like it could be from a book on nature photography. Which camera settings did you use?

I used V-Ray's physical camera. The backgrounds were created using Megascans sources. The leaves on the floor and the moss on the tree were placed using Mash. And I used depth-of-field to mimic the zoomed-in shots in documentary films.

© Seonghyeon Park

How did you set up the lighting?

Lighting was arranged according to the images used as the background. Environment lighting was applied and I used a backlight to make the characters stand out more.

© Seonghyeon Park

When did you start using V-Ray?

I entered the academy in 2019 to learn VFX, and just in time, the academy focused on using V-Ray for Maya. I took classes in V-Ray and naturally used V-Ray in my portfolio work

© Seonghyeon Park

How easy do you find it to use, and what do you like about it?

I love that V-Ray is continuously developing the physically based rendering method that reflects the physical situation of reality. I also find that the menus that need to be adjusted in detail are arranged in an intuitive manner.

© Seonghyeon Park

What are your plans for the future?

While making my portfolio, I became very interested in animal fur. Therefore, I plan to study more about how to make fur using various programs such as XGen, Yeti, and Houdini. The goal is to continue to create new animals and apply fur simulations to make them more realistic.

Since I won the prize as a public winner, I would like to express my gratitude once again to many people who liked my work.

Let your imagination take flight

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