During the spring semester of my sophomore year of college, I took a 3D Computer Modeling class. Throughout the class, we learned fundamentals of modeling in Maya, as well as the importance of different lights, materials, and scene layouts.
Our first assignment was to model a machine with a variety of parts and materials. I chose to create a wooden clock, and I based it exactly off of the schematics I found.
This first image shows the different materials — medium wood for the frame, light wood for the gears, and black glass for the face and hands.
The second render is a close-up on all of the gears of the clock — there are over a dozen.
Our second project was to create a character of some kind and place them into a scene. I modeled my pet cockatiel, Sparky, and placed her on a mirror to make more of her visible in one image (and because she enjoys mirrors).
I used Mudbox to paint Sparky's different colors and markings.
For our third assignment, we created an entire environment. I chose to recreate a Washington, D.C. Metro Station because I find the architecture and the way it interacts with light incredibly interesting.
I explored many different light types in this render, including point lights under the benches and long area lights for the central lighting.
I really enjoyed the environment render, so for my final project I decided to do another environment. I opted for the glass pyramids outside the Louvre in Paris, and I decided to explore the effect of weather by making one render look like it was done on an overcast day, and another during late evening.
In order to evoke an overcast day, I made the light slightly dimmed and gave everything a bluer tone.
For the evening, I used only warm lights inside the pyramids and along the building, which would reflect in the water.